Winter in California part 1
Watching the news of all the cold and snow back east just made me want to enjoy the weather here while the sun was out. Go ahead and hate me, but somebody has to ride and explore.
So last Wednesday I headed north and stopped in Calistoga for a coffee while deciding what direction to go. I read another ride report about Bear Valley Road and decided to do it that day.
Up over Mount St. Helena to Clearlake, and then east on Hwy 20 to Bear Valley/Wilbur Springs Road.
As I came upon the turn off for Wilbur Springs, I saw about 30 yards of pavement for this bridge, but the rest of the road was some pretty nice gravel. It only got deep in a couple of spots. Wilbur Hot Springs sounds like an interesting place now a days, But I don't think I'll be staying there anytime soon.
It must have been something way back when, and it only took a four hour stage coach ride to get there from Williams.
Heading north into canyons and some rolling hills, I stopped and asked directions but was looked at like some alien in all my gear. I decided to just follow the road and see where it takes me.
Riding thru the canyons soon gave way to the open Bear Valley and a very large cattle ranch. A few cattle crossings, fences, and some 90 degree corners that keep your speed down. Various farm houses dot the landscape, and I rode past a couple that ranch hands that were waving from their quads as they worked.
It was starting to feel like a time warp. A really good one.
But it was lunch time and I started to look for a spot to eat off the road. I saw some buildings up ahead and it turned out to be a winterized Cal Fire station that was closed. The gate was closed, sign was down, but there was shade at the side of the road.
Lunch was eaten, more views enjoyed, and one truck went by. The cowboy slowed down as he approached, and waved and tipped his hat to me.
I like this place.
A fork in the road was just ahead, left up to Stonyford, or right back towards Williams. No camping gear with me, so it's right and back toward home.
Part 2 continued.............
Looking back down Bear Valley and feeling serene.
Up out of the valley I started to climb and the views were starting to get better.
Then I rounded a corner and had a Honda Civic coming the other way, vehicle #3 I would see on that road. One more corner and............ Whoa! I can see the Sacramento Valley from up here.
A lot more casual gravel and winding down thru the hills made the day even better. Just cruising along until I finally hit the pavement at the bottom of "Old Leesville Grade". And that was a grade of switchbacks and a few traces of going over the edge.
I found a great vista point at the Leesville cross, and had a view of the Sutter Buttes, the worlds smallest mountain range.
I found my way back to Hwy 20 and then took Hwy 16 down thru the Capay Valley and back up around Lake Berryessa on the way home. A wonderful day of 210 miles of great weather.
Great photo's and ride report!
Ya, you called it - I hate you.
-32C here for the last few days. Hardly leaving the house.
Only getting into the low 20's around here (*C).
To the OP, it looks like an area near you that didn't burn. Spent many years in Orinda and Sutter Creek. Lots of great riding almost anywhere north of the Bay Area or North and/or East of Sacramento. Here in L.A. it takes an hour+ to get to our nice roads! Lucky you!
That's a great ride, we rode that and up around Indian Valley reservoir and roundabout up to Lake Pillsbury last year in May, we even hit some snow out of Pillsbury trying to get over to Covelo. We ended up having to come back down through Stonyford and Bear Valley and use the highways to get to our destination that day.
Cali winter ride...
Great photos and comments.....I could feel the joy and freedom...good stuff for the soul!
More ride reports to come.
Awww jeez..... I'll have to go back. My son's in-laws have 200 acres up near Covelo, so I'm planning on a ride in the spring up there to camp and explore.
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