Tahoe Trail-Ride

Not exactly a real trail-ride since most of the bikes were big behemoths and many were two-up, but we found a couple of roads that transected the wilderness between the Lincoln Highway (50) and Carson Pass Highway (88), and rode the lumpy wilderness distance between them. First we got off 50 at Strawberry and onto Pack-Saddle Pass Road, and went up-up and then down-down to Silver Lake Road, and out to Mormon Emigrant Trail.
After lunch (about fifteen minutes from home!) on Pleasant Valley Road we went down to Somerset and out to Grizzly Flat where we took Leoni-Caldor Road to North-South Road and out to Highway 88. In that latter section towards the bottom we went through Pipi Campground where the Polka Dots MC holds the 49er Enduro, and encountered a couple of off-road guys at an intersection who revved-motors and cheered-us onward as a column of 30-plus motorcyclists rumbled through! I guess we were unexpected! What’s nice is that up here even Harley riders wave and wave-back at other riders, whereas down in the Valley and in the Bay they seem to enforce the Fundamentalism of Brand, and do not.
All together it was about 210-mile 9-to-5 day of mixed-tarmac, from a bunch of twisty -potholed barely asphalted stuff to smooth, “Now what do we have here! Wilderness asphalt??” – fresh stuff!
At 183 miles at The Most Expensive Pump in The World. In Markleville I added 3.42 gallons when we had a chance to gas-up, before running around out to Nevada and pulling up the Kingsbury Grade. With a full-tank as I had started-out in the morning (with a fresh drop or two) the R1100R would have made it, I just didn’t know for sure since I haven’t put so many miles on it until now!

The Gentleman's Express at Carson Lake with head of Edelweiss World Tours and all-around great-guy Werner Wachter - and George from Seattle to the left.

The Gentleman’s Express at Carson Lake with head of Edelweiss World Tours and all-around great-guy Werner Wachter – and George from Seattle to the left.


The pace was rational and we never got into twisting it hard, at a few spots on the Highway(s) we rumbled along at around 70mph. In the woods and under the tree-canopy it was much more sedate since the corners were pretty blind, but if you stayed within sight of another rider they could telegraph and anticipate the corner for you, and you could pick up your own pace where it wasn’t too bumpy or pot-holed – actually like I said some stretches looked freshly asphalted and were smooth and easy.
Fun-fun but my butt hurt and I have to get re-accustomed to street-riding. Some of the rider etiquette was very good as far as lane position went, but some riders seemed to switch back and forth randomly or were just unfamiliar with staggered-column riding – which is fine because you need to stay alert constantly and not fall into a too-comfortable zone-out riding style anyhow. Rebels!

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About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

14 thoughts on “Tahoe Trail-Ride

  1. Frame Man in Sac is outstanding. He has done a couple frames for me over the years. Really nice guy.

    Will, How on earth could it “piss you off” that people didn’t want to ride with a radio in their helmet? I don’t listen to music and I don’t want to talk to people while I’m riding. Personal preference not subject to negotiation and I wouldn’t expect it to piss people off. If you want to ride with people who all have radios, then find a group where they all have radios.. Sounds to me like you need to relax a bit. Sorry, but if your friend went down it’s all on him, not on the fact that other people didn’t have any interest in radios. He shouldn’t have been pushing himself past his own abilities to try to keep up. A better plan would be to have an agreed on stopping point where everyone would meet up for a break.

    Sounds like a great ride. I own two Harleys and a CBR600 sport bike but I’ve recently been thinking about an Adventure Tour. It looks like a lot of fun.

    • Go for the Adventure Tour! A F2 Honda and two Harley, it sounds like you need a dirtbike to round-out and triangulate things! Just don’t get a KLR.:-) Was watching the carnage at the Erzberg Enduro on TV at a pizza joint, awesome rockpile they got there. Made me remember nightmare stuff we rode in Idaho that I’ve tried to forget!

    • The purpose for the radios was for data updates, not idle chatter. I wouldn’t put up with that, either.

      The friend was trying to save money, so he replaced his normal race compound street tires with a brand he had no experience with. He was having problems with the front end pushing, and they planned to add air at their lunch break. That was the next stop. Didn’t make it. A possible factor was he was suffering with Lupus for the previous year.

      All of us riders were long time licensed racers. The idiot setting the pace was a sponsored, very talented, national level racer. The friend’s Ducati 900sssp was heavily modified, chasing a Kawi. The tailend rider had parked his modded 900 and replaced it with a 916 with better handling, the better to keep up with the Kawi.

      The Kawi rider was pissed that I camped on his tail on his first ride with the group, when he wicked it up on a long, high speed session before supper the first day. I was seeing 140 indicated on the faster sections. The two other modded 900’s had been clocked at 170 at Buttonwillow, but they weren’t willing to run that hard that day. (Those two air-cooled engines had some serious hp.)

      The following day, I was dealing with frame flex all day long, pushing hard with race compound tires, and never laid eyes on them except at stops. Although challenging, it wasn’t much fun. That was my last ride with the group, as it was clear that the focus of the ride was changing. Well, that and I discovered that the Kawi rider had deliberately arranged for me to be unable to meet up for our next ride.

      The fact that my bike was down 30-40hp to the others only made a difference when they decided to run a race pace on the street.

      The really stupid thing? Those three all had wives and children at home. I found out later none of the wives knew how hard their husbands were riding on their “fun rides”. The three of us Ducati riders were about 50yo. The Kawi rider was under 40, I think. My friend was buried on his 50th birthday.

      I had a stroke about six months after that last group ride, and never rode again.

    • Sorry about the long post. My friend’s death, and the story behind it, still gets to me.
      Yeah, when you deal with racers and other life on the edge types, ego can be an out of control force.
      The pisser, is that it was my dead friend that warned me about the Kawi rider stating that he was willing to die to win races.

      That high speed run on his tail, was me putting on the same persona, to make a point to him. THAT was what pissed him off. I think he recognized he didn’t have that edge over me. It’s not nearly as common as people think. I could turn it on and off at will, but I suspect he can’t. I think it is always on, for him, due to his ego.

    • Sounds about right, I’ve spent some time in the pits listening to guys talk, and been able to follow them closely on the street and they didn’t like that much.
      My friend who broke his back had two little kids and a wife…who left him and took the kids. He risked death every time he raced afterwards, but just couldn’t stop. I could never afford to spend that much money on bikes!

  2. As long as that rim wasn’t cracked, it can probably be straightened out. BMW’s seem to be rather soft wheels. The Frame Man in Sacatomatoes can handle it, if the owner can’t do it himself.
    I fixed a front rim on a K100RT by cutting a piece of plywood to match the radius of the tire bead section inside of the rim. Maybe a quarter of the radius of the wheel, longer than the damaged area. With the rim resting on it, I hammered the outside with a large deadblow hammer to return the rim to its proper diameter. This worked very well. My roommates Suzuki front wheel actually cracked, and The Frame Man said it wasn’t worth fixing, as welding it would introduce too many variables.

    Before a group ride, it helps to have a group discussion regarding riding styles, etc. Really helps if everyone has a helmet radio for on the spot advisories. Really pissed me off that the last group that I rode with declined to invest in their own bike to bike radios. Lots of occasions that having it would have saved time and hassles on the road. Chasing down riders that missed a turnoff, gravel in corners, etc.

    Their excuse was it would be too distracting. I call bullshit on that excuse. My friend might not have died on a later ride, if the guy following him on a 916 Ducati had been able to tell the others that the pace was too much for his bike. He had the rear step out on him in a big way, and he backed off, but couldn’t tell them. My friend died several corners later, when he lost the front end of his 900ss, and got his leg trapped under the bike. (they were riding at a near race pace, which is truly stupid on the road)

    • I think maybe it was a Goldwing – one of two on the trip? I didn’t get involved, but they went to Roseville to get it fixed so maybe it was at A&S (BMW) there. The pre-ride group discussion emphasized take it easy, and there wouldn’t be many opportunities to pass even cars. Nobody had helmet radios as far as I know unless it was those who were two-up, but the pace was less than 7/10ths.
      I don’t have a helmet-comm or even a music-player because it’s too distracting to me – and I imagine an open channel would just be a awful babble-fest – worse than texting – and I’d turn it off anyhow. Also I would not have felt comfortable at that relaxed pace telling this rich old guy, “Pick a lane and stick to it, asshole.”. 🙂

    • No babbling to speak of, at least in my limited experience. Usually just “Deer in the Road!”, or observations about their bike having a problem, and other timely warnings. It’s not quite like the ‘net, you still have to watch your mouth 🙂

      The original radios were on the same freq as cordless phones and baby monitors. Riding through town could occasionally be entertaining. With phones you normally only heard one side of the conversation…

    • Oh right, I remember those days when cordless phones could be picked up on scanners… Good times! Really, I’m sorry about your friend. We had a couple guys do really stupid-stuff that nearly got one of them killed too. Broke his back and messed up a bunch of stuff, lost his job…

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