A Long Way To Go Along CA-99

Esplanade Blvd, Chico (11/8/14) John Poimiroo

Esplanade Blvd, Chico (11/8/14) John Poimiroo

Driving Highway 99 – the agricultural spine of California’s Central Valley – is a long way to go, though its distance isn’t what we’re referring to in this post. What we mean is that it’ll be a while until the orchards and vineyards beside the highway are showing color.

Yesterday, we drove north, passing through Folsom, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Marysville, Yuba City and Chico to Vina and saw almost no color change along the route, with the exception of the golden highlights fringing the tops of Cottonwood at Mormon Island Wetland and cresting towering sycamore and cottonwood at Bidwell Park in Chico.

In Vina, I spoke with Phil Sunseri of New Clairvaux Vineyard who said their harvest is nearly complete, though crush continues. Phil says this was an unusually early harvest.  The quality of the grapes is exceptional.

A favorite autumn outing is this route with stops in Chico at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for lunch, visiting art galleries in Chico, enjoying fall color along Esplanade Blvd in downtown Chico (see file photo) and continuing to the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina to see what progress is occurring on reconstruction of its 800-year old Chapter House and to taste the wines of New Clairvaux.  That trip did not disappoint, yesterday, though the fall color hasn’t yet developed.

Just Starting (0-10%) – CA-99 – This route will not peak for a month.  Otherwise, it’s a long way to go for very little, right now.

2 replies
  1. Jerry Bohlken says:


    We live in Encinitas. Ca. (North San Diego County) and love fall color.

    Could your suggest a date and route for an all day “fall color road trip” ?

    Coming back at night would be fine.

    Many Thanks!

    Jerry & Denise Bohlken


    • John Poimiroo says:


      That depends on how far you want to drive. The great thing about California is that our show develops in stages by elevation. So, depending on when you can go, you’ll see different things. Here’s a quick guide: Late Sept/early Oct – Bishop Creek Canyon (this is more than a day trip). Early/Mid Oct – June Lake. Mid Oct – So. Calif. Mtns: Rim of the World, Angeles Nat’l Forest, Laguna Mtns. From your area, a perennial favorite is Julian in San Diego County. Search our site for these places and see where and when they were peaking last year.

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