The Breakfast Club: Gardnerville, 2017
Friday, Aug 25 2017
I left the gas station close to my house just at 9 AM. The bike had been mostly packed the night before. More on that later. My goal of missing most morning commute traffic was more-or-less realized. It took me just under an hour to make it to the Black Bear Diner in Tracy. Harry was already there, talking to Poul in the parking lot as I arrived.
After breakfast Poul headed to Gardnerville in his car. Harry and I had different destinations. He was off to Tahoe to spend a night with a brother. I was off to a night of camping at Wolf Creek. We’d ride together as far as Angels Camp then head our separate ways.
There wasn’t much traffic on SR 4 but being a weekday there were a few places where I had to wait for road work. The longest delay was about 15 minutes as CalTrans moved a crane that was blocking the only lane. That was after a rest stop I took at the very full Lake Alpine.
I didn’t camp at Wolf Creek. The road is closed. But right there at the turn-off is Centerville Flat – another no-amenities-save-pit-toilets camp site used mostly by RVs as it is right off of SR 4. There were 5 or 6 RVs on the largish grounds. I pitched my tent were none would bother me and headed down to the river to fill up a bucket with water to douse the campfire I intended to build.
I went scrounging for firewood while the sun was still up. There were lots of small to mid size branches are scattered on the grounds; the remains of the fire that swept through this area a couple of years ago. I also pulled out some larger partially burnt chunks left by previous campers from some of the stone fire rings.
I’ve been packing my bike exactly the same way on camping trips for years. Coming home from Patricks Point this spring my knees started bothering me and the tank panniers I used didn’t give me much space to move around. This was the first trip that I packed without panniers, moving my camp kitchen to other parts of the bike.
Come dinner time I found that I’d only partially packed the camp kitchen. The bottle of alcohol that fuels my stove was still at home in my garage. The stove had a little alcohol left from the Patricks Point trip. It was enough for very al dente pasta, luke warm lentils, and cool (but spicy) Lousiana hot links. I don’t think I’ll ever forget to bring fuel, again.
Once the sun went down and I lit the fire I put a kettle over the flames to at least have hot water for my tea and brandy.
Saturday, Aug 26 2017
I was up with the sun Saturday morning. With no fuel I decided to break camp then head to Markleeville for coffee and breakfast because it was close. I had cell reception in Markleeville and found out that the motel wanted me to check in before noon if possible. It was possible. I backtracked on 89 from Markleeville to go over Monitor Pass to get to Gardnerville. I got there about 10:30 checked in. Surprise! My room was ready.
Dinner was at the Carson Valley Country Club. We had a nicely cooled back room to ourselves. I tried to get pictures of all who were there but missed a few. Well, I may have taken their picture but the camera decided to focus on something else as it sometimes does leaving my intended subject a blury blob.
As can be seen in the last picture, above, Russ was awarded the boot for 2017. His name as been added to the list of recipients on the Boot FAQ. Why?
How many people buy a brand new bike that is 10 years old and never been registered? Russ would. Most shy away worried about seals, rubber, internal corrosion, and DMV hell. Then there are the “If I ride it it won’t be new any more and will lose value” thoughts.
Last year at Gardnerville Russ bumped into Rich Penrose’s bike. Russ’s bike went down. Rich had to help Russ pick up his bike.
A spam/phishing email went to the mailing list in Russ’s name.
Sunday, Aug 27 2017
My plan was to go to Kirkwood for Breakast. Carl discovered that Kirkwood was closed for remodeling. The fall back was Woodette’s. In all the years of going to Carson City/Minden/Gardnerville I’d never stopped there for breakfast in spite of it being one of the standard places riders went for breakfast on the way home. Several of us met there for breakfast. Large cakes.
I discovered I have a new riding ability on the ride home. I guess that’s a good thing. The story…
I was behind Carl on the way down SR 88. He was setting a nice pace and on a whim I decided to follow him instead of turning off onto Defender Grade and taking SR 26, something I do most years. I typically stop someplace around highway 49 and later stop again to get gas in Tracy because I’m never 100% sure I can get home on the fill up in Gardnerville.
Carl didn’t stop in Jackson. He didn’t stop in Stockton. He didn’t stop in Tracy. About Livermore I’d been in the saddle for 3+ hours and was thinking of stopping on my own, but the temperature was 105°. Iron Butt Tyler kept riding and I kept following until we separated at 101 – a couple of miles from my house. My new found riding skill is the ability to stay in the saddle for 4 hours. Not sure I want to do that again. Oh, gas was not an issue. One of the side effects of not using tank panniers is I get better gas mileage.
Carl explained later in an email:
I kept thinking I needed to stop and take a break, but then I figured it was only going to get hotter and more congested, so may as well press on.
And press on we did.