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GB500guy
  • Rank:Gold Member
  • Posts:179
  • From:USA

Date Posted:08/11/2016 10:21 PMCopy HTML

100 degree temps are forecast for the next week, so yesterday I got in a nice back roads loop with 70s to 90s temperatures. I guess it's summer reruns time, no new roads on this ride. Plus the scenery is a bit drab from summer scorching, from both hot sun and wildfires. Still it was a week day and that meant light traffic, always a plus for me.

I chose a couple of my favorite back roads, Berryessa Knoxville and Siegler Canyon/Big Canyon. Both were virtually deserted for long stretches, letting me slip into a slow pace with lots of stops to enjoy the quiet. 


[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/Image1_zpsi4i4vbh5.jpg[/IMG]

Heading up 128 toward Lake Berryessa took me past last week's fire, a nasty 5,700 acre blaze. This is the third time in 3 years this general area has burned and it shows. Parts of this poor hillside now look totally devoid of plant life.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02833_zpsmm1irxg3.jpg[/IMG]

Berryessa-Knoxville Rd. takes off of 128 at the Turtle Rock bar and roughly follows the west shore for 18 miles to the northern tip of the lake before heading into the wilds. With fair to good two lane pavement and great lake views this first section is always a fun ride. But yesterday was especially perfect as I saw only a single car the whole way along the lake. I decided the posted speed of 45 mph suited the occasion and my mood.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02726_zps58wtrnja.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02728_zpsesb4aqn1.jpg[/IMG]

Nearing the north end of the lake the road gets a bit rougher and the corners tighter.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02730_zpshuxiolzz.jpg[/IMG]

Leaving the lake, the next 15 miles of road are narrow, twisty and isolated, and the pavement rough to very rough. Yahoo, the anticipation of this stretch never fails to excite! :ride :Party

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02738_zpsnckj4hyb.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02744_zpspvfovcme.jpg[/IMG]

Winding along tree lined creek banks, the road makes a dozen or more creek crossings. They're all dry this summer, but watch out for slippery algae during wet times.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02745_zpsljols2qt.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02746b_zpsyit4ztvs.jpg[/IMG]

Since leaving the lake I'd not see a single vehicle. Between the isolation and the roller coaster ride it feels like a real privilege to ride though here.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02749_zpse5q7qdlm.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02754_zps6zgl7elf.jpg[/IMG]

On and on it goes like this, each section more giggle-inducing than the last until the road gradually climbs up to a ridge top.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02762_zpsjpsuwawr.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02766_zpslo6irkwc.jpg[/IMG]

Suddenly the road changes personality and name (Morgan Vallley Rd.) and becomes smooth wide two lane made for top gear and cornering fun. From this point it's another 17 miles to Lower Lake. Still deserted, I didn't see a single vehicle until just a few miles from Lower Lake. 

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02777_zpsbjyfrpqs.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02781_zpso8bd6jgj.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02787_zpsfdcb9wcx.jpg[/IMG]

Passing through Lower Lake I took 29 west for 1.5 miles and turned left on Siegler Canyon Rd. It's great fun and lightly traveled.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02793_zps8rzxuzvl.jpg[/IMG]

Four miles down Siegler Canyon Rd. I turned left onto Big Canyon Rd. Back to goat road again, this is a 13 mile stretch of narrow, seen-better-days pavement but with 4 miles of gravel thrown in. One of my favorites, it ends in Middletown. Last year's big Valley Fire did a number on the terrain.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02797_zpskvfdgueg.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02803_zpsbejuxy8l.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02810_zps6sq6zirq.jpg[/IMG]

After lunch in Middletown I headed down Butts Canyon Rd. through Pope Valley. Chiles Pope Vly. road offered its usual peaceful mid-week joy.

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02821_zps3cdme6bn.jpg[/IMG]

For one last bit of goat I took the Lower Chiles Vly. Rd. shortcut back to 128 and home. 

[IMG]http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee457/billspurlock/Bills%20photos/XL250/aug%2010%202016%20berryessa%20Knoxville%20Big%20Canyon/DSC02830_zps5nj1rjay.jpg[/IMG]

Life is good,

-Bill
hooksey #1
  • Rank:XL Board Member
  • Posts:11
  • From:Australia

Re:The joy of deserted roads

Date Posted:08/12/2016 11:10 PMCopy HTML

Hey Bill ,

Another nice write up mate with some great pics, really gives those from the outside looking in a great insight to your neck of the woods
I was wondering whether you were anywhere near the fires in Cal that we have seen on the news over here ?
Thats a big Lake ya got there is that used for drinking water or recreation ?
Plenty of feed (grass) in the surrounding hills, cinder dry though, which makes it tough if a fire gets a hold !!
Do the local land holders have stock for grazing ? as i havent seen any in your photos ! or is that country National prk ?
Keep enjoying the ride mate as i certainly enjoy the read and pics.

Dave.
GB500guy #2
  • Rank:Gold Member
  • Posts:179
  • From:USA

Re:The joy of deserted roads

Date Posted:08/12/2016 11:37 PMCopy HTML

 Hi Dave,
Many thanks for your comments. Yes on the fires, They are all over the state every summer, and a couple of the biggest ones this year and last were in the areas shown in  these photos. The lake is used for irrigation as well as some being treated for drinking water. It's also a big boating and fishing lake.

Much of the area I ride through is used for cattle grazing, but a lot is government reserve with limited grazing, or is so choked with brush that it is not suitable for grazing, hence the fire danger.

Thanks again,

-Bill



Go soothingly on the grease mud ... as there lies the skid demon! ...






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