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Discussion Starter #1
Over the winter, there was a strong current of interest in riding in California 'early season' ( i.e., May) as an adjunct to, or replacement for, the usual Sept/Oct Nor Cal BCSB WWD trip. And since I had a lot of unfinished business left after a weather-restricted two weeks that LCPeter and I spent there in May 2015, I found myself in the role of 'catalyst' and prime route-suggestor. Initially it seemed that most people were interested in Nor Cal, and in day-tripping out of Anderson CA, while my interests were in 'touring', both thru parts of the Gold Rush country and Sierras that had been denied to us last year, and further east into AZ and NM to hit places I'd missed on an earlier trip. I therefpre expected to join the main group for a couple days, then to break off south and east solo. As time passed, however, and as numbers dwindled (as they always do), I was quite surprised to get a string of contacts expressing interest in the touring sections. In the end, only a single pair ( Nancy Joyce - squire - and David Carson) did the 'traditional' Nor Cal base trip, while 8 riders made up the 'tour' group: Adam Sky - tattoodles; Brad Kornack; Carl Cooke - dirtbagbiker; Dahl Chambers; Mark Rowe - syncro; Miles Federspiel - milosvichy; Scott Murray - the bartender; and myself. Four of us carried on for a second week out thru AZ and southern Utah, returning across the Nevada desert, but that'll be a separate story. What follows here are a few notes, maps, and photos of the California adventures... ( my content will filter in over the next few days, and I'm sure others will contribute as well)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Sat May 14: Nor Cal

First day: Scott and I got away from Vancouver at 8pm; slept a couple hours at a rest stop in S Oregon; breakfast in Grants Pass; into Anderson at 11:30 am ( 1200 kms, 15 1/2 hrs ). Into Motel 6 ( Gaia screwed up the reservation made a month in advance). Half the price, clean, comfy, close to food, fuel, Safeway, Starbucks, drugstore - what's not to like? Decided to ride mid-afternoon: down I-5 and 99 to Chico; up 32 into the hills; back via 36 and 'wandering' east of Anderson ( cool roads, some rough but entertaining, astonishing rock walls around fields). Nice outing, altho wet and chilly for the top third of 32. 285 kms 3 1/2 hrs. Decent dinner at Humble Joes. Welcome to Nor Cal!

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Gaia+Hotel+&+Spa,+An+Ascend+Hotel+Collection+Member,+Riverside+Place,+Anderson,+CA,+USA/Chico,+California,+USA/40.276777,-121.4275751/Lanes+Valley+Rd,+Paynes+Creek,+CA+96075,+USA/Wildcat+Rd,+Shingletown,+CA+96088,+USA/Gaia+Hotel+&+Spa,+An+Ascend+Hotel+Collection+Member,+Riverside+Place,+Anderson,+CA,+USA/@40.10774,-122.1439684,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m33!4m32!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2c19845ce683f:0xb99ba7d7c5792399!2m2!1d-122.3057808!2d40.4706877!1m5!1m1!1s0x80831f8dfc236487:0x308eeb8f793a4538!2m2!1d-121.8374777!2d39.7284944!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2b3f50127e41b:0xdd12931954f7653f!2m2!1d-121.9417474!2d40.3781581!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2b7554f499b49:0xfbddc520cac4565c!2m2!1d-122.040587!2d40.4582511!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2c19845ce683f:0xb99ba7d7c5792399!2m2!1d-122.3057808!2d40.4706877!3e0

Scott and Brad on CA 32

IMG_4414 (1024x677) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Scott, Brad, and Miles on Lanes Valley Rd ( east of Anderson)

IMG_4418 (1024x626) by Don Serl, on Flickr
 

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Hey Don,

Sorry I missed you guys this year, glad you guys are all home safe. Looking forward to the ride report. For the NorCal newbies, how was it?
 

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Hey Don,

Sorry I missed you guys this year, glad you guys are all home safe. Looking forward to the ride report. For the NorCal newbies, how was it?
Same here. The dates were just awkward for me, one day though, I will ride Cali again....its been far too long.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Day 2: Sun May 15

THE classic Nor Cal day: out 36 from Red Bluff to the coast; and nice lunch at Eel River Brewing in Fortuna; and back home via 299 ( with 'bonus' riding for some of us, on the Hayfork cut-off). 630 kms 11 hrs door-to-door. Roads were in excellent condition. Coastal cloudiness broke up as the day went on. And I got a walk for 80 in a 55 zone on the sweepers in the initial section of 299: conversation went something like: " Having trouble with metric conversion?" " No sir, I'm just riding exuberant today" I honestly think that being a bit of a codger got me off, plus being polite and open - too old to teach me anything new? In fact, the tail of the conversatiomn turned to him warning me that people often cut across the centre-line, and that my speed wasn't going to give me much time to react! ( Thank you, sir...)

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Gaia+Hotel+&+Spa,+An+Ascend+Hotel+Collection+Member,+Riverside+Place,+Anderson,+CA,+USA/Red+Bluff,+CA,+USA/Dinsmore,+CA,+United+States/Eel+River+Brewing+Co,+Alamar+Way,+Fortuna,+CA,+USA/Willow+Creek,+CA,+United+States/Weaverville,+CA,+USA/Hayfork,+CA,+United+States/Bowman+Rd,+Cottonwood,+CA+96022,+USA/Gaia+Hotel+&+Spa,+An+Ascend+Hotel+Collection+Member,+Riverside+Place,+Anderson,+CA,+USA/@38.7954074,-120.6445779,6.75z/am=t/data=!4m56!4m55!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2c19845ce683f:0xb99ba7d7c5792399!2m2!1d-122.3057808!2d40.4706877!1m5!1m1!1s0x808283b010b9754b:0x290a04be8736765a!2m2!1d-122.2358302!2d40.1784886!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d384526484a745:0xfdf8c5d5509c775f!2m2!1d-123.607056!2d40.490692!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d40e092e3157df:0x70317589c3beeae6!2m2!1d-124.1530254!2d40.5793518!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d17dbb5ba267c3:0xaea52bec721079ca!2m2!1d-123.6314412!2d40.9395774!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d25052db466a73:0xf5e198a5fc75beec!2m2!1d-122.9419708!2d40.7309778!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d3a074063cfbb3:0x8d4afc7cd21590d8!2m2!1d-123.1830839!2d40.5543106!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2d0a8857c849b:0x2bd4abe8319dfb7f!2m2!1d-122.3877903!2d40.3312615!1m5!1m1!1s0x54d2c19845ce683f:0xb99ba7d7c5792399!2m2!1d-122.3057808!2d40.4706877!3e0

Both legs are great, of course, but I'll say that the majority of the riders liked the 'flow' of 299 better than the less-predictable, more-technical challenges of 36. Me, I love 'em both!

P.S. there is gas at the Dinsmore Store, which is just a 100 mi / 160 km run west from Red Bluff.

Obligatory:

IMG_4427 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

CA 36: 140 miles of... bliss...

IMG_4449 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4440 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4450 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4452 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Then, after lunch, givin' 'er on 299:

IMG_4494 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


All soooo good...
 

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I remember one of my first trips eastbound on Hwy 299. I was on my Speed Triple and I caught up to a previous generation Speed Triple. The "stereo" sound of our triples as we ripped up through those sweepers was awesome. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
^^^ CDG and KatRider, couldn't agree more. To me, it's a 'crime' to take 'em at 55!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Cali Day 3: move the Sacramento; on to Auburn

Those of us who were 'moving' trailered up and shuttled down to River City Indoor RV Storage in Sacramento ( about 2 1/2 hours). Bob there is just a champ: last year he charged us $60 for a week; this year it was $60 for TWO weeks! Indoors. Totally secure! Sheesh...

There was a bit of riding to our next 'holing up' spot: Auburn CA. Out the freeway, then Salmon Falls Rd ( which is apparently one of the local 'hot' rides); and finally a short chunk of the famous 49 to Auburn. Here we met Adam, who had ridden over from San Fran. Also, several of the riders rode, via La Porte Rd and Downieville. And 3 of us popped out to Downieville and back in the late afternoon - excellent road...

As for accommodation and food, neither was very good: Super 8; and the only thing nearby was a Denny's... But at least the place was convenient for the next morning...

maps: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/River+City+Indoor+RV+&+Boat+Storage,+Belvedere+Avenue,+Sacramento,+CA,+USA/Safeway+Fuel+Station,+2207+Francisco+Drive,+El+Dorado+Hills,+CA+95762,+United+States/Salmon+Falls+Rd,+Pilot+Hill,+CA+95664,+USA/Super+8+Auburn,+Auburn,+CA,+USA/@38.7953718,-121.3061578,11z/data=!4m26!4m25!1m5!1m1!1s0x809adb2b32d1f7e5:0x571557aafa92f663!2m2!1d-121.397086!2d38.5387119!1m5!1m1!1s0x809ae3540a06b9d9:0x2eb4135e7a7f5747!2m2!1d-121.0840186!2d38.709954!1m5!1m1!1s0x809afd6d595f173f:0x95b3d777a6afe014!2m2!1d-121.0222333!2d38.807035!1m5!1m1!1s0x809b05405313b2e5:0x11efdcff1f03e91d!2m2!1d-121.0584009!2d38.9248548!3e0

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Super+8+Auburn,+Auburn,+CA,+USA/Downieville,+CA,+United+States/Super+8+Auburn,+Auburn,+CA,+USA/@39.2421709,-121.2555803,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x809b05405313b2e5:0x11efdcff1f03e91d!2m2!1d-121.0584009!2d38.9248548!1m5!1m1!1s0x809c7c41cdae79bd:0x40135b83b246986!2m2!1d-120.8276966!2d39.5595198!1m5!1m1!1s0x809b05405313b2e5:0x11efdcff1f03e91d!2m2!1d-121.0584009!2d38.9248548!3e0


Salmon Falls Rd

IMG_4521 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Downtown Downieville

IMG_4532 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Cali day 4: a BIG day!

Tim Mayhew at Pashnit Tours in CA, who seems to know more about Cali roads than anyone on the planet, makes Mosquito Ridge Rd sound irresistable:
http://pashnit.com/roads/cal/MosquitoRidge.htm
And weather had prevented me riding it last year, so this 'top of my list'.
And awesome it was! Curve after curve, mostly high up on valley sides; good but not perfect pavement; no traffic; serious riding (big drops!)... Totally enthralling!

IMG_4558 (2) (770x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4566 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

This takes you out into the wilderness, to French Meadows reservoir. Then a typical paved California backroad cuts back south to rejoin 'civilization' on Wentworth Springs Road. Parts of this connection ( 11 Pines Rd) are pretty good, but parts are rough too. It passes thru a large burn, which was weirdly beautiful, with stark black burned-out stems and lush spring greenery underneath.

Then... Wentworth Springs Road: perfect pavement, the best sweepers of the trip, way out in the middle of nowhere. Why is this there?

IMG_4603 (2) (1024x717) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4605 (1024x713) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Down Icehouse Road ( also great), we joined US 50 for the run east to the Lake Tahoe area. Lotsa traffic, and heavily patrolled... like, 8 cruisers in 40 miles! NOT the place for speed. But beautiful, all the same.

Adam showing off the new MV:

IMG_4632 (2) (1280x638) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Got fuel and lunch in Meyers ( at the Getaway - superb ), then - despite the time starting to press, we decided to run out and back on Monitor Pass ( Destination Highways #1 in Nor Cal ) before crossing back to the west side for our next nite. Well, it's excellent, for sure, and the scenery is awesome, but I'm not convinced it's 'the best'.


West side, climbing into Sierras grasslands

IMG_4643 (1024x744) by Don Serl, on Flickr

East side view, down into Nevada

IMG_4650 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Finally, we ran thru the extensive uplands of Carson Pass and down miles of sweepers on CA 88 to Jackson, before turning south for a half hour of pleasantries to get to Sonora.

The day ended with a comfy stay at the Rodeway Inn, right in the centre of town; and an excellent meal at the Diamondback Grill, just a block away. It had been a really big day ( about 550kms / 10 hrs, much of it quite technical), and spirits were high!

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Super+8+Auburn,+Auburn,+CA,+USA/Foresthill,+CA,+USA/Meyers,+CA,+USA/38.6425228,-119.5277519/Jackson,+CA,+USA/Rodeway+Inn,+South+Green+Street,+Sonora,+CA,+USA/@38.5532694,-120.8535079,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m38!4m37!1m5!1m1!1s0x809b05405313b2e5:0x11efdcff1f03e91d!2m2!1d-121.0584009!2d38.9248548!1m10!1m1!1s0x809bbb4abedd2265:0xb538aeacfdbb3f24!2m2!1d-120.8179891!2d39.0201768!3m4!1m2!1d-120.4851599!2d39.1135441!3s0x809bc62ca2f83473:0x21d6631e699559d8!1m5!1m1!1s0x80998dd10cb46911:0x9a6aa0d06b4f0a29!2m2!1d-120.013057!2d38.8561066!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x809a712c74673f7d:0x7a65aa37e2452b4f!2m2!1d-120.734995!2d38.370187!1m5!1m1!1s0x8090c5d1bfa4706b:0x6451f3afcd396be!2m2!1d-120.3833579!2d37.9833764!3e0
 

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Discussion Starter #14
that's all for today... to come: Yosemite! then, total obscurity south of Oakhurst...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Cali day 5: Yosemite

Rest days were not on the agenda, but it's nearly as effective to alternate easy days with 'big' outings. And the scenery in Yosemite Valley demands more than just a quick ride thru.

The initial plan was to ride CA 14 east from Tuolumne to Cherry Lake, then link south to hwy 120, but the first few miles of 14 were rough and broken, so we abandoned this plan and hit 120 from 49 by doing the (new) Priest grade above Moccasin. This is a short but awesome chunk of road, with tight, well-banked curves and perfect pavement, and well worthy of repeats.

IMG_4689 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

The rest of 120 to Yosemite is actually pretty good, altho it's not deserted. However, there's less traffic than one might think... and then the scenery takes over. You don't go to 'the valley' for solitude!

IMG_4705 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4712 (2) (718x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

After a comfy lunch al fresco at Yosemite village, some of the party took the side-route out to Glacier Point, which is a remarkable viewpoint ( maybe someone can post up a few photos?), and a few of us rode straight thru to Oakhurst, looking forward to a bit of relaxation and maybe a short nap.

We stayed at the Oakhurst Lodge ( same as last year), which is very clean, very comfy, and moderately priced ( by tourist town standards). Staying in the 'back' building gets you away from any traffic noise, and a few late niters on the balcony got to watch deer browsing on the adjacent grassy slopes. And dinner at Di Ciccios really good too. I like this town...


map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Rodeway+Inn,+South+Green+Street,+Sonora,+CA,+USA/Groveland,+CA,+United+States/Yosemite+Valley,+CA,+United+States/37.7269639,-119.574501/Oakhurst+Lodge,+California+41,+Oakhurst,+CA,+USA/@37.6585198,-120.2939875,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m32!4m31!1m10!1m1!1s0x8090c5d1bfa4706b:0x6451f3afcd396be!2m2!1d-120.3833579!2d37.9833764!3m4!1m2!1d-120.2856263!2d37.8215288!3s0x8090d65433eef63b:0x6a13e71cb717bb1c!1m5!1m1!1s0x8090d5ca01743961:0xcbd7390f95484aba!2m2!1d-120.2308167!2d37.8388779!1m5!1m1!1s0x8096f1fe38f263af:0x19213f2e54c9e26e!2m2!1d-119.5936038!2d37.7455701!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x809427780edb3aa5:0x17129e9ff20974d0!2m2!1d-119.65039!2d37.333768!3e0

Only about 250 kms, but all day...
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Cali day 6: south of Oakhurst

The day started with a bit of subduing news: Adam received word that his father, who had been suffering from cancer, had died, so our first order of business was condolences and seeing our friend on his way back to his home in San Francisco. Then we set off into the maze of obscure roads southeast of Oakhurst. It'd take a week to explore everything between Oakhurst and Visalia, so we just had a few highlights planned.

The first outing was from North Fork, out and back on the Mammoth Pool road. This was highly varied and had plenty of great riding and even better scenery, but, honestly, I came away a little bit disappointed - it wasn't quite up to the standard of Mosquito Ridge, so there a little niggle of a let-down (for me, at least). And the store out at the end doesn't open till Memorial Day weekend, so our rest stop was creek-side rather than lake-side. Still, it's well worth a morning's investment of time.

Mammoth Pool Rd

IMG_4728 (1024x693) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4735 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4738 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4739 (2) (1280x603) by Don Serl, on Flickr

IMG_4746 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Then we plunged into real obscurity: the putative route led thru places like Auberry Rd, Tollhouse Rd, Burroughs Valley Rd, Trimmer Springs Rd, Elwood Rd, etc... But only part of the agenda came to fruition. (I'm not even sure I have the order of events right, but...)
After the Mammoth Pool outing, Brad set off directly for Fresno, to get a tire change; Carl went with him.
Shortly thereafter, Miles had a problem with his bike, a recurrence of an issue that had prevented him from joining us on the 'big' day on Mosquito Ridge, etc, and he decided he would head out early to the Bay area for a family visit.
Then, north of Auberry, we had an overly aggressive local in a pickup, pulling a trailer, who actively sought to prevent passes and who even tried to cause a rear-ender by speeding up, then suddenly braking. Kinda ruined a superb section of beautiful, twisting back-country travel...
And finally, after a long, twisting descent on Tollhouse Road, Mark had 'an incident' involving some gravel in a corner and an adjacent field. Luckily, he emerged relatively unscathed, but his bike was not so lucky!

By the time all this got sorted out, most of the last half of the day's 'adventure' riding disappeared, and only 4 of us ( Scott, Carl, Dahl, and me) settled into the Sequoia Econolodge in Visalia - our last nite in 'Nor' Cal. Tomorrow we would cross the mountains for a final time, eastward, and set off into Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. But that's a different tale, and a totally different world...

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Oakhurst+Lodge,+California+41,+Oakhurst,+CA,+USA/North+Fork,+CA,+USA/37.3548606,-119.3420103/North+Fork,+CA,+USA/Auberry,+CA,+USA/Tollhouse,+CA,+United+States/Academy+Ave,+Sanger,+CA+93657,+USA/Econo+Lodge+Sequoia+Area,+South+Mooney+Boulevard,+Visalia,+CA,+United+States/@36.8526555,-120.0427064,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m55!4m54!1m10!1m1!1s0x809427780edb3aa5:0x17129e9ff20974d0!2m2!1d-119.65039!2d37.333768!3m4!1m2!1d-119.5864879!2d37.3178589!3s0x809428897a4027b3:0xc4cb3770d32800a2!1m5!1m1!1s0x80942dff0651e43b:0xc447c141aea3b86a!2m2!1d-119.5093812!2d37.2293765!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x80942dff0651e43b:0xc447c141aea3b86a!2m2!1d-119.5093812!2d37.2293765!1m10!1m1!1s0x8094358c640a1945:0xfc68863753bda15b!2m2!1d-119.4854113!2d37.0807823!3m4!1m2!1d-119.4079995!2d37.0700312!3s0x8095b537290211df:0x8dd05382684caef3!1m5!1m1!1s0x8095b35f75aa1155:0x9ae73821626049cf!2m2!1d-119.3991908!2d37.0190155!1m5!1m1!1s0x8094f90069db855b:0x988ec4c89ef86775!2m2!1d-119.5546437!2d36.7000216!1m5!1m1!1s0x80952f4f639e9ecf:0xa58d6d6a8eb00d3e!2m2!1d-119.313606!2d36.318649!3e0

only about 350 kms, but with one thing and another, all day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
...and meanwhile, I know from FB postings that at the same time, David and Nancy were covering lots of ground in Nor Cal - so, let's hear your tales too, guys!
 

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instead of adding a new thread i'll tag onto this one.

after driving straight through to anderson day 1 saw me needing to take care of a few things and have an "easy" shake down ride to get myself tuned up as i'd had virtually no seat time so far this season. after riding up to redding to get a new front tire it was time to scrub it by doing the short version of 36/299 and in reverse compared to how it's usually run. i made it short by cutting it off with hwy 3 which is a very tight run between 299 and 36.

https://goo.gl/maps/StF1g7eTHSv

caltrans is still doing work on the 299 taking out the switchbacks at the eastern end which is a shame, but the construction gave me the opportunity to go to the front of the line and have a clear road in front of me - yes!

time to unload!





open road on the 299





tight lines on hwy 3



the 36/3/299 loop makes for a nice quick only lasting a few hours and is a great "warm-up" to get ready for the riding in the days to come with a good variety sweepers and twisties.
 

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i only one pic on day two at the start of the big 36/299 loop, the pic everybody seems to want because of the sign. in this pic i think someone was complaining that this road looked like it had too many curves and doser exasperatingly said "well why the fuck are you here then?!?!?!?"






so on to day 3. that day saw doser and a few other truck their bikes down to sacramento and put their vehicles in storage where they would pick them up after their desert wanderings later in the trip. i left mine in anderson as our subgroup wasn't going to do the desert part and would ride back north after splitting with doser in visalia. that gave us the opportunity to ride what is easily one of the three best day loops in norcal and possibly all of california, a ride that includes the infamous rtits.

map: https://goo.gl/maps/1p9zA2ty2x52

the day starts out with a bit of slab heading south through chico to access the hwy 70 and the feather river valley. once onto the 70 there's a few minutes of boring climb before you begin the twisty descent into the feather river valley bottom where the road follows ther twist of the river pretty much all the way out to quincy to stop for lunch and fuel up. the best thing to do is be gassed up in the morning and then before getting onto the 70 fuel up at the clear creek crossing which will leave you with more than enough fuel to get out to quincy and a nice opportunity for a short break from the heat and something to drink. doing this also cuts out a bit of extra distance.


sign of things to come on the 70





riding along the river offers cooler temps





love seeing these signs





after having lunch in quincy it's a short run through town and east quincy to get to the day's objective, laporte road. laporte is tight and unforgiving in many spots where if you run wide it's a few hundred feet to the canyon bottom. the road sees little traffic but don't get too comfortable with that as any transgression into the oncoming lane might see you staring at a face full of chrome coming the other way. laporte starts off tight and relatively flat then runs steeply up the side of the canyon.


heading up





moar please





time for a quick pic





and a glamour shot






getting close to the top - i love this shot as it shows off just how well the roads are designed/built down in cali





the last section near the top was a bit surreal as there was still a fair bit of snow yet the road was pretty much bone dry. the cooler temps from the snow were welcome too.






from there it was a bit of a cruise to auburn to meet up with the rest of the group and have dinner at the ever popular denny's
 
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