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

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

  1. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Fairfield, CA, USA
    This would make some fine wallpaper. Do you have a high-res version? :wink:

  2. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    Here's a link to my Smugmug page

    http://desertdave.smugmug.com/Other/Surf/23596962_SzCndm#!i=2328017268&k=Zxggqf6&lb=1&s=A

    If you click on ORIGINAL size it's a little larger than in the thread, you're welcome to copy and use that for your own personal use. I'm guessing you'll need something larger for a screensaver depending on your monitor size, if you do shoot me a PM and I'll hook you up.
  3. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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. :D 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.

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    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.

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    (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. :deal

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    I found out later why they still had chain control up.


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    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.:wink:

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  4. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    More great pics Dave!
    I always wondered about the Chalmers Mansion, been past seems like a thousand times but never stopped or looked into its history.
  5. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    Same here, back in the dark ages of pre-internet every time I rode past that I was curious as to what the story was. Now with Google at our fingertips it's so easy I feel spoiled. Many vintage photos of that house on the web, really makes local history come alive.
  6. Cdc28p

    Cdc28p Adventurer

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    Thanks for sharing the absolutely beautiful and inspirational photos. I ride up and down on both sides of Skyline--Kings, Tunitas, 84, Jamison Creek, China Grade, etc...--on my bike almost weekly. But it's a Specialized Roubaix. I can't wait to get another motorcycle--sold my last one before moving here from the East Coast--and be able to carry photography gear to capture the amazing natural beauty of Nor Cal.
  7. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    I had to google "Specialized Roubaix" to know what you're talking about, seems you could have bought a motorcycle for same price :D

    When I grew up over that way and learned to ride up there, roads like Tunitas Creek were almost a secret. I'd often ride the entire length without seeing another bike, with or without a motor. Not so much anymore, but I to love the deep redwoods over there

    I really want to get over there and spend some time with my camera, this is one of my favorites of Tuntitas Creek

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    How about a little rain on China Grade? (I can almost smell the redwoods)

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  8. tomatocity

    tomatocity Retired and lovin' it

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    Thanks 28p and Dave. Now I know where I am going next week.
  9. chrish4ku

    chrish4ku Been here awhile

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    Looks like a secluded fun ride. Studded tires may have helped !
  10. jags650

    jags650 n00b

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    nice pictures i have been there before i live in pollock pines love the rideing in the mts. here
  11. Davethestick

    Davethestick Registered Rider

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    Malibu California
    Awesome pics!

    Love the Triumph
  12. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Been here awhile

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    Great pics Dave, keep them coming... :clap

    If you don't mind me asking, what is that delightful little goat trail pictured just above the pic of Volcano. I believe I've taken the Sutter Creek Volcano Rd out of SC through Volcano a few times and it was a gem. Love those little foothills goat trails.

    If you're ever over Santa Rosa way let me know. Happy to show you some of our backroads.

    Brian
  13. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    That would be Rock Creek Rd, which you can catch between hwy 4 & 26 in the foothills. On this particular ride I took that to Hogan Dam Rd which I hadn't done before, a gravel/dirt rd worth doing at least once, in seach of "Lost City". Well, it lives up to it's name as I sure didn't see anything :lol3 According to the GPS it was not far off the road, but that was private property which I respect. Searching the internet when I got home threre are some interesting ruins there.

    When I used to live in the east bay I got over your way frequently, even doing the "Sunday Morning Ride" on occasion (but that is a totally different deal :lol3) Gorgeous area.




    I'm jealous. :D
  14. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    Pictures or it didn't happen :deal :D

    You can't go wrong riding there.

    I'd actually like to try that someday, but on a real dirt bike :evil

    Thanks man, around here seems the Bonnevilles don't get any respect unless you have wire wheels and knobbies. Mine is a sleeper that looks like an old man is riding, but can still smack around a few squids when need be :evil
  15. RustySpokes

    RustySpokes Two-bit throttle bum

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    Thanks for sharing the photos and your passion. :thumb
  16. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    So this thread has been pretty quiet recently, seems my employer thinks getting the job done is just as important as my riding time. I have a little different view on that, but my weekends have been full with my "other" life and I've really missed being on the road, in the mountains, riding and enjoying the moment.
    I came to the conclusion it was essential to my sanity to take a weekend off. My plan was to ride up 108 to Kennedy Meadows where the highway is closed for the winter and just take a day relaxing. Then something un ordinary happened, the passes opened in April! You've got to be kidding me. This was meant to be.
    Rolling out in the morning I couldn't decide if I wanted to ride 3 passes, or just hit Sonora Pass and relax. Then it hit me, why not do both? Besides I really had the itch to ride, so the new plan was to ride over Ebbitts and Monitor like I had nothing to live for and still get to Sonora Pass by early afternoon. And that's what I did. I was scrubbing in new tires and felt like a caged animal set free up there.
    So the day wasn't much about photos, but some hard riding. Still, something seemed wrong about going over these first two passes without at least a "photo of record". First stop of the day, just over Ebbits Pass. Man these roads are just killer.

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    Kind of ironic that the last installment to this thread was just down the hill from here. SO glad I made that ride and got the photos of Chalmers Mansion as by now the snow was gone that low, and the photo opportunity with it.
    Monitor Pass was really play time....tires were feeling GOOD. No traffic and clear road. Probably won't be this good again until Fall when the riding season starts again. One more quick stop in the Eastern Sierras, where the mountains meet the desert.

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    Riding familiar turns heading up the hill this place just feels like coming home. A quick "Scouting" run over the top and figured then I'd find a spot for lunch when what do I see parked on the side of the road?

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    Now I'm not really shy about introducing myself, so I quickly stop and proceed to get to know the owner of this sexy machine. I swear, moto people are just the best on the planet, and what a great place for a B.S. session with my new friend John.


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    After listening to his riding impressions of the Guzzi and showing interest he casually tells me I should take it for a spin. Can you think of a better test ride for this bike than Sonora Pass? I can't. Seems he was interested in my Tenere and so the swap was made and we rode a few miles with enough turns to really get a decent first impression of the others ride. I think we were both looking like a couple giddy schoolgirls after the ride. I love the spontaneity of being on the road.

    A hungry Guzzi watches lunch pass by.

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    Shortly after we part ways and I head back over the pass for lunch. I know restaurants are cool for being social and all, and it's the ADVrider thing to take a photo of your meal, but can you think of a better place to eat a B.T. sandwich than this? ( B.T. is just a BLT without the lettuce... that's getting to close to eating salad)

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    Nothing like taking a nap in the high sierras and waking up to this. This is where I get my landscaping ideas.

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    It's late in the day and I start rolling again. One last stop at one of my "super secret" chill spots. Doesn't look like much from the road, but a short hike down leads to a hidden path that will take you to an outcropping I like to climb out on and look down. Besides I needed a new profile photo and I think this represents me well.

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    More chill time. Just sitting there being in tune with the Universe. I always photograph this place as it's always a little different. Maybe I have an overactive imagination (I do) or my mind just thinks differently than everybody else on the planet, but I started to see something in the shadows that was a bit freaky, but cool, and now everytime I look at this photo I can't "not see" it. Give it a minute.

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    It's always hard to leave, but the Sun was low in the sky and time to roll. It's funny, but I cleaned my visor, checked my tire wear and I realized I was doing every thing I could to avoid leaving. What a great day, I felt recharged and satisfied once again.

    I usually hit the passes the first weekend open. We are in for a dry year. What a contrast to opening weekend two years ago with record snowfall, thought I'd throw in a few photos from that ride just for fun.

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    See Ya up There!!

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  17. dman

    dman Been here awhile

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    Thanks for sharing and the usual great photos, Dave .... I was thinking of heading up for an Ebbetts/Monitor/Sonora loop when I saw that 4 and 108 had opened, but I just couldn't handle the idea of dragging across the Bay Area and Valley for the second time in two weeks. I rode 50 and then Luther/Monitor passes two weeks ago and it looks like most of the little snow there was, is gone.

    -dman
  18. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    I remember living in the Bay Area and dreading the ride across the valley, especially in summer so I understand :deal In fact when I moved to Tracy many of my riding friends asked why I moved so far from the good riding, what they don't realize is headed East I'm an hour away from the Sierra Foothills, and headed West just an hour or so away from the coastal redwoods, not really bad :evil Still if I were you I'd consider getting up there in the next few weeks before Memorial day

    Yes, Monitor just has small patches of snow left. Going to be dry this year. I guess the early opening makes up for the early closing last year in October. To bad we didn't get more snow in between.
  19. roadchick

    roadchick Been here awhile

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    Love Sonora Pass! Beautiful pics Dave. We live and work in the bay area, but will retire to our home off 108 in Soulsbyvile.
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  20. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    Ohh nice :thumb I keep moving East myself, from the Peninsula, to the East bay, currently the Central Valley and I figure the next move will be retirement in the mountains.

    I'm a little jealous.