NORTH FORK — The local Boosters Club is raising money for a very good reason: the plan is to pay for a new gas range and possibly other upgrades to the North Fork Town Hall. This weekend, they’re staging an elaborately entertaining event to help the cause, as the Granite Gambler Motorcycle Poker Run will wind through the foothills on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Members of the North Fork Boosters Club invite you to, “Grab your gear and head out on the highway for a unique Sierra Nevada experience. Enjoy our little town in the exact center of California and our beautiful Madera and Fresno Counties!”
“Join us for a day of riding, raffles, live music, great food, incredible scenery and even better company,” say organizers of the Granite Gambler. We’ve got riders traveling from all over the country to enjoy some adventuring through the Sierra Nevada foothills.”
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice….
Register now! Granite Gambler Registration
- The loop begins at the North Fork Town Hall and continues on Minarets Road/Road 225 to Road 222/Auberry Road. A quick 10 miles and you’ll arrive at Kerchoff Reservoir. Enjoy the scenery and watch for the bald eagle! Kerckhoff Reservoir was constructed by Pacific Gas and Electric as a part of the San Joaquin River Hydroelectric Project. As water flows from high in the Sierra Nevada, it travels through a system of lakes, tunnels, steel penstocks and power houses where the water is used to generate electricity for California. Kerckhoff Reservoir is also important to help control floods and store water for irrigation, drinking water and recreation.
- Card Stop #1 is The Stonehouse Tavern, located in lovely downtown Auberry, in a building that has seen the heyday of the boomtown, when the saw mill employed 300 people and there were more bars than churches. Throughout the years it has been a variety of bars and restaurants, culminating in the Stonehouse Tavern. Their food is simple, hearty, home-style goodness. Awesome burgers, smoked tri-tip sandwiches on Tuesdays, carne asada tacos on Thursdays, even salads and wraps for a little lighter fare. But they are a bar, after all, so expect a lot of deep-fried goodness. They have pool tables, darts and horseshoe pits in their huge fenced patio area. From there take Auberry Road and make a left to ride on SR 168 along the western slope of the Sierra until you reach Tollhouse Road.
- Continue to Shaver Lake for the bonus card or turn right to Tollhouse Market for Card Stop #2. Tollhouse has changed little in fifty years. Same store, same rugged individualist shopkeepers, the same landmark granite dome that climbers traverse, sometimes in a wedding dress or roller skates. There are no Starbucks or McDonalds. However, there is a museum up the road that will inspire appreciation for the people and the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada mountains. Tollhouse Market is a knotty yellow pine update of the old general store and has a new stainless steel kitchen which serves grilled burgers, onion rings and shakes. The twisty-curvy factor continues as the road winds through the Sierra Nevada Foothills and you find yourself back on Tollhouse road with a quick stop at Humphreys Station before making a right back onto SR 168/Millerton Road.
- A quick 11-mile ride to The Roadhouse Clovis for Card Stop #3. The Roadhouse in Clovis is a historical landmark tavern that serves a wide range of food and drinks and also offers live musical entertainment. They are a favorite among the locals, including bikers, for good drinks, great food and outstanding live music. Their new owner, Rhonda Haines, offers personalized attention and friendly service. Visit them and enjoy yourself in their welcoming tavern. Just 1.5 miles away stop and win big at Table Mountain Casino. From a fresh, quick sandwich to a never-ending buffet, they have the perfect dining option. After you collect your winnings you’ll head out on SR 168 towards Friant while enjoying the view of Millerton Reservoir and Friant Dam. Take North Fork Road/Rd 206 to Friant Road 211.
- Head up Walker Grade and wet your whistle at Bandit Town USA Card Stop #4. Jen and all her bandits will be serving up some good music, cold beverages and friendly conversation while you’re dealt that card you need!
- A right turn out of Bandit Town will start you off towards Card Stop #5, the infamous Buckhorn Saloon. Have a drink, play a game of pool or just sit and chat with Alice or one of her staff. Hang your hat here until around 4 and then head back to North Fork Town Hall for dinner, awards, live music by @nicholasmuddband and lots of prizes!
The North Fork Boosters Club is a community-based public benefit corporation formed for promoting charitable and educational prosperity in North Fork. The Club currently owns and operates the North Fork Recreation Center and North Fork Town Hall, facilities which are private property and are available to rent from the organization.
“The North Fork Town Hall is utilized by community members and organizations throughout the year and hasn’t received much love in the kitchen department,” say the Boosters. “The Board members have been kickin’ ideas around and a poker run seemed like the perfect fundraising party!”
The Boosters host events year around, including the Annual Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree, the Christmas Bazaar, Lions Club Pancake Breakfast events and Squirrel Cage Theater shows. Volunteers from the North Fork Community have made this organization and all its good work possible.