Continuing my gradual completion of the California portion of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), I rode my bike from Sacramento to Antioch. The route largely follows the Sacramento River into the delta. Though I’ve walked all the portions to the east, including the Western States Trail (which largely though not entirely overlaps with the ADT), this section is entirely along roads and I figured it would be more efficient to ride it. This is section six of the California portion of the ADT. I’ve done sections one through five already (and I’ll do them again). Previous posts include closing my gap in the Western States Trail, Western States Trail, and another trip from Auburn to Sacramento that I apparently forgot to write about.
Starting from mile zero of the American River Parkway in Discovery Park, the route follows the river south, then through neighborhoods of south Sacramento including Land Park, crosses the river at Freeport, and then follows the levee-top River Road through Clarksburg, the center of a recent wine growing region, back across the river near Courtland, and then on to Locke and Walnut Grove. It is interesting to see the crops changing, with grapes, walnut, fruit trees, and row crops. The land to east of the river seems to be almost exclusively large agribusiness, with very few actual farmers remaining, the west of the river there are some family farms remaining.
The route tries to stay off Highway 160 by following levee and farm roads, and though each of these adds distance and rough pavement, it is far more enjoyable to ride the back roads. In the Racetrack Road section (imagine my concern!), I saw only one motor vehicle in the seven miles from Walnut Grove to Isleton!
Isleton is where the wind hits. From here to Antioch, there was a consistent wind of 25 mph or more, which is pretty hard to pedal into for miles. I took some short walking breaks for the sake of both muscles and knees. The extensive wind farm on the west side of the Sacramento River is well placed, and the windmills were spinning fast. There are at least three separate wind farms here in the Montezuma Hills (which provide stable footing for the turbines that the delta mud would not), one of which is owned by Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD).
The long climb over the Antioch (Nejedly) Bridge was actually not bad, as the north-south orientation gave me a side wind rather than head wind. My pace from Sacramento to Isleton was 15 mph, not even trying and stopping a number of times for scenery and stretch, but from Isleton into Antioch my pace dropped to 8 mph, and that was pushing hard.
Entering Sprawlsville, I mean Antioch, the route follows roads with heavy industrial and suburban traffic before finally coming up on and following the Delta de Anza Trail along the Contra Costa Canal. After several miles, the route enters Antioch Community Park, and section 6 ends on the south side Contra Loma Reservoir (why it doesn’t end at the park, which is the trailhead, I don’t know). At the park I ate and relaxed and tanked down water. The next two sections, Antioch to Walnut Creek and Walnut Creek to Golden Gate Bridge, are mostly on trail, so sometime this year I’ll backpack that section starting at Antioch. My eventual destination is Limantour Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, where the ADT ends.
From the park, I rode more of the Delta de Anza Trail, which is nice but unshaded and dry, with no access to the canal, to the BART Pittsburg-Bay Point station. In Pittsburg, a driver turned directly into me and I had to take evasive action to avoid being hit, leading to a spill over the curb and some amount of blood but no serious injury. Though I have no illusions that it will always save me, I do know how to fall well. And for the helmet police, I’d like to point out that neither my helmet nor my head ever touched the ground even though I flew about 12 feet and rolled many times.
I took BART to Richmond and then the Capitol Corridor back home to Sacramento.
route map on MotionX (this will disappear December 14, 2013)
The American Discovery Trail Society sells gpx data files and maps for the trail. Their website has been flakey for months.