CLEAR CREEK OUTING: by Mike Stewart
"Clear Creek Again after all these years"
Back in the 70s Clear Creek was my favorite riding area and oh the memories. Lost Canyon, Indian Hill, Picacho Store, New Idria ghost town, San Benito Mountain, and fording the San Benito river in winter. Gosh, the creek crossings of Clear Creek Rd, rocks, snow / rain / mud. Tire fires at night with a little pre-mix for "kindling". OK, so we were brain damaged from too many tire fire fumes.
With the Thanksgiving outing this year at Clear Creek there was no way we were gonna miss it. Besides, my fathers family is from Coalinga so that town has always been a special place but thats another story.
Like most who made the trip, we arrived late Wednesday afternoon. We found an ideal camping spot amidst Digger Pines along the San Benito riverbed.
Clear Creek has lots of trails but they tend to be a bit rougher than most places. Consequently we spent more time "on the pegs". Theres also ample tight single track terrain our ride leader was looking for. Keith was most wishing to explore eastern regions of Clear Creeks riding area so we spent the better part of our first two days riding there. In the process we saw miles of Manzanita real close up and occasionally a view of our surroundings. Memories started coming back! While riding any terrain is interesting, riding here kept me captivated as I tried to recall the past, relearn what was forgotten, and see what had changed. Mental overload, yeah, I was enjoying it all.
We had the usual trail surprises. A lost rider here, a mine shaft there, and a too brief visit to New Idria (or simply Idria). Then, there was Friday afternoon, or was it night!? We were riding this way and that and sometimes in circles most noticeably when the sun was fading away while we tried to find a way to camp. Meanwhile, gas started getting low and one of our newer riders was working pretty hard in the tight stuff (his large two-stroke wasnt suited to tight terrain). It got interesting there for awhile but at the last light we discovered a trail we knew. Thereafter, those with headlights provided light for those without and all ventured into camp too late for "cocktail hour" but more than delighted to be "home". You can imagine the stories. It was a great and memorable day.
Saturday was our last riding day. After 2 days in the eastern regions I offered to lead a ride over to the main riding area and soon six of us headed out. I wanted to revisit my old haunts for all sorts of reasons. Naturally, we had the best time!!! We found a full variety of riding terrain fun hill climbs (with one a bit too tough), fire roads, lots of whoops, grand vistas, almost no "cross traffic", and I got to "flash back" in time.
Our weekend turned out to be all wed hoped for (and more) and everyone headed home without injury. Of course there was a certain unnamed fellow in our midst with a new unridden orange scooter who arrived "sickern-a-dog" and never rode that scooter. He stayed in bed most of the time, had a little too much fluid; he probably hasnt got much good to say, but for the rest of us, what a weekend!
Maintenance, . . . Maintenance, . . . Maintenance!