|On Finning Mill Road|
We often drive up to Sugar Pine Reservoir via Foresthill. Along the way the way I have noticed Finning Mill Road. It departs Foresthill Divide Road a few miles east of Foresthill, I then see the other end not far from the boat ramp exit at Sugar Pine. A Google search didn't come up with a lot of information. Google and Bing maps weren't very helpful either. I have a USFS map of the Tahoe National Forest which did show the road and it looked alright there, so I decided I wanted to try it.
This ride would encompass a fair amount of dirt road riding, as I planned to ride Finning Mill and Yankee Jims to get back to Colfax. I was riding my Mercian Tourer on which I recently installed Continental "Tour Rides", (described as 37mm wide but really about 34mm on my Sun CR18s). I was looking forward to finding out how they handled the dirt roads.
I drove up to Colfax and parked at the old Dingus McGee parking lot. Poor old Dingus McGee has been leveled, all that remains is the concrete slab, (BTW, found out that the roadhouse has re-opened in Auburn). Departing Colfax on Iowa Hill road, I dropped quickly to the North Fork of the American River. At the bottom I stopped to snap a picture when I discovered my rear tire was flat! A goathead sticker had punctured it right through the top surface! Not an auspicious start for my ride! It didn't help my impression of the Tour Rides either!
I swapped out the tube and then had to start that glorious climb to Iowa Hill. This climb is really, really tough. Good thing I had a 28/28 low gear. Even with no load, it's hard work to make it up that road. Eventually I made it to Iowa Hill where I met a couple of old guys who had passed me on trail bikes. They laughed because they said I almost kept up with them! We chatted and I asked them about Finning Mill. One of them said all he remembered was that it turned to powder during the summer thanks to the logging trucks. They had not been on it recently.
|Nothing much happening at Iowa Hill Store today!|
I tried something different at Sugar Pine this year. I dropped down to the day use area which is adjacent to Big Gap campground. Earlier this year, we had camped at Big Gap and found the walking path around the lake to the boat ramp had been paved. So I road down and around the lake to the ramp and then back to the main road. Although this saves you from riding across the dam, I can't say you save a lot because you have a good climb before you get to the campground, and you have to watch your speed, the path is narrow and has lots of curves and you don't know if there will be somebody coming around the next blind curve.
|Sugar Pine is very low right now.|
|The start of Finning Mill, so far, so good!|
|On Finning Mill. Notice the road surface is good!|
|The end of Finning Mill road at Foresthill Divide road.|
|At Yankee Jims|
|I take a picture of the Yankee Jim Bridge every time I cross it!|
I was pretty happy with this ride. It was fun to add an extra stretch of dirt road to it. Finning Mill was really a fine road. The Tour Ride tires felt pretty nice on the dirt and gravel, and they seemed to roll along on the pavement pretty nicely with 80 lbs. in them. I was disappointed that they punctured, but I don't know of any tire that can withstand a goathead, so that was just bad luck I guess. The Mercian took it all in stride, even with a large handlebar bag. Rides stats: 43.78 miles, 4 hours and 42 mins (!). 5520 feet of climbing.
|Here's the ride as plotted by my Run the Map app.|
|The Mercian with the huge Ostrich bag!|