Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Canyon Bike Ride

Mike didn't work today and he developed cabin-fever very quickly, so we loaded up the bikes and headed out to a small farming community in American Canyon. I'd driven through here briefly last week when I went to the new super-Wal-Mart on Hwy 29 (for you non-northern Californians, Hwy 29 heads north, from where we live, into Napa, and along the way is the small city of American Canyon). The above building was one of the features I'd wanted to photograph last week but didn't have the nerve to get out of the truck by myself. Honestly, I think I never should have seen (or read) "Deliverance!"
After all, these houses (above) were nearby and clearly they are all (except the white one in the very back) old, falling down, and unoccupied! In fact, the day I was out there by myself I'd swear I could see a man sitting in front of the only occupied building, tipped back against the wall in a straight-backed chair, arms folded, and a baseball cap low over his eyes. Yeah, I drove right on out of there.

Luckily, though, I made a mental note to remember this area next time we wanted to go for a bike ride somewhere new. I figured a couple people on bikes wouldn't draw as much attention as a strange vehicle in the area, and even if we did surely no one would suspect we were up to anything more than just a nice bike ride out in the country.

We were only a few minutes drive off busy Hwy 29, but this area is so quiet that it's easy to imagine you are miles out in the country. Here are a couple photos of what some of the "roads" we were riding on look like:
Yep, sometimes it was just a track in the grass. Other times paved, sometimes just dirt or gravel, and once an old road, barely used anymore, of broken up concrete, rocks and other rubble. Hooray for mountain bikes with fat tires! Don't even THINK of bringing your skinny-wheeles touring bikes out here.

Don't you love the street sign in this next pic?
Zorro Road?? It appears to head out to pretty much nowhere but into the middle of the vineyard, but we found there were houses hidden among these hills, presumably people growing grapes for the wineries in nearby Napa Valley. Here's one:
Another photo of the early-spring grapevines, and there's the farmer on his tractor between the rows:
Later we saw him again, near the road we were bicycling on, and got this photo as he was heading back up the hillside. Dang, I'd hoped for a ride on that tractor.
Below: the two tall silos in the distance were what I'd seen last week, and what I was trying to get to. Unfortunately, every road that seems to go their way is blocked by a gate or dead end or a new housing subdivision. Even on bikes we weren't able to find our way out there. Well, one of these days we may just have to hike across the fields and climb a couple of barbed-wire fences! There are a number of old buildings out there and I'd love to explore them.
Oh, and that's a train on the right side of the same photo. We were standing next to three tracks, the middle one had an idling train on it. I wanted to look into all the boxcars for hobos, but Mike said no. Bad enough, I guess, that we'd walked on by several "No Trespassing" signs, heh heh.
A little later we got to see that idling train on its way north (above). Reminded me of when I was young and my family lived in Redondo Beach, CA. There were train tracks fairly nearby and we kids loved to go over there and watch the trains go by and wave to the engineers. The engineer of this today train waved at us, too. Awesome.
Hm, farmers must be rolling in money if they can afford to leave perfectly good farm equipment standing out in the fields long enough to get this covered with weeds and bushes!
Wow, they don't bother taking care of their cars either! Two old Ford Fairlanes, the one in back is a convertible.
One last photo of another barn. What can I say, I just have a thing for old barns. Maybe I was born in one?


1 comment:

Judy said...

Girl, you live an idyllic life. "Sigh." LOVED the pictures - they're great! Especially the one of the tractor going up the furrow - nicely done. I remember the trains in Redondo Beach -- those engineers ALWAYS waved back! Cool dudes and kind of empowering for us kids, eh? I still miss the sound of the train whistle at night.