Martinez to Benicia & Lake Herman

Saturday, December 8, 2012

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This is another one of those “leave from the house” rides; we head north on Morello Ave to take the industrial route on Pacheco Blvd and Shell Ave to access the ped/bike lane that crosses the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. The 2 mile ped/bike lane is on the southbound span of the bridge and runs between Mococo Rd in Martinez to Park Rd in Benicia.

We take Military E and head south on E 5th St to Turnbull Park at the Marina. We meander our way along the Benicia Marina to the end of 1st St. This historic part of Benicia has many restaurants, cafes, quaint little shops and boutiques. The Benicia Point Pier has spectacular waterfront views of Carquinez Strait, the Carquinez Bridge and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge; you can even see the trains across the strait! Water and restrooms are available at the end of the pier. The last few times I’ve been out here, the same man has been feeding the pigeons and seagulls; there are lots of birds!

From 1st St, we take W K St out to the end at W 14th St; this is the SE ped/bike entrance into Benicia State Recreation Area. The path runs through the grassy hillsides and marshes of the park and leads to the ped/bike crossing on Rose Dr.

We then head north along the outskirts of Vallejo on Columbus Pkwy for the next 2.8 miles. There is one 7-9.5% steep’ish half mile climb on Columbus Pkwy; it begins at Springs Rd and continues up through some residential neighborhoods before descending to Lake Herman Rd.

Lake Herman Rd extends 5.3 miles west in Vallejo to the east in Benicia. It’s a very quiet road with minimal traffic and great road conditions. The rolling terrain takes you pass a rock quarry, old farms and ranches with views of grazing cattle dotted among the green grassy hillsides.

Our snack/lunch stop is at Lake Herman; there are a few picnic tables, porta-potties and a water fountain with no running water, so plan accordingly. This place looks a bit deserted with not much wildlife and or people. Lake Herman is a reservoir in Solano County.

We continue east on Lake Herman Rd towards I-680. At the freeway interchange, there are several places to stop for food, drinks and restrooms; Shell gas station, Carl’s Jr and Jack in the Box.

BLANK

We continue north on Goodyear Rd for the next 4.7 flat miles, this road has no traffic, parallels I-680 and runs along the edge of Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. There are fantastic views of the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay and the grassy marshes and sloughs around Grizzly Bay.

We cross over I-680 at Marshview Rd and head south on Lopes Rd for the next 4.5 miles to the Suisun Vista Point Overlook. The surrounding landscape includes rolling green hills, grazing cattle, open ranches, pastures and vast farmlands. The terrain varies from flat to big rollers and several short climbs up to the vista point. There is minimal to no traffic along this stretch of road.

From the Vista Point, we cross Lake Herman Rd to E 2nd St and take Park Rd south through the industrial and refinery areas back to the ped/bike crossing at the Benicia-Martinez Bridge.

Back on the Martinez side, we make a coffee/snack stop at the Starbuck’s on Main St. We find that Santa is making his rounds here too; in his little red house with a Christmas tree and wrapped presents. Parents are waiting in line with their tots to have their pictures taken.

We go through downtown Martinez on Berrellessa St and Alhambra Rd to get to Vine Hill Rd. The short climb up Vine Hill gets us back to Morello.

Another great day to be out on the bike to explore the roads less traveled! I even got to see Santa working his day job.

VDO Stats:
42.68 Miles with 2069′ elevation gain
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 11%

Weather: GREAT! Sunny & cool with temps ranging from the mid to high 50’s

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The mere sense of living is joy enough.  ~Emily Dickinson
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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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