The Gilded Hills (94)

Believe it or not, we are still enjoying riding after about 5,300 miles in 93 days so far, but it has never been easy to get back on the bikes after rest days.  We were so happy that Jim and Jeanette made the trek from Bozeman to South Lake Tahoe to spend some time with us.  It also felt nice to know that we had plenty of rest days very soon ahead of us, since San Francisco is only ~200 miles from Lake Tahoe.  So, we packed up the bikes for the last time and said our goodbyes.

Rather than backtracking for the first hour or two this morning, we bummed a car ride to Luther Pass from Jim :-).  From the top, it was a short descent to a meadow where the Sierra Cascades and Western Express routes intersect, and then we were on the way up to Carson Pass.  This was the last major climb of the whole trip :-/.

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Colin and I at a pull off near the top of Carson Pass.

We met Colin on the way up to Kit Carson Pass; he was on his way back to San Francisco from Colorado, where he had been supporting a friend for a big mountain bike race.  He zipped past us on the way up and then stopped to talk on his way down.  As many cyclists seem to in the west, Colin enjoys the big climbs and was planning to go up the pass once more after riding back to the bottom.  It was nice to meet you, Colin; keep the rubber side down!

Mixed feelings about reaching the top of our last big climb
Mixed feelings about reaching the top of our last big climb

On the map, the descent looked like 60 miles of downhill, which we were excited for (to make for an easy long day), but the first 30 miles were rolling with several moderate climbs.

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The next 30 were much more fun because we could coast and take in the views with a nice breeze in our faces.  In the middle, we stopped for lunch at a lookout, and then a bit further down the road we filled up on water and snacks at Cooks Station.

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May not look like a typical carrot, but still tasted great, thanks Jim & Jeanette!
Jim and Jeanette sent us off with a bag full of green beans and carrots from their garden!  It was all such a treat since fresh vegetables have been hard to come by for most of the trip.

From there, we finished the descent and once again found ourselves around 500′, although this time, we knew we wouldn’t be climbing back up from this elevation.  The riding was pretty mellow, which was fortunate, because it was a hot day in the central valley.

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In Plymouth, we took a mid-afternoon break at the Amador Vintage Market, where we split a deli sandwich and some gelato.

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While there, we met Jerry, Tess, and their granddaughter Jarryn.  Jerry is a firefighter in the bay area, and has recently become interested in motorcycle touring, so he wanted to hear about our trip.  After a brief conversation, they generously invited us to stay with them at their home in El Dorado Hills.  We happily obliged, and, after finishing our food, got back in the saddle for the last 20 miles to their home.

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It may have been hot in the valley, but we were happy to see good shade trees!

Along the way, we passed through some beautiful country that made it very clear why the town is named El Dorado Hills.  To our surprise, some of the fields are even adorned with metallic ribbons, which we assumed must be to deter birds.

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Hard to see the metallic ribbons in the picture, but they were sparkling brilliantly in person.

We made it to their house in the early evening and had ice waters on the deck, met their very cute and energetic dog, and got to know each other for a while.  Afterward, we cleaned up and went into town for some fantastic food and drinks at the Hop House pub in the town center, which turned out to be really cool.  We both really enjoyed ourselves, so we hope to be able to repay the favor if they ever travel to the East coast!

Trip stats, to date (Day 94)

South Lake Tahoe, CA to El Dorado Hills, CA

Daily mileage: 93.4 mi ;  Trip total to date: 5,472 mi
Daily riding time: 7hr 05min;  Trip total time: 477hr 16min
Daily ascent: 5,360 ft;  Trip total ascent: 294,184 ft
Flat tires: Rachel – 4; Chris – 7