Mid-Week Rides: Marin backroads
Tuesday, Jan 27 2015
Pictures start here
Since Chris graciously called the MWR for a Tuesday, so that I could attend, he volunteered me to do the Ride Report. Acting as your Humble Scribe, I shall attempt to live up to the standard of excrement, uh I mean excellence that has been set by my predecessors.
The pre-ride route Voting selected the northern destination of King Ridge and Meyers Grade in western Sonoma County, so we met for breakfast at the usual Pete’s Henny Penny in Petaluma at 8:30 am. Well, some of us did anyway. When I arrived at 8:32, I found Brent, Joe and Doug. No Chris or Alberto.
Chris and Alberto arrived a little before 9AM. It seems Chris had made friends with some tourists at the north end view area of the Golden Gate bridge. It took some time for Chris to tell his new friends the “Little Johnny and the San Francisco Fireman” joke, and then it apparently took more time to explain the joke to the new friends. Alberto had to translate the joke into Spanish, which took awhile, and then much laughter ensued.
After breakfast, the plan was to ride the scenic west Marin backroads through Two Rock, Fallon, Valley Ford to Occidental and Cazadero to get to the bottom of King Ridge. The morning weather was cool and slightly foggy, and we had caught a few drops of drizzle, but the roads were dry. We dried the same roads even more as Two Rock turned into Four Rock and maybe even Six Rock. Technically it wasn’t a “wendy” because after turning off Stony Point, we made a few laps around Pepper Rd., Valley Ford Rd., and Fallon Rd. to get to the turn at King Rd. Then we ran around on Fallon-Two Rock and Bodega for awhile to go past the Coast Guard Training palace (twice) and onto the Bohemian Highway to Freestone and Occidental. We stopped for a bit at Monte Rio and then went past Duncan Mills on Highway 116 to get to the Cazadero “Highway” and Cazadero.
We stopped for a break at the Cazadero store, and it turns out there’s a nice collection of Jeeps and Willys vehicles in various stages of restoration at a commercial garage across from the store. Chris and others took a few pictures. The overcast weather turned out to be a plus as we rode through the woods, as the transition from dark shade into light wasn’t as abrupt as it might have been.
Brent took off for home to do some actual work and the rest of us went on towards King Ridge, where the woods gave way to open range and green hills. And a lot of big and small black cows, with no fences between us and the cows. We rode carefully and the cows stared, but they stayed on the grass and off of the pavement. We took a break toward the top of King Ridge to take pictures.
We went down Hauser Bridge Rd. to Seaview and Meyers Grade to Highway 1 and stopped in Jenner. Chris likes a little cafe named Aquatica in Jenner, and we were relaxing there until we heard a loud noise and realized that a local had backed into Doug’s bike and knocked it over in front of the cafe. Doug and Alberto were able to catch the guy before he drove away, and he settled damages on the spot for cash versus insurance complications. The only major damage was to Doug’s windscreen, but he was able to do a field repair to get himself home. It put a damper on continuing the ride however, and so Doug and Joe took Highway 116 back to their home bases.
Chris, Alberto and myself continued down Highway 1 to Bodega Bay and then on Valley Ford/Franklin School (I think) to Whitacker Bluff Rd. to Tomales and then Marshall-Petaluma Rd. and Petaluma-Pt. Reyes through Nicasio to Lucas Valley Rd. We stopped just before 101 to stretch and say goodbyes. I went across the Richmond bridge on 580, so Chris and Alberto will have to fill in the details of their trip across the Golden Gate bridge.
When I got home, I realized that some of the “paved” roads had been a little rough; my usual habit of stashing my breakfast leftovers in my saddlebag turned out badly. Still, a great ride! Thanks, Chris.
Cazadero Hwy and King Ridge Rd
Amazing… Nah, not good enough. Phenomenal is the applicable word, and short of what really happened. But, I get ahead of myself.
8:00 am at the N. Vista point of the GG gate Chris Weld and I met. Both of us early! Yep, early, I was ready to hit the highway. But, no, Chris said: “we have to wait, I think there are others joining”. Being the ride leader, and you all know how conscientious he can get. I admire that. We shot the baloney about the different forts you can see from here (Ft. Point, Ft. Mason, Alcatraz and some other places Chris mentioned that I forget – oh well, guess I am really 66).
8:00 am sharp… “Alberto, mount up, we are heading out”.
30 minutes later we joined up with Submariner Joe, merchant Marine Pilot Douglas Mac Phearson, Gumshoe Randolph Bush, and probably the owner of the most-ever-beat-up BMW I have ever seen. I have no doubt that this bike has made to hell and back… and the rider look it too! I forget his name, white beard and ready with a smile; nice guy. One more time I warn you: Order an omelet at Pete’s Henny restaurant and be ready to enter into food-comma! Advised you are, do not come crying to us.
Time to get going, no more lolly-gagging.
Chris announces roughly the way we are heading out. Ha! He omits a few surprises along the way. Pepper Way, Pepper Road, Pepper Lane… yes, yes, you are getting the picture. Next Pepperoni, Pepper tree, pepper this and pepper that. A lot of pepper not only once but several times, which … kind of brought the question: Are you lost? Yep! Lost. I will say no more. But he is not a leader without reason, in short order map at hand, GPS at hand, the position of the sun etc… he finds his way and leads us into a flawless performance of what only be called a great ride.
After the bunch-a-peppers we wended in many a road which, while beautiful in their own right, like Cazadero Hwy, were but a teaser to the day’s price: King Ridge Rd.
Kings Ridge Road. Heaven is but a few feet higher and not much better. Get a load of this: Even, Buddha has a house not far from here! Capisch?
Citizens, if you have not ridden Kings Ridge Rd, or have no plans to ride this road, well, you might as well sell your bike! Get rid of it! Life has no meaning. For this leadership, I take the opportunity to give absolution to Mr. Weld for any mishaps he might have ever committed in this long life he so far has had. Amen.
Yes, from Kings Ridge Rd we had to descend and join the mortals down below. But what a descent! 18% grade, and you know to be coming down to earth in a hurry. Fun times.
Time for lunch. It is almost 2:00 pm. We find on Hwy 1 a small roadside “organic” restaurant. I had a clue from “organic”. If wholesome food with Focaccia bread with pesto, arugula lettuce, live-collected-eggs on Barbari bread from Afghanistan is your thing, well, by all means visit them. To me… this restaurant: Bleh! McDonalds is more my style, and I may add, substantially cheaper! But we eat whatever is available at the moment and do it happily… Down it went!!
Ah, but this lunch had its amenities, for entertainment, some lame-brain-Neanderthal ran his truck over Douglas Macpherson’s beautiful 700 Honda… tipping it over and breaking the windshield. Mind you, there are six enormous motorcycles parked side by side. How could he not see them? Luckily that was all, well, the mirror needed re-alignment. To the action came leader-Weld who swiftly produced wrenches of every kind (hmmm… the wrenches might have been from someone else, but the leader needs all the credit he can get for getting lost earlier on the day). Douglass walk away, while a bit shaken, $200 richer minus windshield (which was 80% performing). Not bad for a day!
Heading home on Hwy 1. Actually quite a pleasure as here was no traffic; I cannot imagine this road on a weekend, likely to be impassable. A little further south we cut over to Marshall Rd and homeward bound I found myself.
I started the day at 5:00 am and got home by 7:00 pm, exactly a perfect day!
The day ended with 330 miles
Pictures from the riders
Note: The pictures are in order by timestamp yet they are obviously not in the proper order. What’s going on? I wonder how many of the picture takers have checked the date/time in their camera in the last year. I’ll bet some still have their camera set to daylight savings time.