Pedaling in the Tahoe Area

Garden of the Black Bear Inn

Garden of the Black Bear Inn

We started our visit to Tahoe staying at the Black Bear Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast on Ski Run Blvd. where we had stayed once before. Our room, the Seneca, overlooked this lovely garden. The hosts here are helpful, the inn is well located, and the parking is free and convenient for accessing our bicycles.

Our first whole day at Tahoe we rode the Pope Baldwin Path which one can reach off of Hwy. 89. We have found it most convenient to park at about 13th St., and then the path can be accessed by heading to the left. The ride goes through Camp Richardson and by the Tallac historic site, which is well worth a visit to see how the wealthy Californians vacationed in the early part of the 20th century. Also it is pleasant to walk out on the dock there and gaze down into the clear waters of Lake Tahoe. After the Tallac site, the ride is a peaceful one through the forest, usually. However, on this particular ride near the end of the path we noticed a  lot of commotion and orange cones blocking the path. Looking ahead, we could see a cement truck that had turned over from Hwy. 89 onto the bike path. There were CHP cars present and three tow trucks. From the looks of the cab of the truck we thought the driver had been killed, but we found out later he only had minor injuries.

Returning to the Black Bear Inn, we rode our bikes out from there to eat lunch and to go to the bank and a bicycle shop to look at locks. Leaving the shopping center, we maneuvered our way from Heavenly Village Parkway to Pioneer Trail where there is a rough but adequate bike lane. We followed this road to Al Tahoe Blvd. where there is a good bike path with ups and downs that are fun to ride. Reaching the end of this trail, we took backstreets to return to the inn. This route took us past some interesting houses, parks, and the local community college.

The next day we drove to Carson City, the capital of Nevada, where we pulled our bikes out of the car to follow the historic trail through the center of the city. This trail goes past interesting houses, the governor’s mansion, and finally the capitol building, where we were permitted to wander at will in a much more relaxed atmosphere than one usually finds in public buildings these days. I was fascinated to discover that any citizen can check a book out of the state library.  It was a lovely relaxing day.

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The Governor's Mansion

The Governor’s Mansion

The next day we headed for Squaw Valley where we had reservations at PlumpJack Inn for a one night stay. On the way we stopped at Tahoe City where we parked near the transportation center just south of the city. Things were complicated here because they were treating breaks in the trail with some kind of hot asphalt. We managed to lift our bikes over these areas and finally get on the path to the northeast. This route took us through a small attractive farmers’ market and a marina to finally come out on a path with some rather challenging climbs (at least challenging for me). We turned around after a while to come back to eat at one of the marina restaurants, which was eminently forgettable.

We had a pleasant stay at the PlumpJack Inn, another place with good parking for cyclists plus a bar with good food. The next day we rode the path from Squaw Valley down to the Truckee River Trail, which has some pretty scenery. We found it easier to take the road rather than the trail back up into Squaw Valley. After a short initial climb, the riding is quite easy.  On a trip like this, I always feel that I get in touch with my California roots, a feeling that sometimes gets a bit frayed living in the busy (but always interesting) San Francisco Bay Area.

Along the Truckee  River Trail

Along the Truckee River Trail

Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley

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New Segment of Iron Horse Trail

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Parking by the Walmart on Alcosta Blvd., we set off to ride to Pleasanton to check out Window-ology because we need new shutters and to visit our favorite farmers’ market in the area. We had read that a new section of the trail from the Dublin BART station to Santa Rita Road was recently opened, so we decided to check that out, following Iron Horse Trail all the way to Pleasanton and then returning by Hopyard to Stoneridge to the Alamo Canal Regional Trail with a short final run on Iron Horse Trail.

While this all looked good on paper, I knew that there was room for error. Sure enough in the Dublin BART station where it says to walk bikes, we exited to the road, a move that led us astray. We ended up following the temporary southern connector to Iron Horse Trail, a pleasant enough ride on generous road shoulders along shady streets. However, we eventually came upon the new section of the trail. To see what it was like we turned back toward the Dublin BART station, a pleasant run past a couple of attractive parks on a concrete path. We then re-traced this segment to continue on to Pleasanton. My advice to riders is to go straight through the Dublin BART station. That way you will not miss the path as we did.

At Santa Rita Road, going south you must turn right to cross a bridge and then cross Stoneridge and Santa Rita to pick up the trail about a hundred yards south of Stoneridge Dr. on the east side of Santa Rita Road. Naturally going north this maneuver would be reversed. This latest addition to our wonderful local trail is a welcome one.

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