Mid-Week Rides: Fall ride
Wednesday, October 9 2013
Pictures start here
Major WWWobble writes
Plan calls for a meet up at the fabulous Henny Penny across the street from Dennys at 8:30am. Trees are turning color and traffic seems on the increase as America gets back to work, so I prepare to leave early and be warm. I wire my severe gear electric liner and gloves into JetBlu, plug in and depart for Petaluma from the Peninsula.
Traffic is light and moving fast along I-280 and the temp readout on the instrument cluster is steady at 54F. I’m toasty and making good time. Too good. Ever notice when you are running early you can’t get a red light. Thru the City no delay and onto the GGB where, what’s that ahead of me? A red BMW trailing pipe smoke. It’s the Captain. I wave as he turns off at the view area and continue to Petaluma.
I undo all the connections for the severe gear at the restaurant because it looks to be a lovely day as the sun warms our little spot on the planet. Brent comes over to chat while Sue holds a table at the Penny. Brent and I have plenty of time to chat. Paul shows up. Don shows up. The 8:30 meet time passes. Eventually the Captain arrives with Joe & Nina and Les in tow. Blame for another late arrival goes to Joe, something about his socks, but all remain dubious. Jon joins us in time to order, and pass the coffee pot around as there is but one waitress today. The Captain eats all of Don’s hash browns.
Enough. Let’s ride. Depart the Penny and head north, Railroad Ave to Petaluma Hill, right on Crane Canyon, left on Bennet Valley and into Santa Rosa. From here, I have absolutely no idea where we rode, but I viewed parts of Santa Rosa I never knew existed. Lovely homes, clean streets, small two block shopping areas serving the local residents. Nice, nice. Some of the more interesting riding is done when the leader has no clue where to go next. But soon a stop to program the GPS, and it’s back to the planned route, Calistoga Rd to St. Helena Rd, which turns into Spring Mountain Rd, which drops us right there on Main Street St Helena into a big traffic jam.
Now is when the Captain shows his leadership. A short run down the middle of the street, a left turn into the fire station, down an alley, along a couple secondary streets and POOF, the traffic is still bunched up on Main street and we are not. Well done! Right turn on Silverado Trail to Hwy 128, over the hill along some delicious curves, and a stop at the Lake Hennessey boat launch , which is closed. Harbor repair, but the restrooms are open, so our plan is intact. We chat with another group of riders who are westbound from the Sacramento area, destination Eureka via the coast.
We continue along 128, eastbound, destination Winters, but first, a pre-planned WendyPunk along Steele Canyon. This climbs up to a residential area overlooking Lake Berryessa featuring good views and several deer feasting on various garden delights planed for them by the residents. Pictures were taken. Then a 15 minute tour of a private campground on Lakeshore Drive. Nice, I suppose, if you like RV camping.
Our final stop is downtown Winters, the “destination” of our MWR, for a late “lunch” at the Putah Creek Cafe. They seat our group without a problem. An experienced waitress informs us, “OK, You’re number 1, you, number 2, and we go right around the table and order this way by the number, understand?” Well, we mess that up, but the orders arrive anyway, the food is great, both Don and I can vouch for the coleslaw, in fact Don ordered a carton to go. The Captain ate Jon’s french fries. Slow Joe who’s not slow anymore lobbied for a MidWeek Ride to Croatia and various cities along the Adriatic Sea. That might exceed the reach of the MWRs, but maybe not. Regardless, all are now well fed and satisfied with the Putah Creek Cafe.
Time to head for home. Some of us broke for the freeway, others opted for Putah Creek Road to Pleasant Valley and into Vacaville. It was a beautiful fall day for a motorcycle ride, lot’s of time for socializing, several good roads to ride, and an excellent late lunch to top it off. Many thanks to the Captain for his trip planning – and I enjoyed the Santa Rosa Residential tour as well.