California 49 (or the Gold Country Highway ) runs south to north through the foothills and lower elevations of the Sierras and has enough twisties, sweepers and straightaways to challenge even the most experienced of riders. The trick is to catch it when the tourists are gone and the locals are asleep or at home. Both tend to drive slow and leisurely. This will drive speedniks nuts!
Going through much of the historic "Gold Country" of California, the "49" starts at Oakhurst at the gateway to Yosemite then traces its way north through historic mining towns like Jackson, Sonora, Placerville, and Auburn. It ends at Vinton, a small community on the California-Nevada border. So plenty of places to pull over, look around, learn something if you're so inclined, and grab a bite. (We're partial to the Dead Fly Diner , aka Marlene and Glenn's Diner in Plymouth.)
The entire route is about 310 miles and will take anywhere from 8 to 10 hours to ride the length if you want to do that. But few do because there are too many great places to just settle in and ride, and plenty of side roads that offer their own set of challenges and scenery.
(Thanks to the Curve Unit for the video.)