Early Autumn up Mt Veeder

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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A ride through the vineyards of Sonoma and Napa counties and up Mt Veeder is a perfect way to welcome Fall. I enjoy the changing of the season; the crisp air, the shorter days and cooler nights. The best wonder is the changing of leaves from green to vivid yellow, orange, red and purple-the more sun there is, the more brilliant the colors!

This is one of the club’s favorite autumn ride; we meet up at the usual place-the gravel lot with the large eucalyptus tree at the corner of Ramal Rd & Hwy 121/12. Even Trixie, the dog is ready to ride!

The route heads east through all the vineyards along Ramal Rd and Duhig Rd. The looming clouds above bring about a softer subdued look to the valley and the colors seem a bit more saturated. It’s all quite beautiful-I like the feelings it evokes within me; it’s a wonderful way to start a ride. The clouds will eventually dissipate and give way to the sun.

The road heading north on Duhig has gorgeous views of the Sonoma valley.

We cross Hwy 12/121 to Old Sonoma Rd and Dealy Ln. The vineyards are beginning to show the subtle color changes of the season.

There are even grapes on the vine!

We drop down to Burham Rd from Henry Rd; I particularly like the section of road that is completed shaded by the towering eucaylptus trees; they seem to hover over the vineyards across the way.

The north end of Burham Rd takes us through the residential neighborhoods in Napa. From Browns Valley Rd, we continue on Redwwod Rd to Mt Veeder Rd.

A huge portion of Redwood Rd has been repaved all the way up to Redwwod Creek; it’s so silky smooth to ride on! It’s a very quiet road with minimal to no traffic.

Around mile 15.5 at the Y intersection, go straight to continue up Mt Veeder Rd. It’s a stair step climb with gradient ranges of 9-10% and a much steeper climb of 11-12% as you approach the summit at the 2300 mark on the road. That number refers to the residential house numbers not the elevation.

There is always a rolling regroup at the top; the mountain views are always beautiful up here!

The descent on the back side of Mt Veeder is very rough; there are huge bumps and cracks on this road-be careful!

At the bottom of Mt Veeder Rd, we take a right onto Dry Creek Rd and then another quick right turn at the Y to continue on Dry Creek Rd. The next 9 rolling miles take us pass a residential area with horse ranches, barns and dinosaurs. It eventually drops us down into Napa Valley.

Our lunch stop is at the Browns Valley shopping center; there are plenty of outdoor seating and places to park the bikes. Sandwiches can be purchased at the Brown Valley Market and coffee & yogurt can be had at the Yogurt and Espresso shop.

After lunch, we take Thompson Ave to Congress Valley Rd. The donkeys in the field-Sophia & Maria are overweight, so there is a sign posted near the fence asking people to only feed them one carrot and no apples! Well, I can see that Maria does have a bit of a hanging belly!

We take Old Sonoma Rd back to Hwy 12/121. This whole road has been repaved and it’s absolutely great; there are no bumps, only the sound of the tires rolling on super smooth pavement-SWEET!

I’m opting to do the extra 3 miles out on Los Carneros to Cuttings Wharf and Las Amigas Rd. There are several short climbs on Las Amigas with fabulous views of the surrounding wineries and vineyards.

Duhig Rd takes us back on Ramal Rd to our cars.

It was a gorgeous day to be out riding in Sonoma and napa to witness the first changes of colors on the vines and the welcoming of fall.

Thanks to Deb for leading the ride-what a wonderful way to welcome fall!

Get on out and enjoy the fall foliage-what you see will leave an imprint for the rest of the season!

~25 people in attendace with 2 tandems
50.12 miles with 2888′ of elevation gain

Weather: PERFECT! Morning overcast skies giving way to a sunny day. Temps ranged from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s

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I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne
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