Sunday, June 5, 2011

A little better prepared....

After todays debacle in Downieville we decided to head over to Reno to try and escape the rain. We hit snow just outside of Downieville at 3000' and it was going pretty good at Yuba Summit at 6700'. We continued through the Sierra Valley through Loyalton and on to Reno, snowing the whole way.

Mind you the weather forecast said partly cloudy and 65 degrees, WTF? We made our way to Davis Creek Campground outside Washoe Lake. It was Saturday on Memorial Day weekend so we were prepared for it to be full, the crappy weather took care of that concern and we pulled right into a nice secluded spot, it's still snowing.....

We settled into bed and hoped for the best. Mary had concluded that her short but wet ride the day before was good enough for her tastes and was set for a hike and possibly a run with Sasha after it warmed up a bit the next day.

After a great nights sleep we awoke to a couple of inches of snow on the ground, but breaks of sunshine trying to poke though. The campground is at about 4500' so the amount of snow on the upper reaches of the mountain were a bit of an unknown. I had plotted out a ride up through Virginia City and back and was determined to go rain, snow or sunshine.

The wind is blowing pretty good, probably 30+ when I head out into the unknown, at least it's a tailwind as I head out and around the lake. As I'm battling into the headwind and maxing out my topend heartrate for the day on the other side of the lake, I see a wee trail going through the fence and up the hill, looks like a whole lot more fun than getting crushed out here on the road!

The trail goes for a short bit and enters onto a dirt road going up towards a ridge above me, cool! The road gets after it pretty quick, I've climbed more than a thousand feet in less than 1.5 miles  and I'm getting hit by the wind pretty good in places, but at least it's dirt, and an unknown place to me, even better! Of course as I crest the ridge the road drops right back down the other side of the hill, I lose all the elevation I just got in a
brief couple of minutes and start to head up the next road to the next hill, a theme for the day.
I was at lake level 2 miles ago!
 The road continued to climb, generally a nice, albeit loose gravel road. It headed up past a few open pit mines and split off a few times. I was off my GPS track at this point so I was just making it up as I went, my funnest days are like this!

Up, up we go. 

One of the many mines along the way. 

Looking out to Carson City and another large mine on the right.
I passed a couple of rock hounds on my way up, but no one else was out on this blustery day. After a bit the road split a few times and I headed up the faintest track I could find, those are always the best. It looked like I was headed up to an array of towers on the top of the hill, not the main route, but it looked like it would get me there. I seemed to remember this area from the IMBA epic many years ago although large parts of Nevada look alike so I was not sure.

Starting to get a bit rougher.

I guess were going up there!

I just missed a herd of wild horses crossing the road, couldn't get the camera out fast enough.

 The temp was really starting to drop as I headed for the top of the hill, I was nearing 7000' and the snow had yet to melt off, I had been lucky so far and stayed dry and fairly warm to this point. The road started to level off a bit as I reached the summit and the radio towers.

Starting to get a bit cold!

Others have passed this way.

A nice little aspen grove, leafless on the first of June!

From the looks of the carvings in the trees, this must be the local party spot.

I finally made the summit and started the decent off the back side. It looked like my destination of Virginia City was going to be met, as long as I didn't hit a gate or private road I should be there in about 15 miles. As I descended off the top it started to snow a bit, by the time I dropped a mile or two the wind was blowing it sideways right into my face. This side of the hill had seen a lot more traffic coming up from Virginia City so it was a little more chewed up and muddy. I was starting to get a bit cold at this point, snow was starting to pile up on my gloves and shoes, nothing like yesterday, but a bit uncomfortable. After a muddy 10 miles or so I made my way to Virginia City, an historic silver mining town that now is a major tourist destination.

Lots of folks were out, parkas and all. I stopped behind a building to try and clean and warm myself up a bit. It was super windy but the sun was out, although from the looks of the water running off the roofs it had just opened up before I got there. I made a call to Mary to let her know I had made it to Virginia City.

Who's doing more damage to their body!

After a bit of sitting in the sun like a lizard I was off to find the Old Toll Road, the original dirt route up to Virginia City. The ride down the Toll Road was a hoot, losing about 1500' in a couple of miles. I made my way through some subdivisions, found some cool connecting trails between roads and eventually made my way to HWY 395. I had originally mapped a dirt route back to camp, but the road I was looking for now sported a big house in the middle of where the road used to be, damn civilization! Hwy 395 rolled out uneventful, this is the bike route down the eastern side of the Sierras so there is a decent shoulder and even on Memorial Day weekend it was no problem.

I returned to camp to find Mary and Sasha back from their hike, a nice affair that saw them heading up towards Mount Rose on trail. We had beer or two by the fire and decided to grill up some burgers on the fire, very tasty! We retired to the trailer as temps started to fall.

All in all a very nice day and a perfect recipe for forgetting yesterday.
Trying to take the chill off.

Sasha, "Can't we DO something!"

Sunset on some of the terrain I covered today.

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