Donnerstag, 25. April 2013

Napa Valley – Dry Creek and Veeder Mountain Rd

The weather today is similar to yesterday, the sky is overcast with thick, high level fog and the temperatures are around 10 degrees. I assume, that towards the inner land the fog will be less dense and dissolve in the course of the day. Therefore I decide to cycle in the Naa valley. It takes me roughly 1h to get to Napa and indeed, when I arrived around 11 o’clock the sky rapidly cleared up from the remaining few cloud shreds and blue sky without a single cloud appeared.

The Napa valley is somewhat narrower than the one where Santa Rosa is situated in and every scratch of land is plastered with vineyards.

For my ride today I chose to drive up Dry Creek Rd and then come back on a parallel track, which is the Mount Veeder Rd.
Dry Creek Rd starts off as a broad, flat level street.Then it narrows down and follows the wild romantic valley of the Dry Creek and traffic is non-existent also on Mt. Veeder Rd.   

The valley is quite narrow with thick forest and gives a very secluded and remote aspect, which is, as said before, amplified by the complete absence of traffic. During the 15 km ride through the valley there were 2 cars passing me by. Also typical for the States you still find a lot of homes build in the midst of the forest.

Some very nice and tidy ...

And some that with a lick of paint will look like new...

The way back to Napa I made via the Mt. Veeder Rd, which starts with some serious climbs of 15% grade, fortunately not too long. The road is wonderful, thickly covered in the woods with many, many switchbacks which always give a break in the climb.

And close to the summit this sign...

Man you must be kidding me! As I said before the back roads here are quite far from being smooth and even the ones with tons of holes, cracks and loose gravel that I rode so far hadn’t had this sign! What should I expect now for the decent? After all the labour an extra bumpy ride down? Well as it turned out is was only a small stretch in a climb that was indeed fucked up pretty badly. 

On the summit then some great view over the tops of Napa valley.

The decent turned out to be the highlight of the ride. The grades were much less may be 5% and no sharp turns but only smooth bends. One could really pace out and even the Truck drivers pulled out to let the bikers pass (I'm in heaven). No pictures for obvious reasons.

So back it went to Napa. As the ride was not very long 40 km or so I decided to make an extra loop. First I looked for a “historic” centre of the town, which I couldn’t find and then found myself on the Silverado Trial, which passes by some quite impressive wineries.

The capitels are copies of the Sumerian one on display at the Louvre (which is absolutely stunning) , though much smaller of course. The mix of styles in general is a bit funny and certainly over the top. Yet, I shouldn’t brag around as it didn’t fail to attract me like a fly to sticky-paper.

At the turning point of the extra loop, i.e. the farthest point from my car, I noticed a funny slide on my back wheel in the corner and indeed one mile later the tire was flat out. So this is my first puncture over here. Usually I have a puncture may be every year once, i.e. every 4000 km or so. Here it was after 350 km. What did I write about the scrap metal and glass on the road here before? Well honestly the tire was already worn down quite substantially. So let us see how long the new one will make it.

After the rides of the last days, my legs now feel a bit tired and tomorrow I will first have a look at the flat tire and tube for mending them and also go in town for replacement. Ride wise I think it will be only something easy and short.    

And here is the little bugger, a really fine an needle like 5 mm metal wire going right through the middle of the mantel of the tire.  

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