SWEETWATER OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
TBSA had the smallest turnout in recent memory for Sweetwater with eight rigs,
fifteen people, and two dogs. The daytime temperatures at the 7,000 feet
campsite elevation were very mild in the mid to upper 70ís with nighttime
temperatures dipping down to 34 - 38. Everybody had a super time with one
notable exception which occurred on the Bodie ride. Chas & Jan took the Heplers
and Nevin in to Wellington to the Hey Day Inn Friday evening in Chasí Sprinter
van and enjoyed good company and a really good meal. The Saturday evening
potluck was as always a big success - - the only thing lacking was dessert!
There were several rides going out each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Keith, Dan, Larry, Chas and Nevin left for the Ďtraditionalí Mt. Patterson ride Friday at about 10am, starting with the two-track over to Risue Road and then taking the Desert Creek single-track trail. In hindsight taking the Desert Creek trail may not have been the best idea starting out on the first ride as the last section included a nasty, steep, loose climb where most of us struggled to find traction. Everybody eventually made it. After the second Desert Creek single-track trail, Keith, Dan and Larry continued on to Mt. Patterson while Chas and Nevin veered off over towards Jackass Creek in search of a suitable staging spot for Nevinís Razr on the Lake Topaz side. The two ended up riding out to the western terminus of Risue Road close to Topaz Lake, eventually finding a suitable future Razr staging spot.
For the Saturday ride Chas, Nevin, Dean Gillium & and son Cole decided to take a more leisure ride through Lower and Upper Masonic ghost towns with Bodie as the lunch stop destination and then to check out the area around the ghost town of Aurora. After lunch we were looking forward to the beautiful scenic ride to Aurora. The narrow road in years past has been easily passable but after torrential rain and snow storms during the past few years portions of the road have, unbeknownst to us, been rendered virtually not navigable due to rock slides. The first part of the road was fine but we ran into the first of several long rock sections which were impossible to ride around.
We made it through three rocky sections and were probably only halfway to Aurora when we came to yet another rockslide which seemed like it went on forever. Nevin walked over the rocks for a long way to a bend in the road and found that the road was still rocky way past the bend therefore we decided to turn around at this point. On the way back to Bodie we ran across two riders in a Rock Crawler coming towards us. They were of course having an easier time of navigating the rocks than we were; however they actually got hung up on a rock which Nevin promptly kicked out of the way.
Eventually we made it back to Bodie, where Chas thought that it would be a good idea to take the pavement back to camp. Since two of the bikes were not plated, Nevin took them back to Sweetwater Summit via the two-track dirt roads. Chas took the dirt road to the pavement at Bridgeport where he (mistakenly) turned right onto Hwy 395 looking for Hwy 338 which would lead directly back to Sweetwater Summit. Not finding 338, Chas took 395 north all the way to Topaz Junction then through Wellington and finally back to camp several hours after Nevin, Dean and Cole had gotten back. 158 miles on 3.2 gallons of gas - - pretty good mileage for a 300 two-stroke!
But thatís not the end of the story. Folks at camp were worried about Chasí whereabouts so Nevin and Jan took the Sprinter van out in search of the missing rider. Naturally they drove south on Hwy 338 towards Bridgeport. Not running across Chas, they started up the rutty dirt road towards Bodie. Fortuitously somebody Cole on his AT&T phone) was finally able to text Nevin indicating that Chas had finally made it back in camp. Since the Sprinter was low on fuel, Nevin was kind enough to put some fuel in the tank at Bridgeport - - 9.6 gallons for $50!!
Everybody enjoyed Paulís company at the outing. He served as host for Bill H. but was unable to ride due to some recurring blood clots in his leg. Larry & Karin left for home on Saturday because their dog Koko wasnít feeling well. Bill H., Dan Kelly and Nevin left Saturday evening after their rides. Several riders went out for a Sunday ride. Everyone else left Monday morning, except the Heplers who stayed until Tuesday.
Sweetwater Photos by Vicki Hepler:
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