Summer Campout 2016

Story:I sailed up to Huntington Lake, Rancheria campground some time Friday afternoon to meet up with those Esprit De Fours folk who were still around the campground or pulling in for the three day weekend, like I was. Tent assembled I went around to see who was in, but found only John Ruiz and his family - others had been out on an overnight trek.

Another glorious weekend of camping, wheeling, exploring in God's country - that is, the country we haven't flattened for a freeway or turned into exclusive housing for the few. I never sleep this good at home. Must be all that good mountain air.

Saturday morning I got a quick breakfast out of the way and it was time to saddle up and run down to China Peak for some group photos and to get everyone together. Big Mike had plotted out the days course and he did a great job. We then headed on to Tamarack Sno Park for that last rest stop and to air down. I ran 18 lbs, as I usually do. It's good having the compressor on the rig, but I still need to get it mounted. Trail order was established and then we were off down Rock Creek Road. Shane Ruiz rode shotgun with me.

A few fits and starts before we were all on the way, but away we were. Early trail was mostly pave with a few potholes and plenty of dust. The word came over the radio the Jeep in front of me had some clunking going on up front and we paused while some loose hardware was replaced. It's a pretty good idea to carry not only tools, but an assortment of nuts and bolts for the trail - I'll need to stock up on some and add them to my trail kit.

The ride up to Bald Mountain was fairly easy and the weather could not have been better - clear views everywhere. I scrambled off to find a Geocache and then took several panoramic shots of the rigs as well as most of the party in the rebuilt lookout tower.

After the lookout we headed off to find a good spot for lunch with some shade. Another minor mechanical was taken care of on John's JKU when some plastic doo-dad on the transfer case shifter. Someone's ready supply of zip-ties got us going again. Shane gave up shotgun and camera duties with me to ride with someone else the rest of the way. The only real test of the day for me was near the end as we crawled down a steep and bumpy descent - a camera on the front would not go amiss there. I kept it in lowest gear and crawled down slowly with only a couple scuffs and one bump.

After the fun descent it was off to Dinkey Creek Road where a few would continue on to some further trail riding while others, myself among them, would take Dinkey Creek Road back to Shaver Lake, airing up and then rolling back to Rancheria.

After returning to camp and checking everything was still good under the Jeep I headed up to Kaiser Pass for a look see. Very nice up there and I'd head further east, out to Florence Lake on the single lane road on Sunday before heading home. Great trip and great people to hang out with for a weekend. Thanks again to Big Mike!

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