Monday, July 7, 2008

Mendocino County Line

OK, let's get back to bike riding. This weekend I had the occasion to do some bike riding near the Mendocino County Line - which by the way is a fine song by Willie Nelson. In this case I was on the Sonoma/Mendocino line near Cloverdale. Excellent stuff.

Last year I did a loop starting in Hopland Ca with my wife, we rode primarily Mountain House, 128, 253, and River Road. Mountain House Road, not to be confused with Mountain Home Road in Woodside, Ca., is an excellent cycling road. Ever since that day I wanted to go back and knit the road together with routes a little closer to home (though I will mention that riding CA-253 from Boonville to Ukiah is really really really cool. A climb followed by a descent that is in my all time top 10 descents - just steep enough, just twisty enough, butter smooth pavement).

Anyway, I left Le Tournesol in Healdsburg and headed North on West Dry Creek. I went over to Cloverdale on Dutcher Creek Road (top notch) and into Cloverdale on Asti Road. I cut east on Crocker, onto River and then *North* onto Geysers Road. (South is a wicked climb for another day). Geysers North from Cloverdale is a classic Northern California Road, along a river, slightly rolling. Good view of an interesting Railroad tunnel, and you can see 101 on a ridge above. Problem - Geysers dead ends into 101.

I rode 101 - Bike legal as it is the only road to Hopland here - all the way to "Old River Road" and into Hopland, a town that surely announces you are no longer in the Bay Area but truly in the beautiful strangeness that is Northern California. 101 was not bad here - the shoulder is great and there isn't that much annoying traffic. You just have to adjust to it.

Out of Hopland I rode Mountain House. This is a rocking road. A few miles of mostly upward rollers, then a nice tecnical descent down to the Mountain House itself, a strangely out of place estate in the middle of a valley in the middle of nowhere. From here you climb 2 or so miles to CA-128. Make sure you have water, it gets hot. I think it's 10 miles from Hopland to 128 and I saw exactly one car.

The last rise up on MH I really started to flag, but knew happily that it was mostly downhill to Cloverdale. The road is flattish for a bit, then a short quick descent, about 1/2 mile of sweet technical road, then it flattens out again. I figured I was in for a bunch of rollers all the way to Cloverdale. The next mile is very annoying, high traffic and marginal shoulders - 101 is much safer than this in reality. But then you come out to a very nice well paved descent, very technical and you can outrun most cars if you have nominal descending ability (my ability is at best nominal). This dropped me into Cloverdale at the World Famous Hamburger Ranch and Pasta Farm, where Jill and I had our Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (OK, there was dinner, but no rehearsal). I took a weenie out - I had the SC transit schedule in my pocket and took bus #60 back to Healdsburg.

The major problem was I didn't bring my camera. So instead, here is a picture of the harvest from the Peach, Plum, and Apricot trees at Le Tournesol.

Unfortunately we ended up with about 15 plums, and we fed about 200 of them to the bluejays, moles, and racoons. ^@%!$#%&^$#@!!!

Next year I will be ready with nets and be more knowledgeable about when harvest starts.

1 comment:

Jym said...

=v= We biked that same county line two weeks ago, though it was out by the coast (Gualala and Point Arena). The fires were a-blazin', but the smoke stayed a bit inland, thanks to ocean breezes.