Sutter Creek Day One

Day one of our first overnight bike trip with two kids is behind us. We figured we should take it a little easy, so we’re doing it as two ~25 mile loops. That means we don’t need to carry much luggage with us on the ride.

To make the weight more manageable, Ruth and Max are each in their own trailers. I’m pulling Ruth in the single, and Anne is pulling Max in the double. I would have thought Ruth would like the room in the double, but she insists on the single.

Yesterday we arrived at the Days Inn in Sutter Creek. It’s just a couple of blocks from the downtown, which mostly seems to be buildings from the gold rush era.

Today we headed up the hill, with a rolling but overall fairly gentle climb towards Volcano, an even smaller gold rush era village. After stopping to refill water and buy sandwiches for lunch, we got going for the big climb of the day.

The climb up Rams Grade is about 6-7% over 3 miles. We’re pretty out of shape, and it’s hot. Anne stopped a couple of times, which I was happy enough about. It gave me a chance to rest and drink some water, too.

We stopped for lunch near the top. There was a bench at the entrance to some ranch. We made a wall with the bikes, and the kids kept probing it for weaknesses.

We finally made it to the top, and enjoyed a really nice descent. There were weird pockets of hot air that we went through, almost the opposite of a nice cool breeze. There were also a few more short climbs, although by that point, even short was more than we really wanted.

Finally, we rolled back towards town. We came through a much newer section, with more modern tract housing. After a quick stop at the hotel, we walked to get ice cream, then pizza for dinner.

We saw quite a bit of wildlife today. Anne saw a deer hop down an 8 foot cliff, them across the road to go further down the hill, but I missed it. For a bit, a wild turkey paced us. We even saw a fox, which I think might be a biking first for us.

The kids behaved pretty well, overall. Ruth was whinier than usual, but I think we got some improvement by the end (“try again, but ask nicely this time “). When we got back to the room, she announced that she had the best day ever. I guess we did something right.

Max managed to separate the shell of his helmet from the plastic framing, twice, which upset him. We gave up on the helmet for the day, and then he was happy. He was pretty excited to explore whenever we took him out of the trailer, but was also content to go back in. He got a good morning nap, and was working on an afternoon one when we got back. We’ll need to figure out what to do about the helmet.

It was very hot. We tried to get an early start to beat the heat, and partially succeeded with an 8:22 rollout time. It was still 92 by the time we got back to the hotel, however. Tomorrow we’ll need to pack up the room and check-out before we leave, so hopefully we’ll still be able to beat at least some of the heat.