I just got back from a 3 day ride starting Friday from the coast over Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4), camped at Wolf Creek south of Markleville on Friday evening then rode around Walker Valley and motelled in Gardnerville Saturday night. Back over 88 and various foothills backroads on Sunday. We could start smelling smoke around Copperopolis, on the ride up, and it started burning my eyes and scratching my throat by Arnold. Visibility dropped so you could just see the outline of the ridge across Lake Alpine from the road, but no details. Even after crossing both Pacific Grade and Ebbetts Passes, visibility remained poor and ash settled on the bikes and tents overnight. Saturday and Sunday were pretty bad in the Topaz/Walker/Gardnerville area ... I read that life flights and a local airshow were cancelled due to low visibility. On my return ride I stopped in Livermore and looked back and you could see the plume. A friend of mine is on the east side now and he said that 395 is clear south of 108.
Good luck to anyone who lives near the fire, and thanks to all the firefighters. After being 30 - 80 miles away I can't imagine what it's like in the fire zone. I've been near a lot of fires in 50+ years here but this is unbelievable. I was hoping to ride Cottonwood and Cherry Lake this fall ... hopefully it grows back quick.