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Nostalgic Bicycle Ride Through Livermore Wine Country

Updated on May 13, 2015

This Old Bicycle Is Hanging Between Two Trees

I Am Stuck

In the middle of an article and I am stuck.

Today is a hyper active day. I can't focus.

There are thirty four vineyards in my neighborhood. When I moved here there were three. Those three survived prohibition providing sacrificial wine for the Catholic Church. We have been wine country for a long time.

Easter Sunday I saw a beautiful field of poppies, marigolds and grape vines at Concannon winery. The weather is pretty good, maybe a bicycle ride taking pictures will help me focus. I can't believe it is April; the weather is still chilly. I dressed warmly and I'm off.

Where are those turkeys anyway?
Where are those turkeys anyway? | Source

Getting ready to go I remember the Turkeys. Last week friends and I were hiking when we noticed a flock of turkeys. The males had their tail feathers up. We got closer to take pictures. I watched for snakes while my friend took pictures. (She had seen a rattlesnake the day before. Perhaps she got some good pictures, but you know where pictures go. You take them then they...well where do they go? We walked further up the hill. The birds begin squawking. Looking back we saw a dozen deer walking with the turkeys, Some of the deer were acting strangely. Most were retreating There were two deer standing their ground and advancing. What the...? Coyotes. The animal kingdom was about to play out in front of us


Riding down the road toward the turkeys when I get waylaid by some beautiful blooming trees. While taking pictures my thoughts wonder to a time long ago when I traveled this road regularly. I was little when my mom came to work down this road. Sometimes on Dad's day off we would go on a drive to have lunch with mom. I hated those drives of 35 miles usually on hot days. I loved lunch with mom and dad, Then we moved here from the city.

 This was the summer home of Christopher A Buckley Sr. He was called "The Blind Boss" of San Francisco politics.Built 1881-1885.  The family owned the house until  1921 when the Catholic order The Redemption-st Fathers used it for retreat. until 1970
This was the summer home of Christopher A Buckley Sr. He was called "The Blind Boss" of San Francisco politics.Built 1881-1885. The family owned the house until 1921 when the Catholic order The Redemption-st Fathers used it for retreat. until 1970

The road is very different now. Then it was rural. Then this was a creepy old estate, a retreat for monks. The grounds were overrun with weeds, palm trees lined the drive. Never a soul was seen from the road.

We moved here the summer I was 14 so mom didn't have to commute. Lonely, I bicycled down this road several times a week to have lunch with her. Then I would wade and paddle around in the creek before riding the four miles home. There wereturkeys around the hospital then too.

Ideal Place To Enjoy Summer Afternoon


I consider going to where the coyotes were. It is off on a trail and the idea of a flat tire deters me, I stay on the road toward the Veterans Hospital to look for turkeys and deer. I' m blindsided by memories.


Sign On The Road

There used to be weekly messages of wisdom or funny sayings on this sign. "Thank you for your service" took me back to Vietnam when there was no," Thank You". My mind goes back to the year my brother was in Vietnam and .his pregnant wife lived with us. She nearly went crazy with worry.

. | Source

Years ago people would drive out into the country and dump their yard waste. Most of these palm trees came from those dumps.

Non Native Heritage Palm Trees


Old Glory

I want to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I look at this beautiful flag and remember all it stands for, "With liberty and justice for all". Are there still missing prisoners of war? The black flag is to honor MIAs


Nothing has changed. I used to leave my bike at the base of these steps then eat lunch in the cafeteria with mom. While it was a lonely summer, it was a good summer. How many teens eat lunch with their busy professional mothers several times a week? I didn't know how lucky I was. But I did know how proud mom was of me. I didn't know the bike riding would stay with me all my life either, but then you never know much when you are young.


When I got my drivers license I had to drive mom to work if she worked swing if I wanted it for the evening. At midnight I would return down this spooky road when she got off. It was always an adventure driving late at night. All varieties of animals would leap or slither across the road as you rounded bends.

One December in college I played a victim for a massive area wide emergency drill. In a creepy old abandoned building, part of an abandoned Tuberculosis hospital, I sat for hours waiting to be rescued. Makeup made me look like I had awful burns. I had a squeeze pouch with red liquid I could squeeze to indicate what kind injuries I had. When the firemen rescued me I squeezed the stuff all over them. Ha ha. That night it was below freezing, The doctors at the hospital were actually treating the actors for hypothermia.

The ride up the hill to the hospital brings me back to present. Not a turkey in sight. I wonder ,"Am I on wild turkey chase"?

Oh Deer !


This Veterans hospital is surrounded by serenity and beauty. A young guy with an IPod sits waiting for a bus. I think about the war that brought him here. This place is nothing like war. I think of the service my family members have given for this country.

The turkeys are hiding.

As I start the decent down the hill, trying to stay below the 15mph speed limit, when I notice the heliport is covered with turkeys. Jam on the brakes to turn left.


No Unauthorized Personal

No Unauthorized Personal signs annoy me these days. I blow passed. For cripes sake I am four miles out of town and I just want a picture of a bunch of turkeys. A very distinguished lady I know goes wherever her interest draws her. In my younger years the thought of entering a restricted area without permission would never have crossed my gray matter. Today I do it in defiance. I pay for this property, I have the good sense to get out of the way if a helicopter needs to land.

Trespasser to where?
Trespasser to where? | Source

This Road

This road sure looks like it leads to a dangerous important place. Actually it leads to Cohare family ranch. They make some of the best olive oil you can imagine. We know them for the farmers market. If we need olive oil the rest of the year we can order on line or give them a call and pick up the oil at the bank where their son works. It's funny how small town we are sometimes.

Beautiful Tom!


Its Mating Season

It is mating season. Tom turkeys poof up their feathers to impress the hens or challenge in the face of danger.

This guy is ogling his gal.


Leaving The VA Grounds

Going back to the road I notice the hills are finally greening. We had the first rain last month since October. By June this hill will be golden brown. This was once Cresta Blancha winery. They produced champagne grapes. Many years this vineyard lay fallow. About 15 years ago a new winery planted champagne grapes again. I thought how clever of them to know this vineyard was good to grow champagne grapes. The new owners, the Wente Family, just expanded their vineyards from over the hill. They have been in the winery business here for more than a hundred years.



In need of a mood change I look for the alpacas and llamas along the bike trail. They are always good for a laugh.

"Are you looking at me"?

As I revise this a year later there are two cria.( baby llama/alpaca). They are so fluffy and cute.


Grapevines Have Started Budding

On the way to find the alpaca I pass rows and rows of grapevines beginning to send out their tendrils. For many years the Wente family has own these vineyards. Carl is fifth generation wine maker. I understand Phil is judging on the food network. John Madden the football sports commentator owns some of these grapes. These grapes go into Wente' s Morning Fog, a nice white wine.


The Need For Fuel

I turn toward our friends ranch. I have been on or near bike trails most of this ride. Usually a quick 10 mile training ride has turned into a several hour adventure. I stop at the ranch to enjoy an orange from their tree. (It is private property surrounded by bike trail ) When I get close the alpacas are looking intently at something.

It is a week day so what I see draws my attention.

The orange crop is delicious
The orange crop is delicious | Source

I can't help chuckling. Which is funnier the guys working with the bees or the alpaca staring at the guys? They look so funny in bunny suites. Why did Intel ever start calling the garb used in their clean rooms bunny suits? And why aren't these guys at work. Bee keeping is their hobby.

Monte Christo Ranch bee keepers
Monte Christo Ranch bee keepers | Source

If Places Could Tell Stories.

The Sunday of the big fire, on the ranch, the family decided to go out to lunch after church. When they got home the fire had surrounded this beautiful barn. Part of the 1900 era original bunk house was scorched. A row of small animal barns were destroyed. On duty fireman headed to Peets for afternoon coffee saw fire.They were on their way when the first 911 call reached them. They saved the main house and the animals. We gave them ice tea to replace the missing coffee break. I was driving down the same road when I saw the smoke and curiously wander to see if it was where I thought it was. I begged the police to let me get the dogs. The policeman said he would notify the firemen that there were dogs in the kennel. Nobody could find our friends. They had both turned off their phones. When the owners the owners drove up we had the dogs and the police let us onto the property. It was probably someone with firework who started the fire. One of the neighbors blamed the kid with the big black truck.The kid, who of course is my kid, in my midlife crisis, 4X4, lifted black Dodge pickup. It was just easier to buy a midlife crisis than to have one. Nobody believed the neighbor.

The Stories This Old Barn Can Tell


Back To Town

This road traveled today leads me from history to present. I am delighted to say"Howdy" to my friends at Monte Chisto. They are like family. There are a few more things I would like you to see before heading home.

Art In Front Of Page Mill Winery


I just like bicycles. I realize the wheels have been set so they spin in the wind. Fascinating.

Quick Ride Down The Bike Trail. Another Place To Play In The Water. Will summer ever get here?

Along the bike trail in town
Along the bike trail in town | Source

Very Refreshing Ride

Its getting colder as I consider my ride. Usually this ten mile ride takes 45 minutes. Today with my musings and photo opts it take three hours. Reflecting back I realize how fortunate I am to live in an area this beautiful. An area which has amazing world renown wineries and producers of olive oil . Team in Training cycling groups are frequently seen along the back roads of this town. My kids all learned to ride bikes along this road.

Time to quit musing and go home; its well past lunch.


Home and no longer stuck.

Tuck away my trusty bicycle. Return to my keyboard. Oh dear all this thinking about bicycles reminds me I haven't volunteered for the Amgen. This year Livermore will be the finish of the third stage.

When you can't travel to distant lands exploring the history of your own neighborhood can lead to amazing adventures. Everyone has a history and every place as well. Bicycling is always a good way to investigate.

Carpe Diem!

When You Can't Readjust Your Attitude With A Ride Here Is A Great Read

5565 Tesla Road, Livermore:
5565 Tesla Rd, Livermore, CA 94550, USA

get directions

Wente Winery

5301 Arroyo Road:
5301 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, CA 94550, USA

get directions

Veterans Park bike trail goes from Arroyo road to Sycamore Grove Park on Wetmore Avenue. Many of these pictures were taken on this trail


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    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Lovely of you to visit today. Delighted you enjoyed the tour. It is indeed a blessing to live in this beautiful valley.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very enjoyable and interesting hub! I loved traveling with you in the beautiful countryside and learning about the area where you live. The descriptions and photos make me feel that I am right beside you on your journey.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      Denise, delighted you rode along with me this morning. Those "turkeys".

      They should puff for you.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      I felt I was right beside you, pedaling away. You certainly are fortunate to live in the beautiful area that you do. I miss CA and the beauty of the Northern region.

      Wonderful and interesting hub; your photos are great! The wild turkeys I see along the roads of NC haven't puffed up their feathers for me-quite a photo catch. I loved the bike photo and video, ha ha. What an imagination of its owner-the bike that flew as fast as the wind!

      UP/I/A/B /U and sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      lindacee, I don't know how long ago you visited, but the whole valley has changed dramatically in the last five years.

      Thank you for your kind comment.

    • lindacee profile image


      5 years ago from Arizona

      I've visited Livermore, but I certainly missed all of these wonderful sights you shared with us. I'd love to see the vineyards and the turkeys! Very nice Hub. I really felt like I was along for the ride. :)

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      alancaster149- Great of you to visit today. Rattlers when you grow up with them ,have a bit of sense, don't bother most people. LoL at the squirrels. We have some black squirrels they say have been imported from England. My condolences concerning the gray squirrels they are the bane of our existence. Can't dispose of them and they eat everything or plant things where you don't want them.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello tirelesstraveler. Pleasant trip through Californian vineyards. You've got Rattlers in your neck of the woods? Dangerous stuff! Worst we've got here is adders, but you'd have to go well out of your way to find them, and even then the odds are against you actually seeing them. They don't make a noise but if you get too close you'll find out where they are!

      In Epping Forest, near where I live there are Muntjac deer, brought for a private zoo from India and escaped. They now live wild across a swathe of southern England. You see fallow deer up there as well, they were brought by the Normans along with rabbits (they were given them by the king of Aragon - probably trying to get shot of them himsel)! The rabbits have become vermin and exported to Australia (they don't need them down there, either). Mind you, some clothead brought grey squirrels from the US and they've all but wiped out the red squirrel population in Britain as far as north Wales and northern England. Except they haven't reached the Isle of Wight - thankfully squirrels can't swim!

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      shai77, Thanks for visiting.

      I am always amazed at this place.

    • shai77 profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh, wow... beautiful photos. What a great journey, thanks so much for making us a part of it. You describe it so well. Great job, VU.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      tirelesstraveler - No. I moved to San Ramon because my husband worked there when we were married. I did, however sell a few houses in Oakland when I was an active real estate broker, so I know the area well - the same with Livermore - sold a lot of houses there over my 23 years in the business. I really enjoy the wine country - been to Wente more times than many. In fact, my husband took me there as our second date. It's beautiful out there. I had forgotten just how beautiful until I went along with you on your bike ride. It brought back a few memories. You are a beautiful writer by the way you create visual effects with your words.

      Those alpacas really do look like they are saying, "Are you looking at me?" Don't they?

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      Marlene, Your comment is more precious to me than you will know. Many thanks to your husband for his service. I always knew our paths crossed closely. You didn't go to school in Oakland did you?

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      My husband is a veteran, so I have been to that VA hospital many times. I have seen the turkeys along the way, but have never stopped to enjoy the scenery. I now have a new appreciation for how beautiful Livermore truly is. Your photos are gorgeous and I really enjoyed the story that went along with them. Thanks for the wonderful trip through the roads of a beautiful place.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      I am honored that you took the time to visit and enjoy.

    • sen.sush23 profile image


      5 years ago from Kolkata, India

      I know when you are bicycling (or biking), clicking photos, breathing the fresh air, smelling the flowers and oranges, and talking occasionally - you allow thoughts to come randomly, sometimes linked with memories of earlier travels and it is so sweet! I just allowed the landscape and your little reflections on life, past and present, seep into me, while I read your hub, much slower than I normally would. Wonderfully well written hub- like a piece of artistic panel, with the embellishments of so many pictures- each worth in its photographic quality. Voting this up and sharing for those who may have missed it so long.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      :) Thanks Sueswan.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Tirelesstraveler

      I really enjoyed the ride through Livermore Wine Country.

      Voted up and beautiful

      Take care :)

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Thank you Jools. I think you see some amazing things while bicycling.

    • Jools99 profile image


      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Wow, this is a great hub. I think I always had this idea that you would need a car to see all these great areas. I loved the photos of all of the wildlife and the discarded palms growing out there look great.

      Voted up and shared.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      I enjoyed this, many thanks for the trip, great pics.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      always exploring :) glad you stopped. This hub really made me realize what a good life I have.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a great hub, enjoyed the tour. I would love to ride my bicycle through the vineyard. The pictures are beautiful..Thank you..

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Hi pedrn44, The nice thing about California is there is wine country in nearly every part of the state. Most people think Napa wine country, but there are lots of others. Thank you for the visit and vote.

    • pedrn44 profile image


      6 years ago from Greenfield, Wisconsin

      Thanks for taking us on your journey with you! I have never been to wine country and really enjoyed the tour. The pictures are beautiful. Voted up!

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Vellur- Greetings. I am amazed at how beautiful this area is. It will look completely different in a month or two. Thank you for visiting

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed reading and seeing the photos. Livermore looks great.Vineyards, orchards and so much of green green nature. Your bike ride must have been a very enjoyable one. Voted up awesome.


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