The long awaited 2 day trial approaches. All bikes loaded and with some emergency work
completed on the bus generator it’s off to California. It just has to be the hottest day of the year
and everything, including the driver, is operating near its critical limit!

 We arrive at the scheduled night stop only to find the 50 amp service is not on our slot but of
course is on the one next door occupied by the duty Winnebago! If he had connected 50 amps
he would have gone up in flames. Nothing for it but to keep the generator on for the ac. Shortly
after arrival security arrives and tells us we can’t run the generator after 10 pm. Tell security what
“is” going to happen if it stays around the 100 mark and invite him to rearrange a sentence
containing sex and travel!

 The following morning Brenda makes all the duty complaints to the less than friendly and surly
RV Hostess and gets the money back. So off we go up I5. Is this a real Interstate? It’s more like
a cart track with potholes, idiots, and a very poor surface. Further up the route we are in the
farming area and are overtaking truckloads and trailers full of tomatoes. Every now and then the
road and embankments are covered in red as tons of the fruit have bounced out of the trucks and
been squashed by high speed motorists. Now the produce changes and its truckloads of onions
and the road has white splatters to go with the red. As we approach a blind hill there are cars
everywhere parked at crazy angles and the road is covered in onions, but these are mostly in 40lb
bags and the demented California populace is busy looting the precious cargo! You would have
thought they were Spanish Dubloons!

 Now it’s Sacramento, another town to avoid on the world cruise! The traffic is amazing and the
roads are atrocious. About one and a half hours spent here as we filter down from 8 lanes to 2
with all the feeder roads bringing yet more fuel and clowns into the log jam. By now we have 30
miles to go to Donner and as we pass minor towns the elevation is still only 450 feet and we have
6000 to climb before we get there. Sure enough the climb begins and then suddenly grinds to a
halt as a horse trailer has broken his axel and there is no hard shoulder. 18 wheelers have all
stopped behind him while the 70 mph club and lane changers anonymous create mayhem
everywhere until everybody is now stopped.

 Eventually we grind our way to the summit where the road surface becomes a series of large
rocks embedded in the concrete. Must be good for traction in the snow but brother its hard work
to drive on. The duty turnoff arrives and we leave the less than pleasant I80 and climb the last 3
miles to the Ski resort. This is really nice and when we get to the lift parking lot it’s all been
reserved for the trials gang, fantastic!

 Well this is divine, a pleasant 80 degrees, solid tarmac and everything on hand. Say hello to
everyone and then it is time to explore the bar. Very pro bike area and a good turn out. Enjoy
the hotel meal as it’s been a very long day and along with Jim Lipscomb and Travis return to the
coach for stories various.

 Saturday morning and the parking lot is filling up. Fred and wife have made it along with Dan,
and as promised Rich Palmer is on hand for the 3 way fight again. Lots of bikes to look at, and
some to avoid like the plague.
 The trial starts on time and off we go for 3 loops of 9. Section 1 has a little drop off a ledge
followed by a left hander into a small step. Run through a minor boulder field, up a down an open
rock to an easy exit. Looks simple, should have been simple, everybody else found it simple, but
yours truly decides TO BE simple and takes a giant dab on the step. Oh well, that’s trials and on
we go. No 2 just have to stay on the line, 3 goes round a pond then over some steps into an
uphill camber across a solid rock outcrop.

The Climb on 3

At number 4 we are nearly at the top of the hill with some spectacular views. The section has its
hazards but I don’t see any us of losing marks here.5 and 6 are a couple of AHRMA gimees so it’s
on to 7 which is a full lock set of turns in the trees.No 8 has all sorts of traps for the unwary
culminating in a descending turn off a bank into a largeup and over rock with multiple lines and
traps. Finally back to the lodge for No 9 which has been laid out for the hotel’s benefit. Uphill, in
and out, of a tight gully of loose rocks, to a tight uphill right hander out of the final ditch. I watch
several riders struggle with this one and walk it a few times to be sure. I please myself and have
an easy, but satisfying clean especially after watching Rich take a dab on the final turn.

All the Way to the Tape on 9

 So, 1 a piece, at the end of loop 1. Loop 2 goes well with cleans all the way and I see Rich again
on section 9. He gets completely off line, hits a huge rock which looked like the end but somehow
he got the bike back in his hand and set off on a whole new line and despite numerous
unexpected hazards managed to wriggle through for a great clean.

 Loop 3 went well with no mistakes until No 9. By now I know we are still both on 1 and if I clean
this last one then the old age rule will come into play again. Well I’ve cleaned it twice so walk it
one last time to check that all important line. Off we go and before I get to any of the problem
areas the back wheel starts spinning on a few loose rocks. OK I know what I should have done,
wished I done but I didn’t and with the lightest touch of the ballerina’s big toe I cast away the all
important point! Well never mind it was a great fun trial. SECOND SUCKS!
Another gorgeous day and the temperature is perfect! A few extra riders today and we are
starting earlier. Today we are on the other side of the mountain and once again the last section is
by the hotel for the spectators benefit while enjoying a morning libation.

 Up the hill and into the woods for Section 1, which has some gentle turns, in and out, of a dry
riverbed. Everybody seems to be through here without problems so take my time and escape
without doing anything stupid. 2 and 3 are continuous and vaguely reminiscent of some of the
early Seventies Scottish sections. Problems usually occur when going too fast or not fast enough
so set a nice steady pace with legs wide apart and sail through for a double zero.

 Further up the hill 4 lurks with all sorts of problems with loose dirt, and adverse cambers. Very
easy to lose a dab here so must be spot on with the power through the loose stuff. That goes well
and a fun ride through the woods to No 5. This one could be tricky with an awkward little wiggle
around a rock outcrop where there is a dividing marker. A turn on some gnarly rocks then a drop
into a right hander up onto a flat rock to a left handed descending  turn to the exit. Rich starts
well but then went the wrong side of the card at the outcrop. Eagle eyed observer immediately
shows all 5 digits so Rich suffers the dumbest score. Well we have ALL been there and done that.
On to 6 which is another gimme and no problems here if you just follow the line. No 7 is in the
shade and has a tricky turn after a descent and then uphill in some loose. Take a nice wide line
on idle power and all is well. Back in the sunshine and No 8 pops up on the top of the ridge. A
sharp descent followed by an adverse uphill across some solid rocks to a simple exit. Enough
room for turning at the bottom and a squirt up the bank does the job. Now let’s see what No 9
has to offer at the clubhouse! Another Scottish section Yipee! A tight turn in and around the split,
keep it tight to avoid the crumbly edge then downhill through the rock pile. Dan has an unfortunate
5 as the motor stalls and I guess he was unable to paddle it out with the dead engine. So with
Rich and Dan both on 5 all I have to do is not make any silly mistakes, for which yours truly is
famous! Loop 2 goes well and all 3 of us are clean.18 down, 9 to go. Walk them all, even number
6, so that just leaves the last 3 which have their own problems. No7 is getting softer on the turn
but sticking with the game plan and it sails through. No 8 now has some slippery bits where
vegetation has got crushed on the rocks but a big squirt pushes the Yam up the hill a bit quicker
than was necessary but all’s well. Now for number 9, and even if I score a five here it will be the
3 way split again and old age will prevail. Those in the know will be aware just how difficult a
clean card can be, so walk it again, check for the unexpected, fuel on, first gear selected, stand
up, no branches stuck in the swinging arm and in we go. Round the first turn without touching
markers or tapes, nice wide stance, a little light braking, then just off idle power to keep her
straight through the rocks to that all important ENDS card.

A Shady ride on 7 with the Ski Lift above the Lodge

 So a clean ride, and Rich and Dan go through the age thing to decide 2nd and 3rd. Rich must be
getting mighty annoyed about a 2 day age gap!

 Overall a well organized weekend with a host of very friendly people in a lovely setting. Also
some very nice awards although the co-pilot tells me the wine was very good and I can now
have the bottles!
 Back on the road and we take the Nevada run despite some people’s advice that it is a very
boring drive. All I can say is they must have been asleep or live for NASCAR and the thrill of
bumper to bumper driving on some atrocious California roads. Crossing into Nevada the road
surface changes and becomes silky smooth, and everybody seems to be driving sensibly. What
a joy, super roads and hardly any traffic. Through Reno and take up the southerly route to Vegas
and tonight’s stop in the middle of nowhere in Mina. No I hadn’t heard of it either. Pull into the
RV park and connect up to 50 amp and no Winnebagos! Despite having most of the Coors Light
brewery on board we walk the 200 yards to town. Now this is like a bad Clint Eastwood movie,
past the Assay office, a few dead pick-ups, the blowing tumbleweed and the barking dawg!
Find the correct door to the bar where we find a whole town celebrating but we feel a little self
conscious as we haven’t put our “Billy Bob” teeth in. Seems the dentist left town on the one
and only horse when the silver ran out. Reckon’ So!

Order a gin and tonic and an Absolute and Cranberry for Brenda. Sorry Hun, ain’t got no Vodka
but we got Vanilla Vodka. So in the middle of Mina (nowhere) Brenda finds her new drinking love
quite by accident. Fortunately they have plenty of it. Well, the fun begins as the howling from the
roof heralds a police raid for illegal teeth or it’s the end of the old air conditioner. Luckily for the
patrons it’s just the air system and with one clout the bar lady’s son kills it stone dead. The
Handy man also left when the Assay Office closed. Well no matter another gin, and then the bad

“ain’t got no more tonic!”
“Coors light please.” Much talking to friendly, toothless crowd and
time for another beer.
“Coors light please!”
“Ain’t got no more Coors”
“Miller light then, please.”
2 more miller lights and then its lights out, “we only got MGD until next year when the vitals truck
So MGD it is to round off the evening. Back to the RV and bed.

 The following day its gorgeous driving on super new roads and virtually no traffic, and I for one
found the journey quite scenic. So now, another 6 weeks, and then Wyoming, which we
thoroughly enjoyed last year.
 Tony Down and Brenda Vanilla

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