RR77: Bartlett Springs Road

On Jan 17th, 2022, Akshay (KTM 1290 Super Adventure), Gokul (KTM 690 Enduro), Mahesh (Ducati Scrambler 1100) and me (Kawasaki Versys-X 300) rode around the Bartlett Springs, Clear Lake area in the North Bay. The original idea for the route came from this thread on Advrider, and we did the exact same route charting 48 miles off road.

We left Fremont early in the morning and took the freeway to the Starbucks in Fairfield. After a quick coffee, we started riding. Suisun Valley Road and Wooden Valley Road took us to Hwy 121, from where we rode Hwy 128 all the way to Winters. We took the by-roads parallel to 505, over to Hwy 16. We stopped for gas at the Cache Creek Casino, my first time there. Hwy 16 was good fun – nice twisties along the Bear creek. What a unique name for a creek in California.

At Hwy 20, we started our dirt ride, on Bear Valley road, splendid name again. This was a very mild dirt road, almost as easy as riding on the street.

Some nice pics of yours truly, thanks to Gokul.

Mahesh’s Ducati was sporting some bald tires, but he made it through the whole ride without incident.

We turned left from Bear Valley on to Brim road. The road slowly climbs a few hills before it meets Bartlett Springs Road. At the start of this climb, Gokul came in a bit hot from a side trail and crashed him KTM into the mountain side. Thankfully he was OK and the damage to the bike was minimal.

We met Bartlett Springs Road at the top and made our way down to Indian Valley.

The reservoir at Indian Valley was completely dry. We could not see the water line from the road. We took a few breaks along the way and continued the ride down to Clear Lake.

As the road descends into the Clear Lake area, there are some beautiful views to be had.

We had a late lunch, about 4PM, at Romi’s Brew and BBQ. It was by far the worst place I’ve ever eaten at in recent memory, a solid 0 on 5 stars.

The ride back home was uneventful, about 130 miles on the freeway – 101, 580 and 880.

The Versys-X 300 did very well. It inspires a lot of confidence in the dirt, much more so than my KTM 990. It may not have the suspension chops of the Dakar oriented KTM racebike, but it putts along just fine in every terrain without overwhelming the rider with excess weight or power. The nimble handling of the bike in dirt makes it easy to ride smoothly and confidently and ultimately allows me to relax and enjoy the ride. At the same time it works very well in the twisties, and it comfortably stays at 85mph on the freeway. What more can I want? I think we have a winna.

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