Starting on the shore of South Lake Tahoe, we will cross the California/Nevada state line and head up Kingsbury Grade, enjoy its amazing downhill, then return to California and climb Carson Pass. Here is where you will drink in the ambiance of the Sierras. This is the true High Sierra with stunning vistas in all directions. Even in June, one might find a patch of snow on a shaded southern exposure. Passing the Kirkwood Ski valley, you will cross the Carson Spur just before passing Silver Lake on our way to camp at the Silver Lake Stockton Family Camp. Silver lake is the quintessential alpine lake, with crystal clear water, stately conifers and polished granite exposed during the last great ice age.
Day two starts with an early morning challenge, but then you will be rewarded with a day of leisurely cruising the mostly downhill on quiet mountain backroads. The route follows the Mormon Emigrant Trail toward Pollock Pines. Along the way we will travel the Pony Express Trail, Kit Carson Road and the El Dorado Trail. This is the Ponderosa of the 60's television shows. The route leaves the El Dorado Trail to follow Coloma Road through Placerville and our destination for the evening. Placerville offers many snacking opportunities as we pass through the center of town. We will camp literally a stone's throw from the South Fork of the American River. Screams of white water rafters will be heard in the afternoon as they pass just below the camp. The gold discovery site of Sutter's Mill is a short walk or ride from the camp, as are several Mom & Pop shops and restaurants. Be on the look-out for gold nuggets if you go.
Day three will be the longest day of the tour. Here is where we traverse the Central Valley of California. We will pass though Folsom, Sacramento, Davis and Winters, all great places to test the local cuisine, or to find that old time soda fountain. On the way to Sacramento the route travels a significant distance along the American river on the Jedediah Smith memorial trail. Smith is credited with discovering the South Pass of the continental divide establishing the best route for the Oregon Trail.
Wednesday's route continues west via Hwy 128 and crosses the tour's half way point! It climbs past Monticello Dam and then over "Cardiac Hill" in Napa County. You will head north through vineyards and forest into Pope Valley and the shaded climb on Ink Grade Rd. Your reward is the amazing descent down into the Napa Valley; it's one of the best! Camping is provided at the Napa County Fairgrounds, however, this might also be a good night for a mid-tour hotel room splurge! Dinner tonight is on your own at one of the many great restaurants in downtown Calistoga.
Thursday's route heads for the famous Sonoma wine region via delightful back roads. You'll enjoy two winery rest stops today! So after a sample or two, have the Sag van carry your purchases to camp. You can enjoy the Russian River towns of Rio Nido, Guerneville and Monte Rio, and marvel at the mighty Sequoia Sempervirons en route to our camp beside the Russian River. If you arrive in Guerneville early enough, consider taking a ~5 mile round trip side trip to Armstrong Redwoods Park, a great place to eat a picnic lunch or just ride through the majestic trees.
On Friday, the tour finally reaches the other part of its name sake, the Sea. The route to the coast takes us first to Duncan’s Mills for breakfast at the Cape Fear Café. From there, the tour it’s a short descent to the world famous Hwy 1. Hwy 1 along the stunning Pacific Coast provides spectacular views of the ocean. The food options become plentiful as you pass Valley Ford, the bakery in Tomales, seafood restaurants near Marshall and finally the restaurants and cafes in Point Reyes Station.
At just 40 miles, the last day's route is fairly easy compared to the first few days. We cruise along Bolinas Bay, stop for coffee in Stinson Beach, then hit the 1500 ft climb over the shoulder of Mount Tamalpias. The quick descent into Mill Valley is followed by views along the bay in Sausalito. The now 75 year old Golden Gate Bridge comes into view in Fort Baker. Its a short climb, onto the western sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, and south through the city by the bay as you roll the last miles into Golden Gate Park for an end of tour catered lunch. Total for the tour: 413 miles & 24,519 ft gain in seven days of riding!
The tour will start in San Jose at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 1755 North First Street. This hotel serves the San Jose International Airport and is ideal for our out of town guests who intend to fly in. If you have purchased bus transportation during registration, the busses will leave this hotel at 8:00 AM on Saturday June 17 for our first camp at Lake Tahoe. Those not Leaving from San Jose, or providing other transportation to Lake Tahoe may meet the tour Saturday in Lake Tahoe.
Paid long term parking may be available for Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel guests: $5.00 per night. Purchase at check in. Paid long term parking available for non hotel guests: $10.00 per night.
Important parking note: Long term parking at the hotel will be limited. Therefore we strongly encourage our local guests to find a way to be dropped off at the hotel if at all possible.
Last modified: October 27, 2016
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