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eschewing obfuscation
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my wife-to-be and i are planning to honeymoon in the napa/sonoma region in early may. we want to check out a few vinyards, marvel at the big trees, etc. we are both mnt. bikers (i race xc and endurance - she likes 1-3hr. casual rides on moderate terrain). what do y'all suggest for an itinerary? we will be in your neck of the woods for about 1 week and are up for riding most days. my sweetheart wants to do a few rides with me and i'd like to ride nearly everyday as this is the beginning of race season. what are the "must ride" routes? what would be good for us as a couple? for me alone? should we bring bikes or can we rent nice rides locally? we are from western north carolina and are really looking forward to some cali time... thanks very much y'all, in advance, for your suggestions! :thumbsup:
 

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aka baycat
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Bring your bikes. You could spend a few days just touring Annadel with all the singletrack. Oat Hill is another must do ride, rather technical, up there as it is a unique ride with epic views. And it is right off the Silverado Trail, where a lot of wineries are located. There is actually a winery at the base of the trailhead we quite like

http://www.zahtilavineyards.com/

Silverado Trail has some great wineries along the entire route. Parallels the main touristy highway so tasting rooms are not as crowded. But I prefer Sonoma over Napa for overall experience, wine and little to no tasting fee.
 

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Been years since I biked over there, but baycat and Carl have some good pointers.

The main highway through Napa Valley is not cycling friendly - narrow 2 lane road with heavy traffic and tour buses :eekster: Silverado Trail provides a nice alternative. Tasting fees are pretty standard in Napa, but may be worthwhile if they let you pick and choose what you want to taste instead of what they have open that day.

Sonoma County is more diverse in scenery, especially as you get over towards the Russian River. You mentioned big trees; if you want to see redwoods, that's where you want to head.

Should be lovely in early May; things should be green, weather not too hot, school still in session and so the summer hordes not out in force.

It's a beautiful region; have fun planning.
 

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Fermented Grain Sampler
clinking clanking clattering collection of collagenous junk
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First congrats on the wedding!
Echoing what Baycat said. Calistoga is a great town at the foot of the Oathill ride and at the top of the Napa Valley. From there you can take nice drive to get into Sonoma.
My wife and I spent a week in Calistoga, I did Oat Hill while she did the spa then met back at the B & B to head out for afternoon wine tasting and dinner 'n drinks.
Another cool winery is Reverie on the other side of Calistoga. They're closed for tours now but open back up by May.
You can drive over to Annadel from Calistoga too. I've not driven it so not sure how long a drive that'd be. Annadel is a great spot to spend a lot of time on the bike. Especially if you're looking for a longer training ride. Oat Hill is a techy climb/descent out and back.
 

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don't try this at home
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are you staying in napa or sonoma or santa rosa? if you stick with napa county, then another riding recommendation would be Boggs Mt. in Lake Co. it's only about 20-30 minutes outside of Calistoga.

if you come to sonoma county, then annadel is the place. it's also only about 20 minutes from calistoga if you end up there. as for big trees, then Armstrong Woods in Guerneville off the Russian River in Sonoma County is the place to visit. It's a nice park with some old growth redwoods. from there you can then ride out to the Sonoma Coast, which imo is one of coolest coastlines in the world.

for wine tasting, just pick a valley(napa, alexander, dry creek, russian river, etc.) and cruise through it, you'll find something worthwhile and maybe discover something new.

i'ld also suggest bringing your own bike. you may also be in the area when the tour of california is here. so you may want to catch the stage.
 

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eschewing obfuscation
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i cannot help but marvel at the kindness of the posters here... southern hospitality in norcal is much appreciated; i had a feeling that mtbr would trump lonely planet et al for tips! we have read about annadel, napa's tasting fees, etc. yet, as is the case nearly everywhere, local knowledge is the key.
i suppose it would be unwise to invite every northern californian mt. biker to western nc, as there are a great many of you, yet if anyone is considering a trip to the east to ride, i have the beta and would be happy to share. having lived in durango, bozeman, banff (alberta) and prescott (az), i have a deep love of the west and it's wonders. hailing from the south, though, i had to return to my roots and, believe it or not, find the riding here as good as anywhere on the planet. moreover, we have kick-ass races year-round (come for next year's pisgah mt. bike stage race in october!).
i have only been to california a few times, and each was while i was on dead tour (don't ask) in the early nineties (cal shoreline, expo, oakland, etc.) and sadly, was never sober or smart enough to really check the place out. my sweetheart and i considered all the usual suspects for trip but thought norcal's natural beauty would make for the h-moon of our dreams. thanks for helping us make it happen!
 

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yea I agree with the others. Annadel is probably going to be the closest and you can get some great riding in there. it may be a little longer drive depending where your staying but Boggs Mountain is a nice place too, way more "laid back" than Annadel, the most traffic I've ever seen at Boggs is like 6 other people.
 

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Way to go,

My wife and were married last fall, and went to Brevard and Asheville for our honeymoon. It is a spectacular area.

Annadel is my favorite to place to ride. Another area which hasn't been mentioned is Lake Sonoma, north of Santa Rosa, which has a 25mile + single track loop. Lake Sonoma is also in the Dry Creek Valley. The wineries in Sonoma County tend to be smaller than the wineries in Napa Valley.

The road riding in western Sonoma county is about as close you can get to mountain biking on the road. There are big loops 70+ miles, through coastal redwoods, almost zero traffic, and with a handful of dirt road climbs you can do as well. The road rides might be better for doing as a couple.
 

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and don't forget all the hot water and mud baths in Calistoga.

If you ride boggs, there's Harbin Hotsprings right next door. Clothing optional.
 
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