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Thread: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    Overdue for a two day loop to the Mendocino coast and back, I mapped out a scenic dual-sport friendly ride on twisty back roads and headed out last Sunday morning from home in Solano County. Some roads I had not been on in years and some I had never ridden but have long lusted after. All turned out to be fantastic and memorable rides! I kind of went carzy taking pictures so I'll break the report into 6 segments.

    The whole route-



    The anticipation had me up early Sunday morning, anxious to set off. The little '89 Honda NX250 was aired up, shined up, lubed up and ready to rev up and hit the road.



    I headed up Hwy 128 around Lake Berryessa, through Napa Valley and on into the Alexander Valley, passing one after another palatial estate and winery.







    My first new-to-me road was Geysers Rd between 128 and Cloverdale, part nice two lane, part goaty one lane. And after last winter's record rains it's condition was bad enough that it is officially "closed." It turned out to be a wonderful ride!

    Geysers Road link to map



    A couple of miles before Geyserville I spotted the "Geysers Road" turnoff and broke out in a big grin as I headed uphill for my first taste of this amazing road. Climbing steadily higher I kept pulling over to catch the views as Alexander Valley receded farther and farther below.









    Finally cresting a summit the road winds downhill. This area has lots of volcanic activity, and pipelines snake across miles of hills to tap geothermal steam to generate power.



    Near the bottom, Geysers turns to single lane funky pavement and I get that tingling feeling of adventure riding past the county's "road closed" signs.

















    Finally rolling down into Cloverdale, I'm grinning ear to ear knowing I've added a new road to my favorite's list. I grab a sandwich to go and head out to the next gem, Fish Rock Road between CA 128 and the Pacific Coast Hwy, coming up next post . . .

    -Bill

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    Off the beaten path continued, Fish Rock Road

    Still buzzing from the excitement of Geysers Rd. I head west on CA128 out of Cloverdale. That is one of my favorite stretches as it twists and climbs from the inland oak woodlands into the coast redwoods. The vegetation changes, the landscape becomes more mountainous, and the air transitions from dry inland valley to cool, moist coastal breezes.

    Heading west on 128 I see fewer oaks and more redwood trees . . .



    . . . and after 20 miles I see the turnoff to Fish Rock Road, 28 miles of crazy fun road that will take me to the coast and an overnight stay with my brother. Right away I'm on a deserted road winding through tall redwood forest.







    I'll just let the pictures tell the story . . .









    Fish Rock is paved at each end but mostly gravel in between. I find a perfect ridge top spot to pull over and enjoy my sandwich amid the beauty and silence. At 15 miles in I've not seen another soul.



    Moving on, the sun filters through the forest making for a magical ride. Constant blind corners and steep gravel hairpin turns demand a slow pace and that suits me just fine.







    After a steep descent I get my first glimpse of the ocean through the trees and reach Hwy 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, and am greeted by a beautiful sunny coast and white caps on the ocean.





    After a few bends in the road I turn up a steep driveway and arrive at my brother's house around "wine-thirty" for a great visit and fantastic dinner, thanks bro!



    I sleep like a log, dreaming of tomorrow's adventures, next post.

    -Bill

  3. #3
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    Off the beaten path continued, Mountain View Road

    Next morning Iím greeted by sunshine and a stiff ocean breeze as I head north on Hwy 1.







    Past the little seaside town of Pt. Arena I turn off to grab a shot of the Pt. Arena Lighthouse. Originally built in 1870, demolished in the 1906 earthquake, and rebuilt in 1908, this handsome structure stands 115 ft. tall and remains in use today.



    The first of todayís amazing roads is Mountain View Rd., 25 miles of fun twisties between Hwy 1 and Boonville in the Anderson Valley.



    Mountain View wastes no time climbing up into the redwoods. I stop to look back and say goodby to the ocean till next time, the lighthouse visible in the distance.





    Five miles from the coast Iím at 2,500 ft. elevation and the road lives up to its name.





    But most of the way Mountain View alternates between steep winding drops into forested canyons and equally steep climbs to the next crest. Lots of exciting single lane on this road, and plenty of magical roadside scenery.











    Finally rolling into the quirky little town of Boonville I gas up and head out on CA 253, Boonville-Ukiah Rd., up next.

    -Bill

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    Off the beaten path continued, Boonville-Ukiah Road

    Leaving Boonville I headed out toward Ukiah on Hwy 253, a fast paced two laner starting with a climb, then mostly ridge top twisties with great views, then a swoopy descent to CA 101.



    Just multiply these pictures times 17 miles and thatís 253!









    If scenes like this donít get your heart pumping, better check your pulse.



    I jumped on 101 and zipped 10 miles south to Hopland and lunch at the Bluebird Cafť, always great food with a real homey feeling.



    Next post, Hwy 175 from Hopland to Middletown.

    -Bill

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    Off the beaten path continued, CA175 & Bottle Rock Road

    CA Hwy175 from Hopland to Bottle Rock Road


    Leaving Hopland on Hwy 175 I’m once again treated to a steep and twisty climb out of a vineyard covered valley. Unlike 253, 175 is full of tight hairpin turns that demand full focus on the road and reward with flat out fun.







    Finally cresting a summit I get a stunning view of Clear Lake, the largest natural fresh water lake in California, and 4,300' Mt. Konocti.



    Looking down I see the road far below and know this is going to be a tight twisty drop down to lake level.



    And here we go!



    Once at the bottom I continue on 175 south toward Middletown, but take a less traveled short cut, Bottle Rock Road, which rejoins 175 further south.



    Bottle Rock Rd. features - you guessed it - great scenery and nice roller coaster curves.









    Back on 175 I near Middletown and my usual everyday roads. I look back and think of all the wonderful sights and sensations of the last two days and think simply, “Wow!”



    Good old Pope Valley Rd. takes me home again.



    Life is good,

    -Bill

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grissom's Avatar
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    Re: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    Another excellent ride report, thanks for the tour!

  7. #7
    2 wheel Chauffeur lowbuckrider's Avatar
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    Re: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    What a lucky guy, all those beautiful road.
    "Don't confront me with my failures; I have not forgotten them." J. Browne

  8. #8
    Grand Waffle Maker
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    Re: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    Fantastic! Some of my favorite roads right there. I lived in that corner of the world for 25+ years, you brought up some fond memories. You also brought up a road I did not know existed and haven’t tried, Bottle Rock Rd. My 18 year old kid is heading back home to go to Sonoma State this summer, so I’ll add that stretch into my long-way-round trips to visit him.

    I’ve never taken Fish Rock Rd because of the gravel aspect. My DR200 is too small to take from Chico out there. Is it doable on a street bike? I figure my little SV could do it, but would a K1200 be ok on it?

  9. #9
    Go ahead and pass me... Backmarker's Avatar
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    Re: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    Oh geez. Another one of your posts with stunning scenery and drooling inducing twisty roads.
    Don't you ever get tired of making us jealous and having ride envy?

    I'm not sure I can think of a more perfect few days as you had on this ride. It might be possible but it would take some serious thinking and well, that's not my forte. Instead I'll just steal some more of your gorgeous photos for my desktop slideshow that helps send me to my happy place while I sit in my little gray cube.
    Thank you again for a superb ride-along. You
    Some people just don't know how to drive... I call these people "Everybody But Me."

  10. #10
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    Re: Off the beaten path to the coast and back

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximo View Post
    I’ve never taken Fish Rock Rd because of the gravel aspect. My DR200 is too small to take from Chico out there. Is it doable on a street bike? I figure my little SV could do it, but would a K1200 be ok on it?
    Thanks Maximo! The K1200 would handle Fish Rock, but the gravel hairpins would not be much fun. The road is well graded but there are somewhat rough rocky parts. You would just need to poke along through those, but most of the road is no problem. You can check it out on google street view and get an idea.

    -Bill

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