Two Rides in Klamath Falls, Oregon

20170908_171307Our first night out on this trip we stayed at the Running Y Lodge just outside of Klamath Falls. It is a beautifully laid out resort with pleasant young people running the place. We tried a bike ride on their three mile path surrounding the golf course, and while some of it was decent riding, it was steep, curving, and narrow in spots, not my favorite type of bike ride. However, it did give us a modicum of exercise after long day in the car.

The next morning we drove into Klamath Falls, where by dint of using the Google maps app, we located the OC&E Woods Line State Trail, where we parked by Wiard Park. This is a well-maintained mostly flat trail developed on an old railroad right-of-way that runs out of Klamath Falls to Sycan Marsh. We rode the part from Wiard Park to the very small town of Olene, a return trip of a little over 12 miles. After Olene the paving runs out, making for rougher riding. The trail goes through some modest housing areas just out of Klamath Falls but soon enters farming country with rich looking fields and lots of cattle. This is an appealing country ride, most enjoyable on a clear warm morning.

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The New Vine Trail from Yountville to Napa

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The Vine Trail, Napa Valley

A couple of weeks ago, we drove to Yountville and parked in the lot at Vintage 1870 as usual. But instead of taking our regular route to Rutherford and around, we checked out this new trail. Some people monitoring a bike event told us that although the trail is not officially open, it is all right to ride on it.

This is a beautiful trail, smooth and mostly flat. Just out of Yountville, the scenery is rural with fields, large trees, and vineyards. Other people are friendly and considerate. It is a safe ride until Oak Knoll, but just past there where the area becomes more urban with houses and businesses, there are three rather difficult crossings that have not yet been signalized for the path. It might be better to ride on the street rather than on the trail at the first difficult crossing. We rode as far as Trancas and Redwood Rd., where we had coffee at the Starbucks just off of Redwood Rd. and then turned around and rode back. It was an charming ride of about 12 miles.

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Riding in the Town of Ashland

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Staying at the Ashland Hills Hotel, we found it  a bit of an uphill ride to get over the freeway and up to the main street of Ashland, Siskiyou Blvd., but once there we enjoyed a long coast through this attractive little town. Then turning on Third St., we rode down to the Central Bike Path, which we accessed behind Noble Coffee Roasting. This path is well used by locals, and while it does not have outstanding scenery, it does run along some parks and an old cemetery, which at my age I like to ride past. When we returned to Ashland St., we stayed on the path and circled around to access the street further along, making our return ride a bit easier. We did this ride on the morning of the second day of our recent trip to Lopez Island in Washington, and coming back, we repeated it to go to the Ashland Food Coop  between A St. and B St. to buy lunch supplies for our trip home. While this is not a long ride, it does get the blood circulating in the early morning.

Also during this stay in Ashland, we ate dinner at the Peerless Hotel Restaurant both going up and coming back. This is in an interesting old hotel with a wonderful restaurant, serving novel delicious food such as lobster potato skins and carrot cake with pea ice cream.  Despite many trips to Ashland, we had never stayed at the Ashland Hills Hotel before, nor had we eaten at the Peerless; we consider both real finds. The hotel is not within walking distance to town, but it is beautifully renovated with large, airy rooms and the prices are more reasonable than most of the closer-in accommodations. We will visit both of this places on our next trip to Ashland, whether we are just passing  through or stopping to see some plays.

Do Not Ride on Hwy. 29 south of St. Helena

About a week ago our son was riding on Hwy. 29 south of St Helena right where the railroad tracks cross the highway diagonally when a car swerved close to him. He swerved on his bike and speeded up to get  away from the car. The tire of his bike caught in the track causing him to take a nasty fall. Landing on his right arm, he broke his wrist so severely that he had a bone sticking out. The car did not stop or even hesitate. Fortunately, our son was able to phone his girlfriend to pick him up and take him to the hospital emergency room in St. Helena. That night he had one surgery on his arm to stabilize it.

Early the next week an orthopedic surgeon here (central Contra Costa County) put a metal plate, screws, and  pins in his arm to connect the broken bones. Needless to say he has suffered from pain and the temporary loss of use of his right arm, and he will permanently have an arm full of metal. The moral of this story is avoid roads with narrow shoulders and walk your bike over railroad tracks. Do not take risks on your bicycle!

A Hint of Spring

 

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Looking back along the section of Iron Horse south of Stoneridge Drive

Parking our car in the parking lot by Walmart on Alcosta Blvd., we head  south on the Iron Horse Trail. Since the temperature was in the 40s when we left home, we wore our usual winter gear, but we soon wish that we had listened more closely to Punxsutawney Phil, who early last week predicted an early spring,  as we begin shedding layers. This route takes us along some pretty green sections and some rather unsightly portions of the trail, such as old Camp Parks, a World War II military base, now used for reserved forces training. Soon after Camp Parks the trail passes through the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, where yesterday masses of people were waiting in line to catch BART to Super Bowl activities in San Francisco. I am glad to be gliding peacefully along on my bike rather than trying to breath in such a crowd.

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Center of Pleasanton

 

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Farmers’ Market

Leaving Iron Horse Trail at Valley Ave., we  turn right and follow Stanley Blvd. into downtown Pleasanton, one of my favorite little towns around here, one with lots of bike racks as well as interesting stores and good restaurants. After stopping for coffee at a quaint little place called Juice and Java, we stroll through the market to buy our produce for this week. We decide to eat at Stacey’s, a cheerful café with lots of outdoor seating and good food  but sometimes slow service. It is pleasant to sit in the front area of the restaurant on this warm day and watch the constant parade of people passing by.

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Front Seating Area at Stacey’s

To vary our  trip, we take a different way  back to our car using a bike lane on St. Mary St., which becomes Division St, ultimately turning into Hopyard Rd. The lanes along these roads are generous enough, but this route is not for the faint of heart because the traffic can be heavy. At Stoneridge, we turn left to follow that street to Johnson and thus to the Alamo Canal Trail which leads back to the Ironhorse Trail, a round trip of a little over 15 miles.

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Alamo Channel

 

 

 

 

 

A New Ramble through Livermore

Trevarno Historic Estate

Trevarno Historic Estate

 

Last Monday, Memorial Day, we tried a different route through Livermore. We chose streets with bike lanes from a Livermore Bikeways map. Parking at our usual spot on E. Jack London Blvd., we rode rode east on Jack London, jogged to the right on Murietta for one block and then turned left on Pine St. We followed Pine to the Lincoln Hwy. Memorial Park which we cut through to reach Portola Ave. These were all streets lined with homes, some modest, others a bit more upscale. On Portola Ave., we had some nice views of countryside to the south plus a strenuous climb uphill. Portola Ave. angles to the left to become First St. , where we discovered the Trevarno Historic Estate, a street of homes built in 1913 to house the officers of a Cornish company that manufactured safety fuses. Although the homes are now a bit shabby, this is a beautiful street due to the architecture and the mature shade trees.

Leaving Trevarno, we turned right on Mines Rd., where we climbed over the railroad tracks and then cruised through a pleasant neighborhood down to East  Ave. After a left turn on East Ave., we saw a girl leading what looked like two chocolate brown teenaged llamas. I am sorry that I did not take a picture. It was an arresting sight. From East St., we turned right on Charlotte Way, riding a tree-lined path past Bruno Canziani Park to S. Vasco Rd. From South Vasco, we soon reached Tesla Rd. which we rode to our favorite Garré Café, where we spent a pleasant hour eating lunch.

View from Garré

View from Garré

To return to our car, we took Tesla to Concannon to the Isabel Ave. trail and thus back to Jack London. It was a wonderful ride of a little over eighteen miles with some memorable sights, marred only slightly by the winds that have been vexing us this spring.

An Anniversary Sojourn in California’s Pre-eminent Wine Country

Villagio Grounds

Villagio Grounds

With the aid of a generous gift, we spent three nights at Villagio Inn and Spa in Yountville to celebrate  our 57th wedding anniversary. The weather was perfect enabling us to do three different bike rides in the three days that we spent there. Each bike ride followed by a wonderful meal at one of the area’s outstanding restaurants made for an unforgettable mini-vacation.

View on Dunaweal Lan.

View on Dunaweal Lan.

We headed north to Calistoga on Monday morning for our first bike ride, one that we have done many times. We parked near the Washington Avenue bike path on Dunaweal Ln. Following the path into town, we crossed Lincoln, still on Washington Ave. Shortly thereafter, we turned left on Berry St. and made a right on Cedar, which ends in a bike trail around a mobile home park and through a small shopping center to Mitzi Dr. We turned right on Kathy Way and then followed Denise Dr. to its end where we crossed over a small bridge that took us to Centennial Circle. From Centennial, we turned right on Grant and rode to Lake St. where we turned left to ride to the Silverado Trail, which took us back to Dunaweal Ln. This is a short ride that showcases the old California town of Calistoga with its historic buildings and range of houses from small cottages to larger more upscale  homes. The part of the ride along the Silverado Trail is one with lovely views of the vineyard-covered countryside.

Since we completed this ride fairly early, we again rode the Washington Ave. trail back into town, where we visited the tourist bureau to pick up a map of the Napa Valley and browsed in Copperfield’s Books. Following the advice of the lady in the tourist bureau, we ate lunch at Evangeline, a new restaurant in Calistoga and a serendipitous choice. We each had asparagus soup, and then we shared the cheese plate. I had a cake for dessert, and my husband had his usual ice cream. I can hardly wait to take our whole family to this new restaurant.

Patio at Evangeline

Patio at Evangeline

Tuesday we did our most ambitious ride, parking just off of Salvador Ave. in Napa. We took Salvador to Big Ranch Rd., which becomes Soscol Ave. on the approach to downtown Napa. We rode Soscol to First St. in Napa, where we locked our bikes, walked around, and had coffee. Downtown Napa still has lots of scaffolding on its buildings due to repairs made necessary by the recent earthquake. We returned to our car the way that we had come. This ride is interesting because the scenery varies a lot from housing developments to farm lands to a busy city. But it is a somewhat dangerous ride. There is a lot of traffic on Soscol and in downtown Napa. Salvador Ave.  does not have much of a shoulder, and the shoulder is quite narrow in places on Big Ranch and Soscol. Although my husband thought it was a great ride, I was uneasy, and I would recommend  it only for riders who are very comfortable riding in traffic.

View from Big Ranch Rd.

View from Big Ranch Rd.

On Wednesday, we headed over to Sonoma to do our ride around that town. We did the same ride that we had done with our son and grandson in January (see January 25th post) with one exception. Before we took Petaluma Ave., a busy narrow street, across from Riverside Drive to Arnold Drive. This time we rode to Solano Ave., a much quieter, safer street. This ride goes past some lovely homes on the east side of Sonoma and ends up passing through beautiful meadows on the return trip near General Vallejo’s home. While this is an enjoyable ride, the pavement surfaces in Sonoma are rough enough to make riding a bit uncomfortable. But Sonoma is such a charming town, that one tends to overlook minor inconveniences.

This time in the wine country was a lovely break from our everyday lives, and we feel that we are indeed blessed to live near such a lovely area and to still have active fun together after 57 years of marriage.