Monticello Dam Century

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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This century loop begins from Martinez and heads north through the beautiful wineries and vineyards in Solano County on Suisun Valley and Wooden Valley into Napa County. The ride continues on CA-121 S to CA-128 E for the climb up the backside of Cardiac Hill to Markely Cove at Lake Berryessa. It continues up to Moncticello Dam before dropping down along Putah Creek to Lake Solano. The return south includes a long stretch through Vaca Valley along Pleasants Valley Rd and a jog around the city streets of Fairfield to Cordelia.

We exit Holiday Highlands Park and head north on Morello Ave to Pacheco Blvd out to the Shell Refinery on Shell Ave.

The Benicia-Martinez Bike/Ped path takes us across Carquinez Strait into Benicia.

Park Rd continues north through the refineries to industrial park area of Benicia on Industrial Way with fabulous view of the diminishing Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay.

The turn on Lake Herman Rd take us onto Lopes Rd; this road runs parallel to I-680 on rolling terrain to Cordelia.  Lopes sits slightly above the freeway with great views of Suisun and Grizzly Bays, Morrow Island and the windmill farms in the far distance.

Lopes Rd crosses over I-80 and name changes to Green Valley Rd. We continue north through the commercial and residential neighborhoods around the community of Green Valley. The road exits out of town to the open valley and hillside vineyards.

We cut across the valley and head east on Rockville Rd; the short rolling climbs goes pass a small community around Rockville Hills Regional Park and drops down into Rockville.

Suisun Valley Rd leads us north through the open fields, agricultural farm land colorful nurseries and vineyards around Suisun Valley.

The local post boxes are quite artsy:

The road name changes to Wooden Valley Rd and continues north through the vineyards and ranches around Suisun Valley.

Wooden Valley Rd winds up through the canyon with gentle 2.5-5% grades. The road follows the curvatures of Wooden Valley Creek pass a scattering of remote ranches.

The road levels out as you round the bend towards Altamura Winery & Vineyards; it continues along the valley floor through the small community of Wooden Valley. The flat terrain leads us out to the heart of the valley with acres and acres of vineyards set below the foothills of Mt George. Wooden Valley Rd winds up along the hillside vineyards and comes to a T at the CA-121 junction.

We head north on CA-121 S for the next 5.5 miles; the road begins on gentle rolling terrain for the first 0.7 mile with great views of Wooden Valley.

At mile 37.4 of the route, the road tilts up for one mile with an average grade of 6.6% up to the summit at Waters Rd.

CA-121 descends down into the valley followed by a couple of short rolling climbs to the CA-128 Junction.

I decide to make a slight detour to Moskowite Corner to check out the new Lake Berryessa Market. The market is open for business from Thurs-Mon 8 AM- 8PM and is closed on Tuesday & Wednesday. They are working towards being open seven days a week. This would be a great mid-point stop for everyone passing through along CA-121 & CA-128 to Lake Berryessa.

The rolling terrain for the first 4.8 miles on CA-128 E takes us through the dry valley and oak studded hills before descending into Wragg Canyon.

The climb out of Wragg Canyon goes up the backside of Cardiac Hill for 1.8 mile with an average grade of 5.1%.

The road descends into Markley Canyon to our lunch stop at Markley Cove at Lake Berryessa.

We stay on CA-128 E; the rolling terrain takes us up to the summit at Monticello Dam.

This is from the Lake Berryessa newsletter: As of 071414, the lake has dropped another 7.5 inches during the last week. The elevation of the spillway (Glory Hole) is 440 feet msl. The water is now 31.64 feet below the top of the spillway at 408.36 feet.

CA-128 E quickly descends down into Cold Canyon towards the Canyon Creek Resort.

The road continues on rolling terrain through damaged charred hillsides; the Monticello Fire started on July 4th and burned 6,488 acres around the SE shore of Lake Berryessa. The fire was fully contained on July 12th.

CA-128 E goes along the north edge of Putah Creek State Wildlife Area and winds down along Putah Creek to Pleasants Valley Rd.

We head south on Pleasants Valley Rd for a quick pit stop at Lake Solano County Park. I spot a couple of gorgeous peacocks sitting on top of a fence-WOW!

Pleasants Valley Rd stretches 12.4 miles on rolling terrain through orchards, horse ranches, farms, open meadows and grasslands. The road goes through Pleasants Valley from Yolo County to Solano County out to Vaca Valley in Vacaville.

Lyon Rd runs parallel to I-80 from the outskirts of Fairfied to the residential subdivisions on Hillborn Rd and Waterman Blvd. The road name changes to Mankas Corner Rd and continues out of town towards the open valley. 

The turn on Abernathy takes us along the flats through the agricultural fields and vineyards around Suisun Valley.

The wide expressway on Suisun Pkwy leads us along the incomplete planned developments around Solano Community College.

We cross over I-80 on Suisun Valley Rd to Cordelia Junction and Pittman Rd. Bridgeport Ave takes us through a older neighborhood in Cordelia to Ramsey Rd.

Ramsey Rd is a flat frontage road alongside I-680; it passes through a scattering of ranches and open pastoral lands to Gold Hill Rd. You can see Clydesdale horses roaming the fields!

Gold Hill Rd takes us up and over I-80 to Lopes Rd.

We cross over the freeway again and continue on Goodyear Rd; this is another flat frontage road alongside I-680. This less traveled road had fabulous views of the marshes around Goodyear Slough and Mt Diablo.

From Lake Herman Rd, we reverse our way back through Benicia on Industrial Way and Park Rd to the bridge crossing back into Martinez.

Garmin Stats:
104 miles with 4980′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1089′
Max grade : 12%
Terrain: Rolling with some hills

Weather: Sunny and hot with temps ranging from the low 60’s to the low 90’s. NW AM winds > brisk SW PM winds with 73% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride: