Joe Lucas Mendocino Not-A-Rallye (April '00) California USA
Sixth Annual Joe Lucas Mendocino Not-A-Rallye - April '00
Text: Dave Gomes & Blair Peterson - Pix: Dave Gomes
We join my trip in progress. My route from Bailey, CO to Mendo was by way of I-70, US-50, I-80, and Cal-20. This is a shot of the deluxe accommodations at Cave Lake State Park just east of Ely, Nevada on US 50. About 7 miles off of the "Lonliest Road in America"......Just my style. Time for a cigar and a glass of bourbon before bed........
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Early to bed, early to rise. Saying goodbye to Cave Lake S.P. at the junction with US 50.
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Old (and new!) friends well met at Cedar Camp in Mendocino National Forest. Bruce Bonar has arrived in Spot with brother Dave driving Bubba the 101FC and Brig Cope riding shotgun. Seems Eric is dallying with some idle diversion like getting certified to fly DC10s this weekend! Bubba is just visible back there somewhere. And I think we can make out the beginnings of the Dow's "tent city" starting to form up back across the creek! :^)
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Camp is starting to fill up and we already see Shane's D-90, Tom's 101, and Nick's 88 "Grommit". Looks like all models will be well represented this year.
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As I can see my main role being that of chief gawker on this my first trip to Mendo, I hook up as a passenger with Blair Peterson in the intrepid Pershing. Here I look back over our shoulder to see who's tagging along as we leave camp. Looks like Nick and Grommit getting their feet wet in Little Stony Creek on the M-5.
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As the group forms up there are a pair of 109s. Blair and I in Pershing, and John Kieckhefer in Mutt, the former NADA 2.6L 5-door 109", now sporting a Chevy straight six (292?). The 88" crowd is well represented by Nick Eckert in Grommit and Rob & Cyntia Kerner in Regent. Out of frame to the left are Dave Bonar and Brig Cope in Bubba, the unstoppable 101FC.
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We'll be spending the better part of our trip today on some trails Blair and John recced the night before. Just past the dip in Little Stony we used trail 03 to reach the17N02 and then 16N18. Here we're getting off the beaten path again by taking trail 07. Maybe you can just make out the graphic at the top of the marker in the inset...motorcycle trail......My thoughts are with Bubba and his occupants! :^)
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At the top of the first hill on trail 07 we get out to watch the followers climb. Here comes Nick. He's already gotten the day's casualty out of the way by removing one of his CB antennae on a low hanging branch.
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Here's one of the cyclists that BELONG on this trail...What's that in the background dust????
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BUBBA! No sweat as usual. Setting the tone for the day of slow and steady conquers all. Dave is doing yeoman's work driving in spite of this being his first time in the truck. By the end of the day his tongue is near bloody from biting it every time he wants to say, "Wish I had my Bronco!" :^)
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We've come up the side of Goat Mountain past Black Oak Camp and the guilty-looking "hiker" couple, to the intersection of 16N18 and 16N03. A stretch of the legs is in order as we marvel at the view North towards the Snow Mountain Wilderness.
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And the reverse angle shot...Just like Monday Night Football! This view looks at the top of Goat Mountain behind the interesting foreground detail!
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No rest for the wicked, though, and Blair informs us that we're at elevation 5756' just before we're off again, backtracking the 16N18 to Black Oak Camp (hey, where'd the "hikers" go?) and then heading North on 17N14 before forking left onto 17N10 in the general direction of our lunch date at Lett's Lake.
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Another motorcycle trail proves too tempting for Blair to pass by in his quest for the elusive Trail 06. We believe this to be it, but before too long, it starts to switchback down a steep slope, and then heads off across a side slope with just a single motorcycle track dug in. Discretion being the better part of valor, there's nothing for it but to.....
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TURN AROUND! And head out back the way we came.
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Even that proves to be tight and twisty, but with some awesome scenery along the way for those of us lucky enough not to have to concentrate on driving!
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Grommit pokes his nose out from behind a pine....
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"Now is the junction with 17N09 still up ahead, or have we passed it?" Rob and Blair agree we're on the right track for a lunchtime rendezvouz at Lett's Lake.
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"Hey, don't ask us, we just follow the leader! But now that you mention it, we are getting a little hungry...."
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Lett's Lake at last. We meet up with another group of mendo-ites and break for lunch. Some even catch a few nice trout from the lake which The State was kind enough to stock only yesterday in preparation for our arrival. See, the good will built by all that trail maintenance really pays off!
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Blair and Chris discuss the morning's discoveries and recommend routes to each other for the afternoon. From Lett's Lake we'll be heading to Little Sullivan and NCRC's adopted trail 21 where a ranger has told us some blown down trees need to be cleared.
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The route is another quad track with this switchback being one of the tougher obstacles for the "wheelbase challenged" among us. The 88s have already cruised through but Blair stops to discuss the best angle of attack for a 109".
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And he's through! Well, I won't tell anyone about the itty bitty reverse move.... DOH!
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Now for the proof of the pudding as Dave and Bubba approach the same corner. This gives an idea of the steepness of it. He's a good twelve feet above us as he makes his approach.
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Well, maybe a little back up here......Where's that locker button?
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And Bubba's through once again, not even breaking a sweat.
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On Trail 21 we find that someone has beaten us to the trail clearing work. Later on, back at camp, we'll discover that it was Tom Walsh in his nice new (to him!) 101. So for now, we've nothing to do but enjoy the climb. On Pershing, on Grommit, on Mutt, Bubba and Regent! We make our way up to a rest stop along Crackerbox Ridge, where Bubba catches up the rear. From here, it's all downhill back to Cedar camp and the famous Mendo Saturday Night Potluck! Okay so maybe these old beasts do seem a little slow at times, but it HAS been awhile since lunch! -DG (with many thanks to Blair for the details and the ride!)
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