Sunday, September 13, 2009

3 Amigos Tour

Not the 3 Amigos but a beautiful fish sculpture at Tahoe City

This wasn't your mother's Bike Hiker tour! Not only was this an impressively organized tour, it was one of the toughest 5 day bike tours I've ever participated in. Thank goodness we had a layover day at Lake Tahoe to rest our weary legs.

Approximately 27 intrepid cyclists, several from other cities in Northern California, rode a beautiful, yet challenging route designed by the 3 Amigos - Bill Chadwell, Steve Cimini, and Casey Sakamoto. The hard-working support crew consisted of Jim Karpowicz, Pam Sakamoto and Beth Dillman. Their combined effort and cheery attitude made the tour a truly remarkable experience for all.

The crew totally pampered us - moist hot towels in the mornings to wash our face, camp chairs provided, shower tents with hot water, bike racks, great meals, and better yet, no KP duty- and all for a bargain price.

The 300+ mile route with an overall elevation gain of 20,225+' started and ended in Citrus Heights. The 5-day tour (Sept. 9 - 13th) made a gigantic clockwise loop to the White Cloud Campground located east of Nevada City, to the State Recreation Campground at Tahoe City (2 nights), to the Silver Lake East Campground, then a long haul return trip back to Citrus Heights on the final day.

The major summits included Donner, Luther, Carson, Silver Lake and a hundred killer humps in between.

To view enlarged photo, click on pic

The head honcho, Steve Cimini, in front of his truck and trailer provided an astounding inventory of camping and cooking equipment to support the entire contingent. Two trailers and several vans schlepped all our camping gear and equipment.

Head chef Jim Karpowicz, cooked tasty breakfasts and dinners and kept over 30 people fueled up

Prepping for dinner. Beth Dillman, far right, was a vital member of the support crew.

No need to find a tree to lean your bike. Steve provided racks for everyone's bikes. He even ran a cable through the bikes and locked them up at night.

Two nights, the campgrounds did not have showers. No problemo! Steve set up two shower tents with a hot water on demand unit powered by propane.

The route took us over the historic Rainbow Bridge at Donner Summit. That's Don Dupage swooping over the bridge with grand view of Donner Lake.

Click on pic for great close-up view

Scott Miller comes sweeping around the Rainbow Bridge curve

Taking a break at the Donner Lake viewpoint

Don, Bob Barker and Dave Clifton at the viewpoint with Donner Peak in the background

Taking the bike path into Tahoe City along the lanquid Truckee River

In front of the cool trout sculpture at Tahoe City

We spent two nights at the State Recreation Campground at Tahoe City which is in easy walking distance of the lake and eateries of TC.

A couple taking in the balmy evening at the lake

A view of the mountains on the southwest shore

The view across the lake to the east with Freel Peak; 10,881', the pointy peak on the horizon

The dinner boat comes cruising by

My lake-front vacation home at Tahoe

The dam with covered bridge at Tahoe City regulates the flow from the lake into Truckee River

From the famous "Fanny Bridge", you peer down into the holding basin and see huge Mackinaw trouts, some over 2' in length

Another drought year. Lake Tahoe is about 6 feet below the high tide line.

A female merganser duck warming herself on a rock

On our layover day, Don, Patti, Shon and I rode our bikes down to beautiful Meeks Bay for some relaxing beach time. We joined Ward and Jane Schroeder who just happened to be vacationing there at the same time.

Bike Hiker babes - Shon and Patti - ready for some sun and surf

Ward donning his goofy outfit for some cold water swimming

Patti, right, leads us in daily group stretch before we hit the road

Emerald Bay from Inspiration Point

Patti looking sharp at Emerald Bay

Pam Sakamoto, our rest-stop saint, provided key refueling stops on each day's ride. Jay and Don fueling up before tackling Carson Pass.

Dark clouds over Red Lake on Hwy 88. We got spit on riding up Carson Pass.

Don and I at the high-point of the tour. It's almost all downhill from here.

Stopping off at Caples Lake on Hwy 88. The tall peak on the horizon is Round-Top Mountain; 10,381', which I climbed last year.

The view from Carson Spur on Hwy 88. A mountain side of ridges makes for pretty rough looking country.

Cascading waterfalls below Caples Lake

Click on pic for enlarged view

A picturesque little pond at Silver Lake East Campground

Circling the wagons at Silver Lake, our last campground on the tour. Steve provided camp chairs for everyone - another nice touch.

A couple of new happy Bike Hikers - Don and Dave - at the end of a long day in the saddle. Life is good!