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-   -   Winter in California part 1 (https://www.klrforum.com/travel-log-trip-reports/65977-winter-california-part-1-a.html)

campfire 01-01-2018 03:23 PM

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.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...923/vYTITH.jpg

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.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...923/SKZP09.jpg

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...922/lax3Ax.jpg

It must have been something way back when, and it only took a four hour stage coach ride to get there from Williams.

https://wilburhotsprings.com/wp-cont...-the-right.jpg

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.
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...924/trk08N.jpg

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.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...922/uw1vRm.jpg

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.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...922/F0cGly.jpg


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.

campfire 01-01-2018 03:27 PM

Part 2 continued.............
Looking back down Bear Valley and feeling serene.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...922/yUPiOM.jpg

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.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/1...922/1gnWL5.jpg

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.

http://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/10...922/ng0W1w.jpg

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.

dan filipi 01-01-2018 04:00 PM

Great photo's and ride report!

klr4evr 01-01-2018 10:57 PM

Ya, you called it - I hate you.

-32C here for the last few days. Hardly leaving the house.

Bluehighways 01-02-2018 01:24 AM

:t1204:
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!

JStocks 01-03-2018 05:09 PM

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.

Klrwally1979! 01-03-2018 10:15 PM

Cali winter ride...
 
Great photos and comments.....I could feel the joy and freedom...good stuff for the soul!

campfire 01-03-2018 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluehighways (Post 629521)
:t1204:
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!

This area burned in 2014 including Wilbur Springs, and it has come back very nicely. And I'm only now starting to explore this area of "my back yard".
More ride reports to come.

Quote:

Originally Posted by JStocks (Post 629937)
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.

I wanted to do that on this day, but with a late start, limited daylight, I couldn't really fit it all in.
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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Klrwally1979! (Post 630129)
Great photos and comments.....I could feel the joy and freedom...good stuff for the soul!

Thank you Sir. It was a great day just as you felt.


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