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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a little over a week I am going to be rolling from Sacramento to Kelseyville (Clear Lake area). On the way I am going to visit old friends in Woodland and then camp alongside Berryessa, then ride through St. Helena and Calistoga and approach Kelseyville from that direction.

I'm wondering if anyone who is familar with area has any recommendations between the Old Lawley Toll Road versus the Lake County Highway/Calistoga Grade. From what I can tell from topos, it looks like the former has a shallower ascent for the first two thirds or so of it, but then has to climb to same the 1600' level that the Lake County Highway reaches gradually. I guess what I am curious about is traffic and shoulders, is one appreciably better than the other?

Yeah, I know, not strictly mountain biking! ;) If it helps, if my friends in Kelseyville are up for it, we'll be going to Boggs Mountain later in the week! I have to get there first though! ;)
 

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Here's a video of riding down The Old Toll Road. Do not attempt to ride highway 29 unless you have a death wish. It's a very narrow road with tons of traffic.
I was barely able to keep up with traffic on the way down the first part of highway 29.
The Old Toll Road has virtually no traffic.
Enjoy.
MrJibmstr's Channel - YouTube
 

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If you're riding a mountain bike you might also consider Ida-Clayton Rd a bit to the west. I haven't been on it in a long time, but it was a well-maintained Co dirt road back in the day. You would likely only see a car or two the whole way. It looks like it might climb just a bit higher but it will take you all the way over the hill and almost into Middletown.

Consider the banjo music a bonus.
 

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I would do neither. Even if you took Old Lawley toll rd., it doesn't go all the way through to Middletown, and it will not save you from having to do part of your trip on 29. I would fear for my life there the whole way on 29 - it is way too narrow, no shoulder, crazy tight blind corners the whole way up, and really fast drivers.

Fast Eddy's suggestion looks good if you can ride on dirt - Ida Clayton rd. seems to come out when 29 widens out and straightens out before Middletown (that section is ok).

Otherwise, the other fully-paved alternative is to go out on Pope valley rd. past Angwin, and up Butts Canyon. It's longer, but not as windy and death-defying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone! I am riding a mountain bike, but it is going to be fully loaded for touring (front and rear racks, front and rear panniers, plus more gear on top of that) and is a full rigid. I'll be rolling 1.5" Vittoria Radnoneur Pros which do well on gravel and decent dirt trails, but am probably going to bring along some folding mountain rubber as well. If Ida-Clayton Road is still halfway decently maintained, that'd probably be do-able for me.

I'm glad I asked. I haven't been down those roads in over twenty years, and that was as a passenger as a teenager. Even so, I remembered it being twisty, with short sightlines, and probably no shoulders. If the song "Dead Mans Curve" isn't for that stretch of road, it's for another nearby that my dad used to race on, and I fully expect many people still do.

EDIT: google streetview actually shows a single lane (not one each direction) of blacktop at a point nearly halfway down Ida-Clayton Road. Looks peaceful, I think that really might be the way to go!
 

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EDIT: google streetview actually shows a single lane (not one each direction) of blacktop at a point nearly halfway down Ida-Clayton Road. Looks peaceful, I think that really might be the way to go!
I'll be darned. I looked at st view and it looks paved the whole way now. I certainly remember drifting it in mom's caddy back in the day, 30 years ago. It does look peaceful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll be darned. I looked at st view and it looks paved the whole way now. I certainly remember drifting it in mom's caddy back in the day, 30 years ago. It does look peaceful.
Yeah, I didn't really expect there to actually be a streetview of it, but figured it was worth trying. I'm sure pleased they did roll the google-mobile down it though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I like Boggs. Last time we visited our friends in Kelseyville my girlfriend and I borrowed a couple of mountain bikes and tore it up out there! Boggs was a blast for us, rusty as we were, on unfamiliar bikes and given our skill levels generally. I'll be there a week this time with my own steed, so I expect I'll get out there at least once. I already printed out a trail map for Boggs last week! ;)
 
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