Because I thought that some of our riders might be tired of paying top dollar for good food and service (but mostly for variety and easy access to Vasco road) we started the August meeting ride at the IHOP in Livermore. Despite my phone calls, they had no idea we were coming… Fourteen of us met for the ride across the Valley and up Hwy 88 (bypassing Jackson on Ridge road) and over Carson Pass, with John Ellis again riding sweep.
We were a little early for fall color, but I’m afraid we didn’t miss much, most of the drought-stressed aspen had gone sickly gray. The weather was perfect once we got some altitude, which we never lost until the ride home. The lunch stop in Meyers was crackerjack when I previewed the route, but weekend traffic broke the weak link, the single plater in the staff of four, and it took an hour to get fed.
Around Tahoe to Truckee was a parking circus of tourists, but there was no weekend road construction. In Truckee we bought food for dinner and easy-traveling 12-packs of Sierra Nevada cans, two of which I strapped on top of the bag of charcoal I was already carrying. On to the Emigrant group camp at Stampede reservoir by the only route passable on road bikes: Up Hirschdale/Stampede Dam, past the power plant, and left on Dog Valley 1.6mi to the campground. Some solo riders got bad advice and wandered a while. We added 4 riders at the camp; Walt came in from Reno and Meetup followers, Michael Laviano and John Margozzi, made their Norcal debuts.
The site was beautiful, with a lake view, paved parking and public areas, and lots of level camping; a big fire pit, three grills and six tables on the pad. Yelp has made camp hosting competitive, and ours had game - his price for wood dropped from 3 bundles for $10 to 4 bundles for free, delivered. This was a cook-out, and Michael showed real Norcal form by cooking patties and gourmet sausage on the grill, then running two stoves at breakfast. Only Safety and Historian missed the meeting.
The Sept 26 meeting will be at Hornswoggle group camp at Bullards Bar reservoir, with the ride being led by Russ Drake and starting early (8:30 stands-up) from the Black Bear in Tracy. Cliff will help carry some food to the site, check Meetup and the web site for latest details. The catered Oktoberfest will be on 10/24 at Rancho Seco near Sacramento, and on Dec 5 Joyce Sampson will lead us to Plaskett Creek, south of Big Sur.
Congratulations and thanks to Joyce, Bob Empasis and the volunteers for creating a great Range of Light despite the disruption of several wildfires. We all had a great time!
Enjoy the ride.