Downieville, California, on Highway 49, is the high point of our trip, both literally and figuratively. This little gold rush town tucked in the crags of the Sierra Nevada is touring candy. All roads leading in or out of the area are sublime, and for the most part, empty. We roll into Downieville just before dusk, reeling from a mix of sensory overload and spent adrenaline, and happen into a little motel called the Carriage House Inn, with rooms so close to the Yuba River you can skip rocks right from your balcony. We all agree, this is motorcycle touring: spending a long, fantastic day blasting through one postcard-perfect scene after another to end up at the doorstep of a cheap, clean, charming motel in the middle of nowhere. That night, on a deck strewn with party lights, we sucked down cerveza and tacos like animals, probably spitting little bits of salsa as we rushed our words, reliving our day.