Stuck on Soda Canyon Road
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Bill Hocker | Mar 21, 2021

Update 2/21/23
Another barrel truck, this time on the grade.

Update 3/31/21
Shelle Wolfe, in her letter to the Planning Department regarding the Stagecoach North DEIR included a group of photos which, taken together gives a sobering view of the perils of driving on the road:

Update 3/29/21

Across from the fire station.
Glenn Schreuder sends along another accident along the road this week (in addition to the blue dump truck and red car at the bridge shown above):

And Amber Manfree adds some of her photos:

Another tourist van stuck on the grade and a car over the edge at Mike's culvert

Update 3/21/21

Glenn Schreuder sends along this tale:

A few minutes ago, I just learned from one of our neighbors exactly what happened on the grade on Soda Canyon Road on Monday March 8th and you won’t believe it:

According to the account I just heard, apparently two trucks from Oaxaca, Mexico carrying finished case goods of Mescal were given an incorrect delivery address in upper Soda Canyon by a large local trucking company that was, in some way, involved in this trucking shipment.

The first tractor/trailer got stuck on the “S” curve just below the Martucci’s driveway around 9am.

That driver tried to radio the driver of the second tractor/trailer to let him know not to come up here but the message was not received or perhaps not heeded (unknown).

The second truck got stuck and rolled backwards into the hill just below the driveway of the property formerly owned by the Dixon family (driveway just before Martucci coming up the grade).

Thankfully by the grace of God he didn’t roll backward and down the steep ravine and into Soda Creek. Probably a heads up play by the driver. must have terrifying for him/her.

The back of the trailer of the second truck was badly damages and, sadly, some bottles of Mescal were lost forever…But at least the driver and anyone else nearby was not injured.

If you need more details we can follow up with the neighbor. Attached are the pictures.

Judy took the one at 9am (first truck that got stuck on the grade). I took the pictures of the second truck at about 11:45am again on Monday, March 8th.

Update 9/6/19

The latest examples of the driving rigors on this most problematic road. One, a narrow escape on a very steep section of the grade; and another, a tourist highlight as wine barrels end up scattered across the landscape near the blind curve beyond the Soda Springs gate. Glen writes about the upper photo:

    "took this photo at about 8:30am PDT 09/10/2019. That guy is very lucky. Would like to know how his truck ended up in that position. Could have started a fire, could have rolled down to the creek, could easily have been seriously injured or worse. I keep saying SCR is not a fundamentally safe roadway for increasing traffic loads. Fully pave it and people will start hauling ass increasing the frequency (and severity) of vehicular accidents. Only workable solution: Stop treating Soda Canyon road like it's an appropriate place for more and more commercial development."

Update 7/13/18
Shelle Wolfe sends this video of un-notified paving of our gravel road, which given the ever increasing amount traffic, may be a noise and dust reducer for those on the road.

But another bit of rural Napa is paved over.
Since we are here only 2 days a week and only have a short stretch of the gravel road to traverse and are removed from the dust thrown up, we have little right to complain. But I will anyway.

As with the loss of the mailboxes, the paving of the road is just one more step in the conversion of a truly rural place into a suburb.

Old man MacCabe talked about the time that neighbors got together to regrade the runoff wash that was the access to houses here, into the gravel road we know. "It was the worst $400 I ever spent," he said. The gentrification continues.

I agree with Yeoryios' email response to the news. Improved access is generally a harbinger of further development.

Also, as the video also annoyingly demonstrates, 2 years of daily backup-beeps and rumbling machinery while the Mountain Peak project is being built will be pure hell this remote and quiet place.

Update 10/25/17
Lauren Griffiths writes: Two vehicle accident off into the creek at the McFadden curve on 10/25/17. The first responders arrived in force, not taking any chances.

After the fire, just at harvest, the road is busier than I have ever seen it. There are the grape trucks, repair trucks servicing fire damaged properties, utility trucks, and residents in what amounts to an almost continuous stream (by Soda Canyon standards) of vehicles on the road. It will not end anytime soon. All of this activity will be supplanted first by debris loading and hauling equipment and then by construction vehicles as residents rebuild in the coming years. As in the argument concerning tourism traffic, with each new vehicle on the road the potential for accidents on the blind curves and rises increases.

Update 4/19/17
Some of the members of the Soda Canyon community on their way to the hearing on the very inaccessible Caves at Soda Canyon winery almost didn't arrive because of a typical example of inaccessibility on our road.

Update 3/27/17
Just another day on the road.

Update 2/15/17
Residents send along these photos of an encounter that may become all too familiar along the grade: stranded tour buses awaiting reinforcements in their assault on the Rector plateau. And the final indignity: being towed from in front of the Mountain Peak site (probably the first place they were able to turn around after being hauled up the grade?).

It appears that the van was headed to the Beau Vine vineyard as part of a release party at their nascent winery on the Trail at Soda Canyon Road. Approval of modification to the Beau Vingne winery just happened at the planning commission (the hearing is item 9B here) in what one could only consider as a love-fest about what Napa "family" wineries should be about.

The visit to the vineyard in conjunction to a event at the winery does raise a question that I have always had about visitation to vineyards as opposed to wineries. Visitation to wineries is regulated to the nth degree, implying that unpermitted tourism visitation to vineyards might be illegal. Is that true? Even as an opponent of tourism to remote areas of the county, if the allowance of vineyard visitation defuses the need to build wineries in remote vineyards, that is a much preferable alternative. Provided that visits to vineyards don't become events, with food service and large quantities of people, there should be some codification of the process which does not now exist. (Of course, containing the extent of a privilege once codified has been at the heart of problems now confronting the county.)

It begins again, our first for 2015, overloaded vineyard truck dead on last curve, had to be towed with tractor.

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