Mid-Week Rides: Four ride in the north bay
It was a cool morning and two met at the Golden Gate Bridge at or near the appointed hour. Four riders had expressed their commitment to ‘show’, Dick Zunkel, Brent Hansen, Randy Hendricks and me, Chris Weld. Well, with only Dick and Chris, and 0800 hrs approaching, we left for Petaluama’s Henny Penny and breakfast. We saw a lone rider way up ahead in San Rafael and overtook him in south Petaluma and it was Brent Hansen on his wife’s R60. We rolled into the Chevron Station adjacent Henney Penny and tanked-up. Jon Beining soon appeared driving a brand new Nissan Leaf (an all-electric car). Jon explained he had ‘property management issues’ and couldn’t ride that day. We all had a great breakfast - not a complaint to be heard.
However, the big ‘breakfast news’ was offered-up by Brent who announced that he’n Sue had signed papers to buy property in rural Occidental. (You need to think about ‘rural Occidental’ for a moment.) Would we like to see it? (You betchum!).
I thorough inspection of the ‘Beining vehicle’ followed and we were ‘off’, following Brent on a backroads ride to this new property. What a deal! 4.5 acres, huge garage, stables, pasture land, located at the end of a paved dead-end road. Flat too! $339K How to you spell ‘DEAL!’ Hanson has a horse-place with Hansen.
Pics of the new Hansen Property are here, a ride report on the rest of the day will follow.
The trip report
Four gathered for the ride at the Petaluma beanery and enjoyed a great breakfast (Randy said ‘Wow!’ on being served). Jon Beining dropped in for breakfast and conversation driving his new all-electric Nissan Leaf. We left the restaurant following Brent Hansen in route to check his just purchased 4+ acre ranch. The property has oodles of ‘potential’.
Brent led us out to Occidental and we took sundry back roads for Santa Rosa and a short stint up US#101 for Mark Springs Road and a ride over the Mayacamas Mountains for Calistoga via Petrified Forest Rd. We turned NB on CA#128 at the ‘T’ and the five miles for Ida-Clayton Road. Nobody in the group had ridden this road and I hadn’t for years, last with our Bob Burns, Randy Bush and I believe, Bill Grass. Five years ago? Maybe more!
I told them the truth going in, that Ida Clayton turned into Western Mines Rd. and we’d have a stint of poor pavement and gravel as we descended down to Hwy. #29 just outside Middletown. We paused for the Mugwump Photographer (Dick Zunkel) to take the obligatory group photo. Traffic was non-existent. Ida-Clayton is access to some exotic terrain and vineyards and offers a breathtaking view of the southern end of the Alexander Valley. However, Ida-Clayton (and the pavement) ends at the Lake County line where the road becomes graded gravel for just under two miles when pavement returns. It’s a banked roadway but fairly steep in spots. We were all but alone in the woods. One truck passed and we had to pass a couple stopped in the roadway with the passenger’s door open - they were cutting wood adjacent the roadway and given their chainsaws, never noticed our passing just a few feet away.
We rode Hwy. #29 into Middletown for the crew to buy ice cream and discuss our routing for home. Chiles Valley was an option, so was riding over Mt. St. Helena. The map was brought-out and Lawley Road noted. Lawley road comes off Highway #29, takes a circuitous path down one flank of the mountain and reconnects with Hwy. #29. The guys were ‘game’. Lawley is a single track paved road with awkward access form Hwy#29 SB. The dangers explained. The route was worth the danger!
We bypassed most of downtown Calistoga and headed for St.Helena which, with Napa, are the principle communities in the Napa Valley. Just into residential St. Helena we turned EB and picked-up Spring Mountain Road to go back over the Mayacamas Mtns, and pick-up the Calistoga-Santa Rosa Rd into Santa Rosa for Hwy#12 to US #101 and home. For me? 235 miles on the day! Great Ride, great company!