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Old 07-13-2005, 12:33 AM   #1
motowriter
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A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

After the Pashnit Forums group ride on July 3, Tom (aka Motorrad) and Larry (the Jester formerly known as LWP1200) stayed over, keeping me up like gossiping teen girls, until 2:00am. OK, I’ll admit, I was chatty and carried my part of the conversation well past the first few yawns Tom emitted earlier in the evening. Next morning, we three geared up and headed out to Hwy 49, where Larry headed south on his Mille and Tom & I rode off north, taking the scenic route toward Lake Tahoe.

We had a leisurely ride up through Auburn and Grass Valley and Nevada City on Hwy 49, then jogged west on our way to the Yuba River. This spectacular road, winding along the river to Downieville, sucked us forward like whitewater, impelling us at enviable speeds through very light traffic northeastward. The 4th of July traffic was a very pleasant surprise. Over the entire run of 60 miles or so to Hwy 89, we only had to pass a dozen cars. And I can’t recall passing more than one RV. Note for future reference: Hwy 49 is a gooood run on the 4th of July!

I caught a couple of pix of Tom on the road before we parted ways in Truckee Monday afternoon.





The ride through Truckee down Old Hwy 40, aka Donner Pass Rd., made up for all the missed traffic on Hwy 40. Seven miles through town and past Donner Lake took about half an hour. But the wait was worthwhile. Traffic cleared just past Donner Lake where one encounters a rugged, rocky terrain west of the lake on a good-qualit road that winds its way up a couple thousand feet above the shoreline.









Overlooking Donner Lake... hey, isn’t that the guy from the other photo above??


Lots of watercraft on the lake this July 4th.


Donner Pass Rd.


I followed Donner Pass Road down to where it met the S. Yuba River, some 20 miles southeast of the N. Yuba that Tom and I had burned along earlier in the day. Old Hwy 40 runs along its modern successor, Interstate 80. I decided to explore this less traveled stretch, situated below I-80, for 15 miles or so, between Truckee and Cisco Grove.

At this bridge the river was easily accessible. The gargantuan structure supporting the multiple lanes of I-80 above was quite a sight in the relative silence 100 feet below the superslab.







Tire chains that have fallen from the roadway above.
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Old 07-13-2005, 12:33 AM   #2
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

The river here was just spectacular. Scroll ---->







Along the roadside, another new flower (weed?) to document.
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Old 07-13-2005, 12:34 AM   #3
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

At Cisco Grove I lost Old Hwy 40. I tried crossing I-80 again, which the trek down Hwy 40 had required a couple of times. But I ended up at a campground near Cisco Grove. A little gravel road headed up the mountain there and, while I knew I wasn’t going to run into Hwy 40 in this direction, I just couldn’t resist taking the Strom off the pavement for a jaunt. I thought maybe this road would wind up and then back down to I-80 somewhere west of here, closer to my destination near Auburn. It didn’t. But the trek up the mountain offered an awesome challenge for me and the bike.

Gravel twisties… yum!




About 4 miles up the road I take the ever-popular offshoot of Forest Route 85, road 85-02! There’s supposed to be a Boy Scout camp up here and I’m thinking maybe I can get directions. Or at least a compass heading. Maybe a reading of the sun and tree moss??



Snow in July… it’s been a straaange year for weather.


About 6 miles up I encounter another branch in the road. Do I head right to the Scout camp or left to check out a lake that’s supposed to be a mile away? The lake is definitely more tempting, so off I ride, heading down a rocky slope. Bad move.

Checking out the road ahead I am having premonitions of a pucker moment.


Sure enough. About 30 yards down the slope, I lose it at all of five miles an hour, cursing my genetically short legs. It’s pretty darned hot this late afternoon and mosquitos are buzzing and I’m winded even before I try to pick up the Strom. It’s on a slope and ever so enjoyable to lift out of the gravel where I can get no purchase for my feet.

The dark spots in the gravel are where the Strom dug up the gravel with the bar end and the section of fairing that exhibited a slight crack once the bike was upright.


The road seemed navigable from what I could see ahead. I rode another 20 or 30 yards to discover the gravel pathway descending at a steeper angle than above. That’s where I ran into rivulets of water that had dug a couple of channels in the road. Where there’s water up here, there’s a slippery surface that, even if I could get a foot planted, I’d be hard pressed to keep the bike upright. Time to turn around. Easier said than done, trying to do a 3-point turn on downhill gravel. Half an hour later I passed the turn off to the Scout camp again and did not look back.

The ride back down was pretty darned enjoyable after the ordeal over the crest of the hill I dumped the bike on.



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Old 07-13-2005, 12:34 AM   #4
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Back at Cisco Grove I figured I’d better just hop on the slab and head home.

I stopped at a Vista Point to snap this pano of Emigrant Valley, overlooking Hwy 20 from I-80. Scroll ---->


A view of the transit routes from the Vista Point.


Caltrans is resurfacing I-80. Can you say “edge trap”?


A closing shot, on the bike. Could my aim be any worse? Cool photo, tho!



Fin
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Old 07-13-2005, 03:24 AM   #5
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Sounded like a fun ride. Any time you can challenge yourself while out makes the whole trip more worth while. Sorry to hear about the dumping of the Strom, don't feel bad though. Twice done it, once on my old Virago while exploring the Bear Divide Pass above Acton. The other on my first bike (86 'Kawasaki 550 limited) trying to get down to a river shore by Kennedy Meadows.

We know better, "My bike isn't supposed to be on a road like this.", but that little devil on a shoulder gets the advantage. "Sure you can, just be careful and take your time."

You try to fight it, then he pulls out the big guns. "You're not going to let this little road defeat you? What are you scared of a little dirt?"

You give in and then your picking your bike up wondering what the hell I was thinking?
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Old 07-13-2005, 04:18 AM   #6
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Cool.

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Old 07-13-2005, 04:50 AM   #7
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior
Sounded like a fun ride. Any time you can challenge yourself while out makes the whole trip more worth while. Sorry to hear about the dumping of the Strom, don't feel bad though. Twice done it, once on my old Virago while exploring the Bear Divide Pass above Acton. The other on my first bike (86 'Kawasaki 550 limited) trying to get down to a river shore by Kennedy Meadows.

We know better, "My bike isn't supposed to be on a road like this.", but that little devil on a shoulder gets the advantage. "Sure you can, just be careful and take your time."

You try to fight it, then he pulls out the big guns. "You're not going to let this little road defeat you? What are you scared of a little dirt?"

You give in and then your picking your bike up wondering what the hell I was thinking?
That's exactly what I was thinking right before I dumped the Mille in New Idria Jason !!! Beware the little devil because he is crafty and knows ALL the buttons to push!!! Glad you and The Strom didn't fair too badly Gary. Great write up!!

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Old 07-13-2005, 05:33 AM   #8
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Nice ride and pics Gary!
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:19 AM   #9
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Thanks for the kudos and comments, all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior
Sounded like a fun ride. Any time you can challenge yourself while out makes the whole trip more worth while. Sorry to hear about the dumping of the Strom, don't feel bad though.
Oh yeah, it was definitely a challenge as the road got rockier and hairier. But was absolutely a blast exploring up there. As to dropping the Strom... heck, I seem to do that once a week, so I'm pretty immune to regret over it. The V-Strom is made for some light off road riding. I continue to seek the definition of "light," though, since the owner's manual makes no mention of this term.
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:32 PM   #10
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Re: A Yuba River Loop Ride on the 4th of July

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary
Oh yeah, it was definitely a challenge as the road got rockier and hairier. But was absolutely a blast exploring up there...
Holy cow, sounds like you had a most excellent adventure after we split ways at Truckee. We'll have to ride this dirt gateway you found in tandem sometime in the future, along with finding that elusive Henasey trail head somewhere around Downeiville.

What a great weekend of riding. Hwy 49 from Nevada City on up was definitely the bomb. I've been busy catching up with work since the return and spending the weekend at MotoGP. I look forward to riding with you again after the Gathering. I'll be heading east from Monterey early Saturday toward Mariposa for the Hwy 49 Lit'l Dragon run, then probably over Sonora Pass again and back down Ebbetts, or maybe try Wards Ferry and other back roads around Sonora, depending on time.

I look forward to discussing Sunday ride options with you, Donna, and the Pashnit crew at Big Tree S.P.. Should be an awesome weekend.
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