#eastCounty

We hardly ever get rain in May. This past weekend two crazy rainstorms swept through town Sunday and Monday, leaving the air perfect for motorcycle riding! Now that riding ATVs is legal in the state of California for exercise, I wanted to hop on my bike in a socially distant fashion.

I love the Briones loop, but I wanted to do something a little different this afternoon. I usually struggle through 12 to 15 lights; it seems like to get from the freeway out to the beautiful areas of Marsh Creek Road. With the pandemic, I was betting that the lights would be kinder to me.

There’s been a lot of awareness around here about empty roads leading to significant speeding. As I was taking off at the last light on Marsh Creek Road, a young guy in a Ford Mustang blew by me in the left-hand road. I was a little bit in my head, so I was happy to let him roll ahead. It turns out Contra Costa County thought differently about his driving. By the time I got up to catch him, the officer was already writing a citation.

I don’t often come out this way, but when I do, it always reminds me of the geographic diversity of our state. Eastern Contra Costa County is the outer edges of the Bay Area. When traveling down Interstate 580, it always feels more insular than riding Marsh Creek Road or Highway 4. The large high-speed artery makes the world around you somehow less desirable as we focus on where we’re going rather than where we are. The slower speeds and the curves and country roads bring the background to the foreground.

Looking out ahead really is the Valley – California’s breadbasket to the world. It’s a different place than the bay area. The transition is one I enjoy. The passing rainstorm left quite a bit of wind behind it, which made traveling along Vasco Road cool! The wind turbines were spinning fast! Vasco Road is tucked in between the mountains protecting me from some bumpy crosswinds.

I’ve only ridden Highland Road once before with the new buddy of mine from the riding group out here. The agricultural flavor comes out in this confluence of the Bay Area and the Valley. I only stopped twice on this ride as unfortunately I had plans later on in the evening. This farm caught my eye with its various buildings and states of repair. Despite the rain, summer seems to be here. The hills have lost their green and now full of summer’s gold.

As Highland Road fades into Camino Tassajara, the agricultural flair cedes to suburban America. Golden fields shift two rows of track homes and empty gentle roads turn into rigid systems of control. I wanted one less photo of the beautiful countryside.

I only spent about 70 miles in the wind – 30 of which were in the country. Those 30 miles were bliss and I hope to return to them soon.

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