A different kind of road ride

I had big plans to do a ride up the main road, take a right past the gate where it heads down to Deadwood, then take the WS trail back home.  I don’t know, wishful thinking perhaps, but it didn’t happen. I feel strange even blogging about my actual ride but it turned out to be one of the better road rides I’ve done.  I’m used to knowing when and where there’s been snow since I used to live above the snowline.  Now we’re pretty much at or below snowline where it mostly rains but sometimes snows.  I had no idea when or where I’d run into snow and have to turnaround riding up the road. But I thought that since the trail less than 5,000ft elevation, I’d be good.  My brain is still in Colorado mode, so I didn’t think that 5,000ft would have so much snow.  Duh.

I rode from home, hit the main road and rode up 20 miles.  Started out dry at the house…MC13 home trail

Tahoe NF sign
Then got a little bit of snow on the sides of the road around the NF sign.
Not many turns on this thing
Not many turns on this road…primarily used to get logging trucks out and back.

Around this point, I passed a sign that said, “Road may or may not be plowed beyond this point.”  My kind of road.

Someone made this little snowman. Not sure what this lookout is looking at.
Someone made this little snowman at the lookout. Not sure what this is looking at…
the snow starts
Then it got some icy snow package going…
Divide road view
Then it got to where I wish i had my Knard tires on…
Deadwood Sign
Here’s my turn. I didn’t have the right bike for that route today…
Road sign
So I kept riding on the road. Boring old road. Who knew I was such a road biker?    …Function Junction…? I’ll have to check that place out someday.
It started to snow a little harder and my legs were burning after the 20 mile climb. So it was time to turnaround.
It started to snow a little harder..getting good!…but my legs were burning after the 20 mile climb, so it was time to turn around.

The crazy thing about this road is that it’s a whole different scene in summer. The main route to a bunch off OHV use in the Tahoe National Forest, with people coming up from the Sacramento valley to moto, ATV and car camp, while others access the non-motorized Western States trail.  It’s a pretty nice paved road with a good shoulder much of the way up, but it pretty much goes nowhere – or everywhere – depending on your perspective.  In winter, they close the gate at the China Wall OHV Staging Area if it’s a good snow year.  Then it’s packed down by snowmobiles and I hear even sled dogs sometimes.  Even though the moto singletracks are closed for the season, I think they’ll be game on the Rotundcycle.

Riding up I saw two cars, and I’m pretty sure one was my neighbor heading to his active gold mine at Last Chance.  They were probably his tracks I was using to stay afloat. Around 4-6″ of snow at the highest point of today’s ride (5,600ft elev) but up where this road ends many miles ahead, there are several feet at Sugar Bowl.  And that is going to be one great ride on the fatbike this winter.

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