Sonora Run - Sunday June 9, 2024

Your Host(s) for the Event: Paige Lane Route: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tGNYaz7VcvVDeXPLA Download the map for off-line use  - in case we lose...

Old Priest Grade/Groveland Run - Sun. Mar. 19, 2023

This historic Oakdale building was originally a bank.


Your Host For The Event:

Mary Wolgamot

Run Details:

We'll start our day by meeting in Oakdale, self-proclaimed as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," behind the Arco AM/PM store at 1505 East F Street (former Kmart parking lot).

Please have a radio tuned to Channel 7-21 CTCSS to hear alerts during the run! The Club has loaners if you don’t have your own. Leaders will use the club radios to alert drivers to hazards, so please have your radios or borrow the club radios to listen in.

Due to the winter storms, many backroads in the Northern California hills have been closed due to slides and washouts. Our original plan was to visit the "Graffiti Bridge" (aka, Wards Ferry Bridge) across the Tuolumne River, but the hilly roads on both sides of the bridge were closed due to storm damage in early January. We don't know when the damage will be repaired, so for now, we will plan to bypass Graffiti Bridge and end our run at Columbia State Historic Park.

If the Wards Ferry Road is fully repaired and reopened in time to pre-run the route before March 19, we may change our run to include the bridge. Stay tuned to this website and check your NorCal MINIs emails from MotorSport Registry to confirm the route before the run. Our March run's meeting spot is in the parking lot of the former Oakdale Kmart. The Arco AM/PM minimart bathroom is not the best, so we strongly recommend it as a gas/snack stop only. There are several fast food spots nearby, and the Starbucks (325 E F St D, Oakdale, CA 95361) by the Bank Of America is easy to get in and out of. There is another Starbucks closer to the meet-up location, but it is a smaller store focused on drive-thru business. You might have a tougher time getting in/out to use their restroom.

Google Street View of the Arco AM/PM in Oakdale

After the driver's meeting, we'll head east out of Oakdale on CA Hwy. 120/108. You might be interested to know we will pass a spot on this leg of the run that was used as an old west film set in the movie "Back to the Future III." Also be sure to obey the CalTrans sign that warns drivers not to pick up hitchhikers, as there is a minimum security prison nearby and occasionally the inmates attempt an early release! We don't want to get hijacked by any modern Black Barts.

No Black Barts, please!

A few miles down the road at the highway 120/108 split, we'll take CA 120 towards Yosemite. We will pass by Chinese Camp, established in 1849 as a home for Chinese miners and as a stop for stage lines, it is also noted as the site of the first Tong War in California (between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo Tongs). The Chinese Camp population is less than 150 today. The original US Post Office built in 1854 is still in use.

A building in Chinese Camp.

Next up (and "UP" is the key word!) is Old Priest Grade Road! This section of road is listed on the Dangerous Roads website due to its twists and turns at up to a 20% grade! This stretch of road is legendary, and it is listed as one of the toughest bicycle climbs in the USA. Be sure to turn off your air conditioners as many cars have been known to overheat on this climb! We will need to watch out for cyclists, and we will safely pace ourselves to avoid adding to the "dangerous road" reputation.

After climbing this incredible grade, we will continue on CA 120 to Groveland. On the far side of this cute Gold Country town, is our halfway rest stop and bio break spot. Plan to pause 20 minutes at Mary Laveroni Park.

Halfway break spot in Groveland

Following the rest stop in Groveland, we'll head back down Old Priest Grade (downshifting to keep those brake pads from overheating), and drive along CA 120/49 briefly before taking a right turn onto northbound Jacksonville Rd towards Jamestown. We'll cross over the Don Pedro Reservoir Bridge and drive through Jamestown, where we will hop on northbound CA 108/49 for a very short distance, making a quick left at the light onto 5th Avenue.

Don't get used to 5th Avenue because it quickly ends at Jamestown Road, our route north towards Columbia State Historic Park. This last leg of the run is a pretty clear route but is complicated a bit by the changing names of the road. Jamestown Road becomes Shaws Flat Road which later becomes Springfield Road. As always, bring your radios and listen to the run leaders to ease us through these changing street names. Along this stretch of the run, we will pass the home of Ellie Nesler. Nesler was the vigilante mom who entered the local Jamestown courthouse where she shot and killed the man who molested her six-year-old son, leading to the installation of metal detectors in county courthouses across the country and serving as the story for a made-for-TV movie. We will turn left onto northbound Parrots Ferry Road, and then Columbia State Historical Park will be on the right in a mile or so. There is plentiful parking!

(Click image to enlarge)

We will have a quick post-run debrief at the parking lot, and then we all break for lunch on our own and return home. We hope you take advantage of the many dining and sweet treat options in historic Columbia, especially if you join up with some NorCal MINI club members to share stories of how your MINIs conquered Old Priest Grade, one of the toughest road climbs in the country!

Horse-drawn stagecoach in Columbia

Meet-Up Time/Departure Time:

10:00am/ 10:30am

Meet-Up Location:

Former Kmart parking lot behind Arco AM/PM
1505 East F Street Oakdale, CA 95361

Additional Run Details:

*Please bring your radio*, fully charged, turned on, and tuned to Channel 7, Subchannel 21 CTCSS before you arrive at the start. If you don’t have a radio, ask for a loaner at the driver’s meeting. For radio recommendations, please see https://www.facebook.com/legacy/notes/728353274556164/.

Be sure to turn the “VOX” voice-activated setting OFF, or we will hear the wind from your AC, your conversations, and any noise in your car broadcasting to everyone.

Make a pit stop before the drivers' briefing. We will be driving for a while through twisty hills before our rest stop up in Groveland, so plan ahead.

Hilly California backroads can be rough, especially after winter storms spawn new and bigger potholes. There are no major hazards that would take out a car, but some of the backroad sections are definitely bumpier than others.

There are stretches where local wildlife may be seen on each side of the road. At some point, these animals may decide to cross the road, so please watch out for deer, wild turkeys, etc. trying to get from one side to the other right in front of your car.



The streets of Columbia State Historic Park

Pre-Run Coffee Stop in Oakdale:

Starbucks 325 E F St D Oakdale, CA 95361

Columbia State Historical Park:

11259 Jackson St
Columbia, CA 95310

Columbia State Park Lunch & Treat Spots:

Check the links for restaurants, coffee/sweet shop, and ice cream parlor.

Register Via MotorSport Reg:

Check out 2023 Run Calendar for complete list of events for the remainder of this year.

The following guidelines are our best attempt to secure your safety given what is known at this time. They are by no means comprehensive, and we cannot predict every circumstance. Therefore, we are counting on you to exercise your best judgment throughout the event. Please have an awareness and understanding of the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
• NorCal MINIS asks that anyone who is at higher risk for severe illness, feeling unwell, or who has been in contact with anyone that is sick in the last two weeks to STAY HOME
• In line with State guidelines – people who are fully vaccinated may attend without a face mask. If you are not fully vaccinated – we kindly request that you maintain a face covering.
• NorCal MINIs will encourage everyone to maintain personal hygiene in regards to washing hands
• Club loaner radios will be available at the run. These will be sanitized prior to be handed and out will be sanitized again upon return.
• Any PPE you wish to use must be supplied by yourself. This includes any face coverings or hand sanitizing products
• Participants will be required to Sign Waivers Electronically
• Please be courteous with people who wish to maintain PPE and social distancing. It is their choice to do this and we cannot question their vaccine status
Anyone who continually or willfully violates these guidelines will be asked to leave by a club officer or director.
• Any participant that falls ill within 2 weeks after the event MUST contact NorCal MINIs and share a description of their symptoms, related test results and movements during the event
• NorCal MINIs will make every effort to alert affected participants privately of the situation
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to assess the risk to you and make a responsible decision on whether or not to participate. You assume all risks and agree the Club holds no liability if you or anyone in your party should develop any Covid-19 symptoms afterwards by attending a NorCal MINIs event. Participants are required to follow these guidelines; any participant may be asked to leave the event for non-compliance.

Join Today! Create your MotorSportReg Account to become a Registered Club Member, use the link below:
NorCal MINIs Membership

Instructions for joining MotorSportReg and joining NorCal MINIs can be found in the following document:  Instructions