Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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Today’s ride tours part of Northern California’s exquisite wine country scene from the picturesque Napa Valley along Silverado Trail in Napa County to the serene Knights Valley on CA-128 N. The route continues out to Sonoma County’s beautiful Alexander Valley for lunch at the Jimtown Store. The return includes a run along the Wine Trail on CA-29 through the towns of Calistoga, St Helena, Rutherford, Oakville and Yountville.
We begin on Solano Ave and wiggle our way through Napa’s city streets to the open vineyards and horse ranches on Big Ranch Rd.
Oak Knoll Ave cuts through the valley vineyards to Silverado Trail.
Silverado Trail runs 23.4 miles to the northern tip of Napa Valley to Calistoga. The flat to rolling terrain takes us through the gorgeous valley floor with fabulous views of the Vaca Mountains, vineyards and estate wineries.
Spring wildflowers provide a colorful display of orange, purple, red, white and lavender.
Silverado Trail offers beautiful views of the valley with the deep forested Mayacamas Mountains looming largely in the background.
The one short climb at the end of the valley takes us pass the Calistoga Mineral Water Company.
Lincoln Ave takes us through the downtown area of Calistoga to the west side at CA-128.
CA-128 N leads us out of town towards Tubbs Ln.
The road continues north with minimal traffic through the ranches, wineries and vineyards with fantastic views of Mt St Helen and its surrounding mountains.
There is one shaded climb along CA-128 N up to the Sonoma County line; it’s 0.9 mile with a average grade of 5%.
The road drops down into the gorgeous Knights Valley with acreage vineyards and estate wineries.
There is also a ranching community around Knights Valley with grazing Angus cattle, olive groves, bee farm, weathered wooden barns and one beautiful stone structure.
CA-128 continues on flat to gentle rolling terrain through the vineyards and open green meadows towards the bridge crossing over Maacama Creek.
The road follows the curvatures of Maacama Creek on gentle rolling terrain up towards Chalk Hill Rd.
The short rolling climbs along CA-128 from Chalk Hill take us out along the Alexander Valley Wine Trail.
The road goes through the spectacular valley with hillside vineyards and beautiful estate wineries.
We stop at the Jimtown Store for lunch only to discover that they are still operating under their Winter Hours-closed on Tues and Weds. Fortunately we always pack our lunch so the use of their picnic table and water spigot is good enough for us.
Jimtown is our turnaround point; we reverse our way on CA-128 and head south through Alexander Valley.
We return through Knights Valley:
The climb up the north side of CA-128 to the Napa County line begins at mile marker 23.86 up to the summit at mile marker 24.76; it’s 0.9 mile with an average grade of 5%.
CA-128 S drops back down into Calistoga and becomes CA-29.
We stay on CA-29 S; this highway runs parallel to Silverado Trail with a bit more traffic through the heart of the tourist towns and wineries situated along the valley.
CA-29 through St Helena:
CA-29 through Rutherford–Oakville:
CA-29 to Washington St-Yountville Park:
Yountville buildings and outdoor sculptures:
We exit Yountville on California St and head south on Solano Ave into Napa. There is also a new bike rest area on Solano Ave near Darms Lane complete with bike racks, picnic tables and a water fountain-it’s a great stop!
This ride offers an easy gentle way to explore the gorgeous valleys and scenic landscape around Napa and Sonoma counties-come on out and ride it!
Thanks to Wyatt for another fun tandem ride!
88.00 Miles with 2344′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 659′
Max grade: 7%
Terrain: Flat to rolling with one climb
Weather: Sunny and hot with temps ranging from the high 60’s to the mid 90’s. Breezy ENE winds with 27% humidity.
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Follow this route for today’s ride: