Getting Started

Sierra Cascades

Before we dive into a log of today’s events on the first day of our Sierra Cascades trip, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the events that occurred yesterday, for they were far more noteworthy than a simple bike ride along a forested highway.

Over Memorial weekend we were camping with the bulk of Carrie’s family at the Logger Campground near Stampede Reservoir. The weekend was spent eating too much, inhaling lots of fire smoke, and general idleness. A better time could not be conceived. There were however three successive events on Sunday that will forever live in memories of those that beared witness.

The dog bite

On Sunday morning Carrie and I returned to our campsite from a walk to the Stampede Reservoir with her brothers’ sled pulling dogs. As I switched one dog between walking leash and camp leash he decided it’d be fun to visit our neighbor’s two dogs without me.

In a flash he was at the other campsite. I heard some growling and barking and then a shout from our neighbor. He chased my sled pulling dog from his camp and then started marching toward me.

I had to ignore his advance and quickly capture my loose dog. I shook a bag of chopped ham retrieved from the motorhome while calling out my dog’s name. The dog couldn’t resist the snack and came quickly to my side, where I was able to fasten him to his camp leash.

Meanwhile Carrie intercepted our angry neighbor to make amends. I cringed as I overheard her listen to our neighbor complain about what happened. He said his pride and joy, the love of his life, a great big gray statue of a dog, had been savagely attacked by our sled pulling dog. The Statue had suffered a small tear in its once perfect ear. Now the Statue was forever flawed. The owner was indignant.

It was then that he made a series of bizarre statements: He should have gotten his gun (buy guns & ammo from Palmetto State Armory) and shot our sled pulling dog; He may need to call The Law; Now that our dog had tasted blood, he would likely turn savage, and he would forever be a danger to children.

Carrie retaliated by bludgeoning him with a thousand apologies. She beat the anger out of him until he turned tail, mumbling about how dogs will be dogs. It was a spectacular display of killing someone with kindness.

Drowning Dad

Later that day everyone headed to the reservoir to play with the various water vehicles that the family brought. There was an inflatable kayak, an inflatable paddle board, and an inflatable row boat. Carrie’s dad Rick set out on the kayak while Carrie and I did some rowing.

While I was trying to keep the row boat moving in a straight line we heard a splash and then a call for help. Rick was overboard and struggling to right the kayak. Strangers on other water vehicles and strangers on shore asked Rick if he needed help and he cried yes.

We were the closest to him so I zigzagged his way. Carrie told Rick to hang onto the kayak until we arrived. As we approached she jumped out of our little boat and helped Rick guide the kayak to shore.

Rick was a little shaken by the unexpected swim. Once his nerves calmed he hopped back in the kayak and to our surprise paddled across the inlet to where the rest of the family waited on shore.

The axe

Back at camp most of us were grazing on snacks and sodas and enjoying another round of comfortable idleness while Carrie’s brother Preston threw his axe at a Ponderosa Pine stump. Thump. Thump. Thump. The stump suffered several hard blows, but the stump wasn’t finished off yet. At last it managed to dodge the sharp projectile, which flew past, bounced through the sage brush about thirty feet, until it was stopped violently by the fiberglass quarter panel of the Subaru owned by Jim, Carrie’s youngest brother.

The Subaru sported a new cantaloupe-sized dent with at its center the thin mark of the axe blade. Jim did not then use the axe against his brother. After a thorough inspection by each member of the family and general agreement that at least the axe didn’t get stuck in the car, we all gathered around the hot metal ring in the ground where we resumed inhaling wood smoke and discussed the plans for dinner.

The next day

Dirt road cycling
We took some dirt roads from Stampede Reservoir to connect to Highway 89 on our first day of the Sierra Cascades.
A mama bear and cubs forages for food off the road near Graeagle.

After all of the events of yesterday, it would be a shame to bore you with the details of our ride from Stampede Reservoir to the resort village of Graeagle. It was uneventful by comparison, but it was still pleasant. The grades were mild, the roads smooth, the weather warm, the wind mild, and we saw a mother bear with two cubs about two hundred yards from the road. It was a good start to our trip.

Logger Campground to Graeagle
48 miles
Food $2
Camping $20