Son of Sierra Nevada Digest Ride 2002

by Dave Schultheis

This was a motorcycle trip from San Jose to Jackson CA for a little party at Redbeard Emeritus' home.

There had been a run called the Sierra Nevada Digest Ride that had lost its organizer last year and R.E. took up the slack by volunteering to have the party at his house. That run was called Son of Sierra Nevada Digest Ride.

This run was called the Son of Sierra Nevada Digest Run number two.

Friday, October 18, 2002 - San Jose, California

After work I packed a few things into my small T-Bag and saddlebag liners and was ready to go.

Saturday, October 19, 2002 - San Jose, California

I was awake at 4:43 a.m. and decided to get up and go. I put on two pair of socks, two pair of thermals, heavy jeans, a short-sleeve tee-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt and my lucky green shirt.

While warming the Road King, I put on my leather jacket and vest, face cover, helmet and gloves.

I left the house at 5:15 a.m. in cold temperatures, then rode nortbound on Meridian Avenue, southbound Interstate 280, northbound Interstate 680, eastbound Interstate 580, northbound Interstate 5, eastbound CA Highway 4, northbound CA Highway 99 and eastbound on CA Highway 88.

I passed through the Stockton area at approximately 6:40 a.m., managed to maintain a speed of approximately 55 miles per hour, and arrived at the Jackson city limits at 7:35 a.m.

Moments later I pulled into the Amador Inn Best Western motel, where it was still quite cold. I filled out the paperwork at the motel office; they said I should come back later to pick up the room key.

I rode a few blocks from the motel to R.E.'s home, where he and his wife Connie were doing some cleanup. I joined Jon M. and Greg E. in helping with cleanup/setup or playing with the dogs, I can't remember.

During the morning, the usual suspects came and went. Next door, R.E.'s neighbor Dennis T., his wife, members of his family and friends were looking at, working on, discussing and riding various motorcycles, including a very old Ural with sidecar.

Chuck Lanter pulled his bike into Dennis' driveway and checked a few things while others came and went. There were a lot of very nice motorcycles parked up and down the street.

Somewhere in the late morning I tagged along with R.A.W. & Joyce and PanMike & Kathlene, both of whom had rented Ultra Classics in San Jose, on a little day trip. We started with a short stop at Raley's grocery store, where they got sandwich fixings and cold drinks. I was not aware of the plan, so all I got was some Mountain Dew.

We proceeded up Highway 88 to the east, stopping in Pine Grove for fuel at a Union 76 Station. Down the road apiece we rode across the newly completed bridge at Silver Lake, which straightened a curve and made the road a little safer.

At 1:00 p.m. we stopped at the United States Forest Service's Carson Pass Information Center (El Dorado National Forest) for some lunch at a roadside picnic table. At this point I understood the grocery store stop. They were kind enough to share a little of their lunches with me.

After lunch, we continued east on Hy 88, then turned south onto CA Highway 89 for a few miles, rolled through Markleeville, then turned west on CA Highway 4, rode over Ebbett's Pass and through a number of communities comprising some of the most beautiful scenery in California, then into Angels Camp and back on CA Highway 49 to Jackson. That was a few sentences but it was a long day.

I stopped at the Amador Inn at 5:30 p.m. to pick up room keys and stow some of my stuff. I had specifically asked for a ground floor room where I could park my bike right outside. They did half of that - gave me a ground floor room, facing a gully and Highway 49, on the far side of the motel from the parking area.

On the other hand, the amenities were nice: television set, clock-radio, iron and ironing board (I didn't need them, of course), hair dryer, refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker with coffee packs and voicemail on the room telephone.

About 5:45 I rode up to R.E.'s for dinner. Folks had barbequed tri-tip and chicken and had cooked beans. There was also salad and various cold beverages available. I schmoozed with some of the aforementioned usual suspects, met a few that I had not previously known, and missed quite a few, as it turned out. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and nobody fell into the pond, as far as I could see.

About 8:00 p.m. I rode out to the Jackson Rancheria, a small native American casino hotel complex just a few miles from Jackson. It closely resembled many of casinos I have visited, and since it was Saturday night, the place was absolutely packed. People were shoulder to shoulder at nearly every slot machine --- and gaming table --- .

It seemed like nearly everyone was smoking and the air conditioning system was overstressed, so I didn't stay long. I rode around the property, looked at the parking garage and glanced at the hotel, then returned to Jackson, stopped at Safeway for morning juice, and returned to the Amador Inn.

Since R.E. had arranged a very nice room rate with the motel, the parking lot was quite full of cars and motorcycles, so it took a while to find the best place to park mine, but I found a spot under a street light where I could chain it to a post.

Then I walked a few blocks to the National Hotel, in the old downtown area. There was a $5 cover charge because the Cadillac Angels were appearing, and the joint was jumping! I never got closer to the dance floor than the porch of the hotel, where the music was just the right volume to enjoy. The porch was also packed, and I made myself comfortable at a table with Becky and Terry and a few others.

A little after 10:00 p.m. I walked back to the motel, took a shower, caught up with CNN and went to bed after 11:00 o'clock.

Miles to Jackson = 133. Miles for the day trip = 189. Miles for the day = 339.

Sunday, October 20, 2002 - Jackson, California

I slept some, woke a few times, and was up at 6:00 a.m. when it was clear that I could not sleep any more. CNN. Dressed warmly, combed and packed. I took the T-Bag out to the parking lot and wiped the dew from the Road King.

Chuck Lanter was loading his bike, so I wished him goodbye and a safe trip back to Idaho, then made a final (I thought) trip to my room, started the bike and rode down to the office and checked out. I realized that I had left one more item in the room, so I got a key back, got the item and *poof* I was on the road just before 8 a.m.

Shortly after leaving the motel I was faced with fog. I don't mind cold but I don't care for fog. It's just too dangerous. I had contemplated going home through Jamestown but definitely not with the fog.

It's about 44 miles from Martell, just outside Jackson, into Stockton. I was not able to keep yesterday's pace of 55 mph in the fog, but did make it to Clements at 8:20 a.m., where I stopped at Lay's Restaurant for breakfast, and continued afterwards fog-free.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful. Westbound Hy 88, southbound Hy 99, westbound Hy 4, southbound Hy 5, westbound Hy 205, westbound Hy 580, southbound Hy 680, northbound Hy 280, southbound Meridian Avenue, checked the mailbox at the Willow Glen (postal) Station, and got home at 10:45 a.m.

Miles for the day = 135. Miles for the trip = 474.

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Created on March 2, 2003. Last updated on April 7, 2003.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA