Del Puerto Canyon Road
May 18, 2012
I live just about where the Sacramento Valley meets the San Joaquin Valley. It is big: 450 miles long by 20 miles wide. It is flat that is why they call it a valley. The roads run straight and at right angles to each other mostly north to south and east to west. This is all very good if you are growing crops which seems to happen a lot here. About 8% of the nation’s agricultural output comes out of this valley if you measure it in dollars.
But all of this makes for very boring motorcycle riding. But there is good news. There is a mountain range on each side of the valley where the roads are not flat and they are not straight and a lot of them are not very well traveled. All of this makes for ideal motorcycling riding. And as luck would have it I have one of the most deserted and twisty roads pretty much in my back yard.
I start out in Manteca because that is where I live and I don’t know how to start any where else. One of my cardinal rules is to avoid freeways or interstates if at all possible so I make my way to Patterson using the straight farm roads. Once there I take an overpass over to the west side of I-5 and there is the start of one of my favorite rides.
The start of Del Puerto Canyon Road
Del Puerto Canyon road has little along it other than vineyards and cow pastures. The vines stay in there assigned place but the cows wander about aimlessly and often make there way onto the road. So along with all of the turns, rock slides and varmints running across the road, one has to be careful not to mow down a cow. Avoiding their droppings is optional and apparently something I am not good at.
I traveled the 16 miles to Frank Raines Park and negotiated 150 turns on that stretch of the road. I don’t think I encountered one car on this stretch which is not that odd in that this road is not used by any other than recreational traffic and the few farmers along the way
Two of the 150 turns on the way to Frank Raines Park
I continued along Del Puerto to where it meets Mines road. At this point Del Puerto Canyon Road goes up over Mt Hamilton to San Jose and Mines road heads on down into Livermore. It took me another 111 turns to get this junction bringing the total up to 261. I get tired just thinking about it.
Once on Mines road it got even more twisty. It turns into a one lane road at one point and meeting traffic along here gets to be a challenge.
One Lane Mines Road
So I road along Mines road and made all 371 turns on it before intersecting with Telsa road in Livermore. Livermore is beautiful at this time of the year because all of the wine grapes are growing. So 261 plus 371, ya carry the 3 and it is one heck of a lot of turns to go not too many miles. That is why I love it.
A mere 78 more turns and I had arrived at Carnegie State Off Highway Vehicle Park. This park has some of the steepest hills one can negotiate with a motorbike or ATV. Actually coming down one of these hills was instrumental in the decision for me to get rid of my ATV
Carnegie OHV Park
From there I was back onto what could be considered ‘normal’ roads. There were a few more turns but I forgot to count them. All together I went 125 miles and went through 710 turns. The turns were all on about a 60 mile stretch of this road. I never tire of this ride and it is not unusual for me to do it every week.