Saturday, September 21, 2013

Virgina Lakes Ride

8:45am marked the start of our weekend trip over the Sierras.

With one rider leaving a bit later in the day and two others unable to make the trip, we are down to four  bikes all solo, so we have decided to include a side trip in our ride plan, should be a short 3 mile dirt road to a remote lake just the other side of the Sierras called Leavitt Lake.
Gas and a check for camera battery charging!

A stop just over the pass on Sonora pass, a steep and windy road of 26% grade

It was a great day for a ride and the morning started off cool and was just heating up as we hit the higher elevations. With a quick stop for lunch in the Pinecrest area we were soon on the little dirt road to Leavitt Lake.

A fun trail, but not for the faint of hart on a loaded down bike the road proved to be a bit of a challenge to some of our riders, so we made a joint decision to head back before anyone did any real damage to there bike. 

Not sure why we all had are hands in the air, but we were have a great time felt like a great start to a our trip.

By the time we got back to the pavement the in tire group was ready for more dirt! And that's a good way to leave the dirt, wanting more!
Setting up camp! 

Virgina lakes provides some amazing views

The elevation hear is high at nearly 10k feet above sea level, and there are a few headaches as we wait for the Girls to arrive in the truck.

Our next day of adventure includes a visit to Bodi ghost town

My sone thinking about the ride, was that better than mine craft?

We head out to explore the town

Photo ops at every corner

Our favorite spot, the gas station in Bodi!

Now it's off to find another ghost town and 20 miles of great dirt road

A great time riding the dirt !

Finally we head back to camp and just relax

It was a great trip!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Virgina Lakes Preparation

Its the night before a group ride/camp trip my brother and I organized with friends.  There are a total of 9 of us (5 on bikes - all 1200 GS's) and we are headed to the east side of Yosemite to an area along Hwy 395 near Mono Lake.  We picked this spot because its near some great areas we can explore on the bikes including Bodie Ca., a well known "ghost town" from the later part of the California gold rush.

We've been looking forward to this trip and it seemed to me to take forever to get here.  I'm glad we are leaving tomorrow because, as the trip approached, I kept buying more stuff I thought I needed.  In another week I think I'd be broke.

Ready to roll

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ride California

This blog is dedicated to the back roads of California USA, with so many adventures so close to home I can't stop feeling lucky to live in such a diverse state, both in culture and scenery. With seemingly endless back roads and dirt to explore a person must ask why.

Much of the back roads in California are the result of the gold rush of California.

as gold was discovered a new town would spring to life

and access to these new areas would be needed the more successful the claim the more access roads would be built, soon the California sierras and foothills were covered with trails and roads leading from one area to another

and larger routs built to line these areas to the larger city's of Sacramento and San Francisco. 

In this maze of trails and roadways its easy to get lost, but more important it's easy to find a way home, or at least civilization! All roads seem to link back to a larger city or town and each town is generally no more than 30 miles from the next.

Today the roads are a bit more modern and provide an easy way to travel from town to town, the more I explore the more I find, always surprised to find new discoverys, for me anyway I'm always finding a place I've never seen before, and I have lived hear for more than 40 years.

Today my brother and I set out for a ride through the sierras and a camping spot. My brother found one day playing with Google Earth, "hay we never been there before!"

 We set out with an early morning start to beat the heat of the California summer.

Arrive in walnut grove for a quick cup of coffee

Heading through the foothills we arrive at the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, no longer in use the cooling towers are a prominent land mark today,

The Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), began producing electricity in 1975. In June 1989, the residents of Sacramento County voted to shutdown the plant, and SMUD has been in the process of dismantling the plant since that time. 

This power plant was the subject of many, many problems and close calls, public view was that the power plant was on the brink of disaster and rated one of the most unsafe power plants in the country, I think we are all glad it is shut down.

The cooling lake is now used for recreational activities

And camping is also available as well.
I personally I'm putting off plans for camping and swimming hear for about 1,000 years, and I think I'm ready get get moving on....

Next stop Ione!
Hear we find Iron Ivon sitting in a covered parking spot down town, a piece of history just sitting back behind a store in down town, neat find!

I can add that to the list of things I did not know we're there!

We are off to Fiddletown, where you will find this craze Fiddle in down town, don't blink, I know it's big but I missed this until my brother pointed it out to me.
That's the whole town, so small we headed back to the last town for lunch and fuel

Next we are off to silver fork, an area of the sierras neither my brother nor I have been, we follow the GPS on my brothers BMW to find our way.
GPS says this is the way?
Sounds good to us!
I think I like his GPS!

like I said before if your lost you can just keep going, we did and ended up about 2 miles back down the same road as we were on before, this time we passed the GPS turn off and found the Silver Fork road about a mile up the road. 

Our camp for the night, such a great spot, camp hosts were vary nice and sponsored us for our first night stay in the area! Free is such a great price!

Setting up the hammocks with a view was a must

If everything seems to have a gold glow about it, it is due to the fire raging in Yosemite national park (the rim fire) the smoke is light the night we arrive but dense in the morning so after a little coffee, oats for me and my brother with some fresh blueberry pancakes rolled up with honey poured over looked amazing.

Pat getting his coffee going!

I have moved on to a more conservative JetBoil you see to the left, a little less dramatic I know, but it gets the job done.

Today our adventure takes us through so many little start up towns I feel lost most of the day, following my brother, as it turns out Pat has decided he is just taking every turn that says old town or historic rout, what a blast! and highly recommended. We end up in Mokelumne Hill and from what we see its full of history, with all the building documenting a pice of history with a sign.

With the discovery of gold in Coloma in January 1848, the rush to the Mokelumne River was soon underway. Riches along the watercourse were concentrated at Big Bar (present Highway 49 crossing), Middle Bar, and on "The Hill." Here a permanent settlement grew around tent stores and bars, with stone buildings being erected by the early 1850s. 
The largest town in Calaveras County, Mokelumne Hill served as the County Seat from 1852 to 1866. The cosmopolitan population contained large numbers of French, German, Chinese, and Italian, along with immigrants from the Eastern States. Water arrived by canal, while stages connected the town to Stockton and ships completed the link to San Francisco.
With the decline of "free" placer gold by the 1860s, the town declined, subsisting on an agricultural economy. Hard-rock mining boosted incomes around 1900 and helped the region weather the Great Depression of the 1930s. Mokelumne Hill’s historic charm and small town character is preserved by its location, surrounded by active family cattle ranches which stave off development.

Our last stop before heading home Is Columbia 

Located in the heart of the California Mother Lode, Columbia State Historic Park is a living gold rush town featuring the largest single collection of existing gold rush-era structures in the state. Visiting Columbia is like traveling back in time to the sights, smells, and sounds of a nineteenth century mining town—merchants dressed in 1850′s attire, a whiff of coal smoke from the blacksmith shop, and the rumble of a stagecoach pulling into town! 

With a good spot for lunch we stop at El Jardin, good Mexican food, nice staff, (prices do go up on the weekends) and just across the street from the old town historic district. 

That's it for this trip,

Next it's time for a new Ride!

I just love the V-Strom actually one of my top/favorite bikes of all time, but I decided to jump on the GS band wagon and see what that is like! and so far I love it!

Hear is a shot of the new, to me, motorcycle

2005 BMW R1200GS

Next trip is Virgina lakes and a Ghost town called Bodi, we have a group of about 8 riders for this trip, should be quite an excellent adventure.