PACKER LAKE OUTING: by Chas Moser
This outing had a fairly small turnout with 5 1/2 rigs and nine riders. TBSA periodically shared the campsite with some folks who were transporting cows to the high country. Part of the campsite served as their unloading area. The gals at camp enjoyed this unusual event.
The outing provided a few breathtaking moments, one of which Chas would like to forget about but nonetheless demands a brief explanation (excuse?). Keith and Chas went out on a ride Thursday morning which turned into a 62-mile (nine out of ten pucker factor magnitude) ride. The unfortunate part is that Chas was taking his new-to-him Rekluse auto clutch-equipped KTM 200 EXC two-stroke out on its maiden voyage. About halfway through the ride, while traversing a very narrow ten-inch wide trail along a steep canyon above Canyon Creek, while slowly making forward progress, shifting into first gear produced an unwanted and unexpected neutral. Forward progress and hence ability to steer ceased, and as a consequence both bike and rider tumbled over the edge. The creek at this point was about 150 feet below the trail. The incline appeared to be almost vertical, at least in Chas' mind. At first the bike and rider were one. Thereafter, separation soon followed with rider and bike alternating for the lead in the slide down to the creek. Ultimately the rider beat the bike down to the bottom while the bike lodged on a rock outcropping about 125 feet down. [As shown in this photo]
It was ascertained that the trail almost approached creek level about 1/8 mile upstream; therefore Keith volunteered to ride the bike up the axle-deep moss-covered rock creek bed after the bike was maneuvered as carefully as possible down to the creek from its precarious perch. The bike rescue was successful and Chas was none the worse for wear, at least in a physical sense. Chas finally arrived back at camp after 8:00 PM.
On Friday, Chas recuperated to save up for the big ride on Saturday while Bill H., Keith and Bill T. went on a masochistic (ten out of ten pucker factor) ride which included the infamous Rattlesnake Creek Trail, and lived to tell about it (described elsewhere by Bill T.). Bob H. and grandson Andrew, and Chas went down to the deli/store in Bassetts for ice cream and milkshakes.
On Saturday, Chas on his beloved, comfortable, familiar KTM 525 led a 32-mile (eight out of ten pucker factor) ride with six riders. The only major casualty on this ride was Ron's gas tank which started leaking
copious quantities of gas. A trailside repair with quick dry JB Weld held the leak in check at least long enough to make it back to camp. Oh, yes, another potential problem involved a close encounter with a large bear on the Lavezzola Creek Trail. Comments on the ride ranged from: "Those old facts sure can ride" to "That was the best ride I've been on so far with TBSA". Bill H., Keith and Bill T. took another (ten out of ten pucker factor) ride which included the Spencer Lake Trail (described elsewhere by Bill T.). Le came up Saturday for the day but arrived after all the rides had already departed. He stayed and visited with the ladies and joined them for a delicious cup [Ed.Note: CUPS] of ice cream down the hill at the deli/store in Bassetts. We all enjoyed a nice potluck Saturday evening, and this time around Chas' solar-cooked Lasagna turned out much better!
On Sunday, Chas led a ride over the Butcher Ranch and Pauley Creek Trails, while the intrepid trio of Bill H., Keith and Bill T. hiked on foot to the Sierra Buttes Lookout from a trailhead starting point somewhere above the TBSA campsite.
PACKER LAKE PHOTOS: by Chas Moser
** Go to Part B