Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ride to Markleeville

Markleeville, that's right! Population one-sixtieths its elevation. I didn't really know where I was going this afternoon. I started out riding around the coast-line of Tahoe. I found a pretty packed beach, but it turned out to be a pay beach--weak. No idea why so many people were at a pay to sit on the sand beach, but it is the most convenient beach to get to from the casinos--so that probably had something to do with it.

I decided to take Pioneer Trail and bum around on the side roads if any of them caught my eye. None of them did, so I continued on towards Sacramento. Instead of climbing the big mountain between Tahoe and Sacramento, I turned off towards Kirkwood Ski Resort, and zoomed around that more gradual incline. Then, instead of going to Kirkwood, I took a left towards Markleeville. I'm not sure why I remember that name, maybe it is work-related, but I wanted to go check out the town.

I didn't realize the town only has a population of 165. The 30-mile ride didn't seem to have a great destination, but I saw a sign for Grover Hot Springs State Park only four miles away, so I went for it. The road to the hot springs was a lot of fun, 35mph speed limit and lots of twists and turns. I didn't have to gun the engine because of the low speed limit, and I got to practice turning more, which is always good.

Turns are probably the most fun I have on Nikki, because the recommended speed signs aren't really meant for motorcycles. We can lean, we can go from the outside of the lane to the inside--motorcycles just have a lot more control than say, an SUV. I wasn't going double the suggested speed or anything crazy like that, but it is good to know that the motorcycle has some give.

The hot springs were again a disappointment. Much like Walley's Hot Springs, it was a pool, not a hot spring! I expected better from a state park--but that state park IS in California... figures they'd turn "hot springs" into "pool". (I like the Euro way to do periods after quotations, deal with it!) Although, to give the state park credit, I did see some natural hot spring-looking slimy rocks--but just no water hole to jump into.

It was probably around 5pm by this time, and I didn't really want to just ride back to Zephyr Cove, so I walked around a bit. Then I stumbled upon this sign:

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Well, since I brought my camera, I might as well go see the lake! On the way, I crossed over a bridge, and snapped this shot of the stream below~

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Continuing on to the lake, ready to shoot some nice lake shots, I come to this sign:

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Weak! Much like Otto from The Simpsons walking out of "Stoner's Pot Palace", I muttered to myself: "Flagrant false advertising!" I continued on the extra mile to the waterfall. It was nice to get out and hike a bit, as I've been feeling a bit lazy by all this biking. I pass a lot of bicyclists who are getting a great workout, and I go whizzing past them just sitting on my ass. Riding to hiking trails is what I want to do this summer, and hopefully will!

I saw this sign along the trail, and couldn't help but snap a picture and try to think of an appropriate title:

1) Giant bikes ahead
2) Beware of bears while on bikes

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Here is a shot of the waterfall, then a picture of me and the stream:

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I rode home, and stopped at safeway and grabbed Dark Chocolate / Chocolate Haagen Daas bars and some Deschutes Black Butte Porter. A little splurge, but both are so, so good.

Also, I decided against riding my ninja up to Seattle in June. It is just too many miles. I'm supposed to change the oil and re-lube the chain every 500 miles. I'd have to do it four times! Twice while out in the middle of nowhere, which didn't sound too appealing. I do want to keep the bike in as good of condition as possible, and riding it to Seattle just isn't the way to go. My decision was finally made by remembering that I have a $130 Southwest credit that expires in October--so I might as well use it while I can! Sorry no motorcycle ride for you, Stacey! And Andrew, and whoever else wanted to see the bike.

I'll be arriving in Seattle the night of June 26th, going to the Mariners/Red Sox game on my birthday, then out to the coast from the 28th to the 1st of July. Then I race back from the coast to catch the last day of the Potlatch frisbee tourney on Sunday. I'm staying in Seattle until the night of the 3rd, and it'll be nice to have a little down time to spend with friends and family. Before my November/December stay in Seattle, all of my trips were just go go go, and I never really got to spend much time with all of my friends and family--and I'd usually blow off family for friends. Glad I won't have to do that this trip :)

Oh, and here is a shot from just before the "T" to Markleeville or Kirkwood:

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