Walker Ridge, Bear Valley and some beautiful Norcal skies

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Spurlock, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thursday's clear air and 64 degree forecast just screamed "go for a ride!" So I jumped on the NX250 and went looking for some favorite gravel roads. I set off intending to just enjoy the ride and not bother with pictures, but soon the gorgeous scenery had me pulling out the camera.

    Link to map of route

    [​IMG]


    From Pleasants Valley Rd I took 128 around Lake Berryessa, turned off on Berryessa Knoxville Rd and headed north. It was about here, at the north end of the lake, that I decided this ride might be photo-worthy.

    [​IMG]

    And I can never resist trying to capture the magical scenery and roller coaster ride of the remote 20 miles of Berryessa Knoxville beyond the lake. Hint, you gotta ride it to get the full effect. I only saw two pickups the whole way.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Taking Morgan Vly Rd to Lower Lake, I headed up Hwy 53 a few miles to Hwy 20, headed east and turned off on Walker Ridge Rd, 15 miles of fun filled twisty dirt/gravel ridge top with spectacular views in all directions.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    After winding my way to the ridge top I stopped to gape at the cloud formations that seemed to be competing with the landscape for my attention.

    [​IMG]

    Looking east, the Sutter Buttes poked up from the valley floor in the distance.

    [​IMG]

    A bit further along I stopped for lunch and got a spectacular view to the east of the sunlit floor of Bear Valley and the convoluted hills beyond, the Sutter Buttes in the far distance and overhead a blanket of puffy clouds . . .

    [​IMG]

    . . . and to the west a view of Indian Valley Reservoir.

    [​IMG]

    My sandwich was good, but the peacefulness and nature's eye candy were priceless.

    [​IMG]

    I continued north along the ridge with Snow Mountain in the distance.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Reaching Brim Rd, I turned right for the corkscrew descent into Bear Valley.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Once on the valley floor I looked back up toward the ridge and had to grab this panorama of the incredible clouds overhead.

    [​IMG]

    I headed south on Bear Valley Rd. I'd not seen a single soul the entire length of Walker Ridge and would only see a single truck in Bear Valley. The beauty, isolation and great riding had me feeling giddy, but greedy for more as I scooted along the valley's gravel path.

    [​IMG]

    I can never resist stopping at a bridge to capture the reflections in Bear Creek. This time the clouds added another element to the reflections.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    continued . . .

    -Bill
    #1
    Ride Now, Bike Guy, larryboy and 5 others like this.
  2. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    . . . continued

    Reaching Hwy 16 I headed south for a twisty canyon ride back toward home.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Back on rural back roads, with the afternoon sun getting low I was like the horse that goes faster the closer he gets to the barn as I zipped on home to my sweetie and happy hour.

    [​IMG]

    Nearing home, the rising moon and sunset colored clouds added one more dose of beauty to the day. Life is good.

    [​IMG]

    -Bill
    #2
  3. oldoval

    oldoval Frank Orator

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,931
    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    Nice. :thumb
    #3
  4. Kolb Driver

    Kolb Driver Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Kingsport, TN
    Excellent! Well Done Sir.
    #4
  5. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,458
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Another nice ride and a great set of pics. Thanks Bill.
    #5
  6. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz Proud to be a 0.6106142755%er Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9,261
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Even though I have been on many of the roads that you ride, I sure do love how you capture their beauty. My hat is off to you. Great photos and report.
    #6
  7. staudio

    staudio Time for a ride...

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    352
    Location:
    Peoples Republic Of Marin, CA
    nice report and photos.....well done...
    #7
  8. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thank you all for the kind comments. I like capturing the experience of a great ride so I can look back and enjoy it multiple times, but it's doubly satisfying to hear others enjoyed following along.

    -Bill
    #8
    Sfcootz likes this.
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    9,892
    Location:
    Huntsville , Al
    Fantastic pics:thumb:thumb

    I love those kinds of roads.
    #9
  10. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    Some excellent photos and boy are you blessed with amazing scenery. Thanks for posting
    #10
  11. Baja Ho

    Baja Ho Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    900
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA. USA & Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur
    I am sucker for great panoramas, great pic's, thanks for taking us along.
    #11
  12. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thanks Baja Ho. My little Sony RX100 has a cool feature where you can set it to take panoramas by panning right, left, up, or down. Panning right or left produces a very wide but thin pano. But setting it to pan up, then turning the camera sideways and panning to the right or left produces a tall panorama which works great in many situations. I used that mode in the shot below to capture the foreground as well as lots of sky in a medium width pano.

    [​IMG]

    -Bill
    #12
  13. blackSP

    blackSP 62 6c 61 63 6b 53 50

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    743
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Well man, I'd trade Amsterdam in for those views any time!
    #13
  14. WRC51

    WRC51 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    706
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Calif.
    Another great ride report Spurlock, another ride to add to my must do Ride List. Do you think the gravel sections of Walker Rd.are big bike do able? Thanks.
    #14
  15. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thanks WRC51. Yes, Walker Ridge and Bear Valley are well graded and no problem for big bikes. I normally drop tires down to 15 lbs or so to make the washboard sections more comfortable. But other than that you would have no problem on any gravel road-capable bike. Enjoy!

    -Bill
    #15
    WRC51 likes this.
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    298
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Fantastic shots and what a great area to ride; definitely envious. Lots of great contrast and vibrance in your pics, do you do any post-processing, or is that all from the Sony camera? I almost went that route for a good point-and-shoot, but decided on the Lumix ZS100 instead.

    Thank you for taking the time to stop and shoot all those images, the reflections in Bear Creek are spectacular. What an amazing day for a ride, looking forward to when we get temps back in the 60s up here in the PNW...lol.

    Well done!
    #16
  17. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thank you for your kind comments liv2day, and I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. Yes I always do post processing of some sort. Sometimes only cropping but most often adjusting brightness levels and some added saturation and sharpening. Without that the out-of-camera images just don't look as good as the actual eye's view I saw. My big Canon DSLR images require less post processing, but it's just too much to lug around. So I'd rather trade the handiness of the little Sony for some time at the computer afterwards.

    On the other hand, one advantage of the Sony is a setting called "dynamic range optimizer" (DRO) which I use by default for most shots. It takes three shots in quick succession - one under exposed, one correctly exposed, and one over exposed and combines them for the best overall scene exposure. So often I am shooting a scene with a combination of shade and full sun, so a standard shot will have the bright sky looking white and the shadows looking black. But with the DRO setting the camera will choose the best exposure for the light and the dark areas of each of the three shots and combine them to produce a much more evenly exposed image more like the eye actually sees. That feature works really well and probably helps my results more than anything.

    -Bill
    #17
  18. Skowinski

    Skowinski Deuterostome

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    10,509
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Very nice, always enjoy seeing your corner of the world, and always feel like I'm riding along on a cool old Honda. :thumb
    #18
  19. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,001
    Location:
    Vacaville, N. California
    Thank you for riding along on my cool old Hondas Skowinsky! Glad you enjopyed the fun.

    -Bill
    #19
  20. motowest

    motowest Two-wheeled Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,403
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Nice ride & pics... thanks for sharing!
    #20