Vineyards, Flowers, and Hubcaps
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  1. #1
    Bacon!
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    Vineyards, Flowers, and Hubcaps

    Mrs. Ridgetop and myself ran a half marathon on Saturday in Sacramento, CA and decided since we were near Napa we'd get in contact with our friends K and Joe to meet up with them at K's place in St. Helena. And of course, we brought our bikes. Did one short ride as a recovery on Sunday (no pics) and checked out the Cinco de Mayo events in Calistoga. On Monday the ladies decided to go check out the local art scene so Joe and I decided to ride up Pope Valley to Middletown (on Highway 29) and back. Turned out to be a perfect day with highs near 80 and more wildflowers than I've seen in sometime. The California poppies were at the height of their bloom and lupine filled the meadows. Great stuff. Anyway, here is a barrage of pics to torture your internet connections.

    We started out from K's house about seven miles out of Calistoga and headed up Howell Mountain Road to go find the town of Angwin before heading into Pope Valley. The vines are just starting to pop out in Napa Valley.


    We wanted to get away from the traffic on the commonly ridden Silverado Trail and so found a small vineyard road that would take us to the climb up Howell Mountain.






    Lots of wildflowers as we headed up the hill.



    After cresting the hill we took the screaming downhill on Howell Mountain Road into Pope Valley. The pics do not do the winding fast road any justice.


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  2. #2
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    Pope Valley and the Flowers

    We got down to the Pope Valley Store all right and picked up some extra gatorade and cookies. This is the last real stop for food although you could stop at several of the wineries for water if you were in trouble. But for food, there is nothing until Middletown at this point.





    Lots of grassy open meadows as you head north.







    The meadows were filled with flowers. We definitely had to stop and check them out in a couple of places. It was full on bad photo light by the time we made it this far but it was worth taking some pics anyway.









  3. #3
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    Through the Dry onto Middletown

    After Pope Valley you hit a very hot dry section as you climb through the hills. It was a total change in scenery and pretty ugly. But then out of nowhere you start hitting little creeks and waterfalls and everything turns green again. We stopped at the Guenoc winery for some shade a quick snack before continuing on to Middletown. Guenoc has a great location surrounded by little lakes. Very pretty.









    The winery had a great arbor covered in Wysteria. I love that vine.





    And then it was down into Middletown for lunch.






  4. #4
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    Return Trip

    I'm not familiar with the area, so when we hit Middletown we weren't sure where to go. Everyone we talked to said we would die if we tried riding down highway 29, so we decided to ride back the way we came. Oh well.





    We found this place pretty funny and decided to take some pictures. Sorry about the quantity but I was feeling artsy.









    The last climb of the day was Ink Grade. Not to bad but it doesn't back off of 8% or more too often. Luckily it is completely shaded all the way up. Lots of bugs though.






  5. #5
    Go Blue
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    As always, nice pics. Thanks.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  6. #6
    Captain Obvious
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    looks beautiful.
    And it just hurts in the very best way possible without a high priced dominatrix.---Ronsonic

    I'm pretty confident that I've pissed off several dozen random strangers on the internet tonight.---Creakyknees

    disclaimer---I make sh!t up as I go along.

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon
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    Very nice.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I normally turn my nose up at Napa valley because I like Sonoma county so much, but that is mighty pretty.

  9. #9
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    Wow, nice ride ... great pix!

    Sharp-looking Kona, too.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Great photos and ride report as usual. Thanks.

    And my Kona has Orange lugged envy.

  11. #11
    Riding towards Delmarva.
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    Nice pics, but I couldn't help but notice you avoided the climb to Cobb. :-)

    I was up there for the 12/24 a few weeks ago and it was freezing, lets hope your temps continue for the Davis Double next week.
    .
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    "Anyone can ride fast downhill."
    me

  12. #12
    MB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridgetop
    Mrs. Ridgetop and myself ran ....
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Great post. Looks like a great ride. Perfect weather conditions, roads chuck full of interesting things. Awesome.

    Arby
    phattire.net
    urban photography


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