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Old 11-16-2011, 06:37 PM   #16
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Excellent pics,nice report
09 KLR
97 DR650
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:10 PM   #17
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Thumb great report!

many people "ride" over 30 years and don't have a story that good . keep ridding, try to be safe. but keep riding!
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #18
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Thanks for sharing

Glad you enjoyed my area of the world!
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #19
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA
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Day 5 Napa to Columbia CA

Thanks for the comments. Tried to post yesterday but page crashed before I finished it.

Bear with my vertical map, better for scrolling in only one direction.

110906 Day 5

Up early to dew and fog. Breakfast Odwalla bar and some fruit. Packed and rolling by 0815. Headed up the 121 to Lake Berryissa, nice curves and smooth road. Not much traffic.

Lake Berryissa dam

Got to the 128 east and plugged in coordinates for Putah bouldering area. Found site pretty easy after following lake road and Putah river through nice hills with laurel trees around. Nice basaltic boulders next to river. Very peaceful and serene.

Putah Boulders

Did a few traverse problems on generally overhaing rock with cut in holds typical of basalt. Was sitting around resting and enjoying the silence and a guy came around the corner of one of the boulders, we scared the crap out of each other - each not expecting anyone to be there. After calming down and introductions, we talked about crazy rock climbers and I explained the mini sport of bouldering. He was taking a break after his graveyard shift at work and was going for a swim in the river. He later gave me a soda at the pullout as I was getting gear back on. Interesting encounter considering the remoteness of the area.

Rode out on the 128 to Davis and then 80 to Sacramento. Not fun on the highway and super hot. Traffic not bad but the road conditions were not great either, big ruts between lanes that prevented lane changes in some areas. Got through it though and headed towards Diamond Springs on hwy 50. Took detour through El Dorado to Diamond to take in some of the sights if any of old railroad stuff and buildings. Not much to see as many areas are now just urban sprawl. Arriving in Diamond Springs there is was a nice old town section. Stopped there and had lunch at the Diamond Springs Hotel enjoying the air conditioning.

Diamond Springs Hotel

An old 1800s place that certainly looked the part. Typical American cafe food, I had a fat spanish omlette. Took time to plan a route over the old Diamond and Caldor railroad grade to hwy 49 on back roads.

Heading out found Grizzly Flat road outside of town and took it into the back country. Soon turned into deep forest road among huge sugar pines. The smell of the big sugar pines was fantastic.

Saw some deer crossing road and found signs pointing to Leoni Meadows so headed in that direction since Leoni was once on the D&C mainline. Road was narrow winding and fun. Acceptable pavement for being way out in the middle of nowhere. Kind of bumpy and chunky in spots but not that bad. Found turnoff to Leoni Meadows camp which is now a christian group retreat. I was pretty deep inside the woods and GPS was not helping in determining the best route out. Went inside lodge to talk to person working the desk about area. She gave me a general idea of where to go. Heading out continued in same direction generally south.

Arrived at intersection and found sign marking site of Caldor sawmill. Took a self portrait there.


Nice deserted pavement sections

Some dirt tracks were everywhere

Headed upgrade from there on more narrow twisties passing several OHV trailheads. Had to pass a couple campers who didn’t look like they were having fun on the narrow steep road. Ended up doing a lot more riding through the woods than I had anticipated, it was all fun though.

Consumnes River

Finally arrived at hwy 88 and headed west towards town of Pioneer. Down the hill to Pioneer and caught the 26 south to Mokelumne Hill. Fast and winding road on good pavement ruined by several slow people blocking progress. Could be a good run with a clear road. Then after many agonizing turns caught the 49 south to Angels Camp and out E18 to Columbia.

E18 south of Angels Camp

Once I got close to Columbia, I took the Marble Quarry road thinking that was the way to the Marble Quarry camp ground which was our rendezvous point. It wasn’t, it led to an actual marble quarry with a gate that said private property. I had to stop and call my wife to look up the actual address of the camp on the internet so I could plug it into the GPS. (I still have a "dumb phone") Finally made it to camp ground and met up with Dad jblk9695.

Arriving at the Marble Quarry RV park finally

He was worried since he never got the text I sent with my projected arrival time on his also dumb phone. He already had a cabin reserved and set up so I set up camp there and used the futon in the cabin.

Dad trying to project the force within his crappy cell phone

Posh cabin

Nice camp spot well outside of town with shower and quiet. We headed down to Sonora a few miles away to eat. Sonora has a lot of historic buildings and a quaint little downtown section with several restaurants and shops in old historic buildings. We ate at a little mediterrainian place called Telulahs. Good food and service. Nice end to a long day.

Doffing gear in Sonora

Good place to eat

Leg Data:
Miles 232
Time.moving 5:26
Avg mph 42.6
Rich B
'07 DL650
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:02 PM   #20
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Day 6 Jamestown and Tuolumne

110907 Day 6

Got up early. Had oatmeal and coffee.

Dad had Odwalla bar I had him get night before. We planned to go to Jamestown via the long way. Italian Bar road on map looked good so we tried it. Road took off directly from our camp spot. Was fun rough and twisty for a little while then turned into gravel. We descended a long hill in the gravel and I stopped to discuss options. It looked like a pretty long ways to go on the GPS on possibly all dirt so we decided to double back. Not prepared for that yet. On way back located Big Hill road out of Columbia which was a lot of fun over typical rough and twisty grades overlooking valley. Got a lot of nice turns in and generally rode pretty hard with no traffic at all. We then headed on towards Jamestown via Pheonix Lake road and hwy 108. At Jamestown got some brunch at the Mother Lode cafe which was at one time an old gas station.


Talked a bit with the waitress about tourist season and it now being over. Had a nice breakfast typical cafe style.

We then headed to the Railtown 1897 museum. Very extensive collection of all sorts of stuff, much of it from the Sierra Railway centered around an original roundhouse and turntable..

Railtown 1897 roundhouse, I am in train geek heaven

Instantly began exploring every square inch of the place. Several interesting locomotives, rolling stock and equipment all over the place. A few displays of antique machinery and steam driven equipment was very interesting. Blasted a lot of photos and had a good time exploring the museum compound.

The #3 still operates

Typical backshop for the period

Hetch Hetchy rail bus that used to run towards Yosemite
Hetch Hetchy Railroad info

After the museum we headed up 108 to Twain Harte and then to Tuolumne via backroads to explore for any West Side Lumber Co. railroad remains. Found the #2 Heisler loco on display in the city park. It had been sitting there since 1960 and looked pretty good.

WSLC #2 Heisler Locomotive

Talked to some local drunks about railroad stuff in the area. Found the millsite and some other items in fields with their directions.

Site of the WSLC mill in Tuolumne

Got a few photos and hit the Mi Wuk casino complex for gas before moving on.
After gas break, headed up the Cottonwood road which more or less follows the grade of the West Side Lumber Co. I was pretty excited to be on it especially since I am a longtime fan of the WSLC and have several books and magazines on the subject. The road up was nice and tight following the contours of the terrain along the Tuolumne River again with unusually good pavement for the most part. It is pretty amazing how the condition of the roads are that basically go into the middle of nowhere in this area of California.
Video my dad made of cottonwood road ride (3minutes)

Stopped at a creekside pullout to take some photos.

I then took off on what I thought was pavement but was actually gravel of the same exact dull gray tone. The bike promptly spun out and I lowsided on the left. My foot got pinned for a moment under my pannier but I pulled it out before the bike settled. Not good. We humped the bike back up and I knew I was hurt but nothing major it seemed.

Spin out zone, notice displaced gravel where I dropped the bike also looks a lot like asphalt
video of me spinning out and dropping bike

Took off my gear and headed straight to the creek. Left ankle definatley hurting. Stood in the cold water for a while and calmed my nerves. Totally caught off guard by the gravel and made a stupid noob mistake. Thankfully my boots probably saved a much worse injury. Need to pay more attention.

self medication

Got gear back on and could sort of walk ok so assumed a bad strain and decided to do rest of road. Still a lot of fun although I had a hard time upshifting.

Note: What I thought was a sprained ankle was actually a broken ankle. Cracked my tibula. Didn't find this out however until 2000 miles and 8 days later when I finally went to see my doctor. He saved me the agony of being in a hard cast since he said wearing my moto boots was pretty much the same thing. Almost healed as of today. Lesson learned, wear good boots and pay attention to the surface before rolling on some big throttle. The rest of my RR is from my real time notes so I never knew my ankle was busted.
Saw several areas that looked familiar from old WSLC photos. Made it down to Cherry Lake and took a short break. It was pretty hot and not moving resulted in getting pretty heated pretty quick.

Continuing up the lake basin and then down the other side was pretty fun. There was a lengthy section though of “tar snakes” which were pretty slippery due to the heat which was very uncomfortable to ride. Towards the end of the road there was a long section that dove down a valley and had a couple decreasing radius corners that threw us both wide a bit. Certainly a great road to ride but also need to really pay close attention to conditions. Fortunately was another one of those minimal to no traffic roads.

Finally made it out to hwy 120 and headed back towards Sonora. Last section of road before hitting the 49 was quite exciting called the Priest Grade. Basically headed straight down a hillside to the Sonora basin. Lots of tight turns mostly constant radius on very smooth pavement. It was fun but I was tired and didn’t push it too much. Back at Sonora we ate at a mexican place. Got some ice and an ace wrap at the grocery store then doctored my ankle at camp. Ice felt good but ankle definitely suffering. Yet another eventful day.

Back at camp

RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation - first aid 101

Leg Data:
Miles 151
Rich B
'07 DL650
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:56 PM   #21
Wheat State
Joined: Apr 2009
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Great ride report! I really look forward to doing trips like these with my son eventually. He's only six so I got a while. Thanks for taking the time to post! Bummer about the ankle but could have been worse. A friend of mine wrecked my bike in Arkansas last year and broke his leg right above the boot. He slid the bike under a slow moving 18 wheeler log hauler. He was more concerned with the first responders wanting to cut off his boot! He's all healed up and been on numerous bike trips already. Keep up the good work and looking forward to the rest of your report!
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:54 PM   #22
slugsmasher OP
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Day 7 Yosemite

110908 Day 7

Got up and ankle was mobile. Got off to a slow start though. About 0900 decided to go to Fish Camp and see some WSLC locos on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine excursion railroad. Figured I already gave up my ankle for some WSLC railroad grade exploration, may as well go for the full meal deal and take a close look at some operating locos from the railroad. Looking at map would be a long ride about 100 miles out. Expecting easy slabbing so would take it easy. Headed out on the 49 towards Mariposa. Did not know that 49 turned into a twisty mess going down and up steep grades. Fun but not what I expected.

Got to town of Coulterville and took a break. The Merced Gold Mining company Porter locomotive is located there so stopping was mandatory for photos.

Whistling Billy

Ate some lunch at the Hotel Jeffery. Nice restored place with a lot of history. Had interesting historic photos on the wall and a nice tribute to war veterans display in the pool room. Town had many rustic buildings and was a good pitstop.

Onward made it to the railroad at Fish Camp in reasonable time. Park is located way up hwy 41 on the way to Yosemite NP. Parked and I instantly began exploring the various pieces of WSLC equipment around. Good collection of original equipment.

Unfortunately found out that the steam locos only run once a day and we already missed it. Oh well, snuck into the engine shed anyway and got some good photos. Spent a while in the historical display getting a load of info from the curator dude. Quite impressive, he was like a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and history.

WSLC Shays 10 and 15

We then took the road through Yosemite NP and took a look at the Mariposa grove of giant sequoia trees. They were hugeomongous.

Rode out through the park and took typical photos at the Tunnel View pull out.

Headed across and up hwy 120 back out to the west. Through the park was fun in spots but broken up by lot of traffic. Not sure if there is ever a time when there is no traffic in Yosemite. Eventually ended up on the Priest Grade again and down towards Sonora. Dad needed gas so stopped in Jamestown and also ate there at a mexican place. Back at camp after dark and tired, lot of riding in the hot sun. Iced ankle again as it was pretty swollen. Good day.

Leg Data:
Rich B
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:16 PM   #23
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Day 8 Columbia to Soda Bay CA

Another long east west map that looks better for scrolling rotated 90deg:

110909 Day 8

Got up somewhat early and packed up. This was our last morning together and were going to head out our separate ways after going to Angels Camp for breakfast. After camping out in the cabin for a couple days, it took a while to get everything back to where it came from on the bikes.

Ready to roll out

Headed out towards Angels Camp on E18. After a few good early morning turns got to AC stopped for bfast. Rustic little touristy town.

Ate at a small cafe called Sues which had two weird women working there. Had typical bfast and got good entertainment with hollow brained waitress screwing up order and trying not to spill coffee on us. She was kind of old so we just laughed it off. After eating saw a Triumph guy show up on an ST1300. He had just come down from Tioga Pass. Talked shortly about bike stuff.
Me and dad then said our goodbyes and parted ways. He headed south on 49 back home to Socal and me north on 49 to continue the adventure.

After San Andreas and getting gas, I decided to take the 12 west for some reason. Was not my original plan but went with it. 12 started out ok but soon turned in to hot hell through vineyards and fruit farms heading into the Sacramento valley. Made it to Lodi and got stuck in urban traffic. Sucked ass since not moving very fast meant getting really hot inside my gear. After enduring Lodi almost got stuck again due to construction but took side road out through Woodbridge area. Headed towards Walnut Grove next to Sacramento river.

Walnut Grove

At WG headed across river bridge to what I thought should be an easy ride out. Was all good until meeting another bridge connection that was closed. Had to detour in opposite direction I wanted to go down more levee roads.

Typical levee road near Walnut Grove, looks like bayou country

Kept riding on and found ferry going across channel so jumped on that. Very steep entry and exit to ferry was exciting on the bike. Once across still had no idea where to go. Hiked over to ferry and asked operator how to get out of river area. He gave me a map and scribbled the exit route on it to West Sac. It was hot and my brain was not functioning too well so I was very happy to have a positive idea of where to go. GPS was not very helpful in this area.

Channel ferry, I was pretty much lost at this point

Lost or not, rode it anyway. Maps and gps not much help here

After a long stretch of riding through fruit groves, made it to West Sacramento. I wanted to get out of the valley as fast as possible so got on I80 west to the 113 and north to Woodland. Hauling ass on the interstate was good for cooling off traffic not being too bad. In Woodland traffic was stop and go until out of town and on hwy 16 west. Heading through farm country still but could see the coastal foothills getting closer. In my mind I hoped those hills also meant that it would get cooler which kept me motivated. Stopped in Brooks for a gas break and some air conditioning in the mini mart. It was pretty damn hot, hottest I think it has been for the entire trip. At least high 90s.

Continuing up the 16 road followed contours of the Cache Creek into a nice canyon and some fun turns.

hwy 16 somewhere west of Brooks

Cache Creek

Met with hwy 28 and headed to Clear Lake area. All mostly rolling open terrain. At Clear Lake took shoreline road along the south side to Soda Bay.

Clear Lake enroute to Soda Bay

One hair raising moment in Soda Bay when an oncoming car drifted way into my lane for no apparent reason. I reacted well to avoid disaster by swerving over as far right as I could just missing getting clipped. Not a good feeling and I almost had to pull over just to calm down or barf. Stuck it out to Soda Bay general store since I was close and took a nerve break there. My hands were still shaking as I got off the bike. Ended up getting not one but two pints of beer at the store and headed to camp.

Clear Lake state park campground

Set up camp at Clear Lake state park. Friggin 30 bucks though and showers were not free, wtf Cali. Listened to crickets all night and slept lightly since I could not get completely comfortable with ankle. The swelling was going down though so that was good. Long and hot day.

Leg Data:
Miles 251
Time.moving 5:32
Avg mph 45.2
Rich B
'07 DL650
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Old 11-29-2011, 06:04 AM   #24
Prov. 3:5-6
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Sorry about the ankle, but this is a trip u will not forget. Just being w/ ur dad would have been enough - means alot. Fantastic pics, great job - thanks.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:02 AM   #25
Too much rain
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Great Read

Looks like a good first trip to stretch your legs on!

-keep the shiny side up
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:24 PM   #26
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Good report

Keep it up bro...
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Old 11-29-2011, 06:47 PM   #27
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Great ride report!
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:25 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by slugsmasher View Post

Ready to roll out
Your Dad looks sad to see your departure
Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
If you're wearing Crocs, chances are that you're not smart enough to tie your shoes.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:45 AM   #29
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UberNoob 1st Big Ride North West Coast USA, 3200 miles, 12 days, 1 broken ankle

I just stumbled onto this thread. I have much admiration for the way you approached doing this ride. You did the MSF thing and that's a great way to start. Your research and gearing up process was spot on! Ride long, UberNoob. By the way, you may want to change your moniker as you a noob no longer.

IBA 25881

Duty- Honoring a Friend
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:39 AM   #30
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Location: Crestline, Ca in the Forest
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Originally Posted by 2handedSpey View Post
Your Dad looks sad to see your departure
Yes I was, not to offten you get to do a ride like this one. We are planning another for next year, gives me incentive to stay in shape

Jerry (Dad)
69 going on 25 and Retired or 483 in dog years
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