Sheetiron Mountain Rally in Ft. Bragg

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by SFMCjohn, May 24, 2011.

  1. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    It is the weekend before Memorial Day, and the Oakland Motorcycle Club [the OMC] was putting on its anual Sheetiron 300 Dual Sport ride, which runs from Stonyford 150 miles west to Fort Bragg, and returns the following day.

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    OMC member and ADV'er Super Suz, explaining her epic day to Orin of the San Jose Motorccle Club and to Cary and Tegan.

    The OMC extended an invitation to members of the San Francisco Motorcycle Club to join them at the wonderful Pine Beach Inn. They rent out the whole place, which is on the west side of Rt 1, and has its own private cove on the Pacific ...

    Our club has been doing a "Streetiron" ride up to Fort Bragg, sometimes riding up on Friday night in order to camp out with the dual sport guys at the Stonyford Rodeo Grounds. This year, however, we were not going to do the Friday campout, which is my favorite part of the Sheetiron. So, I decided to ride my KLR up to Stonyford on Friday night.

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    Lionel, John (an inmate here) and Aron under the oak trees in Stonyford.

    This year the campout would be a bit quieter, because we only had three people from the club doing the Sheetiron 300: Tegan, Chuck and Lionel. In past years we've had over ten riders doing the SI.

    But this year the camping experience was just as much fun:

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    Jen Peckham and her Kawasaki, ready for Saturday's SI 300

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    A beautiful sunset over Stonyford

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    Mr. Fish's cool electric radio controlled airplane, with LED lighting

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    A bit of magnisium ... how did that get in the campfire?

    But I had to get to Stonyford before I could enjoy the camping. I got up at o'dark-thirty, and was on the road by 7 am.

    My progress was quickly curtailed:

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    This nail was picked up at the Rt 37 and Lakeville intersection, about 35 miles from San Francisco.

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    Got the rear tire off ... where's my tube?

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    My second flat tire in the last two weeks ... grr.

    I struggled with the repair for over an hour. I did have a tube, tire irons, a bicycle hand pump and tools to get the job done. Five different automobile people stopped to ask if I needed help, which was nice.

    I was on my way soon enough, heading north to look for the jeep trails in the Knoxville Recreation area ...
    #1
  2. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    I arrived at the south entrance to the Knoxville Recreation Area's jeep trials. It's an off highway vehicle area run by the BLM, on over 17,000 acres and there is a trail that runs parallel on the south side of the Knoxville-Berryessa Road.

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    There is an unusual bridge over Hunter Creek. The conditions were good, with little mud, so I had fun on my loaded KLR. Made good time, and climbed and descended about 1000 feet.

    A Basque family, where the Berryessa name comes from, had huge real estate holdings in the 1850s and the Knoxville and McLaughlin mercury mines were an important asset to the Union during the Civil War because it was vital in amalgamating gold, which helped the North finance the war.

    There has been a lot of Superfund activity in the Morgan Valley in the last couple of years, evident to the north of the Knoxville-Berryessa Road.
    #2
  3. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    The north entrance to the Knoxville Recreation Area is close to Reiff Road which turns into Rayhouse Road, and which makes a nice dirt bypass of Lower Lake as it runs north from Morgan Valley Road to Rt 16.

    I've only been able to run it once before, as every Sheetiron since 2006 the gate at the Yolo County border has been locked.

    Google Maps does not have the road by the reservior in its memory, but you can see on this map how the road goes by the Davis Creek Reservoir and joins up with Rayhouse Road. The area is very isolated, considering how close it is to the Bay Area.

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    This year I got lucky and the gate was open on Friday. Joy! There is a thread in the West forum, here, where ADV tries to keep everyone updated on the status of the gate ...

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    The Davis Creek Reservoir looking full, with water in the spillway

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    The Ridge Road along the Blue Ridge, east of Rayhouse Road

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    a full pond on Blue Ridge

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    I'd been this once, in 2005, when Bicycle Phil lead us through on the way to the Sheetiron that year, so when I got to the top of Blue Ridge I was not sure which road to take to get down to the Cache Creek causeway or bridge.

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    The intersection of Rayhouse, Blue Ridge and Buck Island Roads, and mistaken roadsign ... at least for today.

    I started down the road to Buck Island, but it didn't feel right, so I turned around and took the other road leading down to the north.

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    There were no tracks on this downhill road, and fallen trees, rocks and landslides had not been cleared away. I was afraid I'd lost my way ...

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    However, the "zero ton" bridge across Cache Creek soon appeared.

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    Yolo County has established this roadblock to keep cars and trucks off the unsafe bridge, yet still allows access for pedestrians, bicycles, horses and motorcycles. Plenty of room for any bike ...

    I made a left onto Rt 16 and headed off for Rt 20 and the Walker Ridge Road.
    #3
  4. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    The Walker Ridge Road is a nice way to head north to Stonyford as an alternative to Bear Valley Road, which Walker Ridge parallels to the west. There are a lot of turns and elevation gains and losses.

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    There is a nice view across the Sacramento Valley to the Sutter Buttes.

    Walker Ridge Road eventually leads to the intersection of Bartlett Spring and Brim Roads, where I made a right turn to the east to descend down to Bear Valley Road
    #4
  5. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Lional, John and Aron under the oak trees

    I got to the Stonyford Rodeo Grounds around 3 pm, where I quickly ran into Larryboy and SuperSuz, along with many other motorcycle friends I'd not seen since the last SI.

    We all had fun catching up ...

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    Someone left some magnesium in the campfire!
    #5
  6. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    I was up and on the road before sunrise on Saturday. Tegan and Chuck had gotten into camp late on Friday night with their KLR and DR350 ready to go. Lionel rides a nice KTM EXC 525.

    My plan was to try to take M-10 to M-3 to M-6 which would avoid the Bear Creek water crossing.

    I outsmarted myself when I ran into snow that prevented me from reaching M-6, so I had to retrace my track back to Bear Creek, where I made an uneventful water crossing along with about 50 other bikes at 10:30 am.

    The two-track leading to the Pine Mountain Lookout and to the Eel River was a fun way to avoid the M-1 into Soda Creek. I tried to take the old road on the Penny Pines side of the Eel River, but was twarted by a rugged roadblock ... I doubled back and went by the Soda Creek Store and was soon in Potter Valley, Ukiah and on my way to Low Gap Road.

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    The meadows on the east end of Low Gap Road.

    There were "road closed" signs at the east side of Low Gap Road, which remined me that I'd seen a thread here that the road was closed.

    I headed onward to investigate:

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    Just past the Halfway House the road was indeed washed out. There was enough room to the left that I was able to get through.

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    The Masonite Road overpass on Low Gap Road
    Arriving around 3 pm at the Marina where the baggage claim was, I ran into Tegan and Chuck who lead me to the Pine Beach Inn.

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    The Pine Beach Inn firepit ... very nice!

    We all got a good nights sleep, and were up and on the road at 6:30 am, the Streetiron group heading north to the Lost Coast, while the Sheetiron Mountain Rally people [me] headed south to retrace my route through the Soda Lake Store where I had coffee with "Buzz," the owner.

    Buzz told me the KTM rider that had been life flighted out had gone off the Potter Valley Road 6/10ths of a mile from the store ...

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    Wild flowers on Rayhouse Road

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    The wild flowers where still in evidence this weekend, and the weather was simply perfect.

    The OMC puts on a classy dual-sport ride every year, and Tegan, Chuck and Lionel all had an epic time following the well done roll charts.

    We're looking forward to joining the OMC on the Sheetiron next year!

    See you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #6
  7. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

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    Fantastic report of your rendition of the Sheetiron. I like that it didn't start for you in Stonyford. You had some great riding just getting there! Thanks for sharing the details of your secret roads. Nice seeing ya too!

    SS
    #7
  8. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

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    SFMC John goes thru at 2:02. Ha!

    <iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zcCisdemYxk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #8
  9. motowest

    motowest Two-wheeled Adventurer

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    Nice report! And nice to meet you friday night at the campfire. It looks like you had an awesome ride with mucho adventuro!:D

    -John
    #9
  10. Just Paul

    Just Paul Pro Cat Herder

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    :clap
    #10
  11. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Hi Super Suz,

    Wow, thanks so much for sending along the Youtube link! I was so dissapointed in myself for not taking a snapshot of Bear Creek, so it was a real treat to see oldratmike's video of all the fun there ... :clap

    You're welcome about the "secret" routes, I'm sure you would enjoy all of them ... very pretty country ... Other ADVers shared them with me, so I'm happy to pass them along ... I've ridden by the Knoxville Recreation area for twenty years, and always thought the two entrances were simply a parking area for hikers/bicyclers, etc. So happy to know about the jeep trails now ... :D

    Please say "thanks!" to the OMC for us; we really admire the hard work your club puts into the Sheetiron and the enduro races OMC does year in and year out ... very impressive!

    Hi John,

    Super nice to meet you, too ... how did you hard splits go on Saturday and Sunday?

    Hey JustPaul,
    Thanks for taking the time to click on my rr; I always enjoy your pics and ride reports! :clap

    See you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #11
  12. ian408

    ian408 Oh? Administrator

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    Beaut!
    #12
  13. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    We were there when John came thru!!!


    Nice report, John!!!

    I thought for sure I saw Bicycle Phil in Fort Bragg, but it turns out it was Bruce on Phils VFR. :lol3
    #13
  14. smm

    smm Adventurer

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    Great report! Glad to see that the slide on Reiff/Rayhouse has been cleared. I got stopped there a month ago.
    #14
  15. motowest

    motowest Two-wheeled Adventurer

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    Lionel and his buddies did a lot more of the hard splits than I did. I survived the ones I rode and didn't drop my bike in the water! Life is good!

    I would have enjoyed your route! -John
    #15
  16. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Hi ian408, Thanks for looking & the feedback!

    Hey Rob,
    I think Bruce on Phil's VFR confused quite a few people ... Thanks for looking at my RR, too! Hope to see your big 4-cyl dirtbike project on the trails, soon ...


    Hi smm,
    Wow, checked out your photo of that slide ... looks like some motorcycle (or quad, I suppose) did a fair amount of work to clear that slide ... not wide enough for a car/truck ...

    Looking forward to getting back there this year to take the Buck Island and Blue Ridge roads ...

    See you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #16
  17. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Hi John,

    You did a lot more of the hard splits than I did! :lol3

    I have way more fun on that KLR on the easy splits, for sure ...

    See you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjoh
    #17