Saturday, October 29, 2011


Along Drum Powerhouse Road

A WONDERFUL ASPECT of living in Northern California is the fact that November can be knocking but there may still be weeks of good riding with lots of places to explore. A day or two before Halloween, I took Aria, the Guzzi, out for a little two-hour spin and ended up on Drum Powerhouse Road east of Dutch Flat.

DRUM POWERHOUSE ROAD is a single lane of asphalt that follows the ins and outs of the south side of the Bear River Canyon for about four miles. It is a pleasant ride that does not call for excessive speed – with the possible sunny-day exception being excessive shutter speed.

(I waste a lot of electrons taking pictures of Aria - and "the Horse,” the GSA sitting at home in the garage this day.  That said, click on any picture to enlarge it.)

DRUM POWERHOUSE, returns water to the Bear River just east of Dutch Flat after containing the river flow somewhere upstream, rocketing it down penstocks and forcing it past turbines which turn at great velocity in order to produce electric power. Remember? We learned about this in sixth grade science.

Dutch Flat's claim to fame? It was the spot where the Big Four and Theodore Judah finalized plans for the Central Pacific's crossing of the Sierra. A portion of the historic route follows the southern ridge at the top of this canyon. This area fairly oozes history.

JUST DOWNSTREAM is Drum Forebay, a small retention pond where the water emitted from the powerhouse is allowed to stand while its temperature rises. This practice helps protect the fish population from being shocked by the cold water pulled from the icy bottom of a high mountain reservoir – rather than exposed to its normal flow with occasional shallow depths and sun along its course out of the Sierra.

I DON'T RECALL whom or what was eating Gilbert Grape, but something is certainly feasting on this Broadleaf Maple Leaf.

The Saturday chores I’d put off, waited for my return, so it appears that the only magic this day would be that which I always find on the Open Road.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press

No comments:

Post a Comment