Ride Report #46: Napa County

Labor Day 2018, September 3rd, Akshay & I rode some new roads in Napa county. We started early from Fremont, took I680 to Fairfield, which is actually in Solano county and then road towards Lake Berryessa.

While the first 65 miles of freeway were long and boring, the Hayabusa made it somewhat easier. There was no traffic whatsoever, and we were comfortably doing 90-100mph on the freeway. Those speeds are very natural to the Busa, one doesn’t feel the wind very much and the bike is very stable.

The first twisty road was Wooden Valley Road, connecting the freeway to Hwy 121. A nice rural stretch of wide sweepers, followed by Hwy 121 and then Hwy 128. We then turned right on to Berryessa Knoxville Road towards Lake Berryessa. It was a little bumpy going downhill from Hwy 128, but soon the road surface improved. Nice wide sweepers, great views of the lake and not a lot of traffic… we had a great ride. I didn’t know that Lake Berryessa was man-made: it’s actually formed by a hydro-electric dam, the Monticello Dam, at the south end of the lake.

We stopped at the bridge over the lake, where Pope Canyon Road meets Berryessa Knoxville. We took a few pictures and were on our way. Pope Canyon is also fun, just a little rougher though. It took us to the town of Pope Valley (population 583) at which point we branched off onto Howell Mountain Road.

Howell Mountain is a true gem, like Pescadero Creek Rd, with tight uphill (for us) turns, good quality tarmac and mostly full tree cover. We did encounter a couple of big rigs coming down the road which made it a little unnerving in the curves. We gassed up in Angwin (I didn’t even know this town existed – nice little charming place) and took our final twisty road of the day, Spring Mountain Road, towards Santa Rosa.

Spring Mountain was also fun, with little traffic, nice curves, but the pavement was quite rough. We stopped briefly on the road for a break, and then made it to our lunch spot, Russian River Brewing Co.

A couple of Pliny’s later we made the long slog home, all of it on the freeway (101-580-880). Thankfully there wasn’t a lot of traffic and we got home to Fremont in the late afternoon. A nice day ride to Napa and Sonoma!


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