My friend Tom had planned a great day of riding for us this Saturday. I realize the word epic is oft used these days, for adventures not quite deserving, believe me though when I say this one truly was an epic day of experiences, it had all the ingredients - Diversity of moto roads, from smooth fast snaking twisties, to goaty one lane trails, to steep switchbacks while dodging sink holes from hell, scenic backdrops, and most of all great company and excellent riders to show me how it is done.
We met in Elk Grove for a planned start at 9AM. I rode up at 8:40AM and was surprised to see Hans already there waiting for us. I did a double take and had to check the clock on the bike, just to make sure that it somehow wasn't 11AM.
Also there waiting was Brodie, I had not met him before, but had heard of him on the forums, Mr Titanium himself! Good to see him ripping it up on his FJR again, these two gentlemen had come up to Elk Grove from the East and South Bay to join us.
After Mike and Tom joined us, we were on our way, we jogged along I-5 till Lodi, and then headed for the Delta through the Vineyards in Lodi.
Soon we found our way to the Sacramento River Delta. It was a cloudy, moody morning by the river. I liked the tall radio/cell towers straddling the river, almost like goal posts as we rode in between them.
We made a stop at Walker Landing Rd. This road has a bit of a history for Brodie and he wanted to revisit and retrospect.
The light wasn't improving as we passed by Rio Vista. I think this is the third time I am photographing the Rio Vista Bridge, from a third angle. Not sure if you can see it, but the Black Lab on the boat made me think of my friend Tim from the Central Coast.
Riding towards Antioch, we could see Mt. Diablo looming in the distance.
I am sure Hans who lives very close to Mt. Diablo was seeing this as well, he was going to separate from the group near there to go back home and was probably singing:
"We can drive it home, with one tail light"
Riding over the Antioch Bridge, I took a fly-by of the Antioch Power Station (I assume).
We stopped in Antioch to pick up another rider, John was waiting in ambush as we passed by this gas station, so we stopped for a bit to chit chat. Here you can see two of my favorite Norcal peeps chatting.
From Antioch, we caught Deer Valley Road, I had never been on this road before, great pavement and riding through some scenic East Bay countryside and cow pastures.
There is Mt Diablo again...
and some California happy cows...
and some nice turns too...
We found Marsh Creek Road from here, leading us towards Mt. Diablo..
There were others out enjoying this day as well, albeit it was overcast, it was still a great day to be outside!
Hans split off for home and the rest of the group caught Morgan Territory Road from here, this was the only road in the bay area portion of the ride, that I had ridden on previously. A goaty trail which skirts Mt. Diablo into Livermore.
Here is Mike bringing up the rear..
The last time I was here, I had wanted a better picture of this tree by a pond as I flew-by. This is my second attempt and I am still not satisfied. Might actually have to stop for the third attempt, with hopefully blue skies.
Right after we exited Morgan Territory Road, Russ sniped us as we rode through, I glanced in my rear view and saw two FJR's instead of just Mike.
Once we navigated through Livermore, we found Calaveras Road to Felter/Sierra Road. These were mostly one lane roads, however, this was a group of experienced riders and we were moving through here briskly! No stops till we reached a vista point on Sierra Road overlooking Silicon Valley.
We had just ridden up from over there..
Silicon Valley, home of some of the giants and entrepreneurs who kick-started the multi-billion dollar high tech industry, and the reason I have the job that I do now. In my opinion there isn't a finer or greater example of American entrepreneurship.
Mike and Brodie relaxing, enjoying!
This was a good place to stop for a break and B.S.
I "borrowed" Russ' bike for some photography fun!
Yes, more happy cows were in attendance as well.
Followed by more fun riding with such a scenic backdrop as we dropped down to the Silicon Valley.
If you haven't ridden the road to Mt. Hamilton from San Jose, it should be on your bucket list. This road is an adventure in itself, tight corners with no guard rails, steep switchbacks, sink holes in the middle of the road, moronic cagers who can't stay in their own lanes, and don't know that stopping mid turn in a steep banked switchback is beyond stupid!
Anyway, no pictures on this section for the above mentioned reasons, till we reached our headline destination at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton.
This time I "borrowed" Brodie's bike..
Tom documenting the group's Tomfoolery!
Sorry I take so long to manually adjust the camera settings Tom!
Panoramic views from up here, although, why is it that every time I ride to the Bay Area - it is always muggy and overcast?
Coming back down Mt. Hamilton on its East side was some very spirited fun. We did pass a LEO, but he was not in predatory mode, besides I think in that section we weren't railing anyway.
Also, the sun was starting to peek out, this is such a gorgeous countryside in Spring time! I enjoyed riding through here very much!
We stopped at "The Junction" a dive place that Russ recommended at the junction of Del Puerte Canyon Road and Mine Road. A simple and small eatery, but we had already eaten in Livermore, still it was a good break nevertheless.
Here are the cowboys on the ride all 6 of us posing by the sign...
Not sure what those are, but it looked like a field of Lollipops..
Waved goodbye to iRobot over there...
...and dug into Mines Road from here, another mostly one lane road and the pace was brisk once again. Don't have pictures of the one lane sections, I did manage to fire off a couple shots, but in the scope of things, they were not worthy of being posted..
Did however, find an old barn on Mines Rd. I liked this collage of white picket fences, a "new" home/ranch and an old barn patiently sitting on the hill watching, and it seems it has been watching for a while..
Mines Rd. led us back to Livermore, we separated from the Bay area riders here and upon Brodie's recommendation found Altamont Pass Rd to ride through Wind Turbine galore!
At first we saw one...the lone sentry, watching over who enters their domain..
...and then they came in droves...
...they had us surrounded, these three armed giants, waving wildly!
...they kept cows as pets to mow their lawn..
After escaping the clutches of the three armed freaks, the Three Amigo's sailed home through Palm trees and crazy Italian trees, already thinking of the next adventure!
Thank you for reading!