If you had told me when I woke up Saturday morning that in a few hours I'd be standing on a frozen lake shooting the breeze with some guys ice fishing I'd probably have thought that was a small possibility, but then so many of my rides come around that way. But that's exactly what happened. And why not.
The only plan I had was to hit the high country. About this time of year I really miss the passes being open. Depending on where they are closed I often will ride to a dead end, just because. I headed out 88 since it's the most interesting highway that is still open and it would get me into the terrain I love to be in. It wasn't until I headed down the Eastern side of the Sierra I spotted some dots below on Red Lake, ice fisherman doing THEIR thing. I wondered what it was like in my mind, "is this something I'd enjoy"? So I decided to join them. Pulling off the main road and walking out on the ice made me feel a part of the scene. Met a number of good guys out there, including a KLR fanatic ( I mean that in the best way) and my first stop of the day became an enjoyable moment of camaraderie, watching something new and just seeing things from a different perspective. Today was going to be good.
When I left there I didn't get very far before stopping again. Not much snow for this time of year, but what was there made ordinary places special.
I hope I never get to old to want to hop around the rocks on a river when I'm somewhere like this. Not a bad spot for coffee either.
From there I decide to ride to Markleeville and see how far I can get up the East side of Hwy 4 towards Ebbitts Pass. I know it will be a dead end, but that just adds to the solitude. Also a chance to see snow down low that is usually gone by the time the pass opens, and as a photography enthusiast the Winter Sun will give a different light then I'm used to.
One of the Bridges on Silver Creek looking like a winter postcard.
Perfect turns all to myself today, almost a tease as I know I can't go much further up the hill, but also enough to scratch the itch.
The next stop made my day. Many of you have seen Chalmers Mansion while riding by, for those that haven't it's a unique house all by itself built in the 1860s with a smelter for the nearby silver mine. It adds so much character to the road, and therefore the ride. I have tried for a number of years to capture the feeling of the place that I get when riding by, looking through the Aspen trees and wondering what stories have been made there. I have never been happy with my past attempts to get this all in a still photo, this day was different. As I rounded the corner the low sun in the winter sky cast a light that was pure magic across the blanket of snow to the house. Finally I got the photo I was looking for, and just being there at that moment made the entire days ride worthwhile.
A few more stops to enjoy the quiet and think of all of my own memories from this road. All in all it was a 15 mile ride from Markleeville to the end, so 30 miles round trip that I spent 2-3 hours on. That's a lot of enjoying the moment. It's a destination that was hard to leave, but I was better off for having been there.
By now the weather had warmed enough that there were a number of bikes enjoying the food and drinks in Markleeville as a destination, not realizing what a pristine ride there was just past that. But that's o.k., I figure they must not know or I would have had company out there for certain.
Leaving the small town the sight of the hills just south of Tahoe remind me of the grandeur I'm about to ride through as I climb back over the Sierras.
A quick stop at the Kirkwood Saloon for some food and to quench my thirst and I ended my day with a rest a Caples Lake.
I've been doing plenty of riding this winter, but not as much photography to share as sometimes I just didn't feel like it. So there.
As long as I'm adding an installment to this thread I thought I'd go ahead and share a few random photos that I find memorable from the last couple of months.
A week ago the High Sierra was getting stormed on, so I decided to ride the foothills and Gold Country. A quick shot of one of the forgotten roads that can make getting to the Sierras so much fun. Pavement that rides better if you treat it like dirt.
A few gravel roads and one laners later I head towards the small town of Volcano, a spot I often stop for coffee. Not really a bike hangout, but often a few stopped there to enjoy the small town with, swapping road tales. I didn't expect any bikes as it was the middle of winter and I was riding right into some good rain. A few miles out of town it turned into some pretty decent hail, I don't know why, but some sick side of me thinks it's really neat riding in this stuff, and knowing I had hot coffee a few miles ahead was a bonus. As I pull in I realized I wasn't the only one as a couple of GS riders were holed up out of the weather, they even got there early enough for the premium parking. That's o.k., the Tenere won't melt. Should've known I'd run into some BMW guys at a coffee stop, but hey that's where I was headed to so I shouldn't talk. Turned out to be a couple of ADVriders types and good conversation followed as the storm blew over. Shortly after the sun poked out like spring with everything fresh for a memorable ride.
(I actually wound up riding right back into the hail again)
A couple of weeks earlier I attempted Hetch Hetchy right after a storm, and the road was damaged leaving it closed. Shucks.
Chains required? Not me, my bike is SHAFT drive.
I found out later why they still had chain control up.
And just in case anyone is wondering about the progress of the new Bonneville, a few months later and some cosmetic changes , completely gone through the suspension and uncorked the motor with a Triumph Twin Power map and she's a whole new bike. Still not a serious rider for me, but perfect for quick rides near home. And I just feel SO cool.