I was looking forward to today. I had a few new roads to add to the repertoire and anything had to be better than yesterday. Breakfast was at Cheryl’s which was next door to the Kernville Inn.
Cheryl’s Diner (C is average. No grade inflation here):
|Seating||B||Easy with the breakfast crowds. No issues at all.|
|Atmosphere||C||Functional. It’s a well loved diner.|
|Wait Staff||A||Our waitress was great. Super fun wit and took care of the table well.|
|Food||C-||The ham was good in my ham and cheese omelette’s but the cheese was so so. Hash brows weren’t particularly crispy.|
|Value||C||Very fairly priced.|
|Overall||C||It is nice that it’s close to the hotel and makes for a cheap and easy breakfast.|
The ride up to Sequoia National Park was awesome! I was glad to ride Kern River Road fresh rather than at the end of a long day. Its’ a nice ride through the low mountains along the Kern River. Kern River Road dumps you into the Western Divide highway which soon becomes California 190. Both roads are a hoot to ride and CA-190 is nice and technical. Watch for sand along both of the roads. I’d also recommend riding them to Kernville as the technical parts would be more fun going uphill. At least for me.
The streams were flowing!
and the roads were good n’ curvy:
The road was going to be closed for the next hour. I had to get to Kings Canyon and this was the only way there. Bugs abounded. The mountains were pretty though. This one reminded me of Half Dome in Yosemite.
Fortunately the guard let me ride all the way to the front of the line. Once traffic started moving I knew this was going to be not so fun. The park got some rain and a non trivial part of the ride was in the dirt which was now somewhere between dirt and mud. On a 775lb fully loaded VStrom that was no easy feat. I felt the bike slide in more ways than I was comfortable and given that I was climbing a mountain there was little room for error.
After rolling through the construction zone I just tried to make time. If I didn’t make Cedar Grove by 6pm, I’d not have time to take pictures of Roaring River Falls. The road had crud all over it from construction and snow removal so I didn’t stop at all in the park.
I got to Grant Grove at 5pm so I knew I could ease up the pace a bit. The ride down to Cedar Grove is one of the prettiest in the area. With the weather rolling in the canyon looked very much like a scene out of Lord of the Rings!
I was a bit concerned about getting stuck down there as there was only one road out, but adventure called me down there. I had about 15 minutes to photograph the falls. About 5 years ago I saw a postcard of the falls and just fell in love with them. Since then I’ve been trying to capture that photo. I felt rushed, but got the one photo I really wanted to get. I now know the light I need to further perfect this photo when I’m down here again.
The canyon had fewer people in it than last week as it was a Monday night vs a weekend night. The motel wasn’t sold out and there were plenty of rooms open. Most of the staff were pretty cool. The manager just was having a bad day and not friendly at all. Chided me for bringing a beer in the snack bar and then chided me again for bringing it back into the store when it wasn’t even open! WOW.
Cedar Grove Lodge (C is average. No grade inflation here):
|Room Comfort||D||The beds were comfortable but worn and the sheets on one had two stains. There are no TV’s and a small bandwidth WiFi connection. It’s functional, but don’t expect any creature comforts.|
|Location||A||I love the ride down to the bottom of the canyon. There is peace here like very few places in California. It’s worth coming here at least once.|
|Snack Bar||C||It’s ballgame food: grilled cheeses, burgers, sandwiches, and chili. It has a decent breakfast menu but the food is greasy. Tastes good, but not good for you at all.|
|Value||C-||$130 seemed a touch high but it’s the only game in town.|
|Overall||C||I’m not sure which is the better option between the lodge and camping. Having done both in two weekends the verdict is out.|