Mid-Week Rides: First ride of the year

Chris writes on 01/03:

Yesterday was a called-for ‘Mid-Week Ride’, but there were only two of us this outing. Our destination was Ft. Ross on the Snoma Coast, the site of the Russian settlement in California, one dating from 1812 (possibly 1811 as a subsequent photo will depcit). We’ve got a series of storms hitting us right now, but yesterday was perfect.

Home to home this was a 237 mile ride. For those of you not familiar with northern California I made some map photos which you might want to print-out so the photos can be oriented using the maps.

Map 1

Map 1

Map 1
Map 2

Map 2

Map 2
Map 3

Map 3

Map 3
Map Overview

Map Overview

Map Overview

Maps 1, 2 and 3 are close-ups of Map 4 (the overview). If none of this is of interest to you, please use your delete powers. I’m sending the photos individually so as to be able to explain the content.

Editors note: the following are in the order the pictures and comments were received in my mailbox. They are likely not in the order originally sent. As a result comments such as “the following photo…” are likely meaningless.

Breakfast at the DipSea Cafe in Mill Valley

8 am was the time, at least three were expected but the fellow choosing the DipSea never showed. Promised it’d be ‘reasonable’, “no more’n the Courthouse” in Redwood City said he. Hah! Breakfst for two, $31.43 before the tip! Mill Valley is just N of the Golden Gate Bridge about 4 miles.

The DipSea is on California Hwy#1, about 1/4 mile from US#101. We returned to Hwy US #101 and rode N. to Lucas Valley Road (off the broad red line in Map#1). Lucas Valley Road has just been re-paved, all the way to the top of the first ridge. Lucas Films is located here with huge studios in a valley out-of-sight from the roadway - the home of Star Wars. The road is very scenic, running through several stands of Redwoods with numerous 20-25 mph turns. At road’s end we turned right through Nicassio with its two 15 mph turns and seven buildings.

We went to Pt. Reyes...

We went to Pt. Reyes…

We went to Pt. Reyes…

We went to Pt. Reyes Station (the town) Turned L onto the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road which took us to Ca Hwy#1 again, just N. of downtown.

Pt. Reyes Station, turning N. Pt. Reyes Station anchors the submerged rift valley that’s Tomales Bay where they do a lot of oyster farming. We paused on our way into Marshall (pop. 50). In the attached photo you look across the Bay.

Unusual boat

Unusual boat

Unusual boat

Okay, it’s a commercial boat, but I don’t personally know what for. Hauling up crab pots perhaps? I can see the effects of salt air’n water, but it’s fitted with new sonar too! Can anyone explain the apparatus?

Bodega Bay-Arch Rock

Bodega Bay-Arch Rock

Bodega Bay-Arch Rock

I should make a comment about traffic, there wasm’t any!
We didn’t pass a single vehicle (save one bobtail truck near Tomales) from the time we came onto Lucas Valley Road until we arrived in Marshall, that’s some distance. We gassed-up in Bodega Bay, (population several hundred). Bodega Bay has a couple of good seafood restaurants, and a couple of fish packing operations. Also, the Coast Guard maintains a small station at the mouth of the harbor. We saw this crab boat pull away from a packing house while getting gas and caught up with it a mile’er so later while still in the harbor. You can see the crab pots’n floats stacked on the stern.

Need to know the harbor's waters.

Need to know the harbor’s waters.

Need to know the harbor’s waters.

The crab boat picture was taken from the same vantage point as this one. It explains the importance of knowing where the channel’s located.

Arched Rock

Arched Rock

Arched Rock

Just north of Bodega Bay about 3 miles sits Arched Rock.
I missed the better vantage point to photograph the rock as you’ll note I’m working against the sun. However you can still see through the arch.

Looking up the coast...

Looking up the coast…

Looking up the coast…

Hard to believe we’ve got a doozy of a storm hitting us today, yesterday? Take a look. This picture was taken from the same vantage point as that of the Arch Rock.

Jenner and the Russian River

Jenner and the Russian River

Jenner and the Russian River

Map #3 shows CA Hwy#1 crossing over the Russian River about three miles S. of the small hillside community of Jenner. Jenner overlooks the mouth of the Russian River. This picture taken about a mile from ‘town’.

Sea Lions as promised.

Sea Lions as promised.

Sea Lions as promised.

Looks like one waddled-off for a salt water dip and is now returning…

Just north of Jenner

Just north of Jenner

Just north of Jenner

Ca Hwy#1 takes to a series of climbing switchbacks with 15 mph turns and rises about 800 feet (perhaps more?), in the process.
It’s not a desired roadway for those who suffer car sickness.

We paused here...

We paused here…

We paused here…

right over some kelp beds with a Sea Otter in their midst. I tried to catch the critter using a telephoto setting but alwas, he was up, then under, then up over there. No cooperation = no photo!

Note CA Hwy #1 in the background. We had to dodge cows getting here, and more were ahead. The following photo taken looking up the road, from this same location.

Looking up the road...

Looking up the road…

Looking up the road…

Looking up the road…Yes, we’re ‘greening-up’

Russian River Mouth

Russian River Mouth

Russian River Mouth

The broad sandbar you see here waxes and wanes with the river’s flow. A lot of this bar is going to wash-out this week if the talking weather heads are correct. This will improve the Steelhead fishing (Steelhead are an ocean-going trout and a highly prised gamefish). Hard to depict in this photo are the twenty’er so sea lions basking on the sandbar right at the river’s mouth. Yeah, they’re probably full’o Steelhead… Close-up’ll follow.

Finally, Fort Ross

Finally, Fort Ross

Finally, Fort Ross

This is the fort itself, taken from a field about 1/4 mile south. State says it dates from 1812 when the Russians, using native Alaskans (Aleuts) set-up shop to gather otter pelts, log and farm, the latter for the purpose of supplying the Russian outposts in Alaska. It was a trading post which supplied materials (including guns) to the Californios (the Mexican residents) who came from as far away as Sacramento.

Chapel and Armory Shops

Chapel and Armory Shops

Chapel and Armory Shops

The State has been improving this site, it’s much changed since my first visit in 1964, (the second day after my Army discharge at Ft. Lewis). I rode down the coast on the biggest Honda made in those days, a 305cc. Dream - when you could park right next to Fort’s wall. Which wall? I’m not at all sure today.

The Fort is square, about 350’ to a side, with two block houses on opposite corners. The Chapel is not the original, the original burned-down in about 1966, this is a replica of the original.

The multi-storied building was the armory and carpentry shops.

Need a musket?

Need a musket?

Need a musket?

Picture taken through the bars of the armory.

From the upstiars Armory window

From the upstiars Armory window

From the upstiars Armory window

I did say the glass provided lots’o distortion….

Original Hwy#1?

Original Hwy#1?

Original Hwy#1?

We walked back to the parking lot on this road, now used for Handicapped access only. Perhaps it’s the original highway? I dunno! It does show the ‘sea-side’ of the fort.

See that paved 'trail', high left here?

See that paved ‘trail’, high left here?

See that paved ‘trail’, high left here?

That’s the Fort Ross Road on Map #3. It’s one lane, steep’n twisty. That’s our departure route.

Bill on the 'paved trail'

Bill on the ‘paved trail’

Bill on the ‘paved trail’

It’s Fort Ross Road on Map#3, but depicted with a rather board line don’t ya think? Steep, but very pretty. Never saw another vehicle on this section.

Inside the Fort

Inside the Fort

Inside the Fort

The administration building in the background. The construction was interesting, everything was tounge’n groove or mortise jointed with floor planks about 24” wide. The window glass would all seem original ‘floated glass” (lots of distortion).

Whoa!  Forgot this one!

Whoa! Forgot this one!

Whoa! Forgot this one!

This is an early photograph of the original Chapel (the original mind you), and has written on it (though hard to read here), ‘1911’, this when the State says ‘1912’. This is the one that burned-down circa 1966. Yes, it’s a photo of a photo…

We were ahead of schedule...

We were ahead of schedule…

We were ahead of schedule…

Schedule? Yes, to get across the G.G. Bridge free, and thus save $5. we didn’t want to hit the bridge until after 4PM, but before 6PM. Motorcycles are HOV’s (high occupancy vehicles), and thus ‘free’ during commute hours. So, we decided to ride down Hwy 116 to Gurneville (Gurn-ville), and turn-up Armstrong Redwoods to Sweetwater Springs and ride that ‘path’. This is one of my favorite ‘paved trails’.

More pictures and comments received 01/05

Lesson here...

Lesson here…

Lesson here…

To avoid a tip-over (I didn’t), don’t use your sidestand over a gopher run. No damage, snapped-off the breakaway mirror - but still an awe-s*^t moment.

Helps to include the photo heh?

Helps to include the photo heh?

Helps to include the photo heh?

Soda Break… Cazadero Gorcery, one of the three businesses in town (excludes the Post Office). George Ruper was here, albeit via a different route.

Sweetwater Springs Rd.

Sweetwater Springs Rd.

Sweetwater Springs Rd.

Beautiful, steep and curvacious road that connects Armstrong Redwoods Rd. and Westside Road west of the town of Healdsburg. It’s about 11 miles in length and for years was good gravel from the ridgecrest down to Westside Road. It’s open range so chasing cows off the road is to be expected. Lots of Redwood groves along here….

Wine Country is dormant, but pretty...

Wine Country is dormant, but pretty…

Wine Country is dormant, but pretty…

These vinyards are on Westside road just about two miles from the intersection with Wholer Road and a circa 1920’s bridge over the Russian River. These vinyards and adjoining vinyards used to be owned by the late actor Fred McMurray.

Steelhead Hunters...

Steelhead Hunters…

Steelhead Hunters…

Photo taken from the Wholer Road bridge. Low water, plus all those Sea Lions at the river’s mouth do not, in all liklihood, equal good fishing.

We made it to the Golden Gate in time....

We made it to the Golden Gate in time….

We made it to the Golden Gate in time….

Wholer Road took us to River Road where we jumped back onto US Hwy #101 at the north end of Santa Rosa. We turned-up the wick, beating a path for home but paused just before crossing the bridge to stretch. Hard to believe that 80-100 MPH winds, with a deluge, were just hours away.