Day 75: Carson City, NV to Caples Lake, California!!
July 30, 2011

We’re in California!! Leaving Carson City was unpleasant (6-lane divided highway) but after about 5 miles we were on a nice, quiet road alongside the eastern side of the Sierras. This is evidently a popular area for biking since we saw a ton of cyclists this morning. A couple of them stopped and rode with us for a while and one guy even showed us an alternate route up a small hill. We shared a sandwich for an early lunch in Woodfords and then began our final big climb of the trip–4,000 feet up to Carson Pass. We’d planned to stop for the day about halfway up in Hope Valley. In the past, we’ve gone cross-country skiing there and it’s a really beautiful spot. We arrived at the Hope Valley campground and restaurant a little after noon, ate some really good pie (not as good as Lois’s pie, of course), and talked to every person who came into the cafe. Seriously, it was the chattiest collection of people. One lady even offered to have us stay with her in Sacramento. We eventually extricated ourselves from all conversations and decided to continue onward (our energy replenished from all the pie-eating). 9 miles later, we crossed Carson Pass. It looked like it was going to rain on us, but we made it over the top dry and warm. We stopped for the night about 4 miles past the pass at Caples Lake. It’s a beautiful spot and we have a lake view from our funky, funky room. Actually, it’s the bathroom that’s the funkiest. It’s across the hall, but private for us, and it’s enormous. It’s almost bigger than our entire apartment in New York and it has a random stone pillar in it. This probably isn’t news to anyone living in California, but there is a ton of snow up here!

  • Start: Carson City, NV
  • End: Caples Lake, CA
  • Slept: lodge
  • Miles: 51.7
  • Avg.: 7.5
  • Notes: 4,000 ft elevation gain

Day 76: Caples Lake, CA to Placerville, CA
July 31, 2011

After watching sunrise over the snowy mountains from our room, we set off on what would be a 6,000 foot descent. Unfortunately, there were some ups and downs so we actually had to pedal a little. The first 10 miles of the day reminded us that California is, in fact, the best place in the world. It even smells better here. We both tend to think of Tahoe as a winter destination, but it is really, really nice to be here now, at the end of July. We took route 88 for about 30 miles and then switched to smaller, though bumpier roads. By that time we’d dropped low enough that it was HOT. But it looked and smelled like home so no real complaints. We rode by several vineyards and stopped for lunch in Somerset where we ate the last can of chili we’d been carrying and got some pastries from the cafe. In Placerville we found a really crappy motel (we’re going out in style) but the price and proximity to a taqueria sealed the deal. Our ETA in San Francisco is Wednesday. Be there or be…somewhere else. But really, you should be there.

  • Start: Caples Lake, CA
  • End: Placerville, CA
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 65.7
  • Avg.: 10.8

Photos: lamest state border sign ever, Hope Valley, Carson Pass, Caples Lake, California mountains