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Sonoma to Grass Valley and back via the Backroads.

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Oct 4th, 2011, 12:49 PM
  #1
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Sonoma to Grass Valley and back via the Backroads.

Hoping to see a bit of fall color next week up in Grass Valley and surrounds.
Truly do not want to take I-80 route.
and am hoping for comment on this scenic back-roads route to Grass Valley:
Sonoma to -Napa via 116/12
Napa to just west of Davis via 121/128
Head north on 113 to Yuba City
Connect with Hwy 20 and head east into Grass Valley.

Return from Grass Valley on Hwys 49/124/88/12

Any route corrections ?
Places that are must sees anywhere along the round-trip ?
Interesting places to dine ?
All thoughts will be most appreciated.

R5
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Oct 4th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Why not just head north and connect to Hwy 20 at the southern tip of Clear Lake?
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Oct 4th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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That sounds like a pretty good route.

Hwy 20 is a nice drive, but if you want to get even more back-roady, you can take Hammonton-Smartsville Rd out of Marysville, which will connect back up with Hwy 20 further up the hill. This is my prefered route when going from Marysville to Grass Valley. If you look at a map of Marysville, you will see Simpson Lane will take you over to Hammonton-Smartsville Rd.

Another route you could take is to travel north on 29 until you pick up Hwy 20, and then take Hwy 20 all the way to Grass Valley (with or without the Hammonton-Smartsville rd detour - this detour is actually faster than Hwy 20).

This route will take you through the town of Williams which has a new museum based on this the history of the upper Sac. valley. It is housed in the old high school, which is a neat building, and has a really nice collection of artifacts from the local area - old farming equipment, household items, clothing, etc. I am really impressed with the job that they did putting this museum together. A lot of local people donated family items to the museum. http://www.sacvalleymuseum.com/

Another neat stop is the covered bridge at Bridgeport, which is off Hwy 20 between Marysville and Grass Valley - about 15 minutes down Pleasant Valley Rd.
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Oct 4th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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I knew Fodorites in the know wold have a better plan !

In all the time we have lived here, we have not made it to Lake Berryessa-so that was the reason behind my initial route.

Looking at the Hwy 29 to Hwy 20 route appears to be a better bet-and thanks for the interesting stops and Hammomton-Smartsville detour.

Any travel time estimate between Napa and Grass Valley via
Hwys 29/20 and the Hammomton-Smartsville detour ?

Many thanks, Michael & november__moon !

R5
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Oct 4th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Google map should be able to give you travel times. Its original map will send you over I80, but just use the cursor to slide the itinerary line as you wish, until it meets your intended route, and then Google map will give you estimated times.
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Oct 4th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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Thank you, Michael !

R5
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Oct 4th, 2011, 02:56 PM
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I love the Google maps capability of sliding the route around. So helpful.

If you end up stoping at the museum in Williams, let me know what you think. I was not involved in the creation of the museum, but I know quite a few people who were. I'm sure they would love feedback.
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Oct 4th, 2011, 04:54 PM
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Next week is probably too early for fall colors unless you drive up to the higher elevations in the Sierra. I was in Grass Valley last week and it was still very hot (in the 90's). There's been no frost yet so I doubt there's much color. Early November is usually better. You could call the Chamber of Commerce.

I guess you could call Hwy 29 and 20 backroads but they are the two main highways of Lake County and not particularly interesting.

Napa to Grass Valley via I-80 and CA 49 = 2 hours

Napa to Grass Valley via CA 29 and CA 20 = 3.5 hours

If you take the Berryessa route, you will only catch a glimpse of the lake unless you detour up the Berryessa-Knoxville Road. If you do take 128 to Winters and then drive to Davis, a faster route to Marysville than CA 113 is to go to Woodland and then take I-5 east to CA 99 and then CA 70. 70 has been totally rebuilt in the past two years and is a very fast route. 113 north of Woodland is a slower 2 lane road and you will run into traffic in Yuba City. It might be seen as more scenic if you like rice fields.
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Oct 4th, 2011, 05:33 PM
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I think it is nice to get off the Interstate and drive through the farm country. Rice fields are nice. Yeah, these aren't backroads in the pure sense of the word, but I think razzle's plan is to take some secondary highways rather than the interstate.
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