The Berryessa Breakout

Even though it’s just short of the Equinox, in my mind, at least in this part of California, spring  is here. The days lately have been perfect for almost any activity one might wish to partake in.. Especially cycling.  In my ongoing quest for beautiful areas that show some signs of countyside, ie: forest, lake, river, mountain, rocks, wildlife, and some type of contour or relief, within bicycling distance from the City of Madness, I decided to get a group together via the shop, and head out to Putah Creek Canyon for an overnighter. Just above said canyon, lies a damn dam, above which, pushing against it with all it’s might, lay Lake Berryessa. Home to many a water skier and fisherman in the summer, it’s rugged topography makes for some fairly spectacular scenery that is typical for this part of California.

We meet at Edible Pedal at 8:30 on Saturday morning for some hang time and some breakfast and coffee. John Boyer, the owner of the shop, and proprietor of many a  past bike camping ensembles, was, unfortunately, unable to join us for this one, which left us with 5 riders: Mike, Gregg, Michael, Zach, and yours truly.

We blasted out “R” Street and booked across the Capitol Bridge, across motel row of W. Cap Ave, across the causeway, and into the splendid bicycle and college community of Davis, where, much to my pleasure, we were to meet an old friend whom I knew from Moab many years back. Robi moved from Moab 9 years ago and landed in Davis, got married, and procured a magnificent little girl named Miriam. A few short miles west of Davis we spot Robi and Miriam at an intersection of the bicycle path heading out. He was riding a three speed commuter with an active trail-a-bike attached to the rear, where 5 year old Miriam could assist in the pedaling of the apperatus. He had a long flag pole sporting Tibetan prayer flags, a Pabst Blue Ribbon on the bars, and a set of speakers gently cranking out pleasant tunes for the ride. Moab style..  Off we go..

The pedal from this point was a whimsical mixture of fairytale forests of fruit and Olive groves, creeks, farms, and a tastefully graffitied concrete bridge that really was a sight to see. Our first stop was to be in Winters. It is a small town nestled at the foot of California’s coastal mountains. The weekends there seem to be a mass of tourists and bikers- (motorcycles). But during the week, I bet it tones down quite a lot and becomes a nice quiet town again, Winters is the sort of place that looks as tho it might not have changed all that much in the last 40 years, and this pleases me. We hit the small, but well stocked grocery store there for some viddles, and them resume the journey westward.. and onward to the regionally famous Berryessa Brewery.

Everyone we talked to famously talked up the Berryessa Brewey, it did not dissapoint. Their selection of carefully crafted brews were few, but dang tasty.  Robi picked up a growler to go and off we went into the canyon to find our camp next to the river. Later that evening, John Boyer shows up in his truck and we all stay up for some time and pull back on cervesa and talk.

In the morning, I awake, and Boyer has already left for the bike shop. We have a casual morning at camp, enjoying our breakfasts and coffee, and the scenery of the forest and creek areas. As we pedaled the 40+ miles back to Sacramento, we enjoyed more of the same nice weather that has been so typical of the season so far here. We said our goodbyes to Robi and Miriam in Davis, and pedaled home, smiling.

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A Day in Davis

These days I often just simply get on my bike and go. Sometimes just a vague idea in mind as a destination, but usually I am more interested in the journey, rather than the destination. It’s true that the simple act of being on a bicycle is a healing and rejuvenating experience; one that can straighten your path so to speak. It’s also a splendid location to get some thinking done, if that is what is needed. Or, it can be a place to simply not think and to merely enjoy the wind on your face.

Today, I decided on heading out across the Yolo causeway in search of more of the same dirt trails I had discovered earlier in the fall. As I entered the dedicated bicycle path that connects Sacramento with Davis, the Causeway appeared. The dirt trails and open meadows were completely underwater. Of course, I had forgotten that this time of year that is the case. I decide to pedal on to Davis via the bike path, and have a relaxing pedal. Davis, which about 20 miles from Sacramento, is the home of the University of California, Davis. It had been a long time since I had been to a small college town and had forgotten how quaint they can be. Davis is full of book stores, small markets, a farmers market, cafe’s and coffee shops. The UC campus is also quite nice to pedal around through, partly due to the many foot and bicycle trails adjacent to the creeks, arboretums, and, gardens. It’s quite nice really.

Davis is truly a bicycle town. Dedicated bike lanes, bike parking, paths, and bike shops seem to be every where. There are people riding bicycles everywhere, and herein lies the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

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