Lake Tahoe, California Shamrock Tour®: Gold Rush Country

Text: Dennis Lint • Photography: Dennis Lint

Lake Tahoe is best known for being a world-class ski area. Those rugged mountains also 
provide some of the best motorcycle roads in the country. Numerous passes, dense forests, and streams make this worthy of a Shamrock Tour®.

Circumnavigating the 
Jewel of the Sierras

Walking to our motorcycles, we can’t help but get excited. The morning air is cool at 6,225 feet. The visibility is incredible, and the sky is a deep blue. Randy and Jan will be riding a 2008 Kawasaki Concours and Pam, my wife, and I will be on my well-used 2005 Suzuki 650 V-Strom.

Inn by the Lake is located directly on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. As we leave the parking lot onto SR 50, the views are already great. Quickly we turn east onto SR 207, known as the Kingsbury Grade to Randy and the locals, toward Carson City, NV. We climb Daggett Pass (7,334 feet) before plunging down a beautifully kept road consisting of wide sweeping turns and a panoramic view of the Carson Valley. At the bottom, we turn north so that we can ride through the historical town of Genoa. We stop at The Genoa Bar, which was established in 1853 and is billed as the oldest “thirst bar” in Nevada. Much of the interior is original. Many Hollywood movie scenes have been filmed here, most notably The Shooter (John Wayne) and The Honky Tonk Man (Clint Eastwood). Other famous visitors to this establishment were Mark Twain, Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, and Teddy Roosevelt. Even Raquel Welch was here and was kind enough to leave behind some clothing, as was the tradition of the bar (but that’s another story). It’s too early for lunch, so we roll on.

We arrive in Carson City, capital of Nevada and one-time home of Mark Twain. The state capitol building was constructed in 1870 to 1871 and rehabilitated in the early ‘70s. Other plans cause us to skip the Kit Carson Trail, a 2.5- mile walk covering 60 historical landmarks throughout Carson City. We quickly get back on SR 395 and then onto SR 341. The road is a high desert landscape with lots of curves and elevation changes. There are short sections with a 16- to 20-percent grade. The unobstructed panorama and the feeling of solitude erase all thoughts of congested city living.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the September/October 2013 back issue.