Napa to Sonoma

Having just installed 3 PK-80 motors on Schwinn Point Beach cruisers that we got from Walmart, Tom and myself decided to take 2 of them on a test ride through the local hills and over to Sonoma County, CA. Sonoma, like Napa is also wine country. Rolling hills, single lane tree-lined roads, lots of bicycle lanes. Perfect for a motor-bicycling adventure!

Tom and I started out kind of late in the day, having rode around Napa running a few errands, like getting a Hex wrench set that was good for carrying with us. Thanks, OSH! My chain guard came loose and the chain ate a piece of it. I heard a strange vibration, but it took a while for me to stop and look to see what it was.

LESSON: Always stop immediately to see what that dang vibrating noise is!

After a stop at Bicycle Works, (3335 Solano Ave,Napa, CA 94558 (707) 253-7000), to get a spare intertube, Tom and I head towards the hills to our West. Up Redwood Rd, then right on Dry Creek Road.
( I provide street names so you can GoogleMap if you like!)

Dry Creek Road as it goes through the city of Napa is nice. Nothing special for the area. Some wineries. Some housing tracts. following it for about 2 miles, you pass a sign that says "Narrow Winding Road, Next 10 miles."

This is where Dry Creek Road gets fun. It meanders uphill through some wineries and scattered homes along a dry creek bed. You probably could have guessed that.

The trees quickly grow thick and lush covering the road with shade. The road is not too well-travelled so everyone you see waves at you. Of course it could have been the really cool-looking motorized bicycles we were sporting!

The bikes handled the hills with grace, averaging about 18mph most of the way up. We stopped to add the chain tensioner to my bike, after the chain had stretched a bit climbing the hills. The views were great. We forgot we brought the camera till we got over the peak, though. Sorry! We did get some cool pics once we got over into Sonoma County which I will post here for you to see.

We had a great time motoring up the hill, until we got to the very top. At this point the motors starting straining and peddling became more frequent.
Soon we found ourselves peddling with great effort as the hill kicked our combined butts. Even with the motors WOT and pushing with all my might, I had to stop and walk my bike a few meters up the last part of the hill.

Tom kept his momentum and made it to the top without stopping. We didn't see any cars on the road until I stopped and started pushing. Then it was like someone unleashed a wave of curious motorists. I tried my hardest to LOOK like I was still having a good time.

After catching my breath and drinking some water (ALWAYS carry water!), I remounted and caught up with Tom where I got the water out again and laid down on my backpack using my helmet for a pillow. I had to catch my breath again. I didn't know motorbicycling could be so tough!

The rest of the hill, thankfully, was DOWNHILL. (^)

The downhill was TONS of fun. We got going over 30mph on winding mountain roads that tempted you to look out and enjoy the view. Doing so would be disastrous.:eek:
trinity road.jpg


We had just a little rubbing of the brakes on these new bikes, but that was quickly fixed on the steep grade and we pumped on the straights and leaned through the turns. I could feel the cables stretching as I got further down the hill. I was actually scared a couple times, as I didn't know the road and that can be pretty dangerous if you're not thinking ahead and planning for the unexpected. We managed to make it to the bottom very quickly, our brakes now worn in.

We came out at Trinity Road and Hwy 12. A "Scenic Route." out plan was to go the Santa Rosa. We wanted some city action, and that seemed like a good place to get some. We started up the 12 and about amile up the road came to a sign that said "Safety Corridor." Safety Corridor can also be interpreted as "Death Highway."

Decided to head back to Glen Ellen which was a short was back and over to the West. We turned around and took Dunbar Road which led us to Arnold Drive wich would take us to the bridge in Glen Ellen, the home of Jack London State Park. Where the 6 fingered cats are causing an uproar. (Google it)
glen ellen market.jpg

We stopped for a detailed local map, some bottled water and some smokes.
I've noticed motorbicycling dehydrates you very quickly. Drink lots of water!
We decided to ride to the nearest gas station which was a couple mile down the road next to Glen Ellen VW. Great VW mechanics by the way. They kept me running back in the day when I had a '73 VW Bus. (The kind that hate to run).

At the gas station a man stopped to look at our bikes and told us about a bike festival in Sonoma. We decided to head for Sonoma instead of Santa Rosa. After refueling, we continued down Arnold Road, made a left on Petaluma and headed into downtown Sonoma.

Sonoma is a beautiful town. No, I mean it is a really beautiful little town. The town square, Sonoma Plaza, is a nice park with little duck ponds and bridges. City Hall is right in the middle. The is an old barracks built in the 1830's. Sonoma Barracks. And an old-time theatre.
sebastani theatre.jpg city hall.jpg duck pond.jpg

The sun began to set before we knew it and we would have to look for somewhere to bed down. We didn't really plan on an overnight stay but going up the 12% grade at Trinity Road was not an option, niether was going down Hwy 12 at night. So we bedded down in a farmers field for the night.
We would ride back in the morning taking the Napa Road to Hwy 12 and up The Old Sonoma Road into the city of Napa.
 
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vineyards.jpg
Just up the road from here, off the Napa Road, some folks with a small ranchette and some beautiful horses who took an interest in our bikes loaned us some blankets and we slept on their property.

We took Hwy 12 a couple miles and got a great downhill run before hitting the old Sonoma Road. The Old Sonoma Road had the best hill yet. A long straightaway where I hit 34 mph. Don't tell the CHP!
 

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