Trip Report: Twain Harte
Feb 15-18, 2019
Trip report by Robin
Members attending Saturday: Robin+Doug, Mick+Lori, David+Leslie & Chris+Julie, Blake+Brooke, Mark+April & Kelsey+Lauren, Wayne+Amy, Scott+Scotty+Kaylin, Paul+Brian, Brad+Sherri, Pat, Gary N.+Friend & 2 sons
Members attending Sunday: Robin-Doug R., Mick-Lori, David+Leslie&Chris+Julie, Blake-Brooke, Scott-Scotty+Kaylin, Pat
Most arrived at the campground in the afternoon or early evening. Then we all went to dinner at the Casino buffet and got stuffed! It started snowing around 7pm and by the morning we had a good 2-3 inches covering all the campers and vehicles. Brrrrrrr!
Met at the gas station at 9:30am, (Robin was early!) and waited for all to arrive. We had a drivers meeting and handed out portable radios to anyone that needed one, and left approx. 10:20 and headed over to Cottonwood Rd. towards Cherry Lake. The steep downhill road was much improved over previous years, with a shiny new guardrail all the way down! We crossed the river at the bottom and were already seeing a few inches of snow. We kept going as the snow got deeper. Everyone kept moving well until we got to over a foot of snow, then some started to get stuck and/or needed some help to get un-stuck. Robin offered his new recovery ramps to Gary N, and they worked really well. Except they got buried in the snow and it took more time to dig them out than it did to recover the vehicle! Those ramps got used a few times by different vehicles, and one time under Robin's jeep. Paul and Brian were breaking the trail, and Brad & Sherri stayed back with the group to help out any of the new guests. Brad eventually went to the front of the pack and shared some trail breaking with Paul.
We reached a spot about 3/4 of the way to Cherry Lake, and stopped for lunch and some snow play for the kids. Gary and his friend both had boys with sleds and Mark & April's daughters (Kelsey and Lauren) threw snowballs. A campfire was created in the road with some downed branches and everyone gathered around to warm up and share food and drinks. After lunch we pressed on a bit further, but the snow was really falling hard and it was getting darker and colder so we stopped for a big group photo and then headed back the way we came, ending back up at the Casino RV campground. Pizza was ordered but they would not deliver due to storm so Mark and Doug braved the roads once again to bring the group their dinner! Thanks guys! Meanwhile most of the crew were enjoying the campground clubhouse and heated pool and hot tub. When the pizza finally arrived it was consumed quickly and happily, and a few drinks to wash it down to end the night. We had more snow that evening and the next morning saw a smaller group ready to head back out into the wild for more action!
The group again met at the gas station (Bear Creek Station) and since there were only 5 vehicles, we decided to try heading up through Twain Harte and up to South Fork Road where the club had gone in previous years. On the way we helped a young lady who was stuck in the road and wasn't sure what to do. She was from Florida and had only been here a few days, and was not ready to deal with ice & snow with her little Nissan. We helped turn her around and went on our way. As we drove through town Robin took a left instead of going straight and we drove for a while until realizing that we were going the wrong way. So back up the highway again to Twain Harte and through town to South Fork for real this time! Then we came upon some more people on the road - this time it was an older couple waving a snow shovel at us and saying "Don't go getting stuck on our road, it's already a mess! There is a truck up there stuck with dune buggies on the back!!" I responded politely with a smile and said "Well we've been helping people getting unstuck this morning!" so they smiled and looked relieved and allowed us to pass. ;-)
We continued up South Fork and came across some PGE crews that were beginning to work on some downed pawer lines. They said they would be closing South Fork for a couple hours for the repairs and for us to give Italian Bar Road a try, so we did. At one of the stops we played in some deep snow but Blake managed to find a big rock and broke a huge chunk out of his wheel, but luckily it was still holding air. Knowing the road was closed behind us we thought we could continue forward and find a way out in the town of Columbia. Well google maps thought it knew an even faster way and lead us down a road called Jupiter which is also known as the tiny town of Jupiter. As is usually the case with google it lead us to a dead end - the road had been closed at someone's property line, and so we headed back the way we came it. Funny thing is later we ran into another elderly couple whom we had seen driving a small Rhino 4x4 with huge grins on their toothless faces. This couple told us they lived on Jupiter road and it's been closed for years! Ha ha they got a good kick out of that...
As we proceeded onwards to South Fork road, a truck was approaching from the other direction and Robin pulled over to the right to let him pass. As he drove by his truck slid down and into Robin's Jeep, and when the driver attempted to continue forward it ripped apart the back corner of the fiberglass hard top. L So we all stopped while Robin exchanged insurance info with the impatient driver and then we continued on our way. And as that driver passed our other club members, he greeting them with some "salty" language and bad temper as he hogged the road and forced everyone else to yield. Other than that we had a great day and made it back to the campground safely.
That evening some of those that remained enjoyed some frosty beverages and some homemade chili from Leslie and David. The following morning would see a couple more inches of snow at the campground, and temperatures down to below 20 degrees F. Burrrrrrrrr!!
Monday - those that remained packed up and waited for the roads to thaw out before heading home on a clear and beautiful drive out of the mountains. Another great trip for the record books!