Sierra Nevada Adventures Multi Day Rides

Foothills Wine Country 2-Up Ride


Foothills Wine Country ADVENTURE 2-Up ride EXPLORES a scenic back road route in the Foothills Wine Country region of El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras Counties including just enough fun easy dirt roads for 2-Up riders to enjoy an off-road ADVENTURE! 

The Sierra Foothills wine country is growing in the number of wineries and the quality of wine just keeps getting better.  The Sierra wineries from the Fair Play wineries in El Dorado County, the Shenandoah Valley and Sutter Creek area in Amador County, and the Murphys wineries in Calaveras County all have a small-town feel, with numerous wineries producing world-class wines. El Dorado County, the most northern of the three counties, situated in east-central California, has picturesque rolling hills and mountainous terrain. The gold history of El Dorado County began on January 24, 1848, when James Marshall discovered gold in the American River that started the California Gold Rush of 1849. Amador County nestled in the foothills between El Dorado and Calaveras Counties has a rich gold history including a grape-growing and winemaking history that goes back to the mid-1800s when the Gold Rush was on and the demand for drinking was high. European settlers eventually planted vineyards in the rocky-rich soils throughout the Sierra Foothills. Zinfandel was cultivated and thrived in a warm climate. Calaveras County, the most southern of the three counties, situated in the heart of the Mother Lode provides dozens of wineries for wine lovers to enjoy in the quaint small town of Murphys. The gold rush town of Murphys still maintains its historic charm where years ago Mark Twain branded his infamous "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Frog jumping contests still take place in Calaveras County but much more is offered to visitors in this historic gold country region that produces over 1,000 acres of locally grown grape vineyards.

The Sierra Foothills wine country lies along the north-western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range that separates California from the state of Nevada in the east. Vineyards run all the way along this scenic stretch of the Sierra Foothills, usually at altitudes ranging from 1,000ft to 3,000ft above sea level, and the vast, agricultural Central Valley is located to the west of the Sierra Foothills. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in El Dorado County in 1848 led to the California Gold Rush, when a huge influx of settlers arrived in the state in search of fortune. Many were from southern Europe, and vineyards were quickly established by enterprising individuals to supply them with wine. By the 1860s, the Sierra Foothills wine industry was booming. This dropped off in the depression that followed the end of the Gold Rush, and the beginning of Prohibition in 1920 killed off whatever was left. Luckily for wine lovers, many of the vineyards throughout the region were simply abandoned rather than ripped out, and vignerons exploring the viticultural potential of the Sierra Foothills in the 1970s were rewarded with the discovery of many old vines producing extremely low yields of high-quality Zinfandel grapes. The 140-year-old Grandpere grape vineyard in California Shenandoah Valley is said to be the oldest still in production in the state. This vast region has a huge array of terroirs. The rocky soils vary, with low fertility commonplace - making grape growing difficult but producing high-quality wines. The vines are forced to dig their roots deep into the ground to find water and nutrients, and the result is often small yields of grapes with intense, concentrated flavors. Warm, sunny days in the inland grape-growing region of the foothills are followed by much cooler nights because of alpine winds that blow down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the evenings. This diurnal temperature variation, experienced across the whole region, allows grapes to ripen more slowly, leading to the development of rich, complex flavors and aromas that do not come at the expense of acidity. The foothills have struck gold once again as grape growers have been drawn to the Sierra Foothills due to land prices that are considerably lower than in other grape-growing areas of California, particularly Napa Valley and its neighbor Sonoma County. Consumers in turn are attracted to high-quality wines that are more modestly priced than those from many coastal regions including the beautiful foothill scenery and charming gold rush towns throughout the Sierra Foothills wine country.

Sierra Foothills Wine Country 2-Up ride explores a scenic route through the heart of the Mother Lode region with a mix of back roads, easy dirt roads, world-class wineries, and California Gold Rush history. In the United States, Mother Lode is most famously the name given to a long alignment of hard-rock gold deposits stretching northwest-southeast in the Sierra Nevada of California, bounded on the east by the Melones Fault Zone. It was discovered in the early 1850s, during the California gold rush. The California Mother Lode is a zone from (0.93 to 3.73 mi) wide and (120 mi) long, between Georgetown on the north and Mormon Bar on the south. The Mother Lode coincides with the suture line of a terrane, the Smartsville Block. The zone contains hundreds of mines and prospects, including some of the best-known historic mines of the gold-rush era. Individual gold deposits within the Mother Lode are gold-bearing quartz veins up to (49 ft) thick and a few thousand feet long. The California Mother Lode was one of the most productive gold-producing districts in the United States. Now it is known as a destination for tourism and for its vineyards and world-class wineries. As with most gold rushes, the California gold rush started with the discovery of placer gold in the sands and gravels of streambeds, where the gold had eroded from hard-rock vein deposits. Placer miners followed the gold-bearing sands upstream to discover the source in the bedrock. This source was the "mother" of the gold in the river and so was dubbed the "mother lode." The news of gold discovered in California brought thousands of people from around the world in search of gold and hopes of fortune. The sudden influx of gold seekers into the Sierra foothills was truly the Wild West during the early days of the gold rush, a lawless frontier run amuck with a mix of prospectors, prostitutes, gamblers, gunslingers, outlaws, and bandits. One of the legendary Mexican Bandits known as Joaquin Murrieta terrorized the prospectors throughout the Mother Lode region.   

The legend of Joaquin Murrieta was that he was a forty-niner, a gold miner, and a vaquero from Sonora. Joaquin Murrieta was driven to revenge after his brother, and he was accused of stealing a horse in Murphys California. His brother was hanged, and Murrieta was horse-whipped. His young wife was raped, and in one version, she died in Murrieta's arms. Swearing revenge, Joaquin hunted down and killed the men who had violated her. Joaquin Murrieta and his wild gang of desperados embarked on a short but violent career to kill and rob Anglo-American miners throughout the Mother Lode Joaquin Murrieta and his gang of outlaw’s desperadoes began terrorizing miners throughout Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne, including Mariposa Counties in central Sierra Foothills in California.

In the spring of 1853, the California legislature created a special force of California Rangers led by a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff named Harry Love to stop the violence and bloodshed. The state also offered a $6,000 reward to capture Joaquin Murrieta, "dead or alive." For several weeks, Love and his team of 20 rangers scoured the Calaveras countryside without success. The rangers got a lucky break, however, when they captured Murrieta's brother-in-law and forced him to lead them to the outlaw's camp on Cantua Creek near Coalinga. Early on the morning of this day in 1853, Love and his rangers attacked the outlaw camp. Caught by surprise and badly outnumbered, eight of the bandits were killed, including Murrieta and his right-hand man, Tres Dedos (also known as Three-Fingered Jack). To prove they had indeed killed Murrieta and deserved their reward, the rangers cut off the head of the outlaw Joaquin Murrieta and they also cut off the distinctive hand that gave Three Fingered-Jack his nickname. The rangers preserved the gory body parts in whiskey-filled vats until they could exhibit them to the authorities. After collecting their reward, Love further profited from the deal by taking Joaquin Murrieta's severed head and Three Fingered Jack's severed hand on a tour of California mining camps throughout the Mother Lode, charging $1 to see it. Eventually, the head and hand ended up in the San Francisco Museum, where it was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1906.

Event Details:

Multi-Day Tour: (8 to 12 riders with 12 riders max)
An additional $50 fee is required for passengers to be paid on the morning of the event.
This adventure ride is designed for (650cc+) to (1250cc+) dual-sport adventure bikes.
Off-road terrain is rated easy and has lots of adventure.
Ride distance approx. 275 miles round trip (25 miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (125-mile range required)

MEETING TIME: 8:30 a.m. (ride starts at 9:00 a.m.)
MEETING LOCATION: Miners Bend Park Sutter Creek CA.
29 Old Route 49, Sutter Creek CA. 95685
Please arrive in the morning with a full tank of gas.
The ride returns to Sutter Creek CA. (approx. 5:00 p.m.)

Note: 2-Up passengers are not required.

MEALS: (Meals not included)
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at restaurants.
Bring water and snacks.

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS: (Hotel not included)
Riders are responsible for booking their hotel reservations.
- Hotel Sutter, 53 Main St. Sutter Creek, CA 95685 (209) 387-0169
Additional hotels are available in Sutter Creek CA. and nearby Jackson CA.

OPTIONAL HOTEL Prior to Event: (Hotel not included)
Riders are responsible for booking their hotel reservations.
-Hotel Sutter, 53 Main St. Sutter Creek, CA 95685 (209) 387-0169

Additional hotels are available in Sutter Creek CA. and nearby Jackson CA.
Truck/trailering your bike? Please book accommodation with your hotel.

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