XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Monday, 21 July 2014

California - Thunderstorms, Lakes & Gold Country

We've covered well over 1000 miles in this hire car since we picked it up. When we left Lee Vining, we headed north up the 395 heading to Lake Tahoe, meeting up with a couple of guys who were riding sports bikes, an R1 & a BMW 1000RR, there seems to be way more sports bikes  here in California than anywhere else we've been. anyhoo they recommended we go to Truckee, a town at the north end of Lake Tahoe, so we did, via the 89 which winds over Monitor Pass, 8300ft +, mmm need a bike when we drive these kind of roads, they are almost purpose built for a decent bike!!

Lake Tahoe is beautiful, the Emerald Bay bit lived upto it's name & the drive up the west side of the lake was fab. 

Truckee was busy though, it's one of the busiest places we've been, so we left, taking the 80 over the Sierra Nevada mountains & aiming to find a campsite somewhere. 

With threatening thunderstorms & full campsites we ended up in Plymouth, a place on the 49, which is part of the Motherlode region, so named because there is a seam of gold & silver that stretches 120 long & was the richest  gold producing area in the US at the height of the gold rush era. The 49 follows this seam & a rake of towns spring up here, some of which spawned legends such as Mark Twain, the frog jumping competition & the name of the San Andreas fault.

We visited several of the towns, the most authentic being Angels Camp, home of the winners plaques for the frogs, they are cemented into the pavement!! We ended up in a lovely motel called the Shenandoah Inn, run by an Indian lass from Bolton, interesting accent she had!!
From here we headed back up into the hills on the 108, another fast bike road, there are loads of campsites here so we stayed at Fraser Flats, a cool place next to a river which seemed to be full of trout as everyone kept pulling them out. For us it was BBQ mushrooms smothered in Philadelphia cheese & New York Steak for tea, we highly recommend that!! :-)

Oh we also got our hair cut & Geoff did his ironing!!!

On the Sunday we drove upto the Sonora Pass, 9600 ft, as we got higher it rained harder but the pass is easily the most spectacular of the road passes we've driven up. It changes from trees to huge granite cliffs with a beautiful creek running through it to the actual pass which is all volcanic ash & lava flows, to make it more atmospheric it had thunder & lightning cracking off above our heads!

Apparent the pass was first opened in the late 1800's & was so expensive to build they put a toll on it. It took 3 weeks to traverse one way with a mule train!

So that's almost us for this trip, we got back to camp to find my tent in a small lake, everything soaking & the rain was still pouring down, so we did what all soft people did, packed up & headed to another motel, cheap & cheerful & where we could pack everything up ready for the flight back to the UK on Tuesday.

It took awhile to clean up the mess from the rain but that's us packed & sorted now, only remains to drop off the hire car & get ourselves to the airport without any mishaps...

Oooh can't wait to get home now to take out the DR 350 I bought just before I left... Mud, mountains & friends to ride with... happy days...

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