PACKER LAKE OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
Another super outing. Five club riders plus three (guest) day-riders enjoyed numerous rides from mild to wild on Thursday through Sunday!! Five rigs showed up with a total of eight people. Thanks to Vicki, Karin and Rose for joining in.
On Thursday, Keith and Chas took a short 16-mile ride in the afternoon to basically check out Keith's newly rebuilt, just broken-in '02 KTM 520. The riders took the jeep road up towards Gold Valley then down Pauly Creek Trail then Butcher Ranch Trail and back to camp. The 520 ran perfectly and never missed a beat.
There were two main rides on both Friday and Saturday, and one ride on Sunday. Chas will defer to Keith to discuss the 'wild' rides with Bill T on Friday and Saturday (with three extra friends for the incredible 80+ mile Friday ride). Chas suspects that at least one of the guests failed to heed advice given beforehand on the nature of the proposed Friday ride. Ron Columbo and Chas enjoyed a 'mild' but still technical 63-mile ride on Friday, which included the Saddleback jeep road out of Downievlle for a couple of miles, then a trail labeled as the Fir Cap OHV Trail. The Fir Cap Trail climbed in elevation for three to four miles, with fairly steep climbs in some sections, and up close to the Chimney Rock trailhead where the two had lunch. On the way back to camp, Chas took the jeep road up to the Sierra Butte Lookout then took the jeep road back to camp while Ron took Highway 49 back to camp. When Ron and Chas parted company, Chas took the Sierra Butte jeep trail up to a locked gate. Chas swears that the remaining steep walk to the lookout was at least a mile long going up, however coming back down didn't take much time; therefore, in reality, the walk was probably less than a half mile.
Larry and Chas took a fun 66-mile ride on Saturday, covering the Butcher Ranch Trail, Third Divide, Red Oak Canyon, then almost to the top of Craycroft Ridge for lunch. The two then explored several jeep roads before going down the First Divide. From Downieville, they found a shortcut back to camp, mostly on dirt roads except for several miles on Highway 49. Keith and Bill went on another long ride, finding two new rigorous trails in the process. Even though some had to be coerced into the potluck, it was nevertheless very successful, went without a hitch, and was enjoyed by all eight of us. The potluck was followed by several hours of 'socializing'. Ron and Chas took the only ride on Sunday. Ron expressed an interest in checking out some new trails in the Graeagle area and Chas took the bait. The 66-mile ride was primarily on roads. We found that most of the single-track trails in the Graeagle area were marked for multiple use but did not include motorcycles. We did find a fun, fairly smooth and twisty 25-mile jeep road between Graeagle and Gold Lake. We arrived at Graeagle at lunchtime and found the town bursting at the seams with a multitude of people. There was a very large arts and crafts festival at the local park with literally hundreds of booths and eateries. After lunch, Ron and Chas checked out many of the booths. Back at camp the ladies were envious of the boys and disappointed that they were not aware of the art festival beforehand.
All but Larry & Karin and Bill stayed over until Monday. The weather, up until Saturday night, had been quite comfortable with high temperatures at the 6,500-foot campsite elevation in the high 70's and lows in the high 50's. The furious lightning storm hit at about midnight Saturday, basically without warning (at least to Chas). Unfortunately, due to the mild night-time temperatures, Chas had kept all the overhead trailer vents open at night. Fortunately, the loud thunder woke him up just in the nick of time to close the vents, thus preventing a potential drowning. All in all, an excellent outing with super riding, all within 100 miles and less than three hours (from Loomis).
PACKER LAKE OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser and Vicki Hepler
(Click here for Part B)