Day 3 – Emerald Bay (Tahoe) to Soda Bay (Clear Lake) ~300 miles
Running total ~1,200 miles
There was a very large bear in the road ahead as I left Emerald Bay State Park campground!
I’m not following any GPS tracks (although I am incidentally creating them with my Spot GPS one-way satellite communication safety device). I’m using the Butler maps to select scenic (or hair-raising) routes and connecting them together to explore, visit, experience, and see, parts of the West that I’ve only read of or heard about, moving in the general direction of Montana.
So the only reason I headed North from Lake Tahoe instead of West, was to ride the road next to the North Fork of the Feather River from NE to SW, classed by the Butler wizards as a “G1” – “these are the best motorcycle rides in XX state. Always very dramatic and thrilling. Expect high mountain passes, deep canyons, sweepers, switchbacks, and twisties”. Well frankly it was underwhelming, which has turned out to be a rare disappointment. In general, the Butler maps have it down.
But halfway down the canyon I stopped for a break and a snack and and a fiddle with the GoPro camera, and a man in a Caltrans uniform (CA Dept. of Transportation) came up and asked me the usual – where was I from and where was I going. Then a surprise question – was I going to ride Route 36? Where is that on my map I asked? And from then on Caltrans man was a fount of rich information about routes, roads, rides, and places to stay. He rode a BMW 650 all ov er Northern Califiornia and Route 36 was his favorite. And a year ago he got a used BMW R1250 GS and was just itching to get out on it. It was Caltrans man who recommended Fortuna as a place to stay.
After the Feather River canyon I had to cross the hot Northern section of the intensely agricultural Central Valley. I had no idea that I would be back down to almost sea level. The Soda Bay area was green, yes, but too green. Mossy, rich in ferns, lichen on the rocks and stones, and the campground was adequate but meh. No showers and I was starting to stink!