Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Weekend To Remember.

A weekend to remember. A Memorial day weekend spent enjoying some of the freedoms we are so accustomed to, the freedom to travel and to explore and make memories out on the open road. Some of our freedoms for which some gave all.

There are many ways to remember and thank those who sacrificed their lives, so we may continue to enjoy our liberties. My way was to go out and explore and enjoy the sights, the sounds and the beauty of the countryside and the love and company of my family and friends. Maybe those who gave their lives for us, would want us to honor their memories by living our lives doing what we love to do.

I had a very late start on Saturday morning, but for a very good reason. I had spent over a couple of hours on skype with my parents and my sister. We hadn't had a chance to sit down for a virtual visit for a few weeks, so it was great to 'see' them and catch up! After our talk I geared up and headed south towards Mokelumne Hill, where I was meeting my friend Tyler and her motorcycle group for lunch. 

On the way I stopped to take a picture of this barn next to the gnarly old Oak tree..

It maybe more dead than alive, but the two little angel Oak trees on it's shoulders are still watching over it. 

I detoured on Willow Creek and Sutter-Ione in search of the Zebras and Emus and Ostriches that can be seen sometimes on those roads, but none were to be spotted today. So, I headed towards the outskirts of Sutter Creek for another photo stop at the erstwhile Union Mine, which has since been renamed the Lincoln mine by it's new owner.

This mine saw it's heydays in the 1860's and then either lay idle or operated at a much diminished capacity till 1919 when it closed down. In recent years - it's owners tried to rekindle it's fortunes by offering tours of it's facilities, until over an year or two ago when the property changed hands and the new owner literally struck gold again. The mine is supposed to ramp up to full production again in the second half of 2013, bringing much needed employment to the Sutter Creek area.

As I kept filtering south, I merged with Hwy 49 again in Jackson and got stuck behind a long line or cars and trucks - it being a Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend on a congested thoroughfare which Hwy 49 is in this area, I expected it to be as much.

Just before Mokelumne Hill, I pulled over at Wendell's Lounge. Over the years, I have rode by this place countless times before, but I never stopped because the parking lot would usually be littered with the black leather and chaps crowd and I could tell they had been drinking. The place is now closed it seems. I guess things were never the same after my pilot buddy John landed his helicopter on the roof because he was parched. 

I was supposed to meet Tyler and her group at Frank's Cafe in Mokelumne Hill, but having not researched the location beforehand, I didn't realize it was actually out of town on Hwy 49, so I headed into town instead. 

Not a whole lot going on in town. From what I can tell, most of these Gold Country towns which haven't re-invented themselves as gentrified wine country attractions aren't doing so well. Unlike the other towns I rode through today, this one was practically deserted.

Although, the Horny Buffalo Society still maintains it's world headquarters here. Suffice to say I didn't much care (for many reasons including self-preservation) to find out what (tools) lay behind the secret entrance..

When I couldn't locate Frank's cafe in town, I realized it was probably in that little row of shops directly north of Hwy 26 and I was correct. Tyler's group was already there - they had arrived maybe 15 minutes earlier and were wondering where I was..

A good lunch set us up for the very fun twisties of Hwy 26 through West Camp. I hadn't been on this road for a while and thoroughly enjoyed re-discovering it once again. It is a tremendous road and you are constantly flipping the bike because it feeds you many a delicious succession of lefts and right handed curves. Uber fun! 

Most of these riders were unfamiliar to me, except for Tyler, and in situations such as these I never try to lead nor plant myself in the middle of the pack. So, Tyler and I ended up herding the cats from the rear, and eventually lost two who turned off the highway somewhere along the way. Tyler had assumed lead after this point and I was the sweep. I realized a short time after Tyler had taken the lead that we were short two riders, so when we regrouped on Hwy 88 I told Tyler I would go back and look for them as I knew these roads very well and I had a pretty good guess as to exactly where the two turned off. A few miles on my way back to look for them I found them - it seemed they had course corrected and had gotten back on track. All was well! :)

We rode up to Fiddletown - Tyler now leading and I sweeping and never lost another rider and took a little break there as there were 3 from the group who were going to split and head  back to the Bay area from here. 

The oft photographed 'Fiddle' in Fiddletown. It seems the Cowboy Church is gone, or at least the sign is, but the cowboys are still there. 

What are you pointing at Pardner?

It's been a very warm and dry spring, but it was still holding a handful of California Poppies captive, or maybe it was the Poppies who were desperately holding on..

Meanwhile, other smaller varietals were thriving in great numbers! :)

Regrouped and refreshed and after bidding adieu to the riders heading back to the Bay area, it was time to ride again for the last leg of the ride to Tyler's parents' retreat in the Sierra foothills. 

The group was going to camp there for the weekend. All except for me, I headed home from here..

Thank you Tyler for letting me be a part of your riding day on Saturday and for the invite to camp with the group on your parents' property. I will be much better prepared next year. Being that I have always preferred nice beds with nice sheets and hot private showers, I have almost no camping gear, not even a sleeping bag.

Sunday morning I headed out to intercept some friends, who were riding down from Eastern Washington, an annual father-daughter motorcycle trip they take every year on Memorial Day weekend. 

I figured a run on the impeccable Hwy 108 would be appropriate on this day, I was holding on to the belief that most of the weekend traffic would already be at their destinations and I wouldn't see super fun highways such as these backstopped by campers etc. 

My belief would hold true, I stuck on Hwy 49 pretty much all the way to Hwy 108 and traffic was light to non-existent. I had debated between Hwy 108 and Hwy 4 for my route today, but that debate only lasted about a second. I much prefer Hwy 108 to the single lane Hwy 4. 

The views are also just fantastic!

Love these curves! 

The jaw dropping and awe inspiring cliff faces on Hwy 108. It was actually pretty cold up here this day. Temperatures were in the low 50's on top of Sonora Pass.

I love me those curves again!! :-)

This view always reminds me of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Love the meadow in the valley with the river snaking through it. Surrounded by imposing mountains..

When I dropped down to Hwy 395 from the mountains I decided not to head north on 395. Heading north from the junction of 108 on 395 is still pretty with some nice curves, but the views are not so wide open, the section is also busy, and hence heavily patrolled. Bearing this in mind, I headed south to Bridgeport instead. 

Knowing I would find views such as this.. 

I fueled up in Bridgeport and noticed that the Rodeo was in town - right across from the gas station. So I stopped for a few and watched the ropers in action. 

Giddy up Cowboy! That calf ain't going to rope itself! 

Got him! Now to lead him into the enclosure! 

All done! Time to spit out some tobacco and ride off towards the mountains..

There was no stopping between here and Fernley, I took the awesome Hwy 182 out of Bridgeport which leads you towards Yerington through the beautiful Smith Valley in Nevada.   

I wasn't stopping because I figured I was already late and that my friends from Washington would beat me to the Fernley clubhouse. I was really looking forward to seeing them!

As it would turn out they wouldn't arrive for a couple more hours after I did. They had inadvertently taken some scenic detours in the Sierras on their way down from Anderson this day and had to backtrack. We had a great time when they did arrive and Brian served up his awesome BBQ Chicken! 

Good times indeed, but the morning came way too soon! The Washington contingent  was to depart at sunrise. I always get the butt end of jokes of not being up before sunrise, and I have all but given up protesting that despite their opinions to the contrary, I am usually up at 5:15 am every morning to go to the gym. 

Very pretty sunrise in Fernley on Monday morning. 

Brian is always delighted to have company at the Clubhouse! 

Here is my bro' Warchild and his progeny Wardaughter, at the beginning of the last leg of their trip - riding back home to finish their 1800 mile journey in 3 days. Keep in mind that Wardaughter is riding a 500cc Ninja with no wind protection. She rode that little bike through some frost bite inducing 20 degree temperatures and the rain and the wind. Her itty bitty bike doesn't put out enough wattage for her to crank her heated liner more than part way. Her daddy on the other hand was enjoying the comforts of a 1300 cc Warmachine! 

Who is the tough one? ;-)

On their marks get set... and they are off!

Brian and I headed off to breakfast at the Black Bear after they left. There was a storm brewing in the Sierra mountains this day and it was going to be directly in my path back home. Heeding some experienced advice - I decided to slab my way back home on I-80.

Before I rode into my garage to park my bike and end my Memorial Day weekend wanderings - I made a minor detour and went and paid my respects at this "beautiful"  Veteran's Memorial in town. 

All gave some, some gave all..

Thank you very much for reading! 

If you are interested in an emotional, inspiring and gripping story about the Battle of Midway as recounted by a sailor who was serving on the USS Yorktown, please visit my dear friend Brian's blog link below. Harold is Brian's father, Harold passed away last year.

Thank you once again! 


  1. thanks for taking time to do a good job presenting photos and dialog of your wanderings. Always love and adventure through someone elses eye. Tobie

  2. Thank you Tobie! I am looking forward to seeing you and Lisa in July! Can't wait for those good times to be here already! :)

  3. I've done 108 so often, but it has been too long ago. Thanks for the great photos and memories.

    PS: In my humble opinion, the best of all Memorial Days are those that are "thoughtful" rather than those that are "happy." You spent yours well, PC.

    1. Thank you Mr. B! I just wanted to spend the long weekend with family and friends and friends who are like family. Not a whole lot of thought involved in the process, it's was just what I wanted. :)

  4. It sounds like a great way to spend the weekend. I was out in that area in 2011. I rode up 395, over 120, and up 49 to 89. I would have liked to spend more time in that area and done 4, 108 and 88 too. I guess I'll have to save those for another trip. Thanks for the trip report!

    1. 108, 4 and 88 are among the best that the area has to offer. East side of 120 is phenomenal as far as riding pleasure goes if you can get lucky with traffic. You already know the views are top notch! :)

  5. Thanks for bringing the west out east to us. Great read and awesome pics.


  6. The rhythm of your pictures and narrative is as sweet as the curves on Hwy 108.


    1. Thank you Jeff! It was a great weekend and I was happy to share the adventure! :)


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