Pam told me that people like to see pictures. Well, this time, both times I should say, I took pictures. The scenery, although different both rides, is very much like The Netherlands. Yes, there were some rolling hills, but then again that is what I grew up with in The Netherlands (Limburg). There was also a nice river and some lush trees. But the majority of the landscape here is open and ‘golden’. The pictures speak a thousand words I am sure.
After passing by a bunch of farms the landscape opened up and the ‘golden’ fields that California is known for started to appear. That stand of trees in the distance were planted/grown trees. It looked like they were originally planted to be sold, but it did not look like that was their purpose any more.
That is one thing you don’t see in The Netherlands, hills in the distance. Those are the hills of the coastal range between the valley and the ocean. That is what makes this valley so hot. Oh, did I mention that it was getting hot? The summer was just about to unfold upon us. Bummer! Many 100+ days were ahead of us.
The areas most visible birds, Turkey Vultures. See the one showing off his wing span? I think he was just hot, because he just kept doing that for minutes while I was hanging out for a few moments and taking some pictures of them. They did not seem to mind at all.
Here is a field with a tiny bit more color. This year’s winter had been extremely dry, so it was not the best year for wild flowers, but the few that were there were quite pretty (see close-up later on).
A hidden little inlet of Black Butte Lake. Yeah that looks quite pretty and the lake is nice, but most of the cost line was the same ‘golden’ fields.
I spy a DisCatcher disc golf target. I knew there was a disc golf course here at Black Butte Lake. That is why I took the 3 mile detour to go here.
This is a full 18 hole disc golf course. Owen and I came back here about a week later and we played a round on this course. It was a great round of disc golf. The course is plenty challenging, with lots of up and down terrain and many nice and long holes. Too bad it got hot towards the end and we started getting a bit sloppy, because the best is in the end. The very last hole is epic going from one hillside to the next over a canopy of trees. Too bad I was spent and I opted for a roller down the hillside instead of soaring over the top of the canopy (I guess I also did not want to chance loosing one of my better discs), but boy was it tempting to go for it. In the end the roller was near perfect and made it just up the other hillside. I botched the uphill though, but I blame that on the heat and the accompanying fatigue. Sure!
Ah, here is that close-up of those wild flowers I showed earlier. This was on my way back from the detour.
This little town, Orland, seemed to me to be the water capital of the north. There were multiple aqueducts (for you international visitors I know that you spell it as aquaduct, but the US English spelling correction wanted me to go with the ‘e’ variety) coming into this little town and it seemed to be making it quite thriving despite the ‘golden’ surroundings. Well, to be fair, most of the fields around this town were cultivated. By the way, the town we are staying in, Corning, is the olive capital of the state. Or is it the country?
Here is the route overview. This was a very nice ride, with mostly flat roads and not too much wind. But as you can tell I did take it easy. Granted, I never hit the pause button while I was admiring the view or eating a sandwich, so this includes all the time I was not moving. This route seriously reminded me of riding my bike in The Netherlands. It brought back plenty of memories.
Another fun ride
That is why I ended up going for another bike ride later in the week. This one was much shorter, but possibly more beautiful. I started later in the morning and I effectively had only about 3 hours for this ride. Anything after noon gets very hot, so leaving at 9am meant aiming to be back by noon. Although I started my tracking for this ride the app failed miserably on me. I even checked to make sure that background app refresh was enabled for this app, and it was, but I checked it after I had already started the workout, so I blame the failure on this sequence of events. When I checked the route about 2/3rds of the way around Corning, I discovered the mishap, a straight line from where I started to where I was now, even though I had gone quite a way around the town before making it to the Sacramento river. My guesstimate is that the total ride was 18-20 miles. Below are some of the pretty pictures that I took.
The Sacramento River definitely is the pearly string in this landscape. That is why there are multiple pictures of it here. You can’t see it here, but on the right side there is a recreation area and there are quite a few people there already, but on the opposite side it was still nice and quiet.
The river tends to separate around islands in the river. Here the river comes back together. The landscape right around the river is nice and lush.
Steep drop-offs are created by the cutting of the banks due to high water levels. Not sure if this still happens though, because of the damming of the river and the creation of Shasta Lake about 70 miles upstream. Water levels are probably controlled and I guess that allowed these islands in the river to grow those healthy trees.
The road next to the river here is wobbly, but a delight to ride none the less, because of the surprise views of the river.
Here is an impossibly steep path to the river below that I did not follow, but judging on the state of this path it is used by the locals quite a bit. As I was standing there looking at this beautiful view a local youth expressed his dislike of my presence while passing by in his car by honking excessively. He did not expect me to still be right there in the tree line, because as he was passing me he was in the process of raising his arm to show me the universal gesture of dislike, but as he saw me he dared not finish it. That pretty view must have made him soft, or was it my vision that made him rethink his actions?
Try to capture that beauty when you have a chance. The beauty of riding bikes is that you can stop much more easily and take in these gems. I love it!
Just to the right of that path down the steep bank is a warning. Hmm, seems to me like the locals strategically planned that path just far enough from that sign to claim plausible deniability.
My Iron Horse. My trusty steed. My mountain bike turned into a touring bike taking a well deserved rest at this prime lean spot. Just hanging out taking in the views.