Thursday, December 4, 2014
This short counter clock wise loop meanders along Carquinez Scenic Dr/George Miller Trail to the steep climb up north McEwen Rd. It continues through Franklin Canyon to Reliez Valley for an scenic out and back into Briones Regional Park at the Alhambra Creek Valley Staging Area. A vast majority of this route is on quiet roads with minimal to no traffic.
We head north on Fig Tree Ln to Midhill and Morello Ave; the cloudy skies provides a contrast to the vivid autumn colors-it’s great eye candy!
Pacheco Blvd goes through the industrial area of Pacheco to the Shell Refinery along Shell Ave.
Marina Vista Ave takes us west along the RR tracks to the Shell oil tanks, it continues into Martinez with a view of the sports fields at Martinez Waterfront Park. The road drops down into the Historic Downtown area along the north end of town.
Light sprinkles welcome us on the climb up Carquinez Scenic Dr/ George Miller Trail to the Alhambra and Catholic Cemeteries.
Carquinez Scenic Dr/ George Miller Trail winds in and around the woodlands for about 1.5 miles to the gate onto the newly paved trail; with every twist and turn comes a different view of Carquinez Strait.
There’s even a rainbow over the waterfront homes in Benicia-BEAUTIFUL! Enjoy the views!
The new 1.7 mile section of trail is closed to traffic; the road continues snaking around the bay shoreline with many choice vista overlooks of the surrounding waters, Benicia-Martinez Bridge, the shoreline tracks and dense woodlands-absolutely gorgeous!
The new trail drops down into Little Bull Valley and ends at the old brick plant area; there looks to be a new gravel parking lot opening up soon, complete with a Porta-pottie-great!
Carquinez Scenic Dr/ George Miller Trail continues winding around the valley and descends into Big Bull Valley at the intersection of Reservoir and McEwen Rd in Port Costa.
The climb up north McEwen Rd is a challenge; it can be broken down into three segments. The first 0.4 section is on a narrow stretch of two lane road with very steep grades of 12-15%!
The second section begins as the road bends on the approach to the eucalyptus stand at the “No Dumping” sign; it’s 0.3 mile with lesser grades of 9-11%.
The third section leads you out under from the canopy of trees to the open clearing with views of the tree-lined Franklin Ridge. It’s 0.6 mile to the summit with gradient ranges of 5-7%.
At the summit, the road drops down and goes over a small bump to the cattle ranch and steel barn.
McEwen Rd descends on super smooth pavement as it gently sweeps around the little bends and straightens out onto Franklin Canyon Rd.
Franklin Canyon Rd rolls through the quiet canyon for 3.6 miles to Alhambra Ave. Check out the colorful murals on the roll over the hump on the road!
The rolling-flat terrain on Alhambra Valley Rd takes us south along Alhambra Creek to Alhambra Valley. One house already has Xmas decorations displayed in the front yard with ready to fill blow-up reindeers and snowmen. I’ll have to come back next week to check it out again! The fall colors are fantastic!
The turn on Reliez Valley Rd leads us the horse ranching community around Briones Park.
Brookwood Dr takes us around the beautiful flat valley into Briones Regional Park at the Alhambra Creek Valley Staging Area.
We stop for lunch at the Crow Picnic Area off the Orchard Trail:
We reverse our way out of the park to Reliez Valley Rd.
Reliez Valley Rd continues on rolling terrain to Grayson Rd.
Grayson Rd takes us into Pleasant Hill to Taylor Blvd and head NE across town to Morello Ave.
Morello Ave climbs up through the residential neighborhoods near Paso Nogal Park and Contra Costa Country Club to Hidden Lakes Park.
We enter Hidden Lakes Park and take the trail through the park to Hidden Valley Park off Center Ave; this is a little scenic flat short cut with two narrow bridge crossings.
We take Center Ave and cross over Hwy 4 on Glacier to Arnold Dr and Fig Tree Ln.
These past few days of riding on the spin bike and running on the treadmill and eliptical at the gym was getting quite boring, so it’s great to get out for some fresh air even if only for a short distance; it’s always worth it! We did get hit with some light sprinkles for a short segment of the ride and rolling along on our heavy duty mountain bikes was great for the wet roads and provided better road traction. Autumn is also taking a turn; the last of the fall colors on the trees will soon fade and drop all their leaves, so get out there and enjoy it while its still here!
26.63 Miles with 1893′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 560′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Rolling with one steep climb
Weather: Partly cloudy skies with some light morning sprinkles. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the low 60’s. S winds with 66% humidity.
Follow this route for today’s ride: