Dirt riding with Andre

2022-09-25

Andre came to visit and we went motocamping. On Saturday we checked out the bikes, and since he didn't bring any gear we went to Cycle Gear to get a second set. My current gear is a bit heavy for desert riding so I got myself a set of lightweight armor and Andre wore my normal jacket and pants.

We had breakfast burritos on Sunday morning and left towards Stanislaus. Our goal was to ride some dirt at Hull Creek and then camp at the same spot I had camped in August with the cows. We saw the immediate aftermath of a collision between a bike and a car right where 120 meets 108, the rider looked like they might not survive. The rocky singletrack at (38.1007,-120.0270) was a lot of fun again. The sun went down and we rode into town to try to find a hot meal. We saw another bike accident, where a lady had gone wide in a corner on a vespa and had messed up her hand. We headed towards Diamond Jim's in Mi-Wuk Village but they said their kitchen was closed, and the pizza place in Twain Harte should still be open (even though Google Maps said it was closed). Then we tried The Eproson House in Twain Harte but they said the same thing, and that the pizza place is probably the only food place that's still open. We figured it was a long shot but we rode to the Pizza Factory, everything looked deserted but as we rounded the corner we saw lights and the "Open" sign was lit, yay. So we had pizza there, and rode back to the cow spot at (38.0340,-120.0579) to sleep. Just before we arrived we saw a monster spider on the trail but it wasn't a tarantula, just a big wolf spider.

Next morning we rode the little loop to the busted Dick Tracy car at (38.0340,-120.0670). We got blocked by a big log but we were able to dig out a bit underneath the log and slide the bikes underneath it. At some point the clutch master cylinder pin popped loose while Andre was riding, which also happened to Alex. I adjusted the lever a bit so the pin would sit a bit farther inside the housing.

Then we rode some more dirt near Hull Creek, and once our water started running low we went back to Mi-Wuk Village and had lunch at Andy's Mountain Grill. Then we rode to Sonora, up to 4, and over to White Pines. I tried to show Andre the spot I went last time where the map was wrong and I ended up in the middle of nowhere, but ironically we got lost trying to find the right trail, somehow fell off the north edge of the map again, and had to do a loop on logging roads to get back to the park. Then we rode some very technical singletrack with lots of trees that had fallen across the trail. Got stuck a couple of times. Met some guys who said they also often get lost at White Pines. We noticed that the DR650 was missing a bolt and the muffler was a bit loose so we headed into town.

On the way into town we took a dip in the lake on the way to Arnold. Tons of little birds, spiky pinecones falling from the trees. We went to a hardware store and got a replacement bolt and nut for the DR. Then we got a bit of gas and some Clif bars and water at 76, and then rode around Arnold looking for dinner. Not a lot of choices, we went to Dorrington instead and ate at the Lube Room. Met a guy who used to race professionally, chatted with him the whole night. It turns out he's also working on his PPL, pretty cool. We planned to camp at White Pines but we weren't sure how cold it was going to be. Riding back towards Arnold we hit some thick cold fog and we were a bit worried because White Pines is higher, more remote and more exposed on the side of the mountain. But actually we got lucky and it ended up being quite warm.

The next day we rode into Sonoma for breakfast at The Peppery in Sonora, and rode home.

Photos