Biking the Sonoma/Napa Wine Country – Day 5

Day 5 of the bike tour was the best of both worlds. At the start, coming out of Yountville there was very little chance of avoiding the Silverado Trail to get to, first, the Sage Canyon Road and then subsequently the Chiles Pope Valley Rd. There were choices this morning and once again I opted for what I hoped would be the most scenic and least traveled roads.

You can see the route I took here. As with other mornings this week, it started chilly and overcast. Yount Mill Rd was a beautiful start to things though.

The St Helena Hwy was a different story though. Lots of traffic. Thankfully, a nice wide shoulder. Same could be said of the Silverado Trail. Lots of traffic. The shoulder is identified as a bike lane though so that’s at least helpful but the heavy truck and car traffic whizzes by pretty fast.

The turn off onto Sage Canyon Rd then up to Lake Hennessey is a welcome change of pace. I was chilled to the bone that morning (temps in the 40’s) but things seemed to start to climb a bit after the turn so that helped me warm up.

That 5th day, the only person that wanted to take the option with me was Mark. We had a good time riding this section of road. Very scenic and enjoyable. The reason it wasn’t so popular with our fellow riders was it was going to entail climbing over Ink Grade Rd. That was indeed a long climb, but the grade was better than some others we had done and it was up a quiet country road with little traffic so it was fine. Weather was ideal by that point because not only had it warmed up a bit by that point we were working up a sweat.

After we crested the climb, it was a fantastic curvy descent down into St Helena. Along the way, we stopped and I took the above photo of the valley. Too bad I couldn’t manage to get the camera out in time to take photos of the deer that were up ahead of us at one point and ran up the hill.

St Helena was bustling. Lots of traffic in town but at least it was moving slowly. It was pretty clear from the morning ‘route wrap’ that the tour van and therefore the primary meet-up point would be Gott’s. It’s a roadside burger joint that seems to be really popular. Not that they just have burgers. In this case, I got the California grilled chicken burger – and fries of course. I think this must be one of the original Gott’s. It seems to now be a chain. In fact, I went to the one at the Ferry building in San Franciso and took this photo from there.

I could have easily finished the ride back to Yountville at this point but given it was all along the St Helena Hwy, its only promise was going to be heavy traffic so I bagged it after my lunch and just grabbed the van back to the Villagio in Yountville.

The weather had turned nice in the afternoon after such a chilly start to the day. I grabbed the following photo just outside the Villagio in Yountville after a nice visit to the spa’s hot tub.

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