Typically Mount Diablo is my go-to motorcycle ride what I need to clear my head. With the park closed, I’ve had to look at other places for my motorcycle quick fix! The late Robert Bleeker introduced me to the lap around Briones Park as an alternative to commuting on Highway 24. This little loop has become a favorite outside of my commute with its beautiful backcountry and relatively low traffic.
Today’s ride did not disappoint. I needed to get out of the house and let the horses inside of my motorcycle run for a bit. My keys had been on the rack for many weeks due to all things coronavirus. My physical self needed out. My mental self needed out. My soul needed out. I wanted to return to my happy place with the wind at my back in the open road ahead.
California’s state flower, the poppy, has always been a favorite of mine. The flower’s orange color always pops out across the grassy hills in a non-apologetic way that always catches my eye. Today was no exception.
This little loop contains three significant roads: highway 24, Bear Creek Road, and Alhambra Valley Road. Highway 24? Not much to write home about as it is one of the Bay Area’s major freeways. Bear Creek Road has great sweepers and excellent views of Briones reservoir. Alhambra Valley Road has the perfect balance of tight turns and sweeping views that keeps me coming back time and time again when I just need 40 minutes on the motorcycle.
About halfway through my time on Alhambra Valley Road from either direction is a small hill with a series of tight turns on both sides. Whenever I’d come to the top of the ridge going westbound I’,d always want to stop to take in the view. I always keep riding figuring I’d get to it next time. When heading east, I’m usually enjoying the ride too much to think about stopping as the view isn’t as captivating – until this time.
The poppies were just gorgeous. I’d never noticed this plot of land was a ranch/event space until I saw the tractors mowing the grass along the road. I took the time to slow down and see the open space. There is a small concrete berm off to the left, which provided a great parking space for the bike. In prior rides, I was just too focused on going rather than being. I guess coronavirus is teaching me that – take things slow and be deliberate.
I probably spent a half-hour here just taking in the moment. I was so close to a major city yet so far away from civilization.