Originally Posted by jmcg
Enjoying your RR.
Thank you. I'm glad you are.
On Day 5, I rolled out of my tent & yawned, stretching my arms as wide as I could. Today is the day. The day I finally get to ride CA 29. I've been waiting almost a year to come back to Napa Valley & ride this road. Lately though, I've been second guessing my memory of it. Is it really as good as I remember? I'm going to be disappointed if I've been working it up in my head all this time & it turns out to be a dud. Whatever, Rick's right. Even if it is, yesterday was fantastic. Getting here was a blast, surely getting back further north will be just as good. Besides...we're not at work, we're on two wheels & we're having a great time seeing new country. Life can't get much better.
We quickly pack up camp & head out. Over dinner last night, I had convinced Rick to go down to St. Helena with me to visit The Hungarian's favorite winery, V. Sattui, to grab a couple bottles of Gamay Rouge (her absolute favorite wine in the world) & have them shipped home. So we headed south. Fortunately we only have to be on US 101 for about 10 minutes, then we'd be back on CA 128 heading for Calistoga/St. Helena. This road was very much like the roads around Corvallis/Albany, deep in the Willamette Valley. They're mostly straight with occasional 90° corners. I didn't figure I'd enjoy this leg very much, but there's something to be said about scenery sometimes. We were riding among what seemed like endless vineyards. And on a day like today, it was a beautiful sight.
After a little over an hour of riding amongst the vineyards, we arrived in St. Helena. I almost lost Rick after he got stopped by a light & I didn't notice because I can't see anything in my mirrors except my bags. I pull into V. Sattui & look behind me, expecting to see Rick. He's not there. In fact, he's not even in the parking lot. Hoping that he's still in range, I call him up on our G9 units. Right after I push the button, I see Rick ride right past the entrance to the parking lot. I'm too far in for him to see me. Now...anyone that uses the intercom feature of the G9s knows how long it takes to start a call. This time was no different. In fact, it felt like an eternity. I just know that he'll soon be out of range & I'll have to go chase him down. Finally, I hear the familiar beep & the sound of the wind in my speakers. I don't waste any time, quickly & authoritatively saying, "TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND! YOU PASSED IT!" Fortunately I got those first few words out before he went out of range. Let me just say, anyone that complains about the distance at which these things work know not what the speak of. I've been impressed with them on more than one occasion. I headed back out to the entrance so he'd see me. Finally he makes it to the winery, we dismount & head in.
Having been here before, I walk right in & up to the tasting counter. I immediately tell the guy behind the counter that I'd like to purchase two bottles of Gamay Rouge & have them shipped to Oregon. That's when he drops the bomb. They have a 6 bottle minimum for shipped orders. Dammit...that's going to be a problem. You see, V. Sattui isn't the cheapest winery. The last time we went, we spent about $250 on wine to take home. Knowing the state of my credit card after paying for our honeymoon and then taking a couple week long trips over the summer, my heart sank. I really wanted to surprise her. That's when the guy tells me that they're offering a 15% discount for mix & match cases. After mulling it over in my head for a while, I decide to bite the bullet & ship a case home. Besides, if I send her a case of wine from V. Sattui, I'm pretty much guaranteeing that I'll be able to take this trip again sometime. I kind of surprise the guy when I rattle off 6 bottles of wine because I already know what we like there. He finally points me to the registers & I place my order. Fortunately the price tag was less than I had originally thought, so I counted myself lucky. The Hungarian is going to get a nice little anniversary present & I can't wait to see her open it.
After placing my order, we head back outside, jump on the bikes & stop at the entrance for a picture.
I take a quick minute to post it on The Hungarian's Facebook page. I explain that unfortunately there was a 6 bottle minimum on shipped wine & that I couldn't afford to get her any.
She later received that package after we returned from our anniversary trip to the coast. I gained major points with her that day.
We head up the road a bit & stop for lunch at Gott's Roadside. Rick had seen it when we came into town & recounted seeing it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so we stopped & had a burger. It was a pretty good burger too. The garlic fries & strawberry shake weren't bad either. The only drawback to this lunch was the price tag. I paid $23 for those 3 items. Oh well, it's a cool place. I'm glad we went.
After lunch, we head north to Calistoga. CA 29...here we come! Finally we arrive at the beginning of the fun part of CA 29. We pull over in one of the last straight stretches to get our cameras ready & recording, then continue on.
We were stopped again by construction, but using our pull over & wait strategy, we had a lot of clear road. When we ended up behind traffic again at the end Rick calls me up on the intercom saying how much he liked the road. I'm glad too, because it WAS everything I had remembered it being. While it's not very long, it's littered with 25 MPH corners & passing zones with some of the most beautiful pavement. It's hard not to feel like you're on a race track. I can't wait to go back again.
Continuing on we follow a route in the Destination Highways book & take CA 175 up to Kelseyville where we had planned to take CA 29 to CA 20, hit US 101 & head back to Eureka. While stopped for a break in Middletown though, we decided instead to take CA 175 west out of Kelseyville just be cause it looked squiggly on the map. We were really glad we did.
Once again, we had been surprised by a road that we might have missed if we had planned too much or felt like we had to stick to current plans. Well, since we had such great luck with surprise roads, we decided to take a recommendation from SamEyeHam. The day before he had asked us if we had taken CA 20 from Fort Bragg into Napa Valley. I told him we hadn't, that we had taken CA 128 instead. He urged us to do it while we were down there, but I didn't think we'd be able to since we were going to run out of time trying to get to Eureka. It was then that Rick & I discussed our plans & he came up with a great idea. Let's just plan on staying at a hotel tonight so that we can take CA 20 & then head up CA 1 back to Eureka. What? Splurge on a night in a hotel in exchange for more squiggly roads instead of freeway? Done deal! So we spend about 45 minutes on US 101 until we get to Willits & head west on CA 20. Even though this one didn't look very squiggly on the map, it definitely didn't let us down. Beyond that, it was Sunday & we're headed to the coast while 95% of the traffic was headed back home from a weekend at the coast. We had very little traffic. Thank you SamEyeHam for urging us to do it.
Now we're 3 for 3. Route diversions are really starting to be fun. Needing a rest, we stop at McKerricher State Park for a bit & take a few pictures.
After a few minutes, we continue on up CA 1 until right before we enter the really twisty section. We see a group of three motorcyclists looking like they're trying to fix one of them, so we stop. Apparently these guys were all from the UK & had rented bikes to ride some of the roads. The one they were looking at was a Ducati Diavel. They were asking us if we knew how to fix a bike that was stuck in gear. We admitted that we didn't as I looked at the bike. It had obviously been crashed. Good luck getting your deposit back. They take off toward Fort Bragg, running on fumes & stuck in 3rd gear. We take a few pictures & get ready for our second run on CA 1 this trip.
CA 1 was fantastic...again. I'm glad we've decided to divert our route so that we can take it again. Traffic was relatively light & we had a pretty decent run. The rest of the ride that day was pretty uneventful. We intersect up with US 101 again & take the freeway the rest of the way to Eureka where we stopped at a handful of hotels before decided on the Clarion, just a few blocks from Lost Coast Brewery. We unload the bikes, get changed & walk down to the brewery where we grab dinner after waiting a ridiculous about of time for someone to take our order. After dinner, we head back to the hotel, relax for a bit & discuss tomorrow's route before turning in for the night. Another awesome day of riding. I'm starting to wish I had two weeks to do this trip.
Day 5 Route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3421328
The Holy Grail of Northern California