The Sierra Nevada Gold country is just across the Sacramento Valley from me and I don't seem to get there as often as I should.
Had some time this week and decided to get away solo and do my own kind of camping.
But of course, I had to take the long way there. I knew the campground I wanted to check out, and it's usually about a three hour drive/ride when you do it straight. Not the case when leaving early and deciding along the way to change course. I hadn't been to the old gold country towns of Sonora & Columbia in a while, and being a history buff I decided that was the side route about an hour into the trip.
Sonora has grown and spread out like everywhere else in California with shopping centers, strip malls, and coffee shops. But Main Street is still old 1800's buildings and packed with traffic.
Now Columbia, that was nice mid-week. Stopped at the bar to have a Sarsaparilla before heading on out.
Then headed on up to Hwy 4 and then to Boards Crossing Road which leads down to the Stanislaus River.
Found a great spot and set up camp in a Forest Service campground for convenience, but they had no water, so it was only $10 a night. I had a picnic table, flat site, & pit toilets, so I was happy.
Always carry your own water out there. I did and was very happy about having something to drink.
On the way up, I stopped at the Ranger station and bought a Forest Map of the area for the roads. Another point of this ride was to RECON the area for a longer ride across forest roads to Hwy 108 and Sonora Pass.
Hiked along the river for some pictures and met some people who turned out to be former co-workers of a friend of mine. Small world. And they offered me a cold beer! Life is GOOD!
Returned to camp only to have the next site neighbors come over and offer me dinner due to them cooking too much. A dad was taking his three Eagle Scout sons out camping and they were great company for the evening.
So nice to see the good human nature out there again.
Of course, when I saw the Eagle Scouts looking up at the Sierra clouds forming, and then putting on their rain fly's, I decided to take heed.
And at 4:00 AM, I was glad I did. The sound of rain on a sealed tent is so relaxing, slept great.
Next morning I packed up (soggy tent and all) and headed up the other side to find some roads. Wound up doing a small loop down to another (original) bridge and going back up to Hwy 4 that way.
The rain stopped before I even got wet, but it kept the dust down. And I headed down to the great town of Murphys and found the best bakery with coffee. (I forgot mine)
Parked next to an older guy on a BMW K1600GT who just rode 50 miles for coffee here.
Must be good!
Great guy and the most critical BMW owner I've ever met. He started telling me that he was on his wife's bike because his was in the shop AGAIN, and it's been in there for warranty work over & over. Are my ears deceiving me? Motorad change their KoolAid? He asked me about the KLR and commented on simple it was, and wished he had something so simple.
Said goodbye, good riding, and headed home.
Great two days out on the back roads.