If Day One was defined by unexpected horror, Day Two was one of unexpected bliss. I set out from Sacramento to cross the Sierras, headed for the tiny valley town of Gardnerville, Nevada. The Sierras had been my one looming worry before starting the trip, and after my experience with the Diablo Range, I did not have great expectations for this day.
I set out early and left the city streets of Sacramento in the early dawn. By midmorning, I arrived at the foothills of the Sierras and hopped on Highway 50, a beautiful, loping divided highway with sweeping curves through forests of cedar leading up the mountains. It was completely devoid of cars - my own private racetrack; the perfect road to practice riding curves and getting comfortable with speeds above 50 mph.
I left Hwy 50 and jogged over to a small, obscure road called Old Emigrant Trail. The Old Emigrant Trail is a dream - an old two-laner so densely lined with evergreens I could have reached out and touched bough after bough after bough as I rode along... I needed that hand for the throttle though. It was so quiet. Cars and trucks approached from behind but I got competent at looking ahead for pullouts so I could ease over and let them pass me, rather than being panicked by the presence of someone on my tail. Always, they would pass with a wave, especially the giant truckers. There was an easy sense of friendship and camaraderie and peacefulness between all of us on this hidden, secret road.