Portland Day 1
San Carlos to Vallejo
Vallejo to Woodland: 68 mi
Average speed 14.5 mph
Saddle time 4:42
Total ride time 5:30
Overall, today was a great start to my ride. I left home a little after 9am to catch the 9:28 Caltrain to SF. In the bike car, I sat next to a fellow rider and got to tell him my story. The first of many people who will be surprised to hear that I am riding San Carlos to Portland. The short ride up the Embarcadero to the Ferry building was chilly, and I waited 20 minutes for the Vallejo ferry to arrive. Easy leash, by 12:30 I was at the Vallejo dock eating my yummy lunch: a cool mint chocolate Cliff bar and a super starch carb shake with some crystally stuff that makes my face tingle but is supposed to reduce muscle acidosis.
For today’s ride, I found a route from Vallejo to Winters posted on iRide GPS. It was excellent! All the bike paths and backroads were routed, I just had to follow the navigation, which for me can be tricky. My riding glasses are not bifocal – distance only – and I NEED bifocals to read the little screen. It is hard for me to try to focus on the little phone screen mounted on my handlebars when I am riding at pace. Oh well, it beeps at me when I get off course, so I never really got lost. I just had to do a few double backs.
Yes, I did have my share of riding frontage roads to I-80 and other busy highways, but I found two true gem biking stretches on the north side of 80. The places we never see because we are always bombing up 80 to get to Grass Valley or Tahoe.
Suisun Valley wine region – east of Fairfield – beautiful, quiet, flat. Like being in any wine region, but totally quiet, and this is a Sunday. I rode past a restaurant – Manka’s Corner – that looks to be a great restaurant for the area.
Pleasant Valley road – northeast of Vacaville. This was horse and cattle country. Small rollers, wildflowers, with all the green right now this was an awesome road to ride. Nice wide shoulder and again, QUIET. The road drops out to Putah Creek road and into Winters.
Winters- I ate a late lunch – 4:30 – in Winters at a place called Preserve. I saw it featured on a local food show, so I had always planned to stop here for eats. It did not disappoint. I had shrimp and grits with in house chunked bacon and sriracha remoulade sauce. A whole new meaning to COMFORT FOOOD. Yum. My friend Jenn will go there just to see the ridiculously well-tended succulent pots that adorn the front walkway
The Flats – Winters was the start of this terrain, but Winters is surrounded by walnut orchards, which are much prettier than what I found halfway up to Woodland: freshly plowed fields with baby plant shoots, roadside drainage ditches, and STRAIGHT, FLAT, FLAT roads. The only remarkable thing to comment on was my racing a bi-plane (see video). The road was so straight and flat I could see ahead a biplane doing ovals. At first, I thought it was a crop duster, but as I was riding past the Yolo county airfield, I saw that the pilot was practicing take offs and landings. I was parallel to him once when he was on the runway. Actually, I am very impressed I did not drop my phone while trying to shoot video.
Finally…Woodland. This day ended way too late – 6:30pm. The last hour was painful, but I was still riding about 16 mph, which is a strong pace. Nothing to say about Woodland past a shower, and air conditioned room, and a subway sandwich dinner.
Tomorrow will be an early start, it is 80 miles to Orland, my next stop. Unfortunately, looks like I will have a 10 mph headwind the entire way. Think good thoughts, think good thoughts…