Sierra Nevada

Bridgeport 2011 (620 miles)

I wasn’t planning on going to Bridgeport this year as I’d been doing some traveling recently on the bike and decided that I could have used a weekend at home. About a week before I took a small night ride in the hills. A few friends there asked me if I was going to Bridgeport this year and I said I wasn’t. With a bit of encouraging from a few folks I asked if there was space still left. Turns out there were a few spots and I got in just under the wire.

I’d been out late the night before the ride so I wasn’t exactly in the best shape to be out in the middle of the Central Valley by 8:30am. I figured I’d bypass that stop and meet the crew at the first major gas stop in Jamestown. I’d arrived there significantly earlier than the rest of the group which was fine. A few other stragglers joined me who didn’t make the 9am kickoff as well. It was nice to catch up with some old friends I’d not seen in a while and shoot the breeze while the rest of the group arrived.

From the gas stop we made our way over to Sonora and then Big Hill Road. Traffic was really bad in Sonora and the bike started to overheat. 😦 I’d not seen five bars on the bike ever. I pulled over and let the bike chill for a bit. I noticed the coolant was a bit low in the reservoir. I got the bike moving again and things began to cool off a bit by the time we all stopped for lunch. Bike and rider both a little hot pull in for lunch!

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© 2011 – Tyler Risk

The Rock of Twain Harte  (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating A The ride lead called ahead, but we had a table for the 30 of us all set up and ready for us to use.  Very well done.
Atmosphere C+ Very much had a strong country feel which fit the area, but it was comparable to other places in the same market.
Wait Staff A 30 people and willingly did separate checks.  That’s an automatic A.  They were cool all around too!
Food C Food was average.  My Thai Chicken Salad had dressing that tasted like it was made somewhere else with a basic lettuce mix and grilled chicken.
Value B+ Very much on target with what I’d expect to pay. Salad, drink, and a nice tip was about $14.
Overall B+ It is a clear winner for large groups!

After lunch I went back out to Highway 108 to see if there were any places I could find some coolant.  Turns out that Zak’s Auto Shack was open on Saturday and looked like they had coolant.  I was easily able to find a funnel but a cup of coolant was a much harder task.  Zak sold coolant by the gallon and I needed 1/8th of what I could buy and couldn’t get rid of or carry the remaining 7/8ths.  Zak was able to give me the cup I needed after I pleaded my case a bit.  I was thankful to his generosity.

Since I was headed to higher elevation I figured I could keep an eye on the coolant as trafic would wane and temps would drop.  The good news is the situation mostly corrected itself.  I’m running about 1/2 a bar hotter than usual, but far less than I was before lunch. I ran into Tyler on the way up to Sonora Pass.  I mentioned that I send postcards of places I go to my niece and nephew.  Tyler remarked I should send one of me in it.  So here I am at the top of the pass.  Now where to get this turned into a postcard!

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© 2011 – Tyler Risk

The group was staying at the Virginia Creek Settlement just South of Bridgeport. We got to rent the whole settlement so it was just our group that night.  The settlement has a number of lodging options: a small motel, cabins, covered wagons, and tents. The food was served family style and there was no shortage of good eats!

After a good day of riding, it was nice to be at camp.

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© 2011 – Solomon Wu

Since I signed up late I was planning on pitching a tent, but was able to score one of the covered wagons.  The wagon was quite authentic looking aside from the electric light inside of it.  While roomy for one, I find it hard to believe that a family of four could travel across the country in one with all their belongings.

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The wagon had three blankets inside of it, but I snagged another one since the insulation in the wagon was non existent.  it was going to be in the low 40’s tonight so better to be too warm than too cold.  I love sleeping in a cold room so needless to say I slept very well.

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The campfire that night was awesome.  It had everything a good campfire needs: a good fire, good friends, and good conversation.  Good drinks help too and there was no shortage of those either.  The fire ran late into the night and good times were had.

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© 2011 – Tyler Risk

The next morning I set out to go see Twin Lakes.  The last time I was out that way was in 2002 so I was curious to see it again.  I’ve seen a number of the eastern sierra lakes over the past few years and well wanted to see this one in comparison to the others.  As usual the scenery is awesome.

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What really struck me about this lake was how clear the water was.  The water stayed shallow for quite a ways from the beach I was on.  Had I had shoes I could have gotten wet I’d have ventured out further but alas my feet could only take so much of a rocky bottom.

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After leaving Twin Lakes it was a long slow slog up US-395.  There were two accidents, one of which was a motorcycle that went down pretty hard.  Traffic was backed up for miles. 😦  The authorities were doing a good job though controlling the situation.  All the best to the rider.

Monitor Pass is always a fun ride back into the Sierras!

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The VStrom agrees!

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What really stood out is that the pavement is virgin on the east side of the mountains!  Smooth as glass and very much grippy too!  Oh, I could have done that section a number of times.  Most of the group went back CA-4 but I wanted to ride some of the roads off of US-50 so I kept heading north.  If I didnt have a long ride ahead of me, I’d have done 89 again.

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Lunch was at the Deli Co in Markleeville.  I was introduced to this place on T.H.E Moto this year and figured I’d give it another go as Tahoe was too far out of the way.

The Deli Co  (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating C Indoor seating is tough.  Only 4 tables.  Plenty of outdoor seating though.  Just make sure the weather is nice.
Atmosphere C- Very blah inside.  The outdoor section is nice though on a nice day.
Wait Staff C+ Nice and personable.
Food B Portions were plentiful and the quality of the food was good.
Value C+ A touch expensive, but within reason.
Overall C+ I’d go back if I’m passing through town again.

 

Once fed, it was time to put in some serious miles.  The Sunday traffic heading down the hill was inane.  Drivers were going 15 under the limit and then flooring it in the passing lanes so no one could get by.  The stretch through Ice House and Wentworth springs was awesome.  Zero traffic.  I had to punt on Loon Lake as I was running out of time, but Stumpy Meadows was very serene as Sunday evening was bringing all the weekend recreators home.

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After a nice ride down CA-193 down to US50 it was off to dinner in Sacramento.  On the way out of town I got a picture of the Tower Theatre brightly lighting up the night sky.

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After that it was all about execution.  I wanted to do something different so I rode down I-80 all the way into San Francisco.  After seeing Coit Tower lit in red white and blue for the 9/11 weekend I wanted to see if it was all white as remenbered it.  Turns out it was.

Route:

Categories: Sierra Nevada

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