I've been watching our fall color develop and decided yesterday was worth doing a little ride and shoot to check out the local vineyard country sights.
Sunrise out behind the shop looked promising already.
From home I headed out Wooden Valley Rd. to Hwy 121. With overcast skies there was only so-so color in the Wooden Valley vineyards, but the orderly groomed look of the rows is always fascinating.
I turned left to take Hwy 121 into Napa, always a twisty fun ride no matter the season.
Crossing town I headed out the west side on Redwood Rd. which then turns into Mt. Veeder Rd., 11 miles of scenic, bumpy, twisty and all around wonderful riding. It starts out winding alongside a creek, gradually climbing through redwood, oak and maple forest.
This old boat with Popeye and Olive Oyl peering out the port holes always makes me smile.
The summit rewards with views of multiple ridges looking north toward Napa Valley.
The descent is an even more twisty and narrow series of hairpin turns through beautiful forest and mountain vineyards.
Too soon the road ends at Dry Creek Rd., where I turned right to climb up and over Oakville Grade. Descending the grade gives glimpses of the Napa Vly floor, so I stopped and climbed a bank to get a couple of shots. The valley is a tapestry of greens, yellows, and reds now as each different variety of grape vine adds its own colors to the mix.
Following Oakville Grade down to Hwy 29 I headed west about 5 miles to St. Helena to catch Spring Mountain Rd., another of my all time favorites. This is 12 miles of crazy fun riding, alternating between smooth two lane to narrow rough single lane. It's very twisty with lots of up and down, following tree lined creeks through deeply shaded redwood groves, past vineyards and rocky hillsides. Lots of wet leaves on the road this time of year so caution was in order.
It was worth slowing down to enjoy the views off the side of the road.
Half way through, the road enters Sonoma County and changes name to St. Helena Road, becoming narrower and more twisty for a while before finally ending at Calistoga Road. After recent rains the moss is such a brilliant green it looks artificial.
I turned right onto Calistoga Rd., a very tasty road in its own right.
Speaking of tasty, I was getting pretty hungry by then so it was Buster's to the rescue!
Fortified with BBQ pork ribs I headed down Silverado Trail to feast on more fall color.
Taking Howell Mountain Rd through the little town of Angwin, funky narrow Ink Grade Rd. called out to me and rewarded with wonderful scenery as always.
140 miles of smiles later I rolled into home for happy hour and a hot tub soak. Life is good.