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Northern Cali's Bays, Deltas and Lakes Run

Actual Route:
MS Streets & Trips

Everybody arrived at the Dublin IHOP on time and bright eyes. Some with longer, colder rides to get there than others (Mr. I live in Livermore). Our first meal of the trip, and I think we all already ate more then we intended too. Some quick introductions, friendly get-to-know-each-other conversation and a fast, abbreviated set of ride/safety instructions - and we were off on the weekends ride with Raider Boy's V65 Magna in the lead.

The first 7 miles down the 580 (yes, I lived in SoCal) freeway was, well freeway riding, yawn. Then we exited onto the Altomont Pass Road, and the ride started in earnest. Altamont Pass Rd parallels the direction of eastbound 580, but that is the only thing they have in common. A fun, narrow road with sweeps and twists in the mix was a great way to get the ride started. And for anyone that knows the Altamont - you know it was windy.

We continued to wind our way through the Bay Area's low costal mountians until we reached mouth of the San Joaquin Delta. The river crossing at the Antioch Bridge, which rises to 135ft at it's high point, afforded us a great view of the scenery and roads to come. We descended from the bridge into California's levee system.

This portion of the ride felt about as East Coastish as California gets, large trees cahnging colors, overhanging the curvy backcountry roads. The path (Hwy 60) winding through tiny hamlets and towns. Crusing along watching the fisherman relaxing and the watrer traffic gliding along the calm water. Lots of nice sweeps and easy riding. The bridges are pretty cool too. And Pete was kind enough to bring along the ultimate mosquito deterent - thanks Pete.

He hung out at a Chevron for 20 minutes waiting for any Sac riders to join up. Boy do we know how to have a fun time!

Leaving Sacramento, a touch of freeway and then off into farm country. Long straight strips of lonely back roads, passing through tiny towns with the all the kids waving at the motorcycles crusing by. When 128 began to lead back into the foothills of the coastal mountain range, the riding got more lively again. With Pete still in the lead, started up the sweeps and twisties leading to Lake Berryessa. That fast, powerful V65 quickly disappeared into the hills. We kept coming up behind cars, with no Raider Boy in view.

A quick stop at Berryessa's damn - pretending to site see - and we were back to riding twisties in the mountains. Now this little Hwy 28 is a nice little road. Lots of sweeps twists, elevation changes and such. But it had to problems, a fair amount of weekend traffic and plenty of damage from to many big trucks going too fast. You had to keep a sharp eye out for bad spots, especially the mounds created in the middle of the road by loadded trucks driving hard into the corners. (I was actually right behind a dual trailer rig that kept locking up the trailer rears and sliding them through the corners - hoping, smoking and screeching). The road had potential, but...

Where 128 crossed the 29 we hung a right and headed north towards St. Helena. Oooops. Not a road to ride on a beautiful weekend day. Half of the Bay Area was on that road driving north to get drunk, while calling it wine tasting. Stop and go traffic like you were on "in LA on the 405 at the height of rush hour". We lumbered our slow, hot way into St. Helena.

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena was our second huge meal of the day. We got there just in time to NOT be turned away because to the "Private Party" coming in. With a high brow menu befitting a wine country establishment, we all ordered something a cut or two above the IHOP meal. Everyone seamed pleased. Although Todd and Deb split a plate that turned out to be a little small for splitting. That will teach you, you married people.

With full bellies and drousy eyes, we fought our way back onto 29 and headed north. After Calistoga, we were back in twists and sweeps. The interesting part of this road, in the middle of some of the twistiest parts going up hill, they've put passing lanes. They're short and curvy. They are so curvy, that if a cager is in the inside lane of a turn, and you're on the outside, they can actually gain on and pass you because of the ridiculously shorter radius. Then you have to really jump on it, blasting into the next corner to make the pass even though you have your own lane. You wind out racing into the turns like it was a Formula 1 race. A different experience.

When we jumped over to the 175 at Middletown, the elevation change took us from the foothills with oak trees, to the mountains with pine trees. It was quite a scenery change in a short distance. The road was smooth and fast with light traffic - just the way we like it. We decided to take a "twisty back road" called Loch Lomond Rd. into Clearlake instead of staying on the "major" highways like 175 :-) Fooled us.

We pulled into a small market at the intersection of 175 and Loch Lomond Rd for a beverage break. Marvin quickly noticed that all the cages were turning onto Loch Lomond. Not a few, not some, not most... ALL. Every single car turned on to our "back road". Sigh.

Turns out, there was a housing area around the next bend in the road, and that's where everyone was going. We got a mile up the road, past the house and there was no traffic. The road turned out to be in great shape and a lot of fun, with almost no traffic. Sigh of relief.

Soon after, we arived at the nights lodgings were we met up with Jennifer, Pet's significant other. A quick walk over to the Flyers station on the corner for beverages and junk, lead to a couple of hours of drinking and relaxing as a group. More social time.

When it seemed it was dinner time (not that we were actually hungry), we mounted up an head down Clearlake's main street. We chose Clearlake's "Main Street Bar & Grill", and a great choice it was (thanks Pete). This was a goiod experience. They opened up a new section to accomodate us. The menu was big and had something for everyone (while making it harder to choose). The hostess and servers were fun, pleasent and helpful. One young lady claimed to make the best shakes in the world. I told her I'd order one after dinner. We all stuffed ourselves once again. So much so that dessert was out of the question. But the the "world's greatest shake maker" seemed so disappointed, I told her to make me one. But please bring some little cups so I can divide it up for all of us. It took her a while to come back with my shake. That's because they brought a complete shake, including whipped cream, for each and every one of us. And charged us for only one.

After a little more talking and drinking at the hotel, day 1 was over.

Day 2 we were up early and riding the southern coastline of Clearlake (a big natural lake by the way). This was a pleasent moring ride. A back road that hugged the waterline in many places. We took it easy and slow to take in the morning and scenery. We passed an "Indian Casino" that looked like it was runu in the back add-on room to a house. When we arrived in Lakeport, we searched for a place to eat. We drove through 80% of town on the main street before we finally found a single place serving breakfast (other than Miquel's Taqueria, Breakfast and Tire place).

The breakfast was unmemorable except for the old lady reading the morning paper, drinking her cup of coffee, chain smoking and hacking up a lung with one of those wet deep coughs that make everyone gringe - sitting next to us at the outdoor tables that were the only tables big enough to accomodate our group.

The next strech of road, Hwy 175 from Lakeport to Hopland was the best riding road of the entire trip. Sweeps and twisties, some technical and some just plain fun. Lots of elevation changes. Nicely banked corners with excelleant asphalt quality. What little traffic there was wasted no time in letting the motorcycles go by. Twisted the throtles and pushed the cycles just a bit though this scetion. Excellent.

At Hopyard we went north on East Side Rd towards Ukiah. This was a scenic little road with lots of sweeps and interesting views. There was a bicycle race going on, so we slowed down to be safe around them and enjoy a calm cruise.

Just north of Ukiah we went east on Hwy 20. Busier and a lot more sedate than the 175, we cruised back to the beautiful north side of the lake. Lots of quaint camps and "resorts" right on the waters edge. Right out of movies from generations gone by. Also there were many doublewides at the edge of the lake. All with big piers and docks stretching into the gorgeous lake, right out their raised back doors. Kind different type of beach house.Clearlake was amazingly calm and tranquil as we road along it's shoreline.

Our turn onto the 16, led us along the bottom of a deep gorge like canyon. A pretty running river flowing fast through the rocks. This was to be our last sweeps and twists of the trip. They were fun and a good way to end the ride.

Our final stop was Cache Creek Casino. We went though the doors, and shot in different directions, heading for our favorite way of loosing money. At the appointed time we all met back up at the Loco Caliente Mexican Cantina in the Casino for a final meal and to watch poor Pete's beloved Raiders get beat by their rivals across the bay, the 49ers. We all headed home from there.

It was a great ride. The roads, food, experinces and especially the riders were awesome. Some old friends and some new friends, couldn't ask for more. If you can join us for the next ride, I highly recommend it!

And as it turned out, every one that gambled that day, left as a winner.

396 Miles from Dublin IHOP to CAche Creek Casino

Dublin IHOP: It's IHOP
Cindys Backstreet Kitchen: Good food, interesting menu, better than average service
Flyers Gas Station: Beer was good and cold and the bag of chips weren't stale
Main Street Bar & Grill: Huge menu, grat food and far above average service
Renne's Cafe: unmemorable except for the dead lady walking
Loco Caliente Mexican Cantina: tasty, fast, decent service for a casino

Clearlake Travelodge: Really a 1.5 star, but clean enough and the people running it were pleasant enough.

Drinking and Talking in the hotel room: Excellant
Cache Creek Casino: Not my favorite Indian Casino (to big, busy and crowded) but not bad

You can get details and addresses and route maps by Clicking Here

The Monticallo Dam at Lake Berryessa

The lake and water intake

The stunningly interesting plaque

Todd & Debbie at Lake Berryessa infront of the cool rocks

Not the only riders that day

Dismounting for lunch in St Helena - Back, Pete & Marvin - Front, Todd & Debbie

The side yard lkeading to Cindys Backstreet Kitchen

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

Hwy 175 and Loch Lomond - the "busy intersection

Marvin & Pete taking a breather

Mountainy Roads eith Pine trees

Clearlake from the south shorline

Stopped and looking over the lake

Stopped and looking over the lake

Stopped and looking over the lake

A turn out near the top of Hwy 175 on day 2

A turn out near the top of Hwy 175 on day 3

A turn out near the top of Hwy 175 on day 4

Marvins lookout picture

The one shot I'll let you see with me in it

A view back towards Clearlake from the turnout

A view back towards Clearlake from the turnout

A view back towards Clearlake from the turnout

The rides

A fuel and beverage stop along the north shore at a town called Nice

The north shore of Clearlake

The north shore of Clearlake, looking west

The north shore of Clearlake, looking east

A shoreline sweeper

Pretty lske

more pretty lake

now what do we do

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