CHALK BLUFF OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
The outing was certainly enjoyed by all those in attendance.
The weather was tolerable with daytime temps in the mid 80's at the
5,400 foot camp elevation; much better than the 105 in
Sacramento. Six rigs showed up: Dan Kelly, Ron &
Roxanne Steele, George Smith, Chas, Bill Thomas, Keith &
Vicki. Also, Connor (one of Dan's employees), Paul, Larry and
Eric Baumgart came up for one or two day rides. Chas led Paul,
Bill T, George and Ron Steele on a fun-filled 35-mile ride on
Friday. In the morning they rode the recently laid out
single-track loop right next to camp, followed by a scenic ride along
the ridge that overlooks Lake Spaulding, I80 and Hwy 20, then dropping
down a steep descent to another single-track which ended up on the main
dirt road, then back to camp. After lunch at camp, Dan joined the
group for an afternoon ride going west on the single-track on the north
side of Hwy 20, eventually ending up at the Skillman horse staging
area. The group then proceeded to ride several of the super
single-track loops between Skillman and the main OHV staging area, then
back to camp.
On Saturday, Chas took Connor (who had purchased Ron Colombo's 2004 KTM 450 EXC), Larry and George, followed by Ron & Roxanne in their two-passenger RazR, on his traditional 54-mile dual sport loop, which includes many miles of power-line riding, single-track exploration, lunch at the Steep Hollow broken bridge, Red Dog/You Bet area, etc. Also on Saturday, Bill T, Bill H, Dan, Eric and Paul took an exploratory ride which included an attempt at the infamous Doolittle Trail on the north side of the Yuba River. The attempt was thwarted as a consequence stemming from an issue with Bill T's normally reliable KTM plus the fact that this very steep treacherous trail is composed of loose shale, making riding it a very difficult proposition. The Saturday evening potluck consisted of a fairly small intimate gathering of ten people but even so was a monumental success. Chas' lasagne was solar cooked to perfection as was Dan's tri tip steak and all the other wonderful dishes and fruits. The only real item missing was a salad!
A couple of strangers showed up early Friday morning, one driving a small caterpillar and the other on a quad. Chas asked them what their plans were. They said that they were going to clear out the long-time closed Eagle Bird Trail. This is a steep trail that works its way down to the Yuba River from the south side. Chas has attempted to ride this trail for years but found the trail impassable, being blocked by numerous fallen big trees. Late Friday afternoon, the quad returned and the fellow said that they had completely opened up the trail all the way down to the river; however, the caterpillar had run out of gas so he was on his way back to the cat with some extra gas.
Chas was excited that he would finally get the chance on Sunday to try to find the Eagle Bird Trail again and check it out, along with Bill H, Dan and Larry. Fortunately the trail is on Chas' GPS map so it wasn't too difficult to find the trail-head. The trail turned out to be mostly two-track and is moderately steep with many switch-backs. At the bottom there are remnants of the old Eagle Bird Mine. The trail terminates at the Yuba River, very close to where the old bridge used to be. Unfortunately the river was too deep and rocky to cross with motorcycles. The jeep road on the other side leads to the town of Washington. Ron and Roxanne rode their RazR on Sunday. Ron also took Keith out for a spin in the RazR and just by accident found the Eagle Bird trail-head! They also made it all the way down to the river.
CHALK BLUFF OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser
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