Enjoying the Moment...My Take on Riding Nor Cal

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Desert Dave, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    I suppose this is about as close as I'll ever get to a blog. I actually tried this once before back in 2005 with a thread in Ride Reports "Where did you ride today" that was for posting a couple of pics from your day rides that didn't have enough material for a full report. It had a nice three year run until it fizzled out and fell into the archives. Well now that everyone is doing it I'll try again instead of loading up all of the photo threads like I have been. :lol3 Feel free to add anything relevant. This is just for fun....but then that's why I do most everything.

    So here we go. I decided to get serious about this around the holidays, and six months later something is actually happening! I have a little more time right now as the riding season is over ("but wait", you say, "it's the first day of Summer". I know, I can explain more on that later) So I thought I'd start with a quick recap since last winter, at least get some photos up to get this thing rolling and see if anybody is interested in reading it.

    I feel so fortunate to live where I do. Many of my favorite places to ride are right here in my backyard. Now I'm not a world traveler, and in these forums I haven't really done anything impressive as far as miles, but I have covered the western half of the US and Canada pretty good. After spending years rushing around to see the next big thing and get somewhere new, I'm finally taking the time to slow down and experience what is around me instead blasting through it. Some days have turned into 14 hour rides where I only go two or three hundred miles, that's a lot of time off of the bike. But getting off the bike more has opened a new dimension to my riding. What used to be an escape from reality has become a reality of its' own.

    My relatively new riding style fits perfect with my newest hobby, photography. I've been "serious" (if I can call it that) for almost three years now, learning and practicing all with the goal of trying to share my experiences visually with some feeling, instead of just a random shot. I know I'm not alone as there are many accomplished photogs on this site that understand the passion of combining these two hobbies. Besides I quit racing and my riding is honestly becoming a bit less adventurous (risky) so I needed something new to push my limits.

    So in the following pages I hope to share my backyard with you guys. Lots of Sierras as that is where I love to be, some desert and some coast as well. I'll even try to show some of my favorite areas in the central valley that may change some riders idea that this is just a wasteland. Mostly day and weekend rides.

    Here's a few photos of where I rode last winter. We had an amazing winter (it was a drought) that left areas usually inaccessible open until late January.

    Ever ride Tioga Pass in Yosemite in January? I'm sure a few of you did after this year.

    [​IMG]





    A very Frozen Ellery Lake.
    [​IMG]




    How about (yours truly) standing on a frozen mosquito lake on Christmas eve?
    [​IMG]




    Strange to see some of my favorite spots on the passes frozen with so little or no snow, definitely a unique winter.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    I'm sure I'll be posting quite a few photos from the Mt. Hamilton area as this is a regular ride for me. The top is always wonderful when on the edge of a storm. Whenever I'm looking for landscape photos from the road I always try to compose a shot quickly if I hear a bike coming.
    [​IMG]




    This one here is just everything that is right about motorcycling. Enjoying the moment. I have no idea who this is, but he was out doing his thing while I did mine.

    [​IMG]



    Enter the Tenere. My new ride as of January and I've been taking photos of it like a parent would a newborn for the first six months. Many of these have been posted in the Tenere threads, but I'm sure many of you skip those. So here's a recap of my life with the Tenere so far. As I add more to this thread I'll take the time to tell more of the stories behind the photos.

    First ride, had to get a photo as it would never be this clean again! And it did rain pretty hard later that day so I was right. Did give me a good chance to try out the traction control though:D

    [​IMG]


    Second ride was weeknight after work. I was having so much fun sliding it on some local Delta dirt levees that I almost missed an awesome moment. This is why I always carry a camera on the bike.

    [​IMG]

    Picking up a new ride in the middle of winter means having to deal with icy roads, but that's part of the adventure, right?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My local road

    [​IMG]

    Just a good memory of a ride where my friend on the RC51 tricked me into thinking I was on a sportbike. Rode way faster than I should have, but learned a lot about the bikes limits :deal
    [​IMG]

    Hetch Hetchy "the other Yosemite" in winter.

    [​IMG]

    A close up of Wapama Falls across the lake
    [​IMG]


    Riding the eastern sierras before the passes opened back up

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And back in the high sierra this spring

    [​IMG]

    Discovering an old gold mine stamp mill a few weeks ago. Been by it hundreds of times and I still find new things.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    More to come!!
    #1
  2. nomad guy

    nomad guy A legal alien

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    Stranded in Berkeley, CA
    Wow !!:clap:clap:clap
    #2
  3. wfo600

    wfo600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    You don't know me and I don't know you. However your wonderful photos make it clear we love the same things! Your photos are alive and really capture the spirit of the bike and ride... Good work :D The Triumph rider grinning ear to ear in the snow and cold is classic.
    #3
  4. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    Well Hi, I'm Dave, now you know me. :D

    Yeah, I love that photo with the Triumph rider. I had already framed the scene wishing someone was there to get a photo of me riding through it when I heard his bike coming. I couldn't predict the look on his face, which is what makes the scene so special. Nothing like sharing a moment with a passing stranger on a chilly mountain top.
    #4
  5. Gooner

    Gooner DC 43

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Oddometer:
    122
    Location:
    Rocket City
    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more :clap
    #5
  6. Mullet

    Mullet Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    Nice.
    #6
  7. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,187
    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    DD-Great stuff! Looks like the 'hobbies' are working out pretty darn good. The Tenere looks gooooood.

    You really got me on the riding Tioga in winter. I never knew this could be done. Did this happen by happenchance? Or are you monitoring the Cal Trans site? What gives?

    I sure enjoyed the post, looking forward to more shots of the Sierra with summer thunder storms coming. Beautiful work.:thumb
    #7
  8. WRC51

    WRC51 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    430
    Location:
    Hydesville, Calif
    Nice photos and great ride report. Mt Hamilton and Del Pureto Cyn were a favorite ride over the hill when I lived in Morgan Hill. I have been lusting over the Teneres since they came out, so I will be watching this to see how you like the bike. Thanks
    #8
  9. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,365
    Location:
    India Wharf
    If this is your blog, I am subscribed. I haven't been there in decades, but I know those roads well. I grew up in Hayward and lived in the South Bay until the 80's. Raced MX and D36 enduros all over those parts. But I did a lot of touring too. Mount Hammy to Livermore was a nice ride. Any of the passes over the Sierras. Particularly those with all the granite.

    I have a son who is moving to SF next month. He's got a bunch of motorcycles so I'll get a chance to revisit those roads again. Thanks for the thread and pics.
    #9
  10. RZRob

    RZRob Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,787
    Location:
    Anaheim Hills, CA
    Great pics. I too live in California and am always finding new places to see. I realize there's so much more to see too. The quality of your pics make me want to call in sick for the next week and go exploring some more.

    RZ Rob
    #10
  11. Piaf

    Piaf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Carentan, France.
    Great photos and fabulous bike (then I am biased). What a wonderful place to ride. :clap
    #11
  12. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    I love riding the passes as late as I can in the year, I've never understood the thought that the high country is for summer only. I've often been on one of the passes as the storm is coming in that will close it for winter, usually at some point in November. There's been a few times I've ridden them into December. This last winter was the first time I'd ever had the chance to do it in January, apparently the only time in the roads history. They did close and then re-open with the lack of snow fall. Yes, I watch the Caltrans site close as well as the Yosemite reports. Rode through Tioga this year right after a microburst toppled hundreds of trees like matchsticks, a really awesome display of power.

    I watch the weather close as well. I often don't bother with the Sierras in summer on the "good" days, but if I see a storm approaching I make plans. Riding the edge of a summer storm is far more exciting and memorable, and yes sometimes it means putting up with wet, hail or even snow but to me that's part of being IN the scene instead of just looking at it. So you'll probably see a few photos from summer storms this year.

    Here's a few from last summer

    The view from Monitor pass that everbody knows is so much more spectacular on a day like this

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    The fire lookout is so much more vulnerable when it's about to be engulfed by threatening thunder heads

    [​IMG]


    From Memorial day weekend one year ago, I knew the storm was coming but I just had to go. I got so caught up in the photo opportunities that by the time I realized the snow was starting to stick it was really time to get down the hill. :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    This is what I was hoping for, locals and past locals to enjoy what we have right here! I always like hearing others experiences at places that are special to me. I expect that plenty of riders will recognize many of these scenes and maybe the photos will take you there for a minute.
    #13
  14. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    Thanks, Yes and Yes.

    The Tenere is at the 6 month mark, usually about when the newness wears off and I realize if the bike is a keeper or not and so far I get more excited about it all of the time. Almost the perfect ride for what I do these days.

    Ans yes, what a wonderful place to ride. I still feel spoiled everyday. Glad I can share a little view with someone on the other side of the world :beer
    #14
  15. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,779
    Location:
    Okiehoma
    Fabulous photos, Dave. Very impressive composition! Quite inspiring.

    Onward...:lurk

    HF :thumbup

    p.s. glad to finally see knobbies on an ST. Was beginning to think them too fragile
    #15
  16. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Jax Off again.

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    15,806
    Location:
    From Alabama to Newfoundland it's all Appalachian

    I have to say +1.
    Great work!
    #16
  17. true grip

    true grip Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    Centerville TN
    Excellent photos Dave, I hope you'll still throw us a bone over in the tenere thread.

    But either way I'll be looking in, good work.

    Has anybody ever told you, you look like Tommy Chong?:lol3
    #17
  18. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    Take a look over in the Tenere thread, there's a few guys riding these things well past what I want to do on one. Although I accidentally got in a bit over my head this weekend and got a chance to see what she's made of :lol3 Pics to follow..




    Yeah, I'll still throw some favorite photos up in the Tenere thread now and then, but I'll save the stories and extra snapshots for over here so I don't hog space in those threads.

    Yeah I actually have heard that before :lol3
    #18
  19. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,792
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    I usually try to avoid Tahoe.

    Now that I have your attention let me explain. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place, but generally when I ride one of my biggest priorities is to get away from people, and Tahoe is just to crowded for me. Probably why I haven't been there in years. For some reason it's been calling me lately to go explore some of the backroads in the area I've never taken the time to see before. Besides cool weather is rolling in and we've been having a bit of a heat wave for this early in the year.

    Rolling out Saturday morning I head up hwy88 only to get stuck behind a Corvette club! These guys were worse than RVs, going well over the speed limits in the straights where I could make a safe pass and then throwing out an anchor in the corners. That's a whole other story, but I worked my way through them.

    Coming in to Tahoe on 89 I made a turn on Upper Truckee Rd, this is the kind of road I love but way to short. Single lane tight turns and deep in the woods, only to open into a wonderful meadow that I just had to take in for a minute. My first stop of the day is looking good!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Following the the road further my plan was to see Fallen Leaf Lake, more specifically a waterfall right above the lake. Wow, perfect road, but WAY to many cars. Kind of a bittersweet. The falls were easy to spot right off the side of the road, my second stop for the day was again a winner. I hung out here for an hour or so climbing over the rocks and acting like a kid. I was thinking of coming back later in the day for some better light to photograph them, but thought I'd do my best while I was there.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Feeling pretty good about the day so far I was off to find Barker Pass Rd, a dirt road heading up into the hills above Tahoe on the West side. Unfortunately I missed the turnoff and wound up running into everything I hate about the area. Not my idea of good mountain riding...:eek1

    [​IMG]



    Geez, I could've stayed in the city and got places quicker. :lol3 Just about when my claustrophobia was starting to get the best of me I got on the right track and away from civilization. Quickly. The road quickly climbs in elevation and I was really starting to get into the moment. Threatening clouds up higher just added to the scene. I really should have stopped for more photos but was caught up in the riding.

    There's the lake in the distance.

    [​IMG]



    As I approach the Pass I ran in to some Jeepers that gave me some directions to a small lake that I wanted to check out. In the meantime I ran a number of forks just to see what was there. This view from the ridge was so impressive in person.

    [​IMG]



    Not just the scenery, but the temperature dropped low enough to warrant heated gloves, and the wind was blowing so hard I felt the clouds were moving by as if I was in a plane. This to me is adventure riding, just being there to experience something so powerful making me feel so small. I realized I couldn't get a photo that would capture the awe I felt watching the clouds flow by so quick right above me, so for the first time ever I actually used my camera for video. I had no idea what I was doing since I never even read the handbook on how to use it, but hopefully a bit of the the moment comes through.

    <iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1930330340_m8tNR5p?width=425&height=240" frameborder="0" height="240" scrolling="no" width="425"></iframe>

    From here the road went deeper into the woods. PERFECT big bike stuff, just enough dirt to slide a little and feel like I'm doing something that maybe I wouldn't on a sportbike, and just remote enough to feel adventurous. No worries...enjoying the moment.

    [​IMG]



    Backtracking some I went to the fork that should lead to Bear Lake. I would find out later this was actually the McKinney Creek OHV trail that runs down to the last five miles of the Rubicon. The road started showing some wear with deeper ruts and some rocky sections. Nothing to worry about, just enough to make me really glad. In fact I was feeling a bit proud of myself for getting into something a bit more technical. Here's a typical shot of the trail.

    [​IMG]



    Of course you can't see the hill in the photo or the rocks but it was starting to go downhill. I took at least one close up of the surface, childs play for a dirtbike, but for a big bike loaded with lots of gear I had to start getting on my game some.

    [​IMG]


    What happened next was a corner with a downhill that I really shouldn't have gone down. A few decent step offs had me wondering if I could make it back up if I needed to. If I knew what I was about to get into I would've turned around right there and tried.

    The trail got progressively worse, steeper with bigger rocks and step ups. I now knew I was totally committed and I feared I would maybe find an obstacle I couldn't get around. Soon the rocks got technical enough that I couldn't ride like a wuss, it was time to take the bull by the horns and ride this thing like it was a 250. At this point I really just wanted to get through, but I couldn't help but be impressed how well the Tenere dealt with everything I was throwing at it. Of course riding in this manner means a crash could be really nasty, it wouldn't just be a tip over. I got plenty of use out of the skidplate. Then BAM!, an impact highcentered me on a rock for a second and as I started to highside my two stroke clutch hand somehow launched me back off it and down the trail. I really couldn't believe the zone I was in. And that the bike was fine with it.

    I never thought I'd be happy to see the Rubicon Trail because it would be EASIER but I was. This of course was not the nasty sluicebox stuff on top but relatively mild trail, but still enough rock, mud puddles and a creek crossing or two to keep me on my toes. I stopped for a minute and smelled the disgusting fragrance of burning oil, and as I looked down I saw the rainbow color growing in the water I was in. CRAP. Knowing a I had few miles until pavement at the Rubicon trailhead, I was on a mission. I figured since my motor was a dry sump I should be good until the oil light comes on.

    I felt dissapointed speeding by three gorgeous high sierra lakes and endless late day photo opportunities, but this was now a bonifide adventure. Creeks crossing that I'd usually check the depth first I just charged through on the gas. Gritting my teeth watching for the idiot light to come on I finally saw pavement! About 50 yards of pavement and the red light lit, clutch in, kill switch and my bike bled out it's last oil. I'm SO done.

    [​IMG]



    O.K. plan "B". As I was gathering my thoughts a group of Unimog enthusiasts were just finishing up the Rubicon and were more than glad to help, in fact I think they kind of enjoyed it. I was told my NRA sticker on the bike gave me enough cred with them. One driver had just installed a hoist for changing his tires and was happy to use it to lift my bike on the rear of his rig. So besides an adventurous ride, I got to ride in a REALLY cool truck!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At camp

    [​IMG]



    They took me back to their camp at Southshore. I just love the spirit of camaraderie on the trail. Nicest guys in the world made my problems their own. They put a beer in my hand, gave me a seat by the fire and insisted I enjoy some of the steak fajitas they just bar-b-qued. New friends I'll probably never see again but that's what makes the road special. I'll never forget.

    A few shots of the damage from my garage.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hey, who's in there? :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,490
    Great report and even better pics...thanks.
    #20