Day 3: Courtland to Pittsburg, CA
Once again a beautiful day in the Sacramento valley, and we were well rested and eager to continue our trek along the basin from Courtland to Pittsburg. This is an amazing, energetic group; however when mounting our bikes Tuesday we knew we would be facing 20 plus MPH winds, so the guys held a steady draft line all day. We rode along the riverway on CA-160S with the sunshine and fragrant walnut trees distracting us from the headwind. Along the 35 mile stretch we saw many ‘Save Our Delta’ signs edging the roadway, reminding us of the dire concern the area has for their most precious commodity: water. Albeit Spring here with temperate weather, the vegetation looks verdant, but in months to come the water shortage will prove detrimental to the livelihood of farmers—therefore awareness and being proactive for change is vital.
We crossed a couple minor bridges, but as we rounded the road heading into Antioch a looming bridge rose 750’ up and over the San Joaquin waterway. The bridge was a crazy marvel of engineering, but not so for a couple riders—it proved too daunting (even with the now tailwind to guide them up and over). The van was an agreeable option for those less adventurous across the two-mile spans. Safety (and sanity) first. Once securely on the other side we wove through Antioch until we arrived at the 55-acre Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.
We lunched and made new friends there, where we were joined by Erika from the OV PR team, Julia from Edible East Bay, and Louis from the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge complex. Louis gave us the history of the Dunes and its purpose at this particular watershed to preserve some of the endangered native plants (Primrose and the Wallflower and a rare butterfly (Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly.) Intriguingly so, cows are instrumental to this particular project as they graze the dunes for a few weeks each year to eat the unwanted invasive vegetation, leaving the vital plants needed to host the butterfly larva.
Cycling for Sustainability is an adventure series. To check out our previous day’s adventure click here. To see all of the posts from this series click the “cycling for sustainability” tag at the top of the page.