Spirit Traffic is the story of the 10,000-mile motorcycle trip the author C. Jane Taylor took with her husband, John, and son, Emmett, to celebrate Emmett’s college graduation. They were all new riders, and it was their first trip. In May, Jane and John took Spirit Traffic back to the road on their BMW 650 GSs for a 97-day national book tour. Below is her twelfth installment of Postcards from the Road, which will be published every Monday.
Related Story: C. Jane Taylor Rides 6,000 Miles on National Book Tour
Tears did not roll down my cheeks as we rode into Nevada on Highway 395 because I was too dehydrated, but my heart cried out just like Joni Mitchell’s.
The call-and-response in the helmet intercom was:
“Thank you, California.”
“Thank you, California.”
California was good to me in all the ways. Spirit Traffic was embraced enthusiastically by my audiences, my hosts were welcoming and generous, guest stories were terrific and memorable. I wanna go back.
The frosting on my gluten-free, dairy-free, almond flour, beloved California cake was riding Highway 49 between Grass Valley and Loyalton. Highway 49 is also called the Golden Chain Highway. The road twists and bends through forests, peaks, and tiny historic mining towns, and over Yuba Pass.
Sweetland. Oregon Creek. Downieville. Goodyears Bar. Sierra City. For miles in the Tahoe National Forest, it snaked along the Yuba River, where we swam. Designated the Yuba River Scenic Byway by the Forest Service, the road also features colorful hand-painted signs made by fourth graders to educate travelers on how to prevent forest fires.
We have ridden more than 10,000 miles on this trip so far. The Golden Chain Highway is my favorite road. The curves are tight, but not too tight. The climbs are steep, but not too steep. Seven years ago, this route would have terrified me. Now, it’s Goldilocks’ perfect porridge that nourishes my senses and my soul.
Day 73 – My colleague and friend, LJ, hosted us in San Anselmo. He and his family gave us a warm welcome and a cold swimming pool. We splashed and laughed in the afternoon. In the evening, friends, neighbors, and riders gathered on the porch for delicious food and drink, great stories, and memorable camaraderie.
Days 74 & 75 – Tracy hosted us for two nights in Grass Valley. She and John went to yoga teacher training years ago. We fed the turtles in her lily pond, had dinner in Nevada City on the first night, and a terrific potluck on the second night. More great stories ruled the evening.
Days 76 & 77 – Reno! Ernie Baragar, NV Airmarshal for the Airheads Beemer Club, hosted us. I read to a cozy group among the beer barrels at Imbib and to a lively bunch of friends, alpacas, and riders in Ernie’s backyard.
Days 78 & 79 – On to my sister Ann’s house in Salem, Oregon.
Keep the rubber side down.
Spirit Traffic can be purchased on the author’s website. It is also available on eBook and as an audio book read by the author.