Since I'm in the Sacramento area for another week for work I went to Google Maps and looked for a ride on the K1200R I road down here. Foresthill Rd and Mosquito Ridge Rd between Auburn and the French Meadows Reservoir looked promising. What I didn't know was how I was going to get back.
Here's the route I ended up taking.
It started off straightforward enough.
Riding Mosquito Ridge Rd was incredible. I only stopped to snap a few pictures when I was stuck behind a rare pickup. It's a two lane road that winds its way along the side of of the ridge. It's a 35 mi ride with 40 and 55 mph limits with 15 and 25 mph advised turns.
Then came the back part. My GPS seemed to think I had a simple 12 mile hop up to 80 from the campgrounds around the French Meadows Resevoir. I worked my way down a few rocky dirt roads only to find them turn into grown over single track or to rough inclines or declines beyond the grip my Metzeler Z6es were going to afford. Sorry no pics of that. I was getting pretty concerned at this point. After a few false leads and some backtracking, remaining range was dwindling.
Finally I found a road marked with national forest signs indicating it would take me through to Foresthill or Soda Springs. The signage indicated that travel by car was not possible. I was on a motorcycle, so obviously this didn't apply to me! How bad could it be?
I winded my way up a rocky road. This was it, I had to go through, I didn't have the fuel range to backtrack to Foresthill via Mosquito Ridge any more. When I saw a jeep behind me which I promptly pulled over and let pass, I started to get a sense of what I was in for.
The route back to civilization would be 26 miles of 4x4 rocky dirt roads, with two minor water crossings, and a whole lot of big rocks waiting to crush my exhaust headers if I didn't navigate them with care, and more importantly, before the sun set and I couldn't see what I was doing.
The road leveled out at an intersection. With the sun on its way down I was nervous about stopping and wasting even a minute, but I figured I'd better snap a few photos for posterity.
The pictures taken here don't do the route justice, but I didn't dare stop in the tougher areas, and I was starting to have premonitions of having to abandon the bike and hike out and back in with gas. If the route became impassible again, I was going to be up a creek.
I don't know if anyone else knows where this is at, but I'll wager there's not another photo of a BMW K1200R at this Foresthill and Soda Springs intersection sign out there.
Here was the second and last spot I stopped to snap a few photos on off pavement part of the route. Those digital panorama shots might not impress real photographers but I sure like looking at them.
Which one of these things just doesn't belong? The black two wheeled thing with a crouched seating position, under slung exhaust headers, and sport touring tires!
And one more.
After the jeep the only human life I encountered was 3 dirt bikers once I got to the cabins along the road as you get nearer to Soda Springs. I'm sure they thought I was nuts, but at least at this point I knew I was within range of help if I needed it, and they confirmed that there was fuel up ahead in Soda Springs.
I rolled into the gas station with an indicated 13 miles range remaining. Another dead end or false lead or two and I would have had to abandon the bike and hike out overnight for gas.
I want to come back here on my dual sport and bring camping gear.
This is probably the sort of route a BMW GS would be perfect for. Twisty mountain paved roads followed by twisty rocky mountain dirt roads.