Exploring California - Journey of a Noob - RR Megathread

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KennyBooBear, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

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    Great pics!!
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  2. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I've been working on this for the last month or so and am finally able and proud to announce a Himalayan centric rally I'm going to be hosting here in the Sierra Mountains this Summer. If you're interested in attending and don't have a Himalayan, there are some rental options as far as I know through Eagle Rider and a few dealerships here in Northern California as well. Hope to see some of youthere!

    2021 NorCal Himalayan Rally

    If you'd rather not follow an external link, here are the details - I've cross posted here on ADV Rider.

    2021 NorCal Himalayan Rally - Nevada City, CA - July 8-11 | Adventure Rider (advrider.com)

    Cheers y'all!
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  3. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

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    Looks like you’re back where you belong.
    Excellent RR’s as always.
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  4. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Got out again yesterday. This time around I wanted to start scouting some locations for the NorCal Himalayan Rally. My original plan was to ride up to Downieville via. Tyler Foote Crossing, taking my time through Alleghany and Forest City. This plan fell apart once I reached Forest City though - keep on reading to find out why.

    The day started at about 8:30AM. After a sufficient breakfast, I began turning my wheels down Highway 174 towards Grass Valley. Opting to take some extra backroads, I cut through downtown Nevada City - the old Victorian structures dotted all over the town make this place super romantic. Unfortunately I failed to take any pictures, primarily because I suck. It was a bit chilly out which became more and more evident the further up the Sierras the Himalayan took me - but this finally relented at Edward's Crossing (most likely due to the 30-35mph pace on dirt versus the 45-55mph pace on the paved roads prior to.

    I hopped off the bike for a moment to take in the sights and sounds - not realizing that every bit of shaded wood which makes up the bridge was covered in a thin layer of ice. In hindsight, that could have ended up a bit badly - but it didn't.

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    From here you find yourself quickly ascending on a loose gravel road from 2000ft up to about 3000 into the North Columbia area. I thought about swinging through just to snap a few photos of the Old Schoolhouse, but the excitement of continuing back to the dirt got the better of me. Shortly thereafter I turned back off onto dirt which is where the fun of this trip finally starts to show. This whole area is filled with a massive network of old mining roads and at times it's difficult to keep track - but this is one you don't soon forget. As you repeatedly descend and re-ascend through the thick forest of pine and cedar you eventually make a turn at about 2900ft and quickly realize the road hugs a 900-1000ft cliff. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. By this point the path becomes less of a graded forest road and more of an OHV trail. Large sections of granite push themselves through the terrain beneath you and the narrow track is speckled in rocks of various sizes. The riding is by no means challenging, but it's the kind of road that can be made fun for any skill level of rider depending on how far back you wish to twist the throttle. In my case, that basically means burying the throttle on the Himalayan in spite of the ice that covered part of the path on the most "exposed" section the road has to offer.

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    The road was apparently built by Italian Stonemasons in the early 1900s to provide a route ultimately between mines in Alleghany and Grass Valley. I'm not particularly fond of great heights so I can only hope that they were paid handsomely for this work.

    A bit further down - post the effective rock and ledge garden that makes up the descent - the road crosses the Middle Yuba River giving you views straight up or down the canyon.

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    From here as is par for the course, the road winds right back up a rocky path that I'd almost call an intermediate level of difficulty - only due to the length of this overall section of road and for how long it seems to through rocks, ledges etc. at you. I suspect a less experienced rider would be gassed by the time they reached smoother tracks and in hindsight, I recall being quite exhausted when I last took this route. Nowadays with my massively improved comfortability on two wheels though, the ride is just plain fun. There's plenty of spots to challenge your skills and balance on the way up - which I was thankful for as I was finally getting warmed up and feeling loose on the bike. Earlier in the morning on the long, graded gravel roads to North Columbia I felt strangely stiff and almost a bit uncomfortable at times, so the looseness was very much a welcomed thing.

    Not long after there's an exposed crest that gives the rider some stunning views to the South, and to the North the mountains rise steeply. On the ascent there's a section of what appears to be rocky single track that piqued my curiosity. What I found was that it's roughly a 1/4 mile stretch of wash where the mountain expunges excess water during Winter and Spring rains - but it still made for a fun ride up to the top at over 4,000ft.

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    Once back on the main road, you go back and forth between thick forests and exposed rises of volcanic ruins - the latter of which grant some impressive views.

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    I continued on, making fairly good time all things considered, stopping only to take a picture of a massive tree that had fallen across the road (luckily there's just enough room beneath it to cram a small/medium sized bike and it's rider) and once more to capture a rather peaceful cascade of water crashing down the mountain side and beneath the road.

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    My next stop would be Alleghany, the details of which will come in the next post.

    Cheers and safe riding!
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  5. Hartigan

    Hartigan Ready! Supporter

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    I used to live in Folsom (now in Colorado) and reading through your rides brings back some wonderful memories of that lovely, year-round gold country riding... a heartfelt thanks :thumb
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  6. Norty01

    Norty01 Occupant

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    Does RE know what you're doing with their motorcycle?

    LOL

    :rofl
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  7. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    You're very welcome. As someone who is originally from New Orleans, I can honestly say this is the only place I've ever lived that truly feels like home to me. That's probably why I keep coming back haha.

    Much more to come, so stay tuned.

    :beer

    Is it safe to say I don't just ride it to Starbucks? :lol3
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  8. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    No time like the present to finish up my RR on the latter part of last weekend's ride. Also this is evidently my 50th entry on this thread apparently proving that I have far too much time on my hands. :rofl

    I took a moment more to enjoy the sound of the water crashing down and to snap off a shot of the road winding itself around the mountainside before firing the Himalayan back up for the remaining ride to Alleghany.

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    A few short miles later and I made it back to paved road albeit barely paved. I stopped in Alleghany to take a few pictures of the living ghost town.

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    As I did, a gentleman stepped outside of the old down Bar & Grill known as Casey's Place to tell me that they were currently closed. I let him know not to worry as I was just snapping some photos while I scouted the area. Well, we got to talking and once he heard about the rally - he became quite keen on having us plan a lunch stop through there if time allowed.

    I took down his information and so long as all continues to go well, it looks as though this may well serve as our lunch destination on our first long day's worth of riding during the NorCal Himalayan Rally.

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    Like many of the old towns up here - Alleghany owes it's existence to prospectors finding gold here in 1855. The rest as they say, is history.

    I made my best effort to exit the town via. Hell's Half Acre - a gravel road that takes you the back way into Forest City. Unfortunately for me, it was about 60-70% covered compacted, but somewhat soft and melty snow as deep as about a foot with no visible tracks from cars previously attempting it. The road travels uphill for about a mile to reach Ridge Road and then from there descends down to the next town on my target list.

    Well, I only made it about 7/10th of a mile up it before I was just about completely gassed. By then I could smell my clutch and I was running short on energy so I decided it'd be best to turn back and take pavement to Forest City. On the way down I quickly found how much easier it is to ride over snow when you're going downhill.

    Back in Alleghany I ran into an old acquaintance and part of the local motorcycling community - a CHP trooper named Jared. He has done a lot with regard to coordinating monthly meetups in Grass Valley and Nevada City. We caught up extensively and hopefully, he'll be joining me on a ride some Sunday soon.

    After that I rode up, and then back down to Forest City surrounded by far more snow than I expected to see (quite a bit more than the USFS maps indicated there to be at this altitude.) The roads were plowed though, so it didn't provide any difficulty.

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    Once there, I walked around a bit and photographed some of the old remnants of this once booming mining town. Like Alleghany - Forest City owes its existence to gold and subsequently its relatively quick downfall to the lack thereof.

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    In the last photo you can see a snow covered road in the distance - keep that fresh in your memory.

    I walked around and explored the various remaining artifacts before continuing my travels for the day.

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    Once I had gained my fill of antiques for the day, I saddled back up and attempted to exit using the road previously discussed. Sadly, it was covered in about 18-24" of packed ice. I quickly found out what a pleasure that stuff is to attempt going uphill on once I managed not one, but two 180 degree turns in the first 1/8th of a mile up the hill. Once I spun around on my second effort I decided that it was clearly a sign, and I was best off simply accepting defeat for today and heading back to Grass Valley for lunch - and so I did.

    After a quick glance at the maps, I backtracked and then raced all the way down Ridge Road and then Highway 49 home. I briefly swung through the Oregon Creek Covered Bridge on my way down (I never can resist that place) and stopped for a few minutes at the Yuba River as part of my usual ritual when in the area.

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    Here I finished my coffee before setting off one last time to reach the Holbrooke Hotel just before they stopped serving lunch with an Irish Coffee; And my my, was it worth it.

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    That concludes this somewhat failed trip. T'il next time!
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  9. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Does not look like a failed trip to me.
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  10. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

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  11. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    Holbrooke just reopened recently after a lengthy remodel. Not sure if it's the same old owners, burger doesn't look to be like before.
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  12. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I guess failed is entirely relative. I had really wanted to make it over to the Sierra Buttes and have lunch in Downieville on the way - but the trip was by no means disappointing!

    Juan is good people - we've not ridden together yet, but have talked about it at various times. I'm sure one of these days he and I will be on a ride together haha

    Same owners as I understand it. My wife works there currently which is sort of fun since I've been telling her for over a year how cool the place is on the inside. Of course they closed for the remodel before we moved and then opened back up last Summer. We figured with COVID we wouldn't have had an opportunity to check it out but then she saw they were hiring and sent her CV over. Now I'm fairly sure she knows it better than I do.
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  13. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    That's great news about the Holbrooke, liked it a lot before the remodel. Reopened last November but I'm still keeping my distance especially with the restaurants, usually pack something lite to eat on the trails, Nuts and Berries.. The trail down from Allegany to Goodyears bar is pretty rough a few months ago. The road to Downieville had heavy equipment and logging trucks and a lot of construction traffic last time I tried it, probably pretty muddy now. I was up in Downeville yesterday not much open except the general store which ain't much anymore, also the Pizza place by the parking lot on the weekend. You should note there isn't gas there anymore, it closed a while back, can't remember but it may have closed when you lived up here before. Last gas up the hill is by Camptonville on 49.
    What's the range on that Hemi of yours?
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  14. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Yea that petrol station was closed back when I lived here before. I normally fill up on my way out for any trip I'm on and then I have typically a 140-170 mile range before the bike alerts me that I'm getting low. Overall I believe the Himalayan (Yea, it's got a Hemi :D) has a total range of around 170-220 miles (depending on how and where I'm riding, I get between 60 and 75mpg - the latter usually happens in high desert areas like the Colorado Plateau or across swaths of Western Nevada when I'm riding at or below 55mph.) The rough plan for the first big ride of the NorCal Himalayan Rally will be the route I took last weekend and then continue through Downieville, over to the summit of the Sierra Buttes and then down into Poker Flat and into La Porte. Once things warm up a bit more and we get some more thaw - I'm keen to see how tore up the Poker Flat Trail is. I know I'll enjoy it but I'm not entirely positive a bunch of Himalayan riders - many of which may have never been in the dirt before - will enjoy it as much as me haha. If it's too rocky/choppy then I may opt to take them over to La Porta via. Gold Lake Highway - but we'll see.

    Hopefully once Spring/Summer hit, Downieville will be back to some semblance of normalcy. Here in Placer County the county supervisor basically said "Screw the governor - if you have people wanting to patronize your business, let them in and take care of them." With any luck, that'll echo through Gold Country and the towns won't suffer too much more than they already have.
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  15. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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    With the fire up that way last summer I'd be surprised if the road over to La Porte isn't off limits still. I tried it and it had signs Closed to all, late last fall.
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  16. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Do you mean Quincy-La Porte Road or Saddleback Road between Downieville and Poker Flat?
  17. Swamper

    Swamper Been Nowhere Done Nothing

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  18. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    I ought to get another entry in before I go riding this weekend so I reckon I'll tell the tales of this weekend past.

    The weekend prior to last, my friend and I (who recently got into DualSport riding by purchasing an older converted WR400) got together for a bit of practice down in the Yuba Goldfields which went well until his girlfriend boastfully attempted to chase me down on the aforementioned bike despite not having been on a dirt bike in 4 or 5 years, and having only ever experienced the power of a 250. Needless to say, it didn't go well for her.

    In her effort to keep up (I had previously emphasized the importance of riding her own ride and not trying to keep up with me through the whoops etc. which is ironic given my choice of 2 wheeled machinery), she ate it rather hard at 25mph and pulled or tore her hamstring muscles. That paired with a bit of rash ended their day earlier (she's healing up nicely though still rehabbing via. crutches) so I headed into town to play a few rounds of disc golf closing out the weekend.

    Fast forward a bit to this weekend; the bike my friend bought needs a bit of work and he has little experience on something with that sort of power-to-weight, nor an abundantly favorable track record riding pavement on less jittery machines, so I was admittedly a bit concerned for his safety with this being his first real foray into the world of dirt. Ironically it would be me that bins it on this day. We met up with the intent of riding the usual easy tracks over to Foresthill and back and once he got geared up, we started down Yankee Jim's road. As I've told previously, Yankee Jim's is about as easy a track as you can find. This is partly due to it being paved many, many years ago and over the last decades that partly paved road fell into disrepair and slowly turned back into a dirt track. Still, early parts of it are gravel atop old slabs of concrete which is where our day encountered an early and unexpected blip. I made one of the worst mistakes of all; complacency.

    Around one of the early bends heading down to the American River the bike got extremely loose and before I could make any sort of correction, I had already high sided at somewhere between 25 and 30mph. It was entirely my fault as I was seated going into a corner (I admittedly take a lot of these turns quite a bit faster but I'm usually standing.) Well, my tires didn't like the fact that I wasn't throwing my weight around appropriately and physics came back to bite me. The bottom line is that I was simply too comfortable going into these turns at the speed at which I was riding and when that happens crashes aren't usually far behind. My gear did it's job but I smashed the daylights out of my right quad against the bars and managed to pull a muscle in my left shoulder - all of which has since healed (quad is still a bit tender but bruises heal).

    I almost immediately shut the bike off and pushed it off of my leg before pulling off my helmet and "walking it off." By this time my buddy had caught up to me and insisted it was okay if we turned back and postponed the ride. I being hardheaded decided otherwise and after a stretch and an assessment of the damage to the Himalayan (spoiler alert: there wasn't any), we saddled back up and continued on albeit at a more "mature" pace and I made damn sure to exaggerate all of my body movements and positions for the remainder of the day.

    Even with my handicap, I was able to get far enough ahead to get some photos of Andy enjoying his first foray into adventure/dualsport riding.

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    Down at Yankee Jim's Bridge we ran into 3 other gents all on DRZ400s who happened to be going the same way we were. After a short break at the bridge, Andy and I set off with Mike, Jeff and Robert following.

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    At the little crest on Shirttail Canyon I stopped to snap photos of everyone as they passed, hoping that they too would air out their machines on it. Sadly none of them did which may explain why they didn't start the day by slamming themselves into the ground at speed.

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    We pressed on and after a fruitless effort to connect over to Giant Gap (a closed gate made up our minds for us), we sprinted up past Sugar Pine Reservoir and into the Foresthill OHV area. I checked with Andy to see if he was okay with riding some single track and very enthusiastically was. The 5 of us hopped onto Trail 4 from Finning Mill and man was it worth it. Unfortunately I didn't bring my GoPro along (I rarely do these days, as I'm frankly in dire need of a new one) but when we stopped I did manage to snap off a few photos. Unfortunately this one doesn't really do any degree of justice to how rocky and craggy the whole area is - but damnit what a fun place to ride.

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    We continued on, though I was a bit slow to get started as I was shedding a layer when everyone else set off and Andy got confused so a short bit later we were back to a two-some. We picked our way through the remainder of the track and once he was absolutely gassed we headed back to Finning Mill Road and onwards to Foresthill. I'm going to attach a video here just to share the trail we were on. Hopefully I'll soon have some footage of my own as we're planning to head back that way tomorrow (assuming the snow levels have dropped.)



    After a quick stop for gas, we looped around through Ponderosa as has become commonplace. Unfortunately it looks like they graded the Weimar side of Ponderosa though - so it's not just a flat, somewhat steep ride up to the other side. Admittedly I was pretty bummed about this but at least we got some cool shots along the way.

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    With any luck, I'll get some good video recorded tomorrow without crashing in spectacular fashion - though I'll be perfectly happy with just avoiding the crashing.

    Cheers.
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Ride reports and Day Trippin are my favorite forums in ADV. So many ride reports but not enough time to read them all, so I pick and choose which to read. Sometimes I find a real Gem of a ride report and wonder why have I not been following this one?

    This is one of those Gems!!!

    I read the whole report in a couple of days. Both the writing and photography are outstanding. On top of that there is just a lot in this report I can relate to.

    The beginning in Northern California really caught my attention because of the great scenery and riding there. Then the Op moved to SoCal, met a bunch of other experienced riders and gained a lot of experience while having a blast. Back when I was just a little younger than the op I did the same. I moved to San Diego when I was 28. I had about 5 years of riding experience and thought I was a good rider. Then I met and rode with some experienced locals and found out I was still a noob. 3 1/2 years later I left Socal a much better rider. I rode sport bikes and the Op more off road but I can really relate to what the Op experienced.

    The Op went to Zion for the first time. His reaction was the same as mine. WHAT A SPECTACULAR PLACE!!! I even did a similar hike - Observation point. That hike still stands out in my memory as one of the coolest things I have ever done.

    Besides the outstanding writing and photography one of the things that elevates this RR above so many other RRs is that it is truly a RIDE report, not mostly a STOP report as so many others (including mine :baldy) often are. While the things we see while riding are great, the experience of actually riding is why most of us are on two wheels.

    So, @KennyBooBear , thank you for taking the time to post this thread. I will be following this for sure going forward.

    In case you are interested, my "walk report" to Observation Point. https://advrider.com/f/threads/you-only-live-twice.1042598/page-37#post-32959346

    PS: I don't think the "journey of a noob" part of the title applies any more.
  20. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

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    Nicely said Klaviator, KBB RR’s are quite entertaining aren’t they. It’s hard for me to keep up with just the few RR’s I follow along with on here!
    Glad you found his one
    :beer
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