A beautiful day of riding in Northern California it was. We set off on this nippy, windy morning hoping to check out the Italian Road to Allegheny. This ride was a favorite last year and I was hoping to get tracks to update the Favorite Rides page. We rode the 80 Freeway north in winds seemingly like those described in a southern Patagonia winter. Well maybe that is a slight exaggeration but my little DRZ was battered around a bit until we reached Nevada City where we made our way to North Bloomfield Road. It was a twisty, steep downhill grade sheltered by trees, and a quite chilly ride in the shade. In less than 5 miles, the black top ended and we took a break at the bridge over the South Yuba River and chatted with some other bikers who warned that the Italian Road was likely not passable all the way to Allegheny….
I wondered why it is called the Italian Road when the street sign read Tyler Foote Xing. Jon takes me on some fantastic rides and shared his secret knowledge of navigating these Northern California off-road riding adventures. He reads, lots of books. But a favorite that holds the key to many of our rides is the Guide to Northern California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails by Charles A. Wells. CLICK HERE to see the book on Amazon. Wells (2003) explains that Italian masons constructed the former stage coach route almost 100 years ago. Do this ride and you will marvel at how the stones are stacked and wonder how it could possibly be done without John Deer track hoes and backhoes.
Ahh, back to the ride…..
Embarking on our sought after adventure of the Italian Road, we were soon greeted with the steep hills, switch backs, cliffs, rocks and running rivers I remembered from last year.
We were able to complete about half of the Italian Road before we encountered the promised “ROAD CLOSED” sign. No matter how wonderful the road behind us may have been, both of us hate to double back. I can’t explain it except to say that we love the call of adventure and that is excitement of the unknown.
Looking at the GPS, Jon spotted a dirt road, Magnus Orchard Road, likely to carry us to pavement and avoid the double back. So off we went, down the path of the unknown. I cheat a little as I usually hang back. That way, if the opening of a curve drives into a black bear or drops off into an abyss, Jon can give me a shout out. Often when we are too separated and our Sena cuts out, I wonder what’s ahead that Jon would warn me about but he cannot.
At the end of Magnus Orchard Road, we were surprised by another sign. This is the one that gets us into trouble. See, we unknowingly just finished a road that was marked “CLOSED” and there was nothing wrong with the road. So, next time we see a “CLOSED ROAD” sign, I will remember how wonderful this closed road was and be tempted to forge ahead.
Back on the pavement and soon it was time for a break. We had a milk shake at Ridge Cafe on Hwy 49 and relaxed with time to take in the local culture. We completed 160 miles today with about 50 of that being dirt. Regrettably, only about one half of the Italian Road was passable. ***Update June 24, 2017, Road opened completely since this post was originally written. For maps and details CLICK HERE
Every ride is fantastic and makes life grand. Someday soon we will be looking to complete the Italian Road. Come ride with us. We are ALWAYS, READY TO RIDE!
To see complete photo gallery of this ride CLICK HERE.