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We left on the day before the summer solstice, bicycling out our front door heading out of Downtown Sacramento going east through the American River Parkway (where we had, in the spring, participated in the SacFit program culminating in the Parkway Half Marathon of May 1, 2010) along the American River Bike Trail. S's bicycle is a Sat R Day, which is a foldable recumbent bicycle that used to be manufactured by Bike Friday. She got it cause it was the right size, cause it had been previously owned (conservation on materials), and was somewhat local (cause we had lived for a while in Eugene, Oregon, where Bike Friday, the company, is located). Our first night we had test-run numerous times, camping at the campground at Beals Point Campground near Lake Folsom in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

Leaving the American River Bike Trail, heading north, along the 'Auburn-Folsom Road' toward Auburn, we began to encounter more of the foothills. My bicycle is a RockHopper, bought off an add from Craigslist. I wanted to get a used 'beater' bike for this trip. My clothes and gear were loaded into panniers I borrowed from S (who had used them on her last bicycle trip) and, along with the tent, sleeping bag, and Thermarest pad, were mounted onto a regular utility Blackburn bike rack.

Arriving in Auburn, following surface streets and wanting to have a departure from some of the automobile traffic, we ventured into the Auburn State Recreation Area, following California State Route 193 that unfortunately for us went down a narrow Highway with barely room for car traffic let alone bicycles on a shoulder overlooking a canyon. Down, down, down we descended till we got to the glorious view that is the confluence of the North and the Middle Forks of the American River.

We had planned to 'disperse camp', as is the right of people, in the National Forest, but here in a State Park, the rules are different. We searched for a designated campsite till it got too dark as we trudged up 'Old Foresthill Road' as we had decided that going back up the main road we had come from was unwise. We had biked downhill with gravity slightly slower than the car traffic, but going uphill that same road would be much slower and was going to be blocking too many cars dangerously.

The next morning we left early, heading on a loop to get back to the streets of Auburn and the frontage roads of Interstate 80, we went across the ForestHill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California at 730 feet above the riverbed, which crossed the North Fork of the American River, just above the confluence, nearly 710 feet above where we were last night. I felt happy that we had climbed so far, that morning, on the relatively unused 'Old Foresthill Road', to climb out of the canyon we had camped in, more safely than if we had gone back out the way we came down into the canyon.

Our plan had been to follow frontage roads of I-80, as able, till we got to an intersection of our route and of the newly published "Sierra Cascades" route of the Adventure Cycling Association. The "Sierra Cascades" route goes from Mexico to Washington but we were following the subsection on our map from Truckee, CA, to Crater Lake National Park, OR. So our plan had been to go from Auburn, to Colfax, then to Truckee via I-80, braving the Interstate traffic levels over the Sierra Nevada Mountains crest.

We never made it to Truckee.

More tomorrow.

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