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Riding and camping Northern California and beyond, since 1965!



  • 30 Oct 2015 6:52 PM | Anonymous member

    Of the fourteen or so trans-Sierra passes (*), one is not paved - the Henness Pass Road. Interestingly, the past two club meetings were at campgrounds which were roughly at either end of the Henness Pass Road. Stampede Reservoir, the location of our August meeting, is near the eastern terminus of the road in Verdi, NV. New Bullard's Bar Reservoir - September's meeting site - is about four miles from the village of Camptonville, CA - the western end of the road. Any claim of riding all the trans-Sierra passes must include the Henness Pass - in my opinion.

    History

    Originally a trail first used in 1849, the Henness Pass Road stretched over the Sierra Nevada via the 6700 foot Henness Pass, down the ridge between the North and Middle forks of the Yuba River. 

    The road route is believed to be designed by Patrick Henness in 1849 or 1850. In 1852, construction on the primitive road made the route over Henness Pass into a toll road passable for wagons. Records show that as early as 1850 the road was already heavily used. By 1859 the rush for gold in California was waning. By mid-year, silver was discovered near Reno, and the exodus of miners from California to the big Comstock Silver Bonanza was on.

    Henness Pass Road, with its easy grades and established mining camps and stage stops along the way, became one of the more popular routes to the Comstock. Traffic along the road became so heavy that it was suggested that freight wagons travel by day, and passenger stagecoaches at night. Demands for road improvements were constant. Numerous companies were formed in the late 1850s through the early 1860s to construct new portions of the road as well as to make improvements on the existing road.

    The Comstock mines in Virginia City, isolated in the high desert, were served only by supply wagons that by necessity had to cross the Sierra Nevada. While the mines flourished, so did the freighters and stages that used the road. But, as mining production dwindled, the boom turned to bust. Then, with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1868, the need for horse drawn freighting over the Henness Pass Road became obsolete almost overnight.

    During the 1950s, the federal government planned to realign and widen Highway U.S. 40 over Donner Pass to Reno. A group was formed whose proposal was to have a modern highway follow the old Henness Pass route instead of the U.S. 40 route. This proposal was not accepted, and Highway 40 eventually was replaced by Interstate 80 over Donner Summit.

    The Route

    Starting from the west, there is a paved alternative at the western end of the road called Ridge Road. It starts at Highway CA-49 just south of Camptonville, and reconnects to the Henness Pass Road about 18 miles to the east. Don't miss the left - then right - turn on Pliocene Ridge Road at the turnoff to Forest City. Continuing straight at this intersection will take you to the town of Alleghany. About three miles east from this intersection, the Pliocene Ridge Road reconnects with the old Henness Pass Road. Another two miles and the pavement ends. Here, the road splits in a fork. The right-hand fork is the old Henness Pass Road. Of course, the paved Ridge Road aside, the purist GS rider will want to take the entire length of dirt on the old Henness Pass Road beginning in Camptonville.

    Continuing east from the end of pavement, about 15 miles of dirt road follows until arriving at Jackson Meadows Reservoir. Here, there is another paved alternative all the way to Hwy CA-89, but the original dirt section closely parallels this paved section. A short distance south on CA-89, there is a sign at the turnoff to Kyburz. The old Henness Pass Road continues east through Kyburz, which is another point of historical interest. The road is gravel and dirt the rest of the distance through Sardine Valley to the intersection of county road 270 near Stampede Reservoir.  Then continues on through Truckee Meadows and Dog Valley to the eastern terminus of the road at Verdi NV.

    No tour route from Tuco would be complete without a recommendation for food. In Camptonville, there's "Burgee Dave's at the Mayo" - a tavern located in the old 1850s Mayo building - a great place for lunch before the ride, or to end a ride if coming from east to west on the Henness Pass Road. Outside dining is available, and beer and wine is served.

    There are numerous points of historical interest along the Henness Pass Road including the gold rush towns of Forest City and Alleghany. As a history buff, I recommend checking them out. 

    For more information on the Henness Pass Road, Forest City and Alleghany I recommend the US Forest Service - North Yuba Ranger Station in Camptonville at the intersection of Marysville Road and highway CA-49. Call 530-478-6253 for business hours. The station has detailed brochures which are attributed to the information I wrote here. Glenn Sundstrom - the district supervisor and resident Archaeologist - is a wealth of local historical information about the Henness Pass and the Gold Rush era.

    (*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sierra_
    Nevada_road_passes

    -- Tom 'Tuco' Harris

  • 30 Oct 2015 6:44 PM | Anonymous member

    Ghoulish news from the Treasurer about the club finances? Hardly, all quiet post Range of Light. Speaking of which, we were significantly “in the black” as attendance exceeded plan with 35+ riders registering at the event. The final numbers will be available once reviewed by the BOD at the October board meeting. Work continues to add new capabilities to our website to make it easier to do business with the club and for the club to do business. If the new site is approved by the BOD, members will be able to logon, view confidential club documents (meeting minutes and financial records), update contact information and see previous payments for events, dues or items purchased in the club store. Shoot me an email if you have questions about the club finances and wherever you ride, think safe!

  • 30 Oct 2015 6:41 PM | Anonymous member

    What a ride Russ Drake showed us on the September ride to Hornswoggle! I gave the lead to Russ so that he could show us some secret roads in his dirt-riding backyard, and he delivered. Some of his roads were already in my kit, like Pleasant Valley (below 49) but the rest are in my files now. The route, which started early due to its ambitious length, began at the Black Bear in Tracy (amazingly fast service, people who obviously enjoy the large portions.) Early on Russ showed us yet another way through the Stockton Airport (on Old Sperry) then up Jack Tone and Clay Station to riding country. Bass Lake, Green Valley, Lotus, Bayne, Spanish Flat, Darling, Wentworth Springs, Dog Bar, Rough and Ready – we hit them all while avoiding the Georgetown Fire area. I drew the GPS route and instructions from Russ’s pre-ride track The Hornswoggle group camp was large, flat, beautifully wooded and had large parking areas with a drive-through for boat trailers; worth remembering. There was no wood on site, but Mike Huntzinger and friends scavenged enough to keep the wild animals away. This was billed as a cookout, so another rider and I carried bags of charcoal for cooking dinner. There were a lot of stoves out at breakfast, I had bacon and eggs.

    At the meeting Tom Harris told us about the nearby goldrush- era Henness Pass, which connects Gold Country to Verdi Nevada (read his article in the newsletter.) Next day I took a ride east on Ridge Road, a wide and swoopy road to nowhere, toward the pass. There’s a bar in Allegheny, and the Clampers who run the museum and campground in Forest City were drinking their morning beer when I rode up. Should be a good GS ride over the top.

    The October 24 meeting is the Oktoberfest at Rancho Seco Park, 25 miles southeast of Sacramento. That’s also the same day as the Clearwater Lights’ open house (and free lunch!) in a Sacto suburb. So I put together a route that goes up the delta to Clearwater before proceeding through the foothills and dropping into camp.

    The route took careful planning because I didn’t want to re-use and of the roads that Russ Drake picked the month before. The start in the Railroad Café, 833 E Stanley Blvd, Livermore; stands up at 9:00. The route will be on Meetup and the web page.

    The November meeting, actually on Dec 5, is at Plaskett Creek, on the coast below Big Sur, with Joyce leading in my absence. January 2016 will be at Laguna Seca, Februaury is at Fremont Peak. For the March meeting in Death Valley I’ve added 2 single sites to the double site and group site that we already had. I’ve booked Black Butte Lake (near Orland, NOT Lassen) for April. May is the 49er, and the June election meeting
    is TBA.

    Speaking of the June election, I’m hoping that you will look into your hearts (and your friends’ hearts!) to see if they say “Tour Captain” on them. And the Newsletter Editor job is open NOW.

    Enjoy the ride. --Ted Crum Tour Captain

  • 29 Sep 2015 5:22 PM | Anonymous member


    SEPTEMBER
    Brian Goetz 5 Years
    Linda Opp 20 Years
    Wayne Opp 20 Years

    OCTOBER
    Don Alexson 5 Years
    Carmen Vailly 5 Years

    NOVEMBER/
    DECEMBER
    Lee Damico 5 Years
    Marc Dubresson 15 Years
    Doug Hubbard 40 years

  • 29 Sep 2015 5:18 PM | Anonymous member

    It was my fourth visit to the BC rally held every year mid-August in the town of Nakusp.  I really enjoy the area; great riding to and from, and the roads, geography and geology of eastern BC are fabulous.  Nearby towns are charming; Kaslo, along Kootenay Lake, Revelstoke, a ferry ride across the Columbia and  Nakusp itself is right on the water, a quiet, quaint town.  The rally is held in the Municipal Campground, a couple of blocks north of “downtown”. And I really appreciate my Canadian friends; wonderful, open people who are welcoming and fun to be around.

    I decided to take the ’72 R60/5 that I acquired about a year and a half ago.  After going through its systems and sorting everything out, new battery, new tires, etc., I was anxious to stretch its legs on a long roadtrip.  I picked up a 22 liter tank in good shape on EBay to have a bit better range than the toaster tank it came with.  Even then, running at 5,000 rpm most of the time, mileage wasn’t great.  It is fun to ride, comfortable, and very nimble.  Now, with 19,000 miles, it is almost broken in.

    I usually ride up the 395 corridor and stop the second night at my brother-in-law’s in Joseph, Oregon, about 850 miles along.  Besides the opportunity to hang out with him, the Wallowa valley, mountains and lake are incredibly beautiful.  He was on a horse packing trip during my trip up so I stopped at Crater Lake NP the first night, then up 97 to Redmond and east on 26 to Mt. Vernon.  I had a bit of rain starting there, gassed up and headed up 395 to camp at Ukiah-Dale State Park.

    The next morning I planned to get just south of the Canadian border near one of the smaller crossings.  I’ve got to say that the section of US395 from Mt. Vernon to Pendleton is just spectacular.  I went up through Walla Walla and hit 195 at Colfax, WA.  Then an awful section of traffic and stoplights through Spokane.  I rejoined 395; the countryside and road now being much more enjoyable and camped at Lake Roosevelt on WA Hwy 25. 

    I crossed at Patterson, went through Rossland, Trail, over to Salmo and up the west shore of Kootenay Lake from Nelson to Kaslo.  North of Kaslo, the lakeshore drive gets pretty rustic and eventually turns to dirt.  I stayed at a Provincial Park on the lake’s shore beneath tall, steep mountains.  I went for an invigorating swim in the lake to rinse the road sweat off..

    I headed back toward Kaslo and onto BC 31A over to New Denver one of the most beautiful stretches of road you’d ever ride, then north up Hwy 6 to Nakusp and the rally.



    It was a great rally.  The Bee Cee Beemers rent the entire campground for their event so there is lots of good shady camping with showers.  Catering by local Deb Guest provided really good meals each of  three nights.  The Canadian dollar is around 75 cents so the rally fee was a bargain by US comparisons.  There were some GS rides, guided tours, a trip to the Hotsprings, bike events, Reinhart’s famous “Kicking Horse” coffee always on tap, and of course my own rides of discovery in the area (watch for deer and bears which are abundant!).

    I left for home early on Sunday through Nelway.  Getting through Spokane was much easier on Sunday morning, then down to Lewiston, ID.  The road from Lewiston to Enterprise, OR is one of my all-time favorites.  Going south through Asotin it is WA 129, turning to OR Hay 3 after crossing the Grande Ronde river.  From Asotin, you wind up onto a plateau, twist down the river gorge and back up the other side onto the plateau again before descending to Enterprise, which is just north of Joseph, my destination.  This road is known a “Rattlesnake Grade” and is one of the best set of twisties in the west.

    It was nice to have a place to stay and a shower in Joseph.  The next day, I rode into the Hells Canyon Recreation Area on good FS roads, to Imnaha then up to the Hat Point Overlook.  It is hot, desolate wilderness, with evidence of past fires and spectacular views back to the Imnaha River valley and Hells Canyon itself to the Snake River far below.  It is the deepest river gorge in the US,  I came back to Joseph via the FS road south from Imnaha towards Halfway, OR, then up the paved road into town.  A good days ride; only 101 miles.

    I couldn’t come south of John Day on 395 because of a huge fire in Canyon City, so retraced my route back to SF via 26 and 97.  They were fighting a fire that had broken out at the NW corner of Crater Lake; smoke was in the air almost the entire way home.

    I would recommend the BC Nakusp rally to everyone.  It is one of the best rallies in the west!



    Mike Morlin

  • 29 Sep 2015 5:17 PM | Anonymous member

    No matter how many times I encounter good will and the instant sense of community that motorcycling creates, I’m amazed.  My experience on the 2015 Range of Light (RoL) has so far been the highlight of this year. 

    It generally doesn’t matter what you ride, motorcyclists respond to each other.  We wave to one another and exchange friendly nods.  Our club goes further.  I’ve come to know and enjoy riding with many of our members.  It feels great to know that I can share my passion of riding with other people.  The community we have is physical and extends beyond the keyboards many of us sit behind for much of the day.  I like that and I’m always excited about seeing my fellow club members.  I met many new people on this year’s RoL, and each were instantly part of our community.  It’s a great feeling to belong and share something in common with others.

    Our turn out this year was great.  I’ll leave it to Joyce or JV to elaborate on the final numbers once the expenses are fully tallied.  Profit, loss, and participation counts are important. To me,  our success is measured by the number of volunteers engaged and the sense of community the RoL created among the participants.  Each evening was paired with grassy camping, good food, and great company.   Everyone I talked to enjoyed the routes and felt spoiled by the grassy fairgrounds.

    I’ve gained much from being in NorCal.  Friendships have been made with people in the club that I might not have ever met.  Seeing the number of volunteers contributing to the massive effort that was the 2015 RoL makes me proud to be a part of this club.  A enormous Thank You goes out to all of those that made the event possible and the participants.

    Dan Rowe

    President

  • 29 Sep 2015 5:14 PM | Anonymous member

    On a recent club ride it dawned on me how attacking the “Twisties” was similar to a game of 8 Ball! In a game of pool, it’s necessary to make the shot you’re on, but it’s just as important to leave the cue ball in place to line up your next shot! To do that one must look through the shot and decide what the next shot will be and how to set it up, before taking the shot you’re on.

    OK, how is that like our ride? When approaching the first corner of a series, it’s easy to position yourself for it, but you will also need to be in position for the following one! Look through the corner and pick where you need to be to set up the next corner. Now keep your eyes up, looking through the corner and on the spot you want to be at when you get to the exit of this corner. Now you’re in position for the second one, but wait: Now you need to start this process all over again! By always looking and planning one curve ahead of where you currently are, you will be in the proper position to make that next shot, and the next one too, until you win the game!

    Usually, that starting positon will be to the outside of the turn. So a right hander, being on the left side of the lane gives you the best view through the turn. Especially blind corners. In fact for these, one should slow down enough to begin the turn, looking as far through it as possible, until able to see the exit, and coincidently then, the entrance to the following corner, then go for it! Here’s a tip for the left handers on the two lane roads we like to ride on. If starting from the left tire track, once leaned over, your shoulder will be directly above the center line, which puts your head over the line and into oncoming traffic! Another reason to start the left turns from the right side of the lane, and not cutting it too close at the apex unless you can see all the way through the turn and know it’s clear! Now let’s put on our game hats and play … ‘er ride!

    No new recalls by BMW NA at this time.

    Steve Kesinger; Your Safety Guy

  • 29 Sep 2015 5:13 PM | Anonymous member

    I've been hearing about the ROL Tour for years, but I have never been able to attend one. I always liked the idea of a "gypsy tour" and this year my schedule allowed me to make the ride. On Friday afternoon I arrived at Orland at about 5PM and gassed up so I would be ready for riding the next day. There was another BMW rider at the pumps, and he had already been to the Fairgrounds. He told me there was no food onsite, so I thought I'd go set up my tent and then go back out for dinner.

    When I checked in and mentioned that it was my first ROL, Ed Perry asked me to write up my impressions. I've been to five or six National Rallies and the 49'er a couple of times, so I have some other events to compare to.

    I rode around the site and found a nice grassy area behind one of the big buildings. I saw some folks that were already set up in the shade and were relaxing with adult beverages. Looks like a good place to camp! I introduced myself and asked if I could set up next to them. They were very nice folks and made me welcome. It turns out Tod (yes, with one "d") and his wife Avillia and their friend Ted were members of the River City Beemer club and had been riding together for many years. They had 100K mile awards from A&S BMW on their bikes, so I knew they had some experience. Since I was riding alone I rode with them on Saturday. Being with Avillia also got us a table at the "Women-Only" Happy Hour, and some nice snacks for dinner on Friday night.

    Having the GPS info was a huge plus on the Poker Run. Jerry and the others folks at the GPS table were very helpful with the file transfer and installation. Because I don't have audio capability on my Nuvi 50, it would have been much more difficult to keep looking down at the tank bag. PS I know it's tough to print out the booklets, but I have one suggestion; use a bigger font for the route sheet.

    Joyce was a great host, moving around taking pictures, helping people get set up, and find the beer donation truck. She helped me get a tee shirt because somehow the website had not made a record of my online purchase.

    I didn't complete the ride to Susanville because I woke up about 2AM Sunday morning with a sore throat. I decided I didn't want to be two-hundred-plus miles from home if it got worse during the day. I also was thinking about all the Burning Man traffic coming back to the Bay Area on Monday afternoon. My thanks to all the volunteers that put in the time to create another ROL. Great camp sites at Orland and Yuba City, great roads Saturday day, good food Saturday night, nice people. I'll plan on attending again.

    Ran Bush

  • 15 Sep 2015 5:20 PM | Anonymous member

    Our Tour Captain, Ted Crum, after doing all the hard work of making reservations, is taking a break this month.  I did the Marine Corps volunteer thing of standing still in line as everyone else stepped back.  I have decided to try and introduce some of my favorite little known twisty roads to this month’s tour. 

    Since everyone has had their appetite wet for twisty roads by riding the Range of Light, be prepared for more with this month’s ride & camp tour to the Hornswoggle Campground, located northwest of Nevada City and very close to Bullard’s Bar Reservoir.   The campsite has tables, fire pits, water and toilets.  This month’s meeting will start Sat. @ 5:00 pm.

    The direct route to the campsite is to ride up to Nevada City and continue northwest on Hwy. 49 about 14 miles until you cross the Middle Fork of the Yuba River, then make a left on Moonshine Road which winds its way up to Marysville Road.  Make a right on Marysville Rd. and the Hornswoggle 2 (Sugarpine) Group campsite will be a little ways up on the right side of the road.  For those of you who are fortunate to be retired or sick of work, we have the campsite for both Friday and Saturday nights.

    If you are joining us the tour, we will be meeting at the Black Bear Diner, 2351 Toste Road, Tracy, CA.  To get to the diner, take 580 towards Stockton and exit on Grant Line Road, take a right onto W. Grant Line Rd. and the diner is on the right.  The tour will start at 8:30 am SHARP!  Gas tanks should be filled and bladders empty.

    This month’s tour will be about 250 miles so we will be moving right along.  We will be heading up into the hills using many small two lane roads.  There will be no freeways used on this tour.  Once in the hills, we will seek out some of the small one lane country roads located close to several of my dirt biking areas.  All parts of the route are paved but I guarantee that you will find at least one and possibly several roads that you did not know existed. 

    Hope to see you all,

    Russ

  • 15 Sep 2015 5:10 PM | Anonymous member

    I’m sure that most everyone who rides a motorcycle remembers the first time they saddled up.  That inexplicable feeling of freedom that came with the ability to all of a sudden become detached from the connected world and focus on a much more finite universe.  At least, that’s how it was for me.  I was 21 and scraped $1250 to purchase a used 1983 Honda Magna 750 and my life changed.  I was elated with this new world I was now a part of, a world that has become an obsession. 10 years and two bikes later I finally found myself on the back of a GS.

    The first time I heard of the Range of Lights Gypsy Tour was a few months prior to the ride at another BMW NorCal event, the 49er Rally.  I met a few of the folks from the club as well as some weekend warriors who also decided to remove themselves from the comforts of their bubbles to venture out on a new adventure in search of expanding their network of ridden roads.  That’s where I met the “Rabbit” Peter and Wendy who ride two up but you’d never believe it trying to catch them.  After riding the poker run with the two of them along with some other riders, all of which suggested that I attend the ROL, I marked my calendar.

    Upon arrival at the Orland fairgrounds I signed in and headed off to find a shady spot to pitch my tent.  I immediately noticed that a lot of the riders showing up hadn’t quite shaken off the daily grind and I started to wonder if I had chosen the right event to spend the holiday weekend.  As riders got settled in and possibly after a few of those graciously provided Lagunita IPAs, the story telling and lighthearted banter started and things began to shape up.  The universal truth about these types of events is that everyone has one thing in common, they love the ride.  It’s amazing how quickly this one commonality can bring together such an array of personalities that would have otherwise never crossed paths.  Once settled in everyone was so open to sharing their riding experiences and bike modifications.  Just walking around the facilities looking at all the different bikes was great. It turned out to be a perfect evening and I had a blast meeting all the new faces and listening to their stories.

    In the morning after some well needed coffee and pastries I packed up and got ready to chase the “Rabbit”.  Our group was completed at 7 bikes and eight riders; Jens, Kelly, Jon, Steve, Peter, Wendy, Jeffrey, and myself.  We headed out at around half past eight in the morning, rode through the remaining valley floor between Orland and the Mountains, finally reaching some twisties! That’s when the day transformed into an amazing mixture of beautiful scenery and amazing riding for me.  We flew past Lake Almanor, down through Greenville, and stopped in Quincy for a little lunch (The food and waitresses were great).  I had never been up that way prior to this ride and appreciated it immensely.  The towering Ponderosa Pine trees and beautiful outcroppings of rocks made for some impressive views, not to mention the “Rabbit” pace is brisk (hence the “Chasing the Rabbit”).  We then headed across some back country roads and finally down the backside of lake Oroville and out through the valley to the destination for the night, Yuba City.   The fairgrounds were welcomed, the hot showers were welcomed, and most of all the ice cold beverages that were waiting to quench us few arriving parched riders were welcomed!  The rest of the night was filled with food, laughter and great stories from the days ride. 

    Day 2 started off in about the same fashion as the previous day with one small difference, I was a bit nervous about chasing the “Rabbit” down the GS route.  I voiced my concern about it with my riding group, in dramatic fashion, saying something along the lines of, “I don’t want to die.” Admittedly, up until this point I’d never needed to turn off my ABS and honestly had to be shown how to do so.  True to form these seasoned riders said, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep track of everyone’s whereabouts.”  The safety plan was sound, one rider would ride a few miles and wait until he saw the headlights behind him before continuing.  That was enough to put my mind at ease and we headed out at around 8 in the morning.  The ride was fantastic right out of the gate! Following the “Rabbit” out of the valley, winding down a canyon alongside a river, through some tunnels, and out past some campers.  It was a beautiful flow to the ride, there was very few cars or obstacle, the tarmac was in good condition and once again the pace was great. 

    We got through the GS portion of the ride without incident, ate lunch in Greenville and headed though what was in my opinion the greatest portion of the ride. The ride around Antelope Lake and over the Janesville grade, what a fun road! The feeling I got riding down this grade can only be equated by adding up all the rushes of excitement during each Christmas morning for the first 8 years of my life, which would probably generate enough energy to power a small locomotive up an 18 percent grade for 32 miles towing 13 cars full of coal.  We were carving up the path between the lake and 395 like a wild pack of hyenas, tearing through the byway!  I was so incredible focused on the road and maneuvers. Also, for the first time I was the “Rabbit” as my group allowed the young guy out front for a few miles.  It was incredible, one of those moments where you feel completely connected.  My machine, the road, and I were all one entity.  We came down the grade into the valley feeling as if we were storming the beaches of Normandy and reaching the chevron was our victory hill! When we pulled in, feeling like we had won over the mountain, we were high fiving and laughing like school children!  The last few miles flew by and we arrived at our destination for the night in Susanville.  The night was once again filled with jovial riders sharing stories and I couldn’t help but feel like I was a part of a family now.

    All in all I would recommend this trip to any rider, at any skill level as there is a group to follow and help you out along the way if you get hung up.  A wonderful experience and ride.

    A huge thank you to BMW NorCal for putting on this amazing adventure as well as my riding group; Peter, Windy, Jens, Kelly, Jeffery, Steve and Jon.  You all made this trip so much more enjoyable, a truly great group of people.


    Dave Craighead

    R1200GS rider

          

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