Morgan Territory Regional Preserve

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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Wyatt and I start from Martinez to do a ride out to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. We take the Contra Costa Canal Trail off Taylor Blvd all the way to our first stop at Heather Farm Park. Water and restrooms are available next to the ball field.

We continue on the Canal Trail into Concord and exit onto Treat Blvd. From there we ride through the residential neighborhoods on Turtle Creek Rd to Ayers and Brook Hollow Ct. At the end of Brook Hollow, we go through the barrier to continue on Academy Rd.

We pass Clayton Valley High School and I notice that their parking lot is covered with solar panels. I catch a glimpse of the sign and Contra Costa has received funding from Measure C for this project. I’ve seen these solar panel covered lots at many other Contra Costa Schools; that’s a lot of money being spent-WOW!

We take a right onto Alberta Way and cross Ygnacio Valley Rd to Pine Hollow Rd. We continue on Mt Zion Dr to Clayton Rd which takes us into Old Downtown Clayton. We make a brief stop at the Downtown Park-The Grove. Water and restrooms are available.

We continue on Marsh Creek Rd through the residential neighborhoods for the next few miles; Mt Diablo serves as the backdrop for this entire area. It’s amazing! Clayton even has a Dog Park.

The climbing on Marsh Creek Rd starts after you pass Rodie’s Feed & Country Store. It’s a 3 part climb with the last section being the longest; it’s a fast descent to the turn onto Morgan Territory Rd.

We stay on Morgan Territory Rd for the next 9.2 miles. There are plenty of large homes in this area accompanied by horse ranch after horse ranch. After the first few miles, the two lane road becomes a single narrow lane. There is barely any traffic coming through here on a weekday, we only encountered one car coming from the opposite direction.  

It’s a really quiet stretch of road and we have it all to ourselves right now, how great is that? The majority of the climbing is done under a canopy of trees; it’s gorgeous back here! We cross three narrow little bridges and enter Morgan Territory Regional Preserve at around mile 6. There are several nasty steep sections before the last little climb up to the Park. Oh yeah, I forget to mention the overabundance of little flies buzzing around us on the way up.

We enter the Park through the gravel parking lot. There are picnic tables placed out in the open areas; water and restrooms are available. There’s absolutely no one up here except for the one car in the parking lot. It’s quiet as can be and here we are; it’s simply wonderful! It’s a perfect day to be up here too; it’s not too hot with the temps being around the low 80’s. We find a picnic table under the shade have lunch and enjoy the surroundings.

We exit the Park and continue on Morgan Territory Rd to the summit. It’s a few short climbs through the residential neighborhood along the top of the ridge. Once you pass the homes, you know the descent is coming; it’s wickedly fast on very smooth pavement! The views of the valley below are fabulous! Slow down along the blind turns; it’s still a single narrow lane road. The road opens up at the bottom; orchards, old farm houses and hay fields come into view.

We make a right turn onto Manning Rd and instantly get hit by headwinds. We turn and stay on Highland Rd for the next 4.8 miles on rolling terrain. I love seeing all the old barns, roaming cattle and horses along this country road. The sight of the barren hillsides always brings a calming effect over me; it just seems so pure and natural. 

From Highland Rd, we continue on Camino Tassajara into the city of Danville. We make a quick stop at Texaco to buy a couple of cold drinks and move on. The flat run on Camino Tassajara and a couple of other side streets take us to Danville Blvd. From there, we hop on the Iron Horse Trail to the Canal Trail back to Martinez.

Thanks to Wyatt for another fun tandem ride! It was a perfect day to be out.

68.69 miles with 3623′ of elevation gain

Weather: FANTASTIC and PERFECT! Sunny blue skies with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to mid 80’s

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CHOOSE TO HAVE FUN!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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