RR59: COVID-19 Ride #4: Hwy 26

Another excellent ride. This was mostly roads that I have never ridden before and so that made it even more interesting.

We started the day early in Fremont and took Tesla Road through Livermore. This time it was clear and mild, with no fog, and we kept up a good pace.  We road Highway 120 across the Central Valley and took usually entertaining Rodden Rd and Orange Blossom through Oakdale. Our first gas stop was the Chevron in Jamestown. There were easily about 30 other riders there, mostly on Harley-Davidsons. Absolutely no social distancing being practiced –  well, that’s okay I guess, the coronavirus pandemic is dying down and the curve is flattening. Dr. Fauci would not approve though.

We then detoured off Highway 108 and rode through the small towns of Gibbs Ranch, Shaws Flat, Springfield and Columbia. We took a few pictures along Parrots Ferry Road. We crossed the New Melones Lake on Parrots Ferry Road –  the water behind the dam was high and the lake was full.

After a small section on Highway 4 we rode through the quaint little Irish town of Murphys.  from Derby to Sheep Ranch Road a nice goaty trail that took us to Railroad Flat Road.  Some sections of Sheep Ranch Road were very rough and an adventure bike would have been good. We turn right onto Railroad Flat Road and stop for lunch at the intersection of Jesus Maria Road. It was a beautiful shaded spot where we had a picnic lunch.  Jesus Maria Road  was quite interesting in itself.  Pavement was only a suggestion in certain sections but the views were magnificent as a road descended towards Highway 26.

The best road of the day was clearly Highway 26. Right up there with Highway 36 and Wentworth Springs Road, this road was pure joy, full-on entertainment for a sports bike, with perfectly banked curves and extremely smooth pavement. For a minute I thought that the entertainment was over as we reached the town of West Point, but then the fun goes on the road winds down to cross the North Fork Mokelumne River and then climbs back up, all the way to Highway 88.

We then gassed up in Jackson and took the (long) freeway home. All in all it was an excellent ride and I’m glad that I got to explore Highway 26 once again.

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