Our room in Bodega Bay was comfortable. Unfortunately, it lacked a hairdryer, so no laundry last night. On the plus side, it saved us some time. The WiFi was this side of useless, so finishing this blog took a lot longer. I wasted too much time being teased with a connection, only to lose work or have photos fail to upload. I finally just blue tooth tethered my tablet to my phone and used the phone as a WiFi hot spot. Leaving Bodega Bay, it was gray skies, light mist and fog. We had another steep climb right away, then miles of roller coaster hills.
Early, when our legs are fresh, it was not too hard to get enough momentum from one downhill to take the following uphill. By the time we got to Valley Ford, 8 miles down the road, it started getting tougher. Two years ago, I had spent my night at an old, but nice hotel in Valley Ford. We didn’t stop at the grocer for a snack, but found future meals near the town.
When we were in Garbersville, marijuana capital of the US, I thought I was constantly smelling dead skunks. Likewise at some of the viewpoints, I caught that aroma from some of the parked cars, which is a pretty scary thought for a DUI. This time it was a genuine specimen.
It seemed like the roller coasters got taller and longer as we left Valley Ford. Later in the day we would be battling wind as well, but for now it was just the hills. About 5 miles down the road we made it into the town of Tomales. Along the roadside there was a nice cafe where we got coffee and split a muffin. Leaving the town, the road flattened out somewhat. For the next several miles it was a smooth but windy ride along the Bay of Tomales. Our second Bay of the day! A deer startled me along the roadside. It was enough for me to make a nature stop to overcome the experience. We passed through the fishing town of Marshall. There were boats and lots of places to dine on oysters. I didn’t take a picture of it, but my favorite was an old building now boarded up. On the side was painted, “Established 1873” and they advertised “Barbecue oysters and Dancing”.
Above, boats near Marshall along Tomales Bay. Below, it looks like oyster consumption can be pleasurable if you can get them.
The terrain became hillier as we approached Point Reyes Station. We had arrived at the peak of the lunch hour around 12:30. The best-looking restaurant had a 30 minute wait. We went down Main Street and found many places closed, probably due to covid. We finally settled at a small grocery / Deli and got us some sandwiches. That is, only one for each of us.
Since we arrived in the town of Westport two days earlier, we had been playing Leapfrog along our path south with two young bikers. Sam Taxwood and Desiree Melancon did mountain biking, skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and other activities. They got sponsorships and monetize their videos for their sponsors. Sam had passed us along Tomales Bay. Leaving Point Reyes Station, we ran into both of them. They were going to tag along with another rider named George and take a different path out of Point Reyes to San Francisco. Later that evening, Ron got a text photo from Sam. They arrived in San Francisco well before we had made it to our hotel that evening.
It was more roller coaster terrrain leaving Point Reyes. The roller coasters were not any taller or longer than earlier in the day, but we were more tired. Because of our fatigue they were getting a lot harder to conquer. This lasted for 10 miles until we reached the edge of Bolinas Bay. We finally got some relief from the Hills on a long flat stretch into Stinson Beach. If only the wind had been at our backs.
We took a short break at Stinson Beach. I got a milk and killed one of my Clif bars. Then we began the long climb over the mountains toward our final stop at our hotel 12 miles away. Just climbing out of Stinson raised us 450 feet in less than 1.5 miles. The views below are looking back at the town and some shots up the hillside.
The climb around the hills through Mt. Tamalpais State Park didn’t get any easier. I don’t keep elevation grades on my display on my GPS. I’m certain that there were several that exceeded 10% grade. The words that actually describe the climb are not fit to print. I don’t remember going this way on my last trip. I’m certain I would have remembered it. I probably took the different path that Sam and Desiree chose leaving Point Reyes.
Below is a good look at the road ahead that took us across the hillside from Stinson Beach to Manzanita / Mill Valley .
I stopped at the top of a hill to take a picture of this road sign. I had seen it a few times as we were starting to go downhill. This picture is a replica but the sign is the same. As I was taking this picture coming up hill were people on electric powered unicycles and scooters. It took me completely by surprise and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The final 2.5 miles were downhill descents that went over 30 mph, depending on how much you used your brakes. We finished the ride at our hotel near Richardson Bay. We had to wait another 15 minutes for our room to get ready. By then it was past 6. A quick shower, then an uber to REI to get Ron’s new GPS. Dinner, uber back to hotel for laundry. Barely in bed before midnight. Finished the blog the next day. Ron will be happy to have stats as we go. We got milk shakes. Life is good. It will be a short ride to Half Moon Bay. It’s all part of the adventure!
The Not So Lone Rider