Day 2: Sacramento to Placerville
57.25 miles - 5 hours and 38 minutes in the saddle

Ray, my host, works in Sacramento. To save myself 16.5 uninteresting miles, I asked if he would give me a ride when he went to work in the morning. He graciously agreed to.

The first thing I wanted to do in Sacramento was to get some breakfast. I wasn't picky and ended up at the Capitol Park Cafe, where I loaded up on the usual omlette, potatoes, and coffee.

After I fueled up, I went around the corner and got the largest sandwich that Quizno's makes. On my way out of town, I stopped in front of the capitol and took a picture.

The route goes through Old Sacramento, which is right next to the river and full of small shops. Unfortunately, I didn't stop to get a picture. After a hundred feet, the American River Bike trail starts. In Sacramento, this trail is also called the Jedediah Smith National Recreation Trail. I would follow this bike path for 28 miles, all the way Folsom.

This building looked odd, being that it was sitting in the middle of the Sacramento River.

Early on, the bike path went through tree shaded areas.

Eventually, the path was right next to the American River.

Much of the bike path went through open fields or along unshaded portions of the river. It was another hot day, well over 90 degrees and I was sweating profusely and drinking lots of water. There were a few bikers on the trail and I struck up a conversation with one of them who showed me the correct way into Folsom.

Like many towns founded during the California Gold Rush, Folsum (like Sacramento) has a preserved old town that has raised walkways (now made of cement), cramped buildings, and lots of shops. I ate a very nice lunch at Hop Sing restauran, which is in the first row of old buildings you come to off the American River Trail.

It takes a few miles to get out of urban Folsom and by the gate to the prison. Eventually, the route goes along Green Valley Road which is a main thoroughfare, with a fair amount of traffic, a reasonable shoulder, and undergoing lots of housing development.

While it will soon be mostly housing, it wasn't without some attractive vistas.

After Cameron Park, about 15 miles outside of Folsom, the road turns rural. As you can see, there is no shoulder on this portion of the road. What's more, it is used by people commuting to/from work and during drive time is a bit crowded as a lot less fun. However, this day, it was still early enough in the afternoon that the road was mostly empty. It was also streadily climbing and I was getting a bit tired. It was near here that the last half of the Quizno's sandwich was consumed.

Green Valley Road goes all the way to Placerville. The only bit of organized civilization you pass is the tiny village of Rescue. Placerville is a pretty good sized town that is very close to the place were gold was actually discovered in California (Coloma). It, too, has an old section that was closed up tight when I rode through it about 6:30pm.

The map directions were wrong and I ended up riding over a few unwelcome hills to get to the modern parts of Placerville, where the hotels were. I stopped at the first place I found (the Gold Country Inn). I was tired due to the mileage I had ridden and the climbing I had to do at the end of that mileage. I met a fellow bike tourist there who was riding from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco. When I asked him about the ride up to Kirkwood, his only response was that it would be tough gaining thousands of feet over 50 miles.

After I checked into the hotel ($75), I tried to push my bike to my room. The walkway in front of the rooms was blocked by four motorcyclists who had taken the tables and chairs out of their rooms, where they were sitting, talking motorcycles, and smoking cigarettes. When I asked if they would mind moving aside so I could pass, they insulted me and refused. Instead, I ended up having to push my bike up several stairs to get to my room. I guess pushing around an exhausted bicyclist really got the motorcyclists off!

I didn't want to eat more Chinese food for dinner so I went to the Albertson's a block away and bought some apples, bananas, a watermelon, and food for tomorrow. As it turned out, the watermelon was way past ripe, mealy, and mostly inedible. I ate much of the other fruit and then went to bed.

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Description of Day 3 ride