A Day in the Sierra Foothills

It doesn’t matter how many times I ride up in the foothills of the Sierras, I don’t think I could ever tire of it. We are lucky to have some of the best riding ever, right here in Northern California. Getting to Dick’s place from Oakland is a good 2.5 hour drive on super slab most of the way, so more often than not, I drive up so I don’t have to add an extra 5 hours of freeway riding to my “ride”.  I always have my choice of bikes to ride once I get there. As predicted, I chose the Bonnie.IMG_4135

Dick hopped on his Ducati and we headed out on a mild, sunny morning in search of old covered bridges and LOTS of twisty roads. There was no lack of twisty roads, in fact you might be hard-pressed to find a straight road in the foothills.

We found our way from Hwy 193, to the famous Hwy 49, which has made prior appearances on this blog.  From hwy 49 we turned right at the confluence of the North Fork and the Middle Fork of the American River.  The only hazard here is staring at the scenery just a bit too long on these roads.  I highly recommend pulling over to take it all in, and snap a photo or two.

Photo courtesy of Barbara Matthews: http://mtnmatthews.blogspot.com/

Photo courtesy of Barbara Matthews: http://mtnmatthews.blogspot.com/

We then rode up Forest Hill Rd. to cross the tallest bridge in California, the Forest Hill Bridge.  An amazing 731 feet high, built in 1971 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.  Yep, the same people that make the motorcycles.foresthill-bridge-from-trailforesthill-bridge-signWe worked our way thru North Auburn to Christian Valley Rd. Winding our way down to the town of Meadow Vista.  About midway, we turned left onto Dog Bar Rd and away from Colfax. We crossed a cute little canal and meandered past peaceful horse ranches.  We went through a little town called Cedar Ridge (pop. 201) before we arrived at our lunch spot, Pine Street Burgers in Grass Valley.  If you ever get to Grass Valley, you MUST try this place.  A-mazing!pine-street-burgers-900417

After lunch, we took side streets into Nevada City, probably California’s best preserved Gold Rush town.  Nevada-City-8-07

We continued up Hwy 49 for some more twisty fun then headed on Pleasant Valley Rd. toward South Yuba River.   Along that road is the Historical Landmark to the world’s first long distance telephone line built in 1877. It stretched across about 58 miles of Nevada County. In 1877, the Ridge Telephone Company connected French Corral to French Lake (now called Bowman Lake).  IMG_4140


We wrapped up our trip by checking out the Bridgeport covered bridge.  It’s a pedestrian bridge that crosses the South Yuba River, but is closed right now due to maintenance.  The Bridgeport Covered Bridge has the longest clear span of any surviving covered bridge in the world.IMG_4144

Attribution: Mediawerkz at en.wikipedia

Attribution: Mediawerkz at en.wikipedia

Another great day of riding in the Sierra Foothills.  There are so many old mining towns that are tiny but still up and running.  It has sparked my old interest of going on a riding quest to find old mining ghost towns. Look for more of that this summer.  Next up in April….Death Valley–the home of old mines and ghost towns.  Stay tuned for more!

Categories: Great RoadsTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Love the big bridge!



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