Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Wed group meets up at the public parking lot on Matheson & Vine Sts in Healdsburg for our traditional fall ride through the vineyards to lunch at the Jimtown Store. Parking is free; water and restrooms are available.
For a new switch, we are going to ride the loop in the opposite direction from previous years. We’ll take Westside Rd to Windsor and Shiloh Rd. Chalk Hill Rd will bring us onto Hwy 128 through Alexander Valley to Jimtown. The return will be through Geyserville, Canyon Rd and West Dry Creek Rd.
We exit the parking lot to Vine St and Mill St. Once you cross the bridge, the road becomes Westside Rd. We stay on Westside for the next 9+ miles along flat to rolling terrain. The winding road takes you through the scenic vineyards and wineries. Right off the bat, you can see that the sprawling vineyards are vibrant with fall colors! There will be more to come; this eye candy is a wonderful treat to start the day!
Summer is gone and with that comes autumn. The days become shorter and the the morning air is cool and crisp. This is the perfect place to experience the full glory of autumn; the temperatures are mild and the scenery is spectacular! The fall foliage provides a dramatic backdrop to this sun filled day of cycling.
We cross Wohler Bridge to continue on Wohler Rd to Eastside Rd. Eastside runs along the Windsor side of the Russian River valley. We wind our way through the valley on Trenton-Healdsburg Rd to Mark Station Rd. The yellow-green glowing vines are slightly tinged with orange and red; showing off more fall colors!
We continue on Windsor Rd to Shiloh Rd and ride pass the Sonoma County Airport, the Shiloh Cemetery and open green fields with horses, sheep, goats and emus. Bright orange pumpkins are lined up neatly in a row; Halloween is in the air! There is a brief regroup at Esposti Park. Water and restrooms are available.
We head east on Shiloh Rd to Faught Rd. The rough and bumpy pavement on Faught takes us to Chalk Hill Rd. The climb up the south side of Chalk Hill is fairly short and not too steep. You’re at the top when you see the orange and black left arrow sign.
The old farm houses and ranches along the north side takes us pass several wineries and vineyards. Horses and bovines can be seen grazing the pastures. There is another short climb that takes us up and over the White Rock, pass the old Chalk Hill Grange and towards Alexander Valley on Hwy 128.
We continue on Hwy 128/Alexander Valley Rd for the next 3+ miles to our lunch stop at the Jimtown Store. The scenery along the way are breathtaking; the ride through the panoramic vineyards provide the most incredible kaleidoscope of colors against the Mayacamas Mountains. What a wonderful time of year to enjoy this!
There is ample bike parking space in front of the store and also on the sides of the building. There are a few benches out front and a rear patio area with plenty of picnic tables plus a table inside the store. You can purchase sandwiches and other items from the deli counter. Cold drinks, water and restrooms are available. I like to sit outside to bask in the warmth of the sun.
After lunch, we head back on Hwy 128 to Pine Flat Rd, Red Winery Rd and Geysers Rd. This horseshoe loop is another great opportunity to take in all the beauty of the valley and mountains. The grapevines explode with a wide variety of colors and the whole valley seems to range from bright green to vivid yellows, oranges and reds. We also ride pass the Robert Young Estate Winery; the exterior of the main house is gorgeous!
We continue on Hwy 128 for the next 4 miles to Geyserville and make a brief stop at the Market. The short stretch on Geyserville Ave takes us through the main section of town.
The next turn on Canyon Rd takes us under Hwy 101 for the half mile climb up to the Olive Hill Cemetery. The patchwork of autumn colors along the rolling hillside vineyards is amazing!
The scenery and landscape for the next 10 miles on Dry Creek Rd, Yoakim Bridge Rd and West Dry Creek Rd is impressively beautiful! The most gorgeous section of this route is right here along the quiet rolling back road through all the wineries and vineyards. The glowing displays of colors are magnificent!
There are large clusters of grapes still hanging from the deep indigo colors of the vines just waiting for a later harvest. The air is filled with the aromas of the fermentation of the grapes and is very evident near the wineries. All your senses will be treated to the best the valley has to offer!
Good things usually come to an end; we are back on Westside Rd and only about a mile away from the finish. I notice several large colorful outdoor sculptures on Vine St as we make our way back to the parking lot.
Thanks to Deb and Beverlee for leading this fabulous and very popular autumn ride through the wine country! The change of route; going in the reverse direction was an excellent choice! Being on the bike is a marvelous way to enjoy and experience the Sonoma valley in all its glory!
Whatever the season, no matter what time of year; there is always beauty in the vineyards.
Thanks to Wyatt for being so supportive of my picture taking and for yet another fun tandem ride!
50 people in attendance with 2 tandems
53.76 miles with 1998′ of elevation gain
Weather: SUPERB-Indian summer all day long! Early morning sunshine with a crisp, cool nip in the air. Temps ranged from the very low 60’s to mid 70’s.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SMILE & ENJOY LIFE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Follow this route sheet for today’s ride: