John Floren

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Posted 2012/9/16

Morgan Territory, California (September 15, 2012)

Just got the bike back from the shop on Friday (6,000 mile service) and was itching for a trip. I ended up going for a nice ride yesterday, up through the hills north of Livermore. Overview: shades of personal danger, nice twisties, and a good time overall.

There’s a map here

Morgan Territory Road

I headed up North Livermore Ave, up north of the freeway. After a few miles, you hit the intersection with Morgan Territory Road. I turned onto it, immediately heading up the hill. After about a mile, the road turns into a one-lane road, curving and winding upwards. It’s beautifully maintained for a while, with nice homes occasionally along the sides. Once you hit the top of the hill, though, the quality of the road immediately changes.

For the next few miles, you curve and wind downhill through heavy forest. The road is cracked and rough and exceedingly narrow; mostly you’ll see cyclists, but I did find a few drivers coming the other direction. You need to be careful going around lefthand turns, because a high-speed lean could put you head-on into an SUV–so far as I can tell, they’re all heading up to the top to drop off cyclists, and you may see them stopped on the roadside to unload bicycles. The scenery is beautiful, but unfortunately there’s not a lot of chance to stare, as you’ll need both eyes on the road to keep up with the winding road.

Once you get to the bottom of the hill, the pavement gets better and the road switches back to two lanes, slowly widening until you get a really nice road again.

Marsh Creek Road

Eventually Morgan Territory Road hits Marsh Creek Road. I took a right and headed east. The road is pretty much perfect–I wasn’t stuck behind anyone, and the curves were just right for whipping through at about 60 mph. Pavement quality was excellent, too.

After a bit, you get the option to continue straight onto Camino Diablo Road or take a right to continue on Marsh Creek. I headed down Camino Diablo; a couple miles later, it hits Vasco Road. I pulled up behind a Jeep at the light, they waved me forward which I thought was a signal to pass, but turns out they needed directions. I stamped on the rear brake (oops, terrible reflex), locked up the rear juuuust a little, and helped give them directions on to the marina nearby.

Vasco Road & the return to Livermore

From there, Vasco is a nice curvy road heading south up a hill. You get two lanes pretty much the entire way and there are some really nice-looking bits of rock outcropping and spots of oak trees along the way. I rocked about 65 mph up the whole way and had a blast.

It’s a long climb up the hill, followed by a short jog downhill into eastern Livermore. I followed the frontage roads over to 1st street and headed back into town for a sandwich at First Street Alehouse.