Originally Posted by krbreton
Thanks for doing the scouting work for me :)
That doesn't look nearly as bad as what I've been hearing about.
I assume that the 0 ton bridge was still passable, with just that amount of flooding? Were the gates on Reiff closed?
Do you have a track you could send, so I can see what path you went through the forest on that was passable. The weather looks good still (cold, but good). If I had people with me, I would definitely be going, but solo through areas I've never been in somewhat unpredictable conditions seems like it may be pushing it. My wife's pretty against it, so if I had to call for help for some reason, it would take a long time to live down...
Don't have a track, kind of old school and use the GPS as a "where am I?" tool instead of "where have I been?".
I didn't cross the bridge. The east barriers are passable near Hwy 16, the west gate has a fence railing that extends down the downhill side about 20 ft, so there is a bypass trail that turns sharply around the end of that railing. You could probably make it on an 800, but I recommend having someone there when you do. Reiff is a favorite of mine, but typically muddy for awhile after a rain on the shaded side of the mountain. There are 2 ridges it goes over, the one closest to Hwy 16 has the most mud since it doesn't get much sun. The west ridge has the gate that is closed normally from November to May. Up in Mendocino Forest, the snow and ice is getting better every day, as long as it warms up a little during the day.
OK, you asked, here's the route I took yesterday:
Hwy 16 north to the end, left on Hwy 20 and immediate right on Bear Valley Rd. Dry and fast all the way to the end, left on Brimm Rd and up the hill to a 4-way intersection (Walker Ridge Rd). Go across the intersection, continuing west on Bartlett Springs Rd.
Past north end of Indian Valley Reservoir, then you'll see a trail to the right that goes down a hill and seems to end up in a creek that's running pretty good now. That's the south end of M5 (mentioned later). Continue west on Bartlett Springs and you'll see an intersection for Twin Valley Rd (mentioned later), continue and climb to the top of the ridge where I experienced snow yesterday. Tops out at around 4,000'. You'll come to an intersection overlooking Clear Lake, take the left route High Valley Rd instead of the right to Lucerne (lots of switchbacks, pretty boring). High Valley gets muddy this time of year, watch for potholes. That takes you into Clearlake Oaks (left on Hwy 20), I like to eat at the Country Kitchen in a strip mall on the left. Normally go home via 20 to 16, but an alternative is through Lower Lake, left on Morgan Valley Rd which becomes Knoxville Road past the Homestake Mine. Back past Berryessa, blah blah blah.
M5: The north end ties into M10 near Fouts Spring staging area, west of Stonyford. When it is not so wet (the creek not so full), I like to loop up M5 to Goat Moutain Rd and head down to Ladoga, the south on Leedsville Rd back to Hwy 20. Going up M5 gives a great view to the south, and looping past Wilson Camp is another option to add on.
Twin Valley Rd: It ties into M10 or an alternate route is French Ridge to Upper Lake. M10 has water crossings and the French Ridge leg gets muddy and has ruts near where the two routes split up. Twin Valley has some areas that puddle over the entire road that can be pretty deep in spots. There's a few water crossings, one that can be deep this time of year.
Lower Lake alternatives: take Hwy 29 west toward Cobb, then Seigler Canyon Rd to the left. Perini Rd to the left (hard pack dirt), then left on Big Canyon Rd (part paved, part hard pack) to Middletown. Then choose between Butts Canyon / Pope Valley / Berryessa or Hwy 29 to Calistoga / Napa Valley.
Ride safe, have fun.