Thursday, November 06, 2014

Third Stop: Downieville, Califoria

On somewhat of a last minute trip planning whim we penciled in Downieville, California. It was a logical stop between Oak Ridge, OR and South Lake Tahoe, CA our next planned ridding destination. After our great ride near Waldo Lake up to Twin Peaks we packed the van for the next leg, a seven or so hour drive into the mountains to a town that was not on any maps. I knew we were in for a treat.

The weather has been great with clear skies, warm air and vibrant fall foliage. The driving has been beautiful, I hardly spend any time with the normal distractions of phones and fidgeting, afraid I will miss out sights that fly by in furry. We also are trying not to do much driving at night and taking scenic by ways. Stella is happy at 55 mph, much more is asking a lot of her. So the less time we spend on interstates the happier we all are.

We climbed up highway 49, over Yuba pass, through lovely Sierra City and down into Downieville, California. Downieville, an active and once very prosperous mining location, is now a tourist destination, pretty typical "buy some shit in a pretty place" sort of feel to the area. We tried not to hit a tourist as we tried to get out of the town as fast as we could. There is a pretty epic race, The Downieville Classic, held here every year which puts this town on the radar for many mountain bikers. We pulled into town, over a one lane bridge and went straight to Downieville Outfiters where Greg was warm to show us the trails, epic camping and the low down on the town (and lack there of) and sign us up for a shuttle for the morning.

We high tailed it out a forest service road where we set up camp on a river and had instant access to trail. I can't believe the camping that we had. Right on the trail, next to a river and gorgeous forest all around. We spent the early afternoon playing (bathing) in the river and gearing up for a spontainous and inspired pedal right from the camp site. Our ride that afternoon was up second divide and down third divide. I was skeptical at first, the trail was skirting along a steep side hill with a lethal plunge to the right. It was loose and had lots of punchy steep rocky climbs, not my cup of tea. The riding was unlike anything I had done and far exceeded my comfort levels for the afternoon, I was ready to turn back with the dog (whos water bowl we forgot and Lucy is scared of drinking from the trickle that our hydration pack spits out). a few miles into it the trail. As soon as I wanted to turn around the trail wound back into enourmous pine forests, through valid mining camps, and followed a river. The riding was interesting and fast, the climbs were "engaging."

I rode up at John one point in the second divide trail where he had waited for me to show me this epic pine tree that had to be at least 10 feet in diameter. The pine cones were probably 18 inches long. We see lots of big ceder trees but we had never seen a pine tree this big. Second divide trail tied into third divide and proved to be a wild fun good time. A rare dynamic, John followed me down the entire trail which turned out to be really fun for me. The trail ended right at our van, down by the river.

The next day we rolled out of camp right on to the start of first divide trail which was quick 30 minute rip into Downieville where we hopped a shuttle at Downieville Outfitters. The shuttle took us to the top of Packers Saddle and we were able to ride some epic downhill for 12 miles. The shuttle was amazing, fast, technical in spots, chunder fest in others and epic in length. I would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I may know

I don't know how we witnessed  a man filling up his boat's gas tank with a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth who was precariously close to the nozzle watching the gasoline flow and not blowing up.
I know that when we were in Flagstaff for lunch one afternoon we were walking down the street and all of the sudden it felt like home, the smell. It was a smell I hadn't came across since leaving. John pointed out that we just passed a woman with dreads in overalls playing a banjo on the corner.
I know that two beers after a huge day of mountain biking is just right.

I know that I am one lucky lady.

I know that time may disappear while driving in a Westfalia. Just straight up vanish.
I know that is completely acceptable during a mountain biking trip for us to walk into pizzeria and order two large pizzas and they are consumed with ease within two meals.
I know that showering everyday is not an option, nor every other day, try like on in five days. Rest days are just about as scarce. Life is short, the trip even shorter and the future unpredictable. Get after it. I know that my best days of riding were on the days after rest days.
I know that the Grand Canyon is rather grand.
 I still don't know if there is increased energy in the vortexs of Sedona. I know that I may never know and I find pleasure in the mystery.

I know that a hard days work is incredibly satisfying.

I know that 50+ miles in two days is too much for a dog, no matter how excited she is to be on a ride.

I now know that pine trees to grow to be bigger than I ever thought possible. I know that riding through old growth forests is a very special experience and why I never want to leave the three states that make up the west coast.
I know that if I am angry I am just hungry. If I am hungry it is too late.
I know that the owners of bike shops work really really hard. I have seen it over and over, town to town. I thank you, we thank you.

I know that first hand information about anything is always the best. Trails, food, beer, local swimming holes and camping spots.

I know that it is always good to slow down. I know that watching the sun come up is an exercise in slowing down.

I know never to pass judgment-ever. Period. I also know to try and get to know the people you are surrounded by. People have interesting stories and usually want to talk about them. 
I know that my husband is the most patient person I have ever met. I know he waits hours for me on big rides and then is happy when I finally make it to him. I now know he gets this trait from his father.
I know that the fastest people on bikes will never tell you.
I know that in Burley, Idaho there is not a single coffee shop or stand. It is a larger town. This blows me away and makes me really sad at 6 am. Someone save those folks or at least the travelers passing through and open a decent coffee stand.
I know that riding at 9,500 feet will make me queasy, riding at 11,000 feet makes me want to barf while gasping for air as my body tries like hell to get the oxygen it needs.
I know not to order cocktails in the state of Utah.
 I know why people are spiritual in Sedona and artists go to the Southwest.
I don't know if aliens landed at area 51, if they did I am glad they choose the middle of Nevada and not the Pacfic Northwest.
I know that I need to be reminded not to take myself too seriously.
I know that our dog will eat all the garbage if she can and then be really embarrassed and know it was wrong.
 I know that any ride could be my last. Life is real like that. We happened to pull up to a swimming hole in Sedona the same time this big crew of riders were. We went swimming they took their terminally ill friend for his first and last ride on red rock. I know that life is precious folks. 

I know that we rode almost 400 miles of trail, climbed almost 50,000 feet of trail in 6 states and 12 locations. I know that Galbraith is a special place, Squamish has the best trails and they are both moments from our house.

I know that coming home is bittersweet. It is great to be home but hard to adjust.
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