South Yuba, Redhills, and Latrobe Road

Thanksgiving holiday was great, I managed to get 2 days of riding in, on Thanksgiving itself my brother and I rode Redhills (Older Ride Report). It’s been a while since I’d been there and it was a blast, everything seemed rockier than I remembered it being and every bit as steep as usual. Redhills makes a great winter ride because it’s close to home and the trails have great traction even when wet.

Friday after Thanksgiving the weather was great so I flew the 206 up to Grass Valley and did a South Yuba ride with a group of guys from MTBR. Unfortunately, my camera did a horrible job and the few photos I took turned out blurry or out of color balance (I’m certain the photographer had nothing to do with it). In any case… South Yuba is probably one of the best rides you can do this time of year. It’s a phenomenal trail along the South Yuba River. Not an extremely technical trail, but a great cross country route. We parked cars at Purdon Crossing and then drove up to the Omega Road drop in which is above the town of Washington. It’s actually less driving then driving into the town and you add 4 miles of downhill riding. Last time I did this trip I took some video and a few pictures which should give you an idea of how great this ride is.

Finally, today Fiona and I flew up to Rancho Murietta and rode the Latrobe Loop (link of previous ride)… or part of it anyhow. We didn’t realize it until we landed, but right now Rancho Murietta airport is closed for all night operations. We didn’t get there until around 3:00PM so we hustled as far as we could in 35 minutes then turned around and came back so we would make certain we didn’t get stuck.

I flew low and slow (130MPH anyhow) on the way back. We cruised by the Rancho Seco cooling towers. We were so close we could almost look down the top of the cooling towers. Then we were just in time to overfly the beginning of the Stockton Lighted Boat Parade. It was a very cool perspective to see all the boats lit up from the air.


Well I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve just been swamped with work and other stuff so haven’t had time to post images or anything. I know that’s a lousy excuse for no new posts and no pictures released but that’s all I have. I have been on some rides and tracked down some great new trails though. Unfortunately by the time I write them up the best of them will probably be under snow. Obviously we rode Bear Valley. Small group but it was a blast. I really don’t know any good internet resources on Bear Valley so I guess I’ll have to start working on my own… after the snow melts I imagine.

The other big ride I was on was a 3 day camp-n-ride at Pinecrest Peak. Although I wasn’t surprised this time around at how great Pinecrest Peak was I was floored by some of the other incredible singletrack we found. I’m trying to do one more ride up there before the season is done. We shuttled Pinecrest Peak and Eagle Creek (Pictures) on the first day. Eagle Creek is an incredible downhill run that I’ve ridden as a loop before. It starts out slow but then there is a 2-3 mile section of some incredible technical singletrack that will leave you begging for more. Sunday we started out on Willow Creek trail, then hit Pinecrest Peak and rolled all the way back to Fraser Flat campground (Pictures). Willow Creek trail is a new trail Jeff showed us above Pinecrest Peak. It’s a tight and moderately technical singletrack downhill section that is a great warmup for Pinecrest Peak trail. We added a new section at the end of Pinecrest which I call the Secret Sauce. It’s a relatively hidden trail which I found earlier this summer the suprised even Jeff, our “local knowledge” goto guy. It’s a fun little section where you spend about 4 miles riding as fast as you can on a slight downhill dodging trees as you go. I would love to call it Endor trail after the light cycle scene in Return of the Jedi but that’s been done to death.
This coming weekend however is dedicated to saying goodbye to Tahoe for the season. As a bonus I might… just maybe be able to fly up to Tahoe on this trip. It’s a bit grey fuzzy right now because I need a checkride before hand.

Speaking of flying… I’ve been doing a ton of flying this fall. The biggest trip I’ve been on yet in fact. A co-worker and I flew to Phoenix on a business trip. On the return trip we landed in Henderson Nevada and took a rental car to the strip. We cruised the casinos until 1AM and I wound up ahead by about $100. The next morning we flew from Vegas home. The Sierra Nevada mountains are incredibly beautiful when you are flying through them at 13,500′. The Owl (that’s what we call the Plane) is a great bird to fly and cruises at 150-160 miles per hour. She’s a little thirsty but I can deal with that for all the utility we get from her. I also took my mother and my daughters up to Columbia. Then this last weekend we flew up to Sacramento to give my Gert, Mother-in-law a trip up to Auburn and Grass Valley. Flying is truly addicting… and expensive. Anyhow.

Mixing Passions for Fun and Pleasure

Cloudscape over OregonThis weekend was a HUGE adventure for us and it had several very tense moments, including one point where we were flying at 11,500′ through the pass next to Mount Shasta and the engine of our small aircraft died completely.

It all started late last year, we had signed up for MTB Oregon, which is a great mountain biking event in Central Oregon (how great we had yet to discover). Simultaneously, I was working on getting a friend’s plane flying. Then it occurred to me. What if we could fly to the MTB Oregon Ride? So we set our plans in to motion and the result was an adventure we will not soon forget. Continue reading Mixing Passions for Fun and Pleasure

In the Air Again

A little before Christmas I was getting frustrated with my flying. Things that I had down pat were hard, things I should be picking up on were impossible. Even the simplest things I was goofing up. My landings which I thought I had nailed were rough.
So I decided to take a little time off from flying. The little time turned into a couple months, I kept finding excuses to not fly. So finally with a little urging from my wife I set up an appointment this weekend.
Continue reading In the Air Again


My flying lessons have been progressing pretty well, the biggest problem I’ve had so far has been getting landings down pat. For some reason I have problems with the idea of pointing the plane at the ground for the landing. Yesterday I think I finally got the nack of it though, I made 5 successful landings and 2 of them were almost perfect. More important I really got the feel for the landing procedure and it just felt right.

Learning to Fly

I am now officially a student pilot. Earlier today I logged 1.4 hours of flight time in a Cesna 172. We flew circles around the area south of Stockton and made a few landings at a single strip runway right off of highway 33 (I think New Jerusalem). I made 2 successful landings (assisted) and aborted 3 other landing attempts.
Continue reading Learning to Fly