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 In search of California Poppies
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6949 Posts

Meridian, ID


XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 03/15/2014 :  4:44 PM                       Like
A friend of mine, Stan, went on a ride in the hills with me a couple of years ago, when he had a Harley Sportster. He had to sell it for financial reasons and hasn't ridden in more than a year. When I brought up the subject of riding, I told him that I had a spare bike and he was welcome to go out riding with me "one of these days". He didn't contact me for several weeks, so I called him a few days ago and asked him if he would be interested in going out for about a hundred mile ride in the foothills. He decided that it sounded good (after checking with his wife, of course), and we met at 10:00 this morning.

He hadn't ridden a dirt bike for a decade or two, so his biggest concern was being able to balance my rather tall XR650L at stops. After a couple of minutes riding around the neighborhood, he decided he could handle it just fine. The only issue was getting on and off of the thing. He blames the lack of flexibility on age, even though he's "less old" than I am. It wasn't a real problem.

We headed out south first, on some nice open roads where there isn't much of anything in the way of houses, farms, and so forth. It was such a beautiful day and it's early enough in the year that there aren't a lot of bugs yet. This is the time of year when the California Poppies are at their best. Early in the year they are darker, and very beautiful. I'm pretty sure that the orange color is outside the RGB range that can be represented on a computer monitor, or even on film. Sort of on the right edge of this chart (too big to include):

There were lots of clumps of poppies along the route with a few areas that are whole fields of orange poppies. Here's one example that doesn't come close to showing the color as it appears live and in person:

After about 20 miles, when it was about time to stop heading south and start heading east toward the hills, we stopped for a bit at one of the few dirt roads in the area that isn't in the hills.


When I'm on my own or with someone with a bit of recent dirt riding experience, I usually take the dirt roads here for 8 to 12 miles. It would have been a bit tricky this time of year, with at least one water crossing more than a foot deep and a lot of large mud puddles. Some large enough that dropping a bike in one might result in nothing showing above the water. Stan wasn't interested in a dirt/mud adventure.

We rode east on Highway 16, which is a bit on the boring side, other than having beautiful scenery along it. Everything is going green around here, many trees are full of blossoms, and of course, there are poppies every little bit.

Eventually we got to the more interesting Highway 49, passed through a few small towns, then took the much more interesting Highway 193 from Placerville up to Georgetown. One of my favorite barbecue places is in Georgetown, Loco BBQ. We were both ready for a rest and a good lunch. I had ribs and Stan had a pulled pork sandwich. Both were great.


After a short stop at an art gallery just up the street, and after talking to a few other riders on similar bikes, we headed down the other side of highway 193 to Cool. I had to get at least one shot of my orange bike with orange flowers. The ones in more direct sunlight usually have a bit more of a yellow color.


At Cool, we took a little bit of Highway 49, then headed down Salmon Falls Road back toward Folsom. A lot of people don't like that road, but I enjoy it pretty much every time I ride on it. It is a mixture of tight curves and more sweeping curves. Taken at a reasonable pace it is pure joy to ride.

Stan tended to ride at a similar pace to what he did when he had the Sportster (i.e., a bit on the slow side), and I'm fine with that. I don't mind waiting occasionally or just running a slower pace. I don't want to push anybody out of their comfort zone.

Once back to my place, the odometers showed almost exactly 100 miles for the trip. Just about perfect for a half-day ride. Stan is now thinking about getting another bike. I'm thinking that maybe I should hop in my Mustang Convertible and enjoy a bit more of the perfect spring weather we're having right now.

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