ABOUT MID-OCTOBER, when the sun rides low across the southern sky, when dawn breaks late and evening settles early, when frost may render the roads slick, particularly when following a thick, wet “cyclonic” storm, the riding day is abbreviated. Tours to the high country must wait until the spring thaw. Trips to the Pacific shore involve slicing through chilling banks of fog. A “day ride” might last five hours – starting around ten in the morning and ending well before four. Thus afforded such localized a radius, one rides the common roads looking for the uncommon element: the something missed the hundred previous times the road had been run.
Home base is amidst a suburban cancer – a house within row upon row of similar abodes. Saving grace in this locale is that an escape route exists. One that requires waiting through only one traffic signal. Therefore, on a good day between one of those “occasional cyclonic storms,” I can be coursing down narrow two-lanes, through pastures, orchards, vineyards and flower farms. In moments, I am no longer living on the fringe of Sacramento. I am wheeling through the old-country farmlands of north central Italy. I am in Umbria.
I DIDN’T RIDE FAR THIS DAY: only fifty-six miles in about two and a half hours. But I returned as if I had just visited the old country – where life is borne of the earth and its bounty; where time is as easily judged by the position of the sun in the sky as by a wristwatch; where people wave and take a moment to smile. And where the proprietor is kind enough to ensure that the case of wine tied to the back of the motorcycle is secured so that it won’t fall off during the journey back to reality.
La Fornaretta Restaurant, 455 Main Street # 4, Newcastle, CA 95658-9359
Newcastle, California: www.newcastlecommunity.org
A website dedicated to the interests of the community, community businesses and visitors.
Rancho Roble Vineyards: www.RanchoRoble.com
Following the tradition of California’s 19th century Italian winemakers, Rancho Roble Vineyards ® planted the historic Barbera wine grape rootstock [which] thrive in the micro climate and soils of this region. This vintage reflects the golden afternoons and shady oak evenings…
Church of the Open Road Press