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Old 04-26-2018, 04:32 PM   #1
GB500guy
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Bear Valley wildflower peeping

Every year around this time I make a point of visiting Bear Valley in Colusa County for a look at its famous wildflower displays. This year mother nature skimped on the rain during critical mid-winter months so expectations were not real high as my riding buddy and I headed north from Winters on our NX250s. But wildflowers or not, we knew some wonderful riding was on the menu.

Link to Google map of route



From home I headed up Pleasants Valley Rd for our rendezvous in Winters. It was a beautiful morning, with the usual near-zero midweek traffic.







Once again I just can't seem to ride by Lake Solano without stopping to catch the reflections when the water is placid.



After grabbing sandwiches to go at Steady Eddy's in Winters, we headed up the always beautiful Capay Valley. The area farms are bustling with springtime activity right now, planting summer crops and still harvesting cool season vegetables. The fields at Full Belly farm in Guinda always look, well, good enough to eat. For a family friendly farm festival, check out their Hoes Down Harvest Festival every October.



Irrigation water from Clear Lake was flowing under the Cache Creek Bridge in Rumsey....



At Hwy 20 we crossed over to the start of Bear Valley Road, all gravel and very dusty this time of year.



A few miles in we stopped at the Wilbur Springs bridge for a look at Bear Creek. Up this road is historic Wilbur Hot Springs, where you'll find another type of "bare" at it's clothing optional hot springs.






Continuing up Bear Valley we saw very little signs of bloom but that didn't keep us from enjoying the solitude and beauty....with a generous helping of dust.









Approaching the main valley floor we finally saw splashes of yellow in the distance, raising our hopes.



The Keegan Ranch generously provides public access to one of their cattle pastures for wildflower viewing. Plenty can be seen from the roadside but this gate lets you walk right into a sea of color.















We feasted our eyes on huge swaths of tidy tips, goldfields, and cream cups, but poppies were sparse this year. Little did we know that near the end of our ride we would come across poppies galore.






continued....

-Bill
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:33 PM   #2
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Bear Valley wildflower peeping, cont'd

....continued

At the north end of Bear Valley we turned eastward onto Leesville Road for the climb up and over the range of hills that would take us back to Hwy 20. Hazy skies made for much less dramatic views than usual as we rounded the summit and looked down at the serpentine downgrade ahead. Still, we found a high perch to pull over and eat our lunch while marveling at the remote valley below.









Until a few years ago Leesville Road was paved, but was converted to gravel when it deteriorated too far. But crews are now preparing to repave the gravel section, so I'd recommend avoiding it for the next few months.

We managed to get past construction equipment and once at the bottom were back on pavement and the last few pleasant miles through hidden valleys leading back to Hwy 20.



Then it was back down the swoopy Cache Creek Canyon and on toward home.



On a hunch, once back on county roads we headed down Yolo County Rd. 88 past Hedgerow Farms, a grower of native plants for habitat restoration and ecological improvement. And sure enough, this being wildflower season we came upon more poppies than I've ever seen in one place, followed by another big plot of lupine. It was a stunning sight, and had us laughing at our earlier disappointment!






Finally satisfied that we'd seen enough wildflowers for one day, we headed back to my buddy's porch for a rehash of the day's pleasures. Life is good.

-Bill
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Old 04-26-2018, 05:58 PM   #3
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Good stuff.. I don't think I've ever seen that sign about wild flower access before.
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:16 PM   #4
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Awesome.



Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-27-2018, 08:30 AM   #5
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:14 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing Bill.

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Old 04-27-2018, 10:14 AM   #7
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Great Pics.

The "Wildflower Access" entrance idea is awesome!
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:45 AM   #8
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Hey Bill,

Thanks for the Leesville Road construction tip,
and the Hedgerow Farms tip ... heading up
that way next weekend ... see if I can find
the wildflower gate ...

... wonderful pics, as always ...
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:55 AM   #9
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This makes me want to get out and do things! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:23 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments everyone, glad you enjoyed the sights!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFMCjohn View Post
Hey Bill,

Thanks for the Leesville Road construction tip,
and the Hedgerow Farms tip ... heading up
that way next weekend ... see if I can find
the wildflower gate ...

... wonderful pics, as always ...
Thanks John, things are drying up really fast so if you want to see wildflowers don't delay. I often take Rd 88 between Rd 29 and 26 just to see what interesting things are growing at Hedgerow Farms. They have land at several spots along 88.

-Bill
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:31 AM   #11
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... well, shucks, I'm actually
heading up to Smartsville Pioneer Days
today, so I can swing by Hedgerow Farms
this afternoon ...

... yet another good tip!
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by dowlinginchico View Post
This makes me want to get out and do things! Thanks for sharing!
This. Besides your posts being nice to look at, I always find them to be inspiring and motivating
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SFMCjohn View Post
... well, shucks, I'm actually
heading up to Smartsville Pioneer Days
today, so I can swing by Hedgerow Farms
this afternoon ...

... yet another good tip!
Cool! Take Railroad Ave north out of Winters, the left on 29, then right on 88 and after 3/4 mile or so start looking on the left for the big swaths of poppies and lupine.

-Bill
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:36 AM   #14
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This. Besides your posts being nice to look at, I always find them to be inspiring and motivating
Wow, what a kind comment, that makes me feel good.

-Bill
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GB500guy View Post
Cool! Take Railroad Ave north out of Winters, the left on 29, then right on 88 and after 3/4 mile or so start looking on the left for the big swaths of poppies and lupine.

-Bill
... I'm going to do it!
I was actually planning on taking
I-505 to find Yolo Road 27 to take that
over to I-5 and Hwy 99 ... looks like Hedgerow
will help me find Rd 27 ...

... will try to post pics to prove it ...
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