Mid-Week Rides: Cool in the North Bay
Pics start here
The day dawned gray and three intrepid riders ventured forth for a 9 am. meeting and breakfast at the Seal Rock Inn, Randy Hendricks, Dick Zunkel and me, Chris Weld. Did I mention it was cool and even later, cold? Four were expected at breakfast but one was a no-show and the large table requested went mostly un-used. We had a ‘plan’; we were to ride up to the top of Mt. Tamalpias, the highest point in the Bay Area and then down to the little isolated community of Bolinas. Our ‘plan’ stopped there. We knew we’d be north of the Golden Gate until at least 4 PM, least we each get ‘hit’ with a $6/ea. toll crossing.
Our day’s adventure started just as soon as we turned-off US#101 for the Shoreline Hwy (CA #1). The intersection was flooded with water about 5 inches deep and we were committed. (Or, perhaps, should have been….) Was there a burst water main? Or, was it just that there was an exceptionally high tide? At this writing we just don’t know! Because of the volume of water the pavement remained wet for the better part of a mile beyond the ‘crossing’. We started climbing, taking the Panoramic Hwy. up through expensive living and beyond, turning for Ridgecrest and then the road to the peak. It was near the peak that we broke-out into warm sunshine and soaked-up the rays in the peak’s parking lot. The view was blinding! From above that gray fog is blinding white.
What a wonderful place for motorcycle repair, least that seems to be what Dick Zunkel was thinking. The repair? It was a burnt-out bulb in the Honda’s scoot boot - no ‘bigee’ one would think. Well, we don’t all think alike. Out came the Swiss army knife, screws removed and now what? Nothing happens, nothing will budge. However, Chris, former big city detective, feels around and finds that the Honda engineers have provided a snap-in cover that can’t be seen, only felt. Bingo! The bulb socket bases are exposed. Now all Dick needs to do is pull the socket.
Naw, things don’t work that easy; and he can’t see inside, his small head blocks the light. Chris gets his drop light, but Dick still can’t get it to budge. Chris got it out! It’s an uncommon automotive bulb, dual filament originally. But Chris can’t get that access plate back on but Dick could (and did). It was time to take more pictures and Dick being a bicycle rider and healthy male spots a lone female bicycle rider and offers to take her picture. She rode up in just three hours from Fairfax - she was admittedly healthier than Dick.
We left the peak after watching some of the fog burn-off, you could see Richardson Bay and Marin City, but not much else. Another picture taken and we were ‘off’ for Ridgecrest and the turn down the Bolinas-Fairfax road for CA Hwy.#1. We crossed Hwy.#1 at the end of the Bolinas Lagoon, a shallow tidal bay about two miles long and turned down toward the mouth and the little enclave of Bolinas. The Bolinas Laggon, while shallow, has a huge surface area and tidal changes cause a very strong current which must pass through a narrow channel that’s only about 120 feet wide.
We took a break at the mouth of the lagoon and noticed that the ridge we’d just been on was now basking in sunlight while we were still stuck in the overcast. I took a telephoto shot of San Francisco and only the bottom fifth of Sutro Tower was visible. Before departing there was some discussion as to where? Zunkel expressed a desire, no a need, to photograph the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Randy and I were ‘game’. We rode up CA Hwy.#1 for Olema and then out through Bear Valley pausing to use facilities at the Visitor’s Center. Randy lead us forth from there, through Inverness Park, Inverness and beyond. The lighthouse is 16 miles beyond Inverness.
Traffic is all but non-existent, but deer are everywhere. We saw 100 deer if we saw one. What was missing were the Roosevelt Elk, we never saw a one. We couldn’t walk down to the lighthouse as it’s closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, not that we’d likely descend the 300 stairs necessary as what goes down, must come up. Dick, who’s handicapped and needing a new hip, left his placard at home he started the walk from the parking lot but gave-up to retrieve his motorcycle taking chance that proof of his ‘condition’ would dismiss a ticket.
Leaving the light behind we ventured back toward Inverness (the road is a dead-end) and took a short wendy (read u-turn), to see the old RCA building. International communications at one time required short wave communication and RCA had an installation and antennae farm out here. It was back to Inverness again when Chris spots this dinky little road to the Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm. Never been, and why not? Unusual pavement too! The Drake’s Bay Oyster farm sits at the back of the estero (lagoon), part of Drake’s Bay. It’s a ramshackle collection of structures but with lots of activity. By now we’re aware that the 3/4 mile road we’d just traversed was paved with crushed oyster shells. The attractive middle-aged clerk behind the sales counter is one of the owners and gives us a tour, explaining the process for farming oysters. They produce 40% of the oysters consumed and operate the only oyster cannery in the State. We learned that a large oyster takes about 18 months submerged; that larva are imported from Washington state and that the round, covered tubs seen in the photographs here are heated to promote attachment. An oyster attaches to another oyster’s shell and grows from there.
The owner guide lamented the fight the company is currently engaged with both the Park Superintendent (Point Reyes is all park of the Point Reyes National Seashore, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area), and the California Coastal Commission. It’s been over a year that they’ve been pursuing a roofing permit. There’s an effort to push them out of business and they employ a staff of thirty.
Hwy#1 back to the Golden Gate Bridge was the chosen return route and we paused a couple miles south of Stinson Beach as the sun was getting ready to set and provided an unusual lighting of the Farallon Islands. I arrive home just after nightfall, the day was just over 150 miles for me. The temperature had dropped faster than the sun set..it was a two cocktail warm-up.