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Stonyford/Grindstone, April 24, 2004

Taken From The May 2004 Treasure Chest

story: Matt Hoey, photos: Rory Huber

The April club run found us gathering at Denny’s in Woodland targeting an 8am departure for the Stonyford area of the Grindstone Ranger District.
Amazingly enough it seems that only one vehicle made it their early morning mission to check out all three Woodland Denny’s and we got a decent start at about 8:20am. Our group included 13 vehicles carrying 14 club members and 10 guests.

Heading north on I-5 was the usual mix of battling eighteen wheelers and a stiff north wind. Our first peek of trouble came shortly before Williams with a radio call from the back of the pack asking if we were going to stop soon, seems one of the Samurais was overheating. Fortunately we had planned on stopping for a splash of fuel and a last rest stop so the Zuki had a chance to cool down. After everyone got their choice of fuel we continued up I-5 to Maxwell then headed west toward Lodoga and Stonyford. The hills were green and the hills steep. After waiting for what seemed an eternity over the top of one hill, we finally saw Rory come tooling over the rise with two Samurais drafting close behind.
Pretty scary when ya gotta count on a ‘yota to getcha up a hill!

We passed through the bustling town of Stonyford and stopped for a quick break at the Wolf Creek Staging area then cruised over the hill and down into the Davis Flat area. A few radio calls for Kevin Kidwell failed to raise him although we could see his camp down below us, must have been out terrorizing four wheelers on his bike. Shortly after that we turned off onto actual dirt and headed up Potato Hill. The trail was pretty tame except for a few steep hills and the inevitable ruts. I can still hear the whining from Backdoor about the brush and his precious paint job (hey, Kimber was in front and I didn’t hear her complainin’!). Oh well, maybe a ‘5’ would have been a better choice for the trail, oh yeah, no AC! As we continued up the hill we encountered the occasional group of green sticker vehicles. Everyone handled it quite well and was very courteous until just before we stopped for lunch. A couple of impatient types had to squeeze by in the middle of a hill and share their rocks with everyone. Rumor has it that it was Kidwell but with all that gear, who could tell?!

Our lunch stop had a nice bit of shade and a great view across the Sacramento Valley, all the way to Mount Lassen. After we finished debating whether Rubicons had ABS brakes or not, we headed out toward a dead end Jeep trail, which of course turned out to be the narrowest trail all day, and we had to work our way back to a main trail. Our route took us down through the Mill Valley campground and on through Lower Letts Valley. We continued
on a mixture of unimproved roads and main Forest Service roads for many miles on down to the Pacific Ridge area. As the lead vehicles pulled up to our turn off to the Lovelady Ridge Trail those in back noticed a smoldering tree that they decided to try and cool down a bit. Reportedly it looked like a recent lightning strike that basically blew the tree apart. Once the group was back together, some chose to return to Davis Flat to check in on the
Kidwells while nine vehicles elected to continue on south. The adventures of the smaller group, if any, will have to appear in another story.

The main group turned off road M5 onto trail #1, also known as Lovelady Ridge Trail. The trail starts out along Pacific Ridge, reaching an elevation of about 3800 feet. We elected to continue south along the ridge instead of turning east toward Lovelady Ridge. The trail finally started to get interesting with lots of rocks and panoramic views all around. Fortunately for me, Kimber had deferred driving duties to me after I told her the road would be tame. I did not intentionally prevaricate; I just conveniently forgot what the trail was like in that area! As we reached the far end of Pacific Ridge the view opened up to the south, revealing the azure gem of Indian Valley Reservoir. Looking inviting far down below us and surrounded by a sea of green trees it beckoned us on down the hill. After we reached the main road we found a spot to air up and soak our feet, for those so inclined.

Our road wound its way over a ridge and down into beautiful Bear Valley. The long (and dusty, according to those behind us) gravel road took us out to Highway 20. After waiting about twenty minutes for the two Suzukis to show up and just before sending two of the group back to look for them, we heard some broken chatter on the CB. Minutes later a distant dust trail turned into two lone Samurais! Seems that the pesky overheating problem had returned and they stopped to cool down. Remember, when you are with a group, watch your buddy and call out if you are having problems!

We headed east on Highway 20 toward Williams, blowing off the dust of a long day of off highway travel. Many of the group elected to continue on Highway 20 so the group broke up around the I-5 junction as we headed our separate ways. Many thanks to those that attended and tolerated navigational missteps!

Members: Guests:
Don Herget
Desiree Turner
Steve & Chris Medley Sharlene Hatch
Sharon Hedges & Willie James Leighton
Carrol Bryant Eric & Kim Deems
Rick, Shannon, & Olivia Kerley Toni Wargin
Troy Holmes & Daughter Stacey & Lindsey Callis
Rory Huber Ray Steve DelaPaz


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