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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2016, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Five great dirt roads, a day well spent

We've had a dry spell but more rain is forecast soon, so a couplke weeks ago I took the little NX250 out for a 230 mile romp that included five wonderful gravel/dirt roads in addition to nice pavement stretches in between.

The skies were disappointingly hazy, plus much of the vegetation looks really shabby this time of year which makes for less than inspiring photos. But this report is all about showing off the wonderful riding these roads offer so here goes.

After riding up Hwy 16 through Capay Valley I turned off at a little bridge for the first taste of dirt, planning to take county road 41/Sand Creek Rd.





Road closed ahead? We'll see about that. It is apparently closed off during wet months, but happily I found the gate open this day. After about a mile of funky pavement, then some gravel, the road turns to rocky dirt.



Time to stop and lower tire pressures.


Winding up the hill was great fun and the summit offered great views south back to Capay Valley.








Heading north down the other side was equally enticing.


After a quick descent the road meanders along a valley floor through wooded sections, then into more open cattle grazing country.






A look back at the valley I just passed through. Good October rains sprouted lots of green grass, but it's struggling to get up above last season's dry feed. But this area will look spectacular in the spring.


After 15 miles the road ends and I took another 15 miles of paved roads through almond orchards back toward the hills to cross Hwy 20 and the start of the next adventure, Leesville Rd.




Leesville is 13 miles of gorgeous riding, about half of it paved.






Up near the summit the contours of the hills and the long fall season shadows of the oak trees lend an amazing impressionist painting look to the view looking south.




I stopped at a favorite overlook to eat my lunch and marvel at the silence and the beauty.


Winding down toward Leesville I turned off on fun dirt road #3 , Huffmaster Rd.








Once over the summit the road zig zags down toward a valley. There are lots of these hairpin turns after each downgrade, I lost track of how many.


Once near the bottom the road levels out, passes through the middle of a cattle ranch and goes on for a few more miles of gravel.




Huffmaster ends at Sites, a point along a paved road between Maxwell and Ladoga. They put up a sign, but never got around to the actual town.


I turned left onto Sites-Ladoga Road, a fun and scenic roadway with a fair share of potholes to keep you alert.


More to come . . .

-Bill
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2016, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Five great dirt roads, a day well spent part 2

After about 9 miles it turned off on dirt playground #4 , Rail Canyon Rd.


I'm running out of fresh adjectives here, but like the others this road is a great ride through deserted, scenic countryside. It starts out a gravel rise off the paved road, then a gradual drop into a wooded valley.




Parts of it feel like a little hobbit trail through the woods. It's hard to believe this is an actual county road, feels more like a private ranch road. Gotta come back in the spring when there is fresh green growth and water running in the creeks.




As I got back on the bike here a beautiful young bobcat ran across the road not 10 feet in front of me.


After a dreamy ride through the woods the road passes through some cattle ranches and ends at Pigeon Creek.




A left turn across a bridge brought me to Rd. 306 where I headed south to the little burg of Stonyford, population 149, for gas and a rest stop.


Last but not least were Ladoga-Leesville Rd and Bear Valley Rd.

Image of the Bear Valley portion.


From Stonyford I took the road to Ladoga (man I love saying "La-do-ga." ) and from there on south through Bear Valley.

Past Ladoga the road is deserted and delightful.




Half way along, the Leesville Ladoga Rd. becomes gravel, and continues gravel for the length of Bear Valley Rd.


Bear Valley Rd. is mostly straight sections with 90 deg. turns now and then, but a gorgeous scenic space all the same. Spectacular in April for wildflower viewing!


The last few miles of Bear Valley return to twisties.


Reaching Hwy 20 I hopped across to Hwy 16 and headed home, totally satisfied after my five course meal of tasty California back roads. Life is good.

-Bill

Last edited by Spurlock; 12-04-2016 at 10:11 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2016, 10:32 PM
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Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. That looks like such a calming therapeutic ride.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 12:30 PM
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You used up all the adjectives. If I have roads through country like that I would have to buy an appropriate bike to ride them. Once again thank you for sharing that stunning countryside.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 02:41 PM
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I agree with Critter - if I had dirt roads like that around here, I would have to get a bike that I could ride with!

Thanks for sharing your trip and the photos.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 07:42 PM
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Thank you for the great story and beautiful pictures!

I miss basically 2 things from southern California: Dirt riding and the ocean!

I was born there in 1947 and we moved to SW Missouri in 1999 and although we have fabulous street riding here, there are very few places to enjoy riding dirt trails unless it's in a OHV park.

Sam

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, glad to share the ride and I'm glad you enjoyed coming along through the pictures. And don't think for a minute that I don't feel stupid lucky to have so much great riding in my back yard!

-Bill
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