Thursday: Mineral to Nevada City
Other VOCNA members will have to tell their own tales of adventure and misadventure. For some reason, Don D. determined that both of his bikes were belonged on the work bench at home and he volunteered to drive the chase truck on Thursday and Friday. He and Shirley drove the Volvo which had been repaired thanks to the super-human efforts of Paul Z. However Don couldn’t put his bikes on the trailer and be able to pick up anyone who broke down. Matt’s truck was the auxiliary chase vehicle. The riders who had volunteered at the beginning of the week were grateful for another chance to ride.
One thing Kim’s maps did very well was tell riders when and where to get fuel. From Mineral the route took us a different way to Chester for gas and then led us to Quincy, for the last gas for 78 miles. Here the maps mentioned a cafe, which meant eat up, because you leave not only the fuel supply but also the known culinary map after this. The Morning Thunder Cafe was well worth the stop.
From Quincy, we rode up a steep, twisty road. Here on the narrowest section, in the hottest part of the day, Jeff W.’s Velo seized. It had been running very well, carrying two people, but now it wouldn’t go an inch further.
Our fellowship broke up. After he confirmed that he could not be of assistance, Fred raced off in search of shade. Jeff W. and Amy waited for the chase truck (the Volvo, now being driven by Don Danmeier). With great effort I got myself going out of a bad stop (never stop on such a steep incline again!) Eventually Jeff Scott caught up with me – but there was a painful time of exploring dead ends and riding in circles, chasing each other.
Then we got on the best section of road yet, the Quincy La Porte Road. We were in the back country now! There was pavement and good quality dirt. We went over a narrow dam. From here the road looked like it disappeared. We even asked an electrician where the road went. He gestured forward. The road became a single lane with plenty of switchbacks, all camouflaged in pine needles. We caught up to a water truck that was was sometimes the only sign of where the road was, but we had to get around the truck because water was being sloshed out of the top of it.
We came out of the hills and into a familiar area of another part of my life. I was almost possessed by the spirit of muffins past to take the wrong turn. (If you don’t understand this, you weren’t there. Don’t bother asking.)
We looked longingly at the watering holes near Bullards Bar Resevoir, but were too hungry to stop. There’s never enough time on these rides.
Unfortunately, the campground was far from the hotels, a few miles outside of Nevada City proper. It was crowded and noisy and had dirty bathrooms. However, the showers were separate from the toilets. Besides, we had a good location and a great group – just enough to squish around one picnic table and sample what everyone carried in their flasks.