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Re: Old priest grade road

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Old priest grade road
July 30, 2010 05:17PM
How does the Old Priest Grade road compare with the New Priest Grade road (highway 120, near Groveland)? My Garmin gps selected the Old road on my trip up to Yosemite last year, but I was unfamiliar with that road so I stuck with the New road (highway 120). It would seem to be less hairy going up the big hill on the Old road in that you'd be driving on the hillside lane. I did an Internet search and came across an article about the County deciding to widen, repave and add 2,600 feet of guardrail on the Old road this summer because they were sued after several deadly accidents on the Old road back in the 1990s.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2010 08:46PM by KenS.
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
July 30, 2010 06:27PM
The Old Priest Grade Road is the shortest and fastest way up the hill assuming one is not deterred by the thought of a grizzly death by running off the road. No trucks or motor homes to get in the way. It will be closed for a couple of months now.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
September 03, 2010 02:30PM
Quote
mrcondron
The Old Priest Grade Road is the shortest and fastest way up the hill assuming one is not deterred by the thought of a grizzly death by running off the road. No trucks or motor homes to get in the way. It will be closed for a couple of months now.

Hopefully this guy won't be on it:

avatar Re: Old priest grade road
July 30, 2010 07:05PM
Quote
KenS
How does the Old Priest Grade road compare with the New Priest Grade road (highway 120, near Groveland)?

The old road is much more fun!
Re: Old priest grade road
July 30, 2010 08:34PM
Brake shops and auto mechanics must love the old road because it brings them so much business. I once roared up that hill and my heat gauge shot up. Going down you can really do your brakes in. It does take a fraction of the time the main highway does though.
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
July 30, 2010 08:41PM
Heh, I wrote this after coming back from a trip a few years ago:

http://calipidder.com/wp/2007/07/a-public-service-announcementlecture/

The following winter I was rear ended at the bottom of OPG by someone who had their brakes burn out. I was sitting there waiting to turn out when BAM, some Rav 4 with smoking brakes hit my rear. I got a paint scratch on my truck's hitch. He got a crumpled hood.

It's a great road/shortcut if you know how to drive it. If not - stick to the new grade. I usually don't drive it in my Prius since it doesn't have the gearing to handle it well. In my truck, I just throw the thing in first and coast all the way down.
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
August 07, 2010 02:09PM
Yeah, I have to count to 1 gizzilion to keep my sanity and patience down when winding around behind a slower driver on the Priest Grade. So not much to add on that front, but I do want to ask if anyone know why it is closed? Last two times I went through I was driving so I only saw Caltrains there, second time I was a passenger and could not tell what the @#$# they were doing... did not look like just repaving.... ??

Goatie, you should put Chickon Boo the dashboard to speed things up. He's like a siren and should give you priority like a siren or emergency lights. Dunno though where some of these people will pull off to though on that grade... winking smiley
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
August 07, 2010 06:11PM
This discussion of driving Old Priest Grade brings up the issue of proper mountain driving technique.
Although taught during my callow youth to avoid braking during the turn (slow prior to entry into the turn if necessary) and to gently accelerate out of a curve, I never really understood the physics involved until I took a driving course with a skid car some years ago. By applying the brakes, the "center of gravity" on the vehicle shifts forward and essentially lightens the rear wheel load. This unloading disposes the rear wheels to skid and the car to be effectively "over steered". This effect is worse for rear wheel drive vehicles because it additionally reduces the contact of the driving wheels with the pavement. By accelerating slightly, the vehicle weight is shifted to the rear of the car and reverses the effects produced by braking.

(Beaks, did I get that right??)



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
August 09, 2010 06:28AM
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
August 09, 2010 04:21PM
Quote
bill-e-g
Donk a doo,
Maybe looky here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26644,26644#msg-26644

Doh! Thanx and sorry.
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
July 31, 2010 06:55PM
New Priest Blows. They better not ruin Old PG !!!

- had to drive New the last two times in and out... argh!!!!

Coming out previous time I was behind CA "QUIKSAN".
Felt more like Quick Sand!!!!
For the love of God ... do not have a plate like that and drive
like my Grandma (RIP).

GW drove it and even she went batty driving behind Chevy Chase
(or was the Robin Williams) ... you get it!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2010 06:56PM by bill-e-g.
avatar Re: Old priest grade road
July 31, 2010 07:50PM
Quote
bill-e-g
New Priest Blows. They better not ruin Old PG !!!

- had to drive New the last two times in and out... argh!!!!

Coming out previous time I was behind CA "QUIKSAN".
Felt more like Quick Sand!!!!
For the love of God ... do not have a plate like that and drive
like my Grandma (RIP).

GW drove it and even she went batty driving behind Chevy Chase
(or was the Robin Williams) ... you get it!



Maybe "QUIKSAN" will replace it someday with "INSAN" [sic].

If you ever have a couple days to waste, try driving the road between the S (Ash Mountain) entrance to SEKI and the high country during "normal" daytime hours.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2010 08:21PM by szalkowski.
Re: Old priest grade road
August 01, 2010 12:48PM
OPG tends to be a problem because the clueless sometimes follow chains of cars making that turn both from the bottom and top even though the direction of the main highway is obvious. Thus one thing the county could do is install even larger more serious WARNING signs. One merely needs to park at the bottom awhile and smell the air as vehicles pass by. A surprising number have strong brake burning smell. As a long time mountain driver at all times of the year, I can say that many urban people from the low lands do not know how to drive well in many ways in mountains.

As an example, one woman in an SUV in front of me followed another vehicle going down and I could immediately tell she seemed surprised hesitating but kept going. There isn't really a spot near the top to turn around so one becomes committed especially when in a chain of cars. My guess is she had an automatic and kept it in DRIVE the whole way down with the BRAKE pedal constantly loading. About half way down I began to smell her brakes. By the bottom there was so much smoke coming out she had to pull over on SR120.

Another issue are aggessive macho pin headed drivers in their big trucks or SUVs that cannot drive up or down such roads without showing how they can do so faster than anyone in front of or behind them. Such drivers race up and down trying to make those in front of them speed up or pull over even though the difference in total time to the top is arguable so trivial that one can dismiss any serious need for them to pressure others so. Of course most people are likely to fall victim to their game. If such drivers get behind me not only on OPG but also on other similar mountain roads, I tend to go slower while never looking back at them, then speed up slightly and slow down slightly repeatedly so as to annoy them more and more. In other words if they want to antagonize other drivers by their emotional road games then they can get a dose of it themselves.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2010 12:53PM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Old priest grade road
August 09, 2010 06:51AM
Old Priest is best done with a smaller vehicle, no trailer, no RV, the hairpin curves are something. I remember riding up with dad and looking down at the old carcasses of cars that had gone off the side. Dad worked at the powerhouse and had a great view of that road - one winter morning he saw a large pickup starting up it. The pickup hit some black ice, did a neat 180, and slowly drove back down then went on up the new road instead.
Re: Old priest grade road
August 09, 2010 12:02PM
Re: Old priest grade road
August 12, 2010 08:22PM
I made a short trip up to Yosemite earlier this week, and on my way back to the Bay Area, just at the bottom of the New Priest Grade Road, I thought I was about to witness a head-on crash between a minivan and a truck. Going down the New road, I was the second vehicle behind a fifth wheel RV which was travelling at about the speed limit. At the bottom of the grade, the minivan behind the RV accelerated to pass but he must not have had a good look at the oncoming traffic because just a short distance down the road was a truck coming from the opposite direction. When the minivan was about even with the RV, just a second or two before impact, the RV swerved hard to the right onto the shoulder, and the minivan somehow squeezed between the truck and the RV. I thought for sure all hell was going to break loose, but not this time, thank God.
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