The waning days of fall bring us to the time for the Davis Dart! This ride, like many randonnees has its good parts and bad parts, but the good parts keep us coming back.

The waning days of fall also mirrored my own waning enthusiasm for big miles and when Sub-Commandante Sordo told me the ferry at Rio Vista was out of service I really wanted to cancel because the ferry is our gateway to the good parts of the ride. Adding to that obstacle the Box Dog 10th anniversary Fauxvet I was really ready to cancel, but I am Captain and have a reputation to keep up so like it or not we are doing the Dart. Sigh.

The ride from Oakland to Moraga is uneventful and chilly, and I wish for the gloves I usually have but don’t and the bike path stretch from Moraga to Black Diamonds is crowded with aged strollers and dumbass roadies riding too fast for conditions. Strangely, one of the roadies is fascinated with my handle bar bag (true, it is a Guu-Watanabe).

Carlos complains loudly when we leave the crowded bike paths for the crowded roads with a wide shoulder and the crowded roads with no shoulder and before we know it, we are at the first good part, Black Diamonds.

Good times at Black Diamonds

Good times at Black Diamonds

Conditions are perfect, the trail is smooth, and we meet a bunch of nice people out enjoying themselves, but we gotta stop coming here, it is too hard to include in this Dart.

Leaving the dirt we keep to back streets as much as possible until we have to negotiate the only crossing of Hwy 4 for several miles on Lone Tree Way. Nothing horrid happens and we get to enjoy some decent Vietnamese food at Pho-Le! (cool name, huh?).

The ride to Monte Rio is as completely awful as always, this time punctuated with some scum throwing a bottle at us on the 160 bridge and a pathetic driver who totally blocked the shoulder for absolutely no reason and made us pull into traffic to go around him. Good job people – I will be sure and vote for those tunnels in the delta if it ruins the economy out there and makes you all move to Fresno seeking dead end jobs in some warehouse.

Just before Monte Rio there has been a dog that at first was really nice, then the second time we encountered it was a snarling beast. I wanted the nice dog back so I requested of my team to bring treats for the dog. I brought a bone and El Sordo brought some treats, but the dog was gone. Sigh.

In Monte Rio we do a quick stop and try and confirm if the ferry is running. No one knows when we ask. In the interest of taming a snarling beast, I walk over to a Harley-biker dude lighting up a cigarette and ask him if he knows if the ferry is running. He meekly replies he has no idea, but to please let him know if I find anything out. Some beast.

I head into the bar he is standing outside of seeking wisdom – and am rewarded with nothing but a sneer that I seem to be riding a bicycle (she saw my helmet under my arm) and good luck out there.

Turns out the ferry is closed and we have to detour a bit to the J-Mack ferry on Hwy 220. The detour is not awful, but takes time.

The ferry is quick and enjoyable.

Team mates adoring the J-Mack hula dolly dude

Team mates adoring the J-Mack hula dolly dude

The delta is as sweet as always, with just two cars present, both going toward us and not with us. We have to ruin it a bit because we are very behind schedule from Black Diamonds and the detour and ride a lot faster than I prefer.

The ride from Clarksburg to Sacramento is the same as always, not horrible and central Sacramento is very relaxed and enjoyable and the Natural Foods Coop has the usual excellent food and even more smiling staff than last time.

Riding off from our dinner to the finish at Davis we share the road with a local cyclist that likes to ride a wheelie through red lights. He is pretty talented and faster than us so we get to see him perform a couple times on the way.

The finish at Davis is fun, and I get an equal number of dirty looks as well as warm greetings from fellow riders so I think I must be doing something right. This ride was pretty ok, I guess I will be back, maybe with a different, easier route without Black Diamonds.

The Delta Montagnards scaling the heights of fun and adventure!

The Delta Montagnards scaling the heights of fun and adventure!

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