I am on a road trip! Â My already tenuous grasp on sanity was weakening with every passing day, so I convinced Peter to be a stay-at-home dad for four days. Â The goal is for me to be A Real Person and remember what life is like when one talks to adults and does not have to read “The Lost (and Found) Balloon” and “Hop on Pop” upwards of 20 times per day.
So, this morning I hopped on the Ninjette and aimed east-ish. Â My first stop was the Stockton Rural Cemetery (7 points for the Equinox to Equinox Rally!). Â I didn’t take any photos between my house and Stockton because no one wants to waste their time looking at photos of hot East Bay interstates.
Between Stockton and Jackson; yes, it’s as hot as it looks. Â In the midwest, that scenery would be a pleasant wheat field. Â In the Central Valley, it’s just scorched hot yuck.
The next stop was the Pioneer Cemetery in Jackson (7 more points!). Â The cemetery was conveniently located down the street from a historical marker, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Also at the Pioneer Cemetery are graves from the miners killed in the 1922 Argonaut Mine Tragedy. Â Because I like to spread sunshine and happy news, here is a little about that (from Wikipedia):
“On August 27, 1922, 47Â miners, mostly immigrants fromÂ Italy,Â Spain, andÂ Serbia, were trapped in a fire 4,650 feet (1,420Â m) below ground. Other miners who had been near the surface poured water down the shaft in an attempt to put out the flames. By dawn, townspeople and other miners arrived to help, but it took two-and-a-half days for the fire to be extinguished…[i]t took three weeks to reach the level at which the miners were trapped. ”
I stopped about 9 miles down the road, in Pine Grove, for a short break. Â It was pretty hot (about 90F) and I was trying to stay on top of drinking enough water. Â Naturally the storefront I stopped at was closed, but a neighboring drug store was open, so I bought a bottle of water and sat under the awning in front of the Ninjette with my Teiz suit half-off.
Self-portrait outside the drugstore. Â Also a nice view of the Pine Grove Town Hall behind me (3 points!).
OK, FINALLY we’reÂ getting somewhere. Â Once I left Pine Grove and started hitting some decent elevation, the weather got tolerable. Â I still had all the vents in the Teiz suit open, but it was quite comfortable.
The 47-ish miles between Pine Grove and Kirkwood are some of my favorite in the state. Â Highway 88 has gorgeous scenery, good pavement, and frequent enough passing lanes that road boulders are a temporary inconvenience instead of enough to ruin your whole day.
Example: this cement truck happily driving right past a turnout. Â Hooray! Â Thank you, upcoming passing lane!
OK, no one wants to see pictures of cement trucks. Â Here, have some decent pictures instead.
I stopped at the Carson Pass summit to photograph the elevation sign (5 points!) and got to chatting with a woman about my age who was also at the turnout. Â She asked a few questions about the Ninjette — the usual “oh, I’ve always wanted a motorcycle” type questions — but then the conversation took an unexpected turn when she mentioned that she had a Spyder! Â Very cool. 🙂
Since my only real meal so far had been a light lunch back in Stockton, I stopped for a second lunch at Kirkwood’s Inn, the site of my favorite historical marker (what, doesn’t everyone have a favorite historical marker?).
“The Inn sits at the intersection of Alpine, Amador and El Dorado county lines. The Alpine/Eldorado county line actually runs right through the old bar room.Â Rumor has it that during Prohibition, the bar was on wheels so it could be rolled across the county lines and out of the jurisdiction of the visiting sheriff.”
A couple miles down the road is another historical marker (5 more points!) but, more importantly — maybe — some pretty gorgeous scenery. Â Caples Lake is utterly clear and beautiful. Â I would love to come back here some day and camp or spend some time just relaxing at the lake. Â Happysigh.
About 11 miles later, I took the turnoff onto Highway 89. Â The scenery continued to not suck.
In the little town of Meyers, CA, I found some historical markers (5 points!) for the Pony Express. Â I know there were some Pony Express themed bonuses for the Iron Butt Rally this year — I wonder if some Iron Butters stopped at this same spot just a couple of days ago! Â I can live vicariously (as much as I love long distance riding, I could never do an Iron Butt. Â I have a Princess Butt.).
Oh, though, speaking of the Iron Butt, I’m so happy that Kurt Worden is riding his Ninja 250 in the Rally again this year. Â I guess he forgot that you can’t take a Ninjette on the interstate or ride it long distances. Â 😉 😉
Soon enough, I pulled into South Lake Tahoe. Â I love Ski Run Road because the road literally turns into a ski run and heads right up the mountain.
Ride stats for the day:
After checking into the hotel, I showered, got unpacked a little, and had some relaxation time. Â I chatted with Peter and Kira over FaceTime (yay! It sounds like they had a good day together) and decided to head out for a light dinner.
I liked this kinetic sculpture garden (all the pieces move in the wind and make a nice dancing effect):
Dinner at Base Camp Pizza, where the awesome waitress let me order a kid’s size spaghetti. Â Also, they had Sprecher root beer!! Â I sat outside and listened to the guy singing and tweaked the day’s photos while I waited for my dinner.
So that was Day 1 of my childfree adventure. Â Notable things I did today:
* Was sitting in my hotel room when I realized I wanted to take a shower. Â Immediately stood up and took a shower.
* Went to the bathroom whenever I felt like it (within reason and legality).
* Ate french fries without sharing.
* Did not have to worry about anyone else’s lunch, dinner, or snacks ALL DAY.
* Used a mode of transport for enjoyment, not as a means to get a screaming child to nap.
There is definitely something to this.