SWEETWATER OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
Normally our largest outing of the year, the turnout was reduced primarily due to the potential smoke problems courtesy of the horrendous Yosemite Rim Fire. Eleven rigs showed up with fourteen riders, six ladies and five dogs. Nevin arrived Friday evening, chatted for about thirty minutes, then turned around and left for home due to the smoke. He said he'd had enough smoke in Truckee already. Ron Columbo and Rose arrived on Wednesday to crystal clear weather. Most of the rest arrived on Thursday, also to clear conditions. The primarily north winds shifted towards an easterly direction Thursday night resulting in smokey air throughout Friday and Saturday. Sunday was much better although rain and thunder clouds were threatening. New member George Smith drove up for the day on Saturday from Reno. It was sure great to see and ride with former TBSA member Brian Renken. Brian was riding a Polaris 800 RZR side-by-side quad. Chas was very impressed with Brian's quad riding abilities. Brian rode all of the trails, other than the single-track, with aplomb. There were several rides going out each day. Most of the discussion will be on the rides accompanied by Chas.
Dan Kelly, Larry Mason, Chas, Chuck Skaggs and Jerry Stober set out for Patterson Peak on Friday. Chas was especially anxious for Chuck and Jerry to experience this ride since this was their first time visiting Sweetwater. This is an intermediate/advanced ride that is noted especially for its breathtaking scenic beauty. Regrettably the smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire decimated the normally pristine views. What a disappointment. The 55-mile ride otherwise was very enjoyable and just challenging enough. The ride included eight to nine miles of tight single-track running along Desert Creek, nice two-track, shale climbs, etc meandering about though the Sweetwater mountain range.
Dan, Larry, Brian, Chas, Chuck and new member Reno George started the 52-mile Saturday ride heading for Nye Canyon. Chas thought that he knew precisely where the connecting trails between Nye Canyon and Sand Canyon were located. Unfortunately his memory was a little 'fuzzy'. After some head-scratching and Chas-lambasting, the group finally found the correct trailhead. The main trail is a long, fun, twisty, sandy trail ending up at Sand Canyon; then Jeep roads to the historic Pine Grove ghost town for a lunch stop followed by a visit to the Pine Grove Cemetery. The group, via Jeep roads, then headed towards the microwave tower. The ride followed the microwave road for several miles towards Hwy 338 then took a trail to the left. The trail turned into a long rather grueling, rocky, gully-type trail eventually ending up back at Sand Canyon. Chas was amazed at the maneuverability of the 4-wheel drive RZR quad. Jeff Stewart loaned the ladies his Super Cab truck for a fun day of lunch and shopping in Bridgeport. The Saturday evening potluck was enjoyed by all.
Sunday was an eventful day for a number of reasons. The winds had changed so that there was much less smoke, storm clouds were beginning to brew, and Ron Columbo had a very serious accident involving a dog. TBSA members and others really stepped up to the plate for Ron. They all deserve the highest accolades. You all have received the sequence of events involving the accident via Vicki's email fliers. Let's hope and pray for a speedy and complete recovery for Ron. All the riders started out basically in one large group on Sunday. All the rides were over 100 miles long each. The riders continuously bifurcated into smaller and smaller groups during the day, eventually ending up with four small subgroups each containing two or three riders by the end of the day. It's really too complicated to explain. About two thirds of the riders had lunch in Hawthorne and one third (including Mike Stewart and son Jeff, and new member John Gade) made the trip to historical Bodie State Park. Two of the highlights of the day were the very steep, downhill, loose, rocky descent on a narrow nasty Jeep road into Hawthorne and the steep climb up to Cory Peak at almost 11,000 feet. By the time everybody was heading back towards camp, most were bombarded by very heavy downpours with lots of thunder and lightning strikes. The ladies back at camp experienced thunder, lightning and literally buckets of water, starting at about noon. Sure cleared out the smoke.
Sweetwater Outing Photos: by Chas Moser