Originally, the plan was to ride about 17 miles on Hwy 80 from Alta up to Cisco Grove where we could get off the main highway and onto Old Hwy 40. After yesterday's experience though we decided to shuttle up to Cisco Grove and just start the ride there. Turns out it was a great idea since further up Hwy 80 there was construction that would have made an unpleasant ride downright dangerous.
It was my turn to drive this morning and with 6 riders and only enough room for 3 passengers in the van, it was going to take 2 trips to get the gang started. The first group of Jer, Gail and Bob were probably 45 minutes or so ahead of the second group of Bill, Leticia and Dwight and after seeing them off, I spent the remainder of the morning driving between the two groups making sure they had everything they needed.
This section of the ride, despite the fact that it was uphill would have been a really nice ride. It runs parallel to not only Hwy 80, but to the south fork of the Yuba river as well. Its a really pretty road and I didn't see but one other vehicle until we got to the Soda Springs exit.
As the group pulled in to Soda Springs wqe stopped to regroup at the Donner Summit historical society. This actually used to be a ski shop called Java Summit sports. Here we met Norm, the president of the society and walked around the little museum that they have there. Turns out, according to Norm, there is a route that we could have taken up old Hwy 40 that would have eliminated our need to get on Hwy 80. (would have been nice to know that ahead of time I guess)
It was here that I would get back on the bike and Bob would take over the driving. Once again, I had managed to dodge the climbing portion of the day and would get to enjoy the downhill into the Donner Lake area.
Wow, what a downhill too. Absolutely gorgeous with a view of the lake below us and a great swooping road to enjoy.
After reaching the bottom, you cruise alongside Donner Lake for a ways before crossing over Hwy 80 and coming in to Truckee where we were to regroup at Paco's Bike Shop. Paco's is a really nice shop and the guy there, who's name I forget, was pleasant and seemed to enjoy hearing about our adventure.
From here, Bob would get back on the bike and Dwight would take over driving. Dwight, knowing Bob felt bad about missing the awesome downhill offered to run him back up to the top and let him have his turn at it. Bob immediately agreed and Jer decided it was worth doing again, so off they went in the van as the rest of us headed to meet my sister Maureen in Squaw Valley for lunch.
Eventually though you turn in to the entrance to Squaw and the under the sign from the 1960 Winter Olympics. From here, its a nice ride up to the village where we met Maureen.
With Bob and Jerry re-doing the descent from Donner summit, and knowing they still had at least an hour after that, we relaxed in the shade, ate a nice lunch and caught Maureen up on our adventure so far. Squaw Valley in the summer is a completely different place than it is in the middle of ski season. Instead of the crowds and the noise, the village is quiet, relaxed and peacefull sitting at the bottom of the mountain and surrounded by the beautiful valley meadow.
Jerry and Bob showed up not too long after and although I think Bob really enjoyed the downhill, pretty sure he may have been regretting his decision due to the miles on Hwy 89 that came along with it. After five consecutive days of riding I think he was feeling the effects and, like me, was ready to be off the bike for the day.
From here, we had a short section on the bike path into town and over to the condo where we'd be spending the weekend. Maureen, unlike the rest of us though, was still fresh having only had a short ride out to meet us. As she took off, in the drops, legs making strong fast circles, you could tell she wasn't feeling the miles or the elevation that we were.
As we rolled in to Tahoe City, I had mixed feelings about finishing the trek. Where the beginning of the week had held a sense of adventure and anticipation, the end of the trip left me wondering what to do next. Yes, I had set out to ride from home to Tahoe and had actually done it, and yes, my legs and body were tired and ready to be off the bike, and yes, there was a definite sense of accomplishment in setting a goal and actually accomplishing it. But, at the other end of the spectrum, I really didn't want this week to end and as is always the case for me, the completion of a goal leads to a certain amount of emptiness.
Tomorrow, we'd wrap up the week with a loop around the lake and that would be the end of the adventure.