Port Costa-McEwen Rd

Thursday, December 6, 2012

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It’s so convenient for me to be able to leave from home and do this lollipop loop out to Port Costa and back. The return includes the steep climb up north McEwen Rd. The majority of the route is along the quiet back roads of west Contra Costa County.

The first few miles of Franklin Canyon Rd has gentle gradients of 2-3% up to the intersection at McEwen Rd. The gradient increases to 6-8% for the last 0.8 mile up to Cummings Skyway. It’s a quiet stretch of road that runs adjacent to Franklin Ridge and the Franklin Hills area.

Cummings Skyway is a scenic back road off Hwy 4 that connects to I-80. This lightly traveled two lane road offers fabulous views of the surrounding rolling hills and grasslands with sights of the North Bay in the distance.

The sweeping descent on Crockett Blvd from Cummings Skywy takes me into the town of Crockett. You can see the top of the towers of Carquinez Bridge as you near the bottom of the road. At the intersection, I take a right on Pomona St for the short climb up to Carquinez Scenic Dr. Snack foods and drinks can be purchased at the J & L Market along the way. You’re at the top when you see the Veterans Memorial.

The road becomes Carquinez Scenic Dr at the intersection with Winslow St. Carquinez Scenic Dr runs through the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline Park. At one of the many vista points, you have gorgeous views of Benicia’s waterfront along Carquinez Strait and of the bridge! As you make that left turn on Canyon Lake Dr, slow down to admire the outdoor sculptures and artwork on display in front of one of the homes leading into Port Costa.

This small town on the Carquinez Strait maintains its charm by preserving the vintage buildings and homes along the main street. The Warehouse Cafe and The Burlington Hotel are both a blast from the past. Take the time to enjoy the area; even the wanna-be Foster Farm chickens are hanging out here!

BLANK

I exit town on Reservoir Rd and continue on the infamous climb up McEwen Rd. It spans 2.5 miles from the north end at Carquinez Scenic Dr to the south end at Franklin Canyon Rd. The climb itself is a short 1.3 miles on a very narrow two lane road. The first half mile is the steepest with steady double-digit gradients ranging from 11-14%. Just grind it out-it eases up to 8-9% when you see the grove of eucalyptus trees on the right hand side of the road. It continues to levels out to grades of 5-7% as you approach the top of the tree-lined ridge. The last left turn takes you up and over to the cattle ranch at the top. From there, the beautiful descent takes you through the rolling hills and into the canyon below.

From Franklin Canyon Rd, I reverse the route back home and climb up Muir Station Rd to Center and Morello.

I love this short scenic route out to Port Costa, you can add-on other variations to lengthen this basic ride, so come on out and enjoy all the quiet back roads and charms of the little towns in west Contra Costa County.

VDO Stats:
25.64 miles with 2051′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 4%
Max grade: 14%

Weather: GREAT! Cool with overcast cloudy skies. Temps ranged from the mid to high 50’s

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Life is an adventure! So live it up!  ~L.M. Preston
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Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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