California Mountain Biking
In 2004 for we bet on biking in California, to search for some of the best singletrack, in places such as Annadel, Downieville, Truckee, Lake Tahoe and Monterey. Essentially, we did the same thing as the previous summer, when we cycled in Colorado, but in a different part of the United States.
|We left in mid-July and flew straight to
San Francisco. As one is allowed to carry sixty kilos but only in two
pieces of luggage, no chance to have less weight in three pieces, we
stuffed our bikes and BOBs along with all our
personal gear in four boxes. It felt rather unconventional, not
to say ridiculous, to
travel with boxes instead of rucksacks or suitcases but it worked just
Arriving i San Fracisco we took into the friendly Golden Gate Hotel and spent a couple of days over coming our jet lag biking to Marin County, searching for singletrack and seeing sights as the Muir Red Wood.
Muir Red Wood
After a couple of days we set off for Annadel.
Leaving San Francisco turned out to be quite
difficult. California is the promissed land of the car.
Finding a safe route out of town was not easy. We got a
cycling map and set off and by misstake made a longish detour
out on the Tiburon penninsula. Beautiful riding, we
got to see the Department‘s of Correction famous prison St
Quintin, looked like a castle from afar. But we did
not make much way.
Leaving Golden Gate Hotel
Crossing the Golden Gate
Finding a pleasant route was not an easy task in
California. Traffic tended to be intense and dangerous.
At times one was expected to bike along especially designated bike
routes which made large detours and were not always easy to find, at
other times one was expected to head right on the free way. The first
day took us to a RVs only camping. Fortunately, no one asked questions
when we pitched our tent on gravel, the next morning we paid as if we
had camped with an RV.
RVs only camping
Our first stop was Annadel, where we spent a couple of days riding the singletrack in Annadel State Park. Then, we crossed the range to Calistoga, to ride the famous Oats Hill, before we continued to Downieville via Clear Lakes and Colusa. Clear Lake had a strange ambience, first time ever we felt frightened by the local people in a place in the US, to the degree that we checked into a motel. Crossing the Central Valley was an experience: endless fields of strawberries and fruits, hot as the Gangetic Plain, indeed Colusa felt like Punjab. Elisabeth had no less than five flat tires in a day, which did not make it any more fun.
We continued across the plains of the Central Valley and finally climbed to Yuba and Nevada City. We loved Nevada City. It is funky little town, with clubs and a street market in the week ends. We had a night out. The next day we crossed the ridges to the North Yuba River and headed up the valley to Downieville. where we spent several days before we went on to Truckee and Lake Tahoe.
The riding was splendid in the Sierra Nevadas, but
return to the California coast biking through the Central Valley again
was a haunting prospect. Crossing it once in summer time had been an
interesting experience but doing it twice felt as one time too much. We
hated the idea of cycling in extreme heat in heavy intense trafic for
days. There were no reasonable flight or bus connections. So finally we
bet on taking a taxi from South Lake Tahoe to Monterey. I was a bit
pricey. On the other hand it got us to the coast in just a day — saving
us from a week of strenuous and dangerous cycling.
Ready to leave from Lake Tahoe
Arriving in Monterey
|In Monterey we first spent a day riding the famous trails of Fort Oud. Then we went down the Highway one as far as Cambria, before we returned to San Francisco with a couple of days stop in Santa Cruz for singletrack. Finally we spent a couple of day enjoying San Francisco before our flight back to Scandinavia.||
Checking in our boxes at San Francisco Airport