The Hope Valley usually turns a bit later than areas further south. I’m guessing that’s due to the lower elevation of the area. We lagged a bit getting out of the hotel as the breakfast was slammed with people and they were short staffed. Ah well, the outsides were warming up anyway.
US-395 is a pretty dry ride north of Topaz Lake. The GPS routed us on a few farm roads out to the Kingsbury Grade. The Kingsbury Grade is a sweet piece of pavement from Gardnerville, Nevada to the top of the pass. The highway is technical and the pavement is smooth as butter. Once cresting the grade the pavement turns to crap and it’s a bumpy down to US-50.
The first major stop was Emerald Bay. Now that the state is hard up for money the Vikingsholm parking lot is heavily patrolled we opted for the south vista point. Free goes a long way even though the Vikingsholm spot really is the better one.
Highway 89 hugs the western shore of Lake Tahoe and has a number of nice views of the lake. Rob and his new K1300:
The water on the lake is awesome. I never tire of seeing it’s color.
The DL and I
The Hope Valley was the first spot for major color in the area. Turns out there were a few areas that had some color, but most of it was not nearing peak just yet. One or two more weekends and it will be awesome! A touch of lime green and orange.
The Carson River
We turned from 88 onto 89 and there was great color near Sorensen’s Resort. One day I’ll stay there!
The color up on 89 to Monitor Pass was awesome!
The top of the pass did not disappoint!
The ride back down to Markleeville was all in gold.
As we lost elevation, the gold was turning to lime green
Heenan Lake had some great color. With a little dirt road action, we got to see the lake outlined in color! Sensing a theme yet?
We did a few double backs to Markleeville for gas and lunch. We wound up at Wolf Creek for food.
Wolf Creek Restaurant (C is average. No grade inflation here):
|Seating||A||Plenty of seating on a busy Sunday afternoon. No concerns here.|
|Atmosphere||B+||The inside of the place has decor refective of the area, but the money for me is on the patio. Its more private than the deli and the food is better.|
|Wait Staff||D-||Service was DOG slow. It took about twice the time it should have to get stuff. They were not even that busy.|
|Food||B+||My burger was awesome. I’m sure some of that was moto hunger, but I’d go back just for the food. WAY better than the deli.|
|Value||C||Seemed to be on par for what you get for the area.|
|Overall||B||I’d go back. The food and atmosphere is great. I’d just go when not pressed for time.|
The patio at the restaurant had a number of flowers that I’m not sure if or how they survive the long winters here.
From here the plan was to ride down Highway 4 back to San Jose. I’d not had many weather free rides over Highway 4. It was looking good for a clear passage over the mountains. Highway 4 has a long section of single lane pavement that makes it a more technical ride than the rest of the passes. I don’t care for it every ride, but this time I wanted the challenge.
Much like the color in the rest of the Sierras, there was spotty color all around!
Once up near the top of the pass, the yellow turns into green!
The lake levels for Mosquito Lake seemed low. Winter is coming. Snows will soon fill it’s shores.
As with all rides this one had to come to an end.. We hit sunset out in Stockton!