Saturday, November 2, 2013

Riding the Camps of Clover Valley

Our trip to clover valley starts off early to beat riding in to the sun fist thing in the morning, we head to Sacramento and a stop for breakfast, some hot eggs coffee get the morning started right.

We are loded prity heavy and I'm commenting to Pat that I have packed more on this trip then I did on My trip to Alaska (not true as we will find out later) we agree we paked a lot because it might get cold and we will need the extra layers.

From Sacramento we head up highway 80 to the 49 and up through grass valley stopping to check out a farmers market, and some cool rasta area youth all decked out in dredlocks and draped clothing, I must get more bold with my picture taking they would have made for some great photoes. Everyone was quite nice asking about the bikes and where we we headed, making me think its time to get back on the bikes and head out.

Next stop is Downeyville established in 1849 this is another one of California's gold rush towns, now more of a mountain bike haven people come from all over to ride the golden hills and rake in the priceless views from the steep climbs and dramatic descents this area has to offer, you can even hitch a ride for a price and have you and your bike shuttled to the top and just free ride down, rather way it pans out to a good time.....

There is a good view of the town as you arrive on hy 49 be sure and stop for a few photos before heading in.

Lots of great artifacts around to peak your interest, take some time and explore the area a bit, there are surprises around every corner.

Soon we are on are way again, picking up salt on the bikes left over from the resins snow in the area, the bikes are picking up a white coating that is caking to the lower pipes. We continue along with a little extra care as the roads are a bit slick in the shaded corners.

At the summit we see a great view of Sierra Ville and the valley that extends north, it's a gorgeous site.

Well now it feels like we should be getting close and we have been taking our time to get to the clover valley so we press on, up 89 to 70 and up to lake Davis over a dirt road that takes us in the the clover valley. Yes we have arrived !

First stop is the clover valley ranch
And as you can see we are just hanging out like a cuple of locals

Just try and fit in Pat!

this building is 100 years old but looking good for its age.

 Well we could stay all day and explore this site but its time to get moving again.

The Clover Valley plays out an interesting part of California's history, a history of The people and lumber that helped build what California is today.
In the early 1900's life was a bit simpler but in many ways harder than life we experience today

Luber camps had large halls for dinning meals were quite good and each man had his special seat and Peking order in the mess hall, but the portions wer shaird and it was never polite to take the last morsel to yor self, sharing was the way of life and respect for others always came first.

Life was good in the kitchen and caring for the loggers was a privilege, and ans an interesting side perk if you were to take the trash and left over out there was quite the site to see at the local dump, as the story goes they would go watch the beers rummage through the remains, it seems it was quite the pass time..

Lumber was a way of life for the people of Loyalton and the cover valley was the site of a large lumber company, today we explore the areas of these logging camps, and ride are way through the clover valley, much of the history of this area talks to the loggers, but if you have some time, then look close and you will see the signs they were not the first to inhabit this area, the area has strong signs of Indians and its easy to see this history in grinding rocks used to grind grain and nuts

If you look closer you may even find an aero head out in the valley in the old hunting areas!

This area has a bit of history for my family as well, as we have been coming hear to camp and explore sense 1967.  As Children and youg adults my brother and I spent a great deal of time exploring, by foot bike motorcycle and jeep just to see what we could see. Each time finding something new, this time should be no different.

Armed with two books released by J.M. Olson (The camps of clover valley and Loyalton Hometown U.S.A) we have some new artifacts to uncover.
With any luck we will re-discover the Snake Tree, the location of logging camp 13, and I would like to find the remains of the cookhouse and the much larger logging camp 14 where we may find the old dump site where the loggers family's would come to watch the bears rummage through was remains of trash and old food scraps, I'm also anxious to see if we can find the old bear trap set many years ago,  it is said to still be standing looking like a miniature log home with only a way in and no way out!

Well hear is the old snake tree, it's sort of laying down theses days but still a sight to see!

Another site I just need to find is a rock guarded  massive in size the rocks have created a maze of caves the kids from the camps would come to play, safe I'm sure!

Well we never got to the rock garden, another time perhaps!

Signs of bever and the Beaver ponds are every where.
 in the late 1950's Beaver were introduced to the area, they over populated and ran havoc with the creak system flooding road ways washing out many of the routs through the area, they were later hunted for pelts and nearly cleared from the woodlands, now the population seems under control or at least controlled, leaving a few select areas with beaver ponds and deep swimming holes that are great on a hot day.

We make up camp, before it gets dark, this is one of our favorite places and we have the valley to our selves and it is just amazing this time of year!

My humble little camp
Just a little snow on the ground to let us know it might just get cold tonight! 
O yes and I did say I would get back to what I might have not packed, how about my sleeping bag!
Yep, but all is not'm not going to bunk in with my brother, I did pack my sons bag,made for a ten year old! And yes it's a bit small and it is a summer bag, but at least I have something! 

Note! those hand warmers they sell at the sporting goods store, that heat up when exposed to air, well they really work! I had 4 and they went to good use that night in my bag, as did all my motercycler gear and every stich of clothing I could put on was on.... I will say, I was so happy to see the sun come up when it did!
Hot coffee anyone..... Yes Me me me........please!

Today we are off to find the lost rose quart mine. 

Rose Quartz, a beautiful pink rock known to contain gold this  dome is at the top of a mountain road in the middle of the forest and it provides kids and some adults with dreams of gold and the magic of a glimmering suveneer from a far away place, this place sees lots of traffic and we stop for a photo or two.

Well that's the one everyone knows about, now we are off to find the lost Rose Quarts mine

In my mid teens, during an exploring trip to find a back way in to what we call four wheel camp I stumbled upon a second less known Rose Quartz dome un-touched and complete in its original glory, it was a site of amazement for me and I would love to see if we can find it again, this one will be weather dependant as the rout is quite treacherous with steep climbs deep bogs and a few stream crossings, this may make for some outrageous exploring on the GS!

We do find it and what a site it is,!

You can just start to see it if you look at that rock, it is well hidden by natures black moss growing on the serface,

Closer up you can see the quarts, this is a massive dome and looks to be for the most part un tuched!
The view from here is not to bad...

It's a bit of a maze getting hear, and it's getting late, we need to head back soon, Pat looks for a large bever pond down the creek, and I check out the view up the creek.

A maze of dirt roads crossing the squaw valley on the way is sure to keep many people from exploring to deep in to the woods, a left turn hear and a right turn there another right and two more lefts and you find yourself at the footsteps of the old logging camps of the clover valley logging companies camp14. If you miss one of the lefts you might just find yourself in a watter hole stuck in three feet of mud, just ask my dad, as he had a near miss on a late night drive in to the area with two young kids screaming do it again!

We pack up camp, head out to antelope lake a quick photo op!

One more in taylersville as we need to stop and see the general store and get a photo of the old cash register, it will be 100 next October (2014) on the 15th I think it is, they will have a birthday party, and the whole town will come out for, as will people from the sound of it, they are traveling to see it from all over the world.... Well at least the state of CA!

She is ringing up our order on the old machine, it's used for every transaction as it has for nearly 100 years!

Ok now it's really time to get a move on it, no more photoes, we are on the feather river canyon highway 70, an amazing road to ride!  put this on your list of epic rides . In fact a nice round trip is to take 70 up to 89 over to 80 and back down to Sacramento.

Today we enjoy light traffic and great weather for the ride, I also lern that my new kickstand foot and skid plate will contact the pavement under hard cornering with a fully  loded bike! Scrape....:-)

Well that's it for this trip! We have lots of photoes some great video, (to be loded soon) and best of all some great memories of yet another epic ride!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Idria

Setting off today for Clear Creek or New Idria area of California, we expect a 300 mile round trip with about 50 to 100 miles of Dirt. 

Leading up to today our riding group has suffered some casualties to work, in fact this trip will just be the brothers. 
The two of us can raise a bit of hell on the trail so I'm looking forward to a day of fast dirt riding, though we will miss the other riders in the group, it's such a great time with the whole group.

Today I'm traveling with just a backpack and Pat has his two side cases in their collapsed or lowest profile position, we set out at 8am and head for Hollister CA, lots of motorcycle history hear, but it's long ago and most locals would rather forget the troubled past of miss guided bikers. We move on with just a fill up of gas, and a quick stop to get lunch supplies and a top off of coffee for the riders!

A short time later I need to stop and shed two layers to keep cool.

This photo is taken at the start of our New Idria loop, we will (if all goes according to plan) pas by this location of the way home.

From hear the road is paved but rough for the next 50 miles, with some great views and changing road conditions it's good to be on a adventure bike. 

The photos below and above you can see the wide strips on both sides of the road, it a cool site to see the the big bikes flying on the dirt at 70mph, I was thinking I captured all of it on the go pro (small issue of turning it off when I thought I was turning on) we did capture a bit from Pats go pro mounted to the back of his bike! (Video of this trip coming soon)

A our next stop takes us to an abandon mining town, it was an odd place and the start of the real dirt section of the trip.

Some of the sites were a little odd!
Time to move on

From hear the road become rocky rutted and steep in places, no real traffic other than quads and dirt bikes for the next 50 miles or so. And of course we were following Pats trusty GPS, it's has never let us down in our search for adventure, and we are not let down today! as we are way off course of our original plan and the GPS, well, its cheerfully plotting new adventure courses for us at every turn. We would not come to realize just how far of we really were until we reviewed our trackers from the Spot-devise  later that night, GPS locations link on side bar ( available for 7 days post trip)

A word about the GPS, we do know that we should place many more way points in our trip planning to keep the GPS on our intended rout, but then again we would miss out on all the adventure if we do that, so we keep the course general in detail and go with the flow, if a trail or road looks good we take it, then latter look at the GPS and see where we need to go next to get us back on our general course.  I guess we do want to get lost a little, and the GPS will give us a direct rout out if we need it, and that adds a bit more confidence in heading out in an unknown direction.

It seems there is another abandon mine at every corner
Pat making a photo stop, notice the go pro strapped to the back of his bike, we have some great video form that view.
An old pice of mining equipment left to rust away.
The ride took us from one ridge to another with a intersection every mile or so, its vary easy to get lost out hear, so keeping your bearings North and South is a must. We also encountered many looked gates and no trespassing signs. Most of the no trespassing signs look like they were left over from long ago so I'm not sure they are official, the gates are quite substantial so I'm assuming they are intended to keep you out..... But form witch way, I'm not sure what side we are on, are we in and need to get out or are we out and should turn around so we do go in, looking behind me it says no trespassing! O hell I'm confused, and this may not make a lot of sense but If you are traveling east to west the roads appear to be open, and if your  traveling west to east they are all closed. In other words you can find your self traveling all day on open roads in one direction just to find that the gate is locked at the pavement? I'm just trying to find an exit and i don't have enuf gas to make a return trip i'm left with little choices.

Finding our selves between two locked gates it seems like a good place for lunch, we could hear dirt bikes racing around in the background so we followed a short trail to a new road that intersected just the other side of the gate. Soon we were out to the road and we headed back to Hollister for fuel finishing our adventure loop of 150 miles, back home we were just over our 300 mile estimate for the day! 
The video will be up soon.

This trip was a blast, I found myself laughing so much I'm thinking I may have sounded a bit like a loon over the communication system, my brother is a good sport and never complained a bit! I think he was having just as much fun as I was!!!

Next trip Clover Valley CA Trains, Logging and lots of history to this area, look for the blog mid November