So you’re interested in Kacie’s Ride For Hope (KRFH) and you’re supportive of its mission and its goals for the future. And you’re thinking that a day ride through the Sierras might be nice, but you’re still hesitant to commit. After all, Placerville is a ways up there in the hills and by the time you ride there, ride the event and ride home, maybe it’s a bit much. So you want some more information, something to really spark your interest before you’ll commit to an entire day. Fair enough, allow us to present the following to help you make that decision:
When you ride into Placerville, the first thing that will surprise you is that the entire stretch of Main Street (between Sacramento Street and Bedford Avenue) is closed to traffic, but not to you aboard your motorcycle. When you ride up to the traffic barriers, you’ll be greeted by uniformed volunteers that will answer your questions about where to park and where to find registration tables. You’ll ride your motorcycle on a street absent of cars to a parking spot of your choosing.
You’ll then walk leisurely along the street or the sidewalk, your choice, admiring the other machines and riders in attendance. You’ll see new bikes, old bikes, cruisers, crotch rockets, supermotards, tourers, dual sports, trikes and standards. The people will be dressed in everything from jeans and black leather to feathers and lace. All are riders and all are there for a common purpose, to support the fight against domestic violence.
Eventually, you’ll find your way to the registration tables and be instructed (cheerfully!) on what to fill out and then be given all the pertinent info on the ride route, The “Center” and KRFH. You’ll be encouraged to partake of the free coffee and pastries while also being offered the opportunity to purchase some inexpensive raffle tickets for really awesome prizes that were cheerfully donated by local merchants. You’ll stroll slowly up and down Main Street as you sip your coffee and admire the ever-increasing number of motorcycles and riders as they rumble, thump and whir their way in. The lack of car traffic will enable you to relax and see historic downtown Placerville as you never have before. Additionally, you’ll take a moment to view the poignant and sobering display of the “Silent Witnesses” – life size wooden “cut outs” bearing the names and dates of real people struck down by domestic violence. It’s a sobering but necessary part of the KRFH experience, and one that you’ll appreciate and carry with you.
The Bell Tower will become the center of attention as various speakers address you and the other participants. We’ll start off with the Pledge of Allegiance and also pay special tribute to our veterans in attendance, as we are a rather patriotic bunch. You’ll be treated to brief (yea!) but important speeches by people from “The Center”, survivors of domestic violence, and KRFH founder, the ever-eloquent (not) Pat Barron. You’ll learn a little about Kacie Barron and the double meaning of the word “Hope” in the ride title. The messages will touch you and will impress upon you the importance of your contribution. At last, the word is given to start the engines.
The entire town of Placerville will shake to life as hundreds of motorcycles are brought up off their kickstands and head toward Highway 50. Naturally, this will be carefully orchestrated for your safety. You’ll chuckle as you follow “the Kayaker’s” instructions on when and where to turn.
The ride itself is as beautiful as you would expect (or know) it to be. Highway 50 bends and rises its way along the South Fork of the American River and then up and over Echo Summit. You’ll turn at Highway 89, where’s that? You don’t need to worry, as we’ll have volunteers stationed along the route to make sure you don’t miss a turn. Like GPS, only friendlier. You’ll ride the smooth blacktop up and over Luther Pass where you’ll once again find a group of enthusiastic volunteers to guide your turn onto Highway 88. Just a short way up, you’ll make the turn to the rest stop at Hope Valley and take a while (how long is up to you) to stretch your legs, have a bio-break, take some photos, enjoy a snack or a beverage. When you’re ready, you’ll mount up and resume your ride on 88, up and over the Carson Pass, then turn onto Mormon Emigrant Trail all the way to Sly Park and Jenkinson Lake. From there, you’ll make your way along Sly Park Road and Pleasant Valley Road into the charming little burg of Diamond Springs.
Once in Diamond Springs, you’ll be guided to the fire station where even more cheerful volunteers will assist you in parking your steed on the grounds. You’ll head inside the main building and get your fill of BBQ and beverage, and dine either inside or out as you listen to great live music. Once you’re done eating, you’ll wander around the tent with all the raffle prizes on display, check out the local vendors’ booths and take a gander at the custom motorcycles competing for trophies, cash and bragging rights. You’ll be delighted when your raffle ticket is the winner pulled for the prize you wanted most and then you’ll figure out how to transport it home on your motorcycle.
On your ride home, you’ll realize what a terrific event it was and start thinking of all your friends who you know would just love it. So you’ll begin to scheme about next year, riding to the event as a group and thinking how much MORE meaningful it’ll be to share it with people in your riding circle. Suddenly the ride to Placerville doesn’t seem very long at all.
Thank you to our friend and supporter, Jack Martin, for penning the experience.