Author Topic: Problems with Western Express  (Read 4943 times)

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Offline MrBent

Problems with Western Express
« on: June 09, 2008, 01:08:52 pm »
Ahoy, Riders:  My wife and I recently did a portion of the Western Express, and we have to say that some of it seems poorly routed.  Our main complaint is with Carson and Green Valley Rds. between Folsom and Pollock Pines especially.  The last few miles (heading west) into Folsom have a good shoulder, but the traffic is very heavy.  This same heavy traffic exists further up but the shoulder is zero, and one is faced with frequent climbs on the way down.  In the drop from 7500 + ft. we gained over 2,000 ft.--ugh.  We really hated riding this section, and it was the low point of our tour.

A couple of years ago, we rode this same region of the Western Express, but because Mormon Immigrant Trail was closed due to snow, we had to keep heading down Hwy 88.  This turned out very well.  A few miles west--virtually all fast downhill--of the Mormon Trail turnoff, we took Shake Ridge Rd. down to Fiddletown.  This was fantastic--down, down, down with virtually no annoying climbs and virtually no traffic.  From Fiddletown we made our way to Plymouth, took Hwy 16 to Latrobe Rd, which we took north to Folsom.  Even on a weekend, this had pretty light traffic.  Further out Hwy 16, there's another road that also head's north to Folsom--I forget the name, which also might be good.

I strongly urge Western Express riders to look into this option.  Fiddletown and Plymouth are great places and you'll do less climbing overall to get over the Sierras.  If you have the option, do your best to tackle the crossing mid-week.  We came over on a Sat. the first time and battled a fair amount of tourist traffic.  We did it on a Mon./Tues. this time and had a better experience.

One very nice thing we did was camp near the top of Mormon Immigrant Trail.  As it was early season, we could melt snow with our stove.  We had a very quiet camp in the trees.  Riders could still camp in this area and back track to 88 for the remainder of the descent.

Happy, safe riding one and all.


Offline taylornate

Problems with Western Express
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 08:31:41 pm »
Yeah, that section is absolutely horrible.  A passing motorist stopped to ask me why we ride on that road.  I told him I wasn't happy about it either and he said I was going to get myself killed.  Luckily, I made it out alive.  It would be worth a couple extra miles to change the route.

Offline raybo

Problems with Western Express
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 12:10:03 pm »
When I rode this route, from West to East, I deviated from it out of Placerville.  Instead of the listed route up to Pollock Pines, which is a climb up only to coast down to Jenkinson Lake, I rode out of Placerville on Newtown Rd, through Pleasant Valley, and on to Jenkinson Lake on Sly Park Rd, which hooks up with the Mormon Immigrant Road.  It was up all the way but not a much as the Pollack Pines route and there was none of the descent to the Lake.

The Green Valley road was hard and unsafe, especially as rush hour approached.

I wonder what Highway 88 is like during a high traffic demand time.  Other than that, your route looks like an improvement.


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This message was edited by raybo on 6-24-08 @ 8:10 AM
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Offline MrBent

Problems with Western Express
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 02:22:55 pm »
Hi, Ray:  Yes, that is one of my questions, too.  In any event, if you take my route, you don't add that many miles of 88 over the ACA route.  I'll look at a map to see what you did.  Sounds better than the original.  I suspect that I'll ride this again, but I'll take the route I outlined above.  Do it mid-week, and traffic should be manageable.

Ride safely, one and all.


Offline CMajernik

Problems with Western Express
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2008, 07:05:00 pm »
Thanks for the info on the road conditions. We'll look at changing the
route the next time we update the maps.

Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

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