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  1. #1
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Riders familiar with Napa/Sonoma area... Local knowledge appreciated

    I'm considering a four day, daisy-chain ride starting in Santa Rosa. Here are links to the four routes that are being considered:

    Santa Rosa to Napa

    Napa to San Rafael

    San Rafael to Petaluma

    Petaluma to Santa Rosa

    What kind of environments would I pass through? Is it mostly desert scrub brush or will I see some forests? Redwoods? The loop passes over a mountain ridge a couple of times. I know that Old Faithful and Lake Hennessey are on the first day's route and is next to the ocean on day three. Are there other 'must see' sites along the way? Are there areas with scenic views in order to get great photos?

    Oh... and what would be the best time to do such a trip when the weather is most likely to be hot and dry?

    Thanks for any insights.
    Last edited by diverguy; 10-14-12 at 11:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    I live in San Francisco and have ridden from SF to Santa Rosa via Petaluma a couple times. I've also ridden along the coast between SF and Bodega Bay. You need to be careful about choosing routes as some of them go along shoulderless, 2-lanes roads with fast commuter traffic. Often, there aren't alternative roads. You might consider rearranging your route accordingly.

    I have never ridden Route 37 but this thread suggests it isn't a good idea: http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-223857.html and links an alternative.

    Here are some Napa County bike maps: http://nctpa.net/routes-schedules/bicycles.html (see links at bottom of page).

    Here are some Sonoma Country bike maps: http://www.sctainfo.org/Bike_Main_files/index.htm

    Here are 10 Great rides around Sonoma County: http://srcc.memberlodge.com/TGR

    Here is the Marin County bike map: http://www.marinbike.org/Map/SideA2008.pdf

    As for the environments, much of the area you are riding is urban or roads connecting urban areas. In the valleys, you will find farms, vineyards, sparse trees, etc. It won't be "desert scrub" but it won't be forests, either.

    Why are you bothering to go to Napa and from there to San Rafael? If you want to do a loop, I'd suggest you head west from Santa Rosa toward Guerneville (along the Russian River). Jenner is at the ocean and then go south. Point Reyes - Petaluma road is a nice (shoulderless) route from the coast to Petaluma (shown in the above Marin County bike map) and you have a route from there to Santa Rosa. There is no reason to ride to Napa and then from there to San Rafael unless you are in a car and in a hurry to get to San Francisco!

    By the way, all this information is from my website: www.biketouringtips.com as is other stuff you might find useful for planning this ride.

    Done right, this is some fabulous riding! Try not to be on busy roads during the commuting hours.

    Have a great time!
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  3. #3
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    Why are you bothering to go to Napa and from there to San Rafael?
    Well, two reasons. First, I have no idea about the area and was guessing at some route ideas. Second, Old Faithful is out there and I wanted to take some photos of it.

    Thanks for the info and the links. I'll definitely take a look at them and post back here if/when things change.

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    I just spend some time riding down the coast, and did some of your day 3 and spent a couple days around San Rafael.

    Bovine Bakery in Pt. Reyes Station is a required stop. If you are there on a weekend it will be crawling with roadies.

    Last week there was road construction on Sir Francis Drake through the SP Taylor park, it did not prevent me from riding through, but worth checking with Caltrans.

    The Panama Hotel was pretty funky, I was in the Captains Cabin and did not like that room, I think all the other rooms would be better. The food at the restaurant was great. The food at Sol Food a few blocks away was great and cheap. Between Fairfax and San Anselmo you can use back roads (Olema, Center) to stay off Drake.
    ...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by diverguy View Post
    Old Faithful is out there and I wanted to take some photos of it.
    The Old Faithful in Napa (versus the one in Yellowstone) isn't all that exciting. It is in some guy's backyard and while geysers are of interest, I wouldn't go out of my way to see this one.
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    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by diverguy View Post
    I'm considering a four day, daisy-chain ride starting in Santa Rosa. Here are links to the four routes that are being considered:

    Santa Rosa to Napa

    Napa to San Rafael

    San Rafael to Petaluma

    Petaluma to Santa Rosa

    What kind of environments would I pass through? Is it mostly desert scrub brush or will I see some forests? Redwoods? The loop passes over a mountain ridge a couple of times. I know that Old Faithful and Lake Hennessey are on the first day's route and is next to the ocean on day three. Are there other 'must see' sites along the way? Are there areas with scenic views in order to get great photos?

    Oh... and what would be the best time to do such a trip when the weather is most likely to be hot and dry?

    Thanks for any insights.
    Yes, I've lived and toured in these areas.

    Point Reyes is worth more time.

    Best old-growth (much larger and more majestic) Coast Redwood groves are in Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County.

    Rains usually cease around June. Then little or no rain until October, typically. Inland is drier and significantly warmer. August is probably the hottest month. July and Sept. are often hot as well.

    More when at a computer.

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    Lake Hennessey is just a small reservoir (Napa city water supply). There's no there there. You will have ridden on a crummy stretch of road up to it for nothing (not many cars, but no shoulder and the few cars that come by are generally annoyed that a cyclist has the nerve to be there). However, there is a nice little winery just a few miles beyond the lake. If you are going that way on a day when it is open, then it might be worthwhile. Also, I usually prefer Mark West Springs Rd. to Calistoga Rd because it has less traffic. It does have a bit of missing shoulder right around Mark West Springs, so pick your time of day accordingly. When I have taken Calistoga Rd (it's been many years), I used to turn at St. Helena Rd. because it never had any traffic, but I don't know if that is the case these days.

    Hwy 37 is great if you are a masochist. It has insane levels of high speed traffic and is quite unpleasant. I would gladly go hundreds of miles to avoid that road. In fact, I have.

    When I lived in the area, we viewed Sonoma County as a place to ride steep hills with the added attraction that all the flats were quite dangerous to ride on. Okay, not all, but many. Napa County was seen as a nice place to ride as long as you stay in the rolling hills and steer clear of the Napa Valley. And Marin County was seen as a place to avoid altogether. You seem to be intent on riding a lot in those flats. Good luck with that.

  8. #8
    Idealistic Troublemaker bjorke's Avatar
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    Google Earth is a great way to preview ride routes, btw. You can see -- in amazing detail at times -- what sorts of landscape you'll encounter.
    My Cycling Log: http://www.endomondo.com/profile/202754 BikeForums Cycling Team on Endomondo: http://www.endomondo.com/teams/1747411

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Calistoga is the northern most Napa Valley town..

    .. one loop day ride can go from SF across the GG bridge thru Marin county .
    across southern Sonoma County, into Napa Proper , then to head home south to Vallejo,
    and catch the Commuter Ferry from there , back to SF.

    I used to do that one while my Parents were still there. in Napa. [now RIP].
    Now .. Vinodizneyland, so lots of hotel rooms for tourists.

    Around Conn reservoir to pope valley and Middletown in Lake county
    puts you in a top of the hill Mt St. Helena, easier than going straight up,
    but you can make a quick trip down, to Calistoga, from there.

    The valley roads are ladder like , 2 roads on edges , rung like cross roads connecting.
    Silverado Trail is on the east edge, less traffic than 29 on the westside.

    As a kid I'd ride my bike to a swimming place , the outflow
    from the reservoir, where the Dam is, But the Lawyers
    had it filled with gravel, while I was away, post HS
    in the USN during the 'Nam War era.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-14-12 at 10:51 PM.

  10. #10
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    The Old Faithful in Napa (versus the one in Yellowstone) isn't all that exciting. It is in some guy's backyard and while geysers are of interest, I wouldn't go out of my way to see this one.
    That's why I posted here... looking for that kind of information. Thanks.

  11. #11
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    Yes, I've lived and toured in these areas.

    Point Reyes is worth more time.

    Best old-growth (much larger and more majestic) Coast Redwood groves are in Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County.

    Rains usually cease around June. Then little or no rain until October, typically. Inland is drier and significantly warmer. August is probably the hottest month. July and Sept. are often hot as well.

    More when at a computer.
    Great. That helps a lot. I'll look in those areas and will probably target the first half of July as a travel time.

  12. #12
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Lake Hennessey is just a small reservoir (Napa city water supply). There's no there there. You will have ridden on a crummy stretch of road up to it for nothing
    Good information. Thanks. Considering that, and what raybo had to say about the geyser, this leg of the ride is scratched.

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Hwy 37 is great if you are a masochist. It has insane levels of high speed traffic and is quite unpleasant.
    One of the links posted about lead me to additional comments about the very same thing. Thanks. Very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    You seem to be intent on riding a lot in those flats. Good luck with that.
    Not 'intent' by any means. I don't know the area other than the very general reputation of Napa and Sonoma valleys being tourist destinations. I had no local knowledge to draw upon so I threw together some generalized routes, asked for input, and got great info. Now I know to scrap those routes and start over in different areas. That's good, useful information.

  13. #13
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    one loop day ride can go from SF across the GG bridge thru Marin county .
    across southern Sonoma County, into Napa Proper , then to head home south to Vallejo,
    and catch the Commuter Ferry from there , back to SF.

    Around Conn reservoir to pope valley and Middletown in Lake county
    puts you in a top of the hill Mt St. Helena, easier than going straight up,
    but you can make a quick trip down, to Calistoga, from there.
    A couple of good suggestions there. I'll have to look more closely at those. Thanks.

  14. #14
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    I might have to rethink this destination. You guys have passed on some great insights and I've scrapped the previous four routes. This morning I mapped out a route starting from Embarcadero, crossing the GG bridge, up 101 into Petaluma, over to Sonoma, into downtown Napa, and ending at Vallejo, then taking the ferry back. That turned out to be 82 miles with 3889 feet of climbing. Considering all of the scenic stops along the way and the number of photos I would want to take, that distance and climbing isn't practical. It could be broken up into two days, staying overnight in Petaluma, perhaps.

    Then I came up with a shorter route that started in the same place, went across the bridge, hooked right over to Tiburon, and took the ferry back but that was 16.5 miles. Granted, a significant portion of the time would be spent taking photos but that seems like a really short ride.

    I also mapped out one starting at the Muir Woods National Monument, going west to US1, following it north to Bolina Fairfax, back over the ridge, and then following Ridgecrest Blvd back to the parking lot. That's a lot of climbing in only 28 miles. The last two trips (Berkshire mountains and the Rockies) involved a lot of climbing and I was planning to take it a little easier this time.

  15. #15
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I am a bit confused on what you are trying to do. You had a 4-day route before and now you are talking about a 1-day loop. Can you be clearer what you are trying to plan so we can be more focused in our remarks.

    The ride to Tiburon from the Embarcadero is a more interesting ride if instead of "hooking right" at the end of the bike path that starts in Sausalito (and ends in Mill Valley), you continue over Camino Alto (or take the bike path next to the freeway) and then hook right to ride along Paradise Road into Tiburon. This is going the "long" way that most people ride. It is more like 25 miles and has some wonderful views of the bay that you won't see otherwise.

    If you want to make this even more scenic, at the cost of some climbing, you can go left just over the GG Bridge and ride up the Marin Headlands on Conzelman Road. At the top, there are some fantastic views of the Bay Area and the GG Bridge. On the (very steep) way down, the views of the end of the Golden Gate (the opening not the bridge) are stunning. You can then rejoin the road to Sausalito and make your way to Tiburon. This will add about 7 miles to your ride, some short, steep climbing and descending sections, and stunning views.

    It would be my choice for a 1-day loop around the Bay Area for a fit cyclist.
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    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I am a bit confused on what you are trying to do. You had a 4-day route before and now you are talking about a 1-day loop. Can you be clearer what you are trying to plan so we can be more focused in our remarks.
    Sure. Sorry about any confusion. The goal is to put together a trip that includes four or five days of riding through areas that give me scenic shots for photography. These could be natural like mountains, oceans, lakes, desert formations or man-made like old wooden bridges, etc. My personal preference, in order, is 1) a hub-and-spoke tour where I end up back in the same hotel each night (no extra weight on the bike) or 2) a daisy-chain tour with the trunk and panniers. A variation of the hub-and-spoke tour is where I have to load the bike into a rental car and take it to a starting point each day. So, I'm exploring options and routes for such a trip in the San Francisco area.

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    The ride to Tiburon from the Embarcadero is a more interesting ride if instead of "hooking right" at the end of the bike path that starts in Sausalito (and ends in Mill Valley), you continue over Camino Alto (or take the bike path next to the freeway) and then hook right to ride along Paradise Road into Tiburon. This is going the "long" way that most people ride. It is more like 25 miles and has some wonderful views of the bay that you won't see otherwise.
    Something like this? http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1814198

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    If you want to make this even more scenic, at the cost of some climbing, you can go left just over the GG Bridge and ride up the Marin Headlands on Conzelman Road. At the top, there are some fantastic views of the Bay Area and the GG Bridge. On the (very steep) way down, the views of the end of the Golden Gate (the opening not the bridge) are stunning. You can then rejoin the road to Sausalito and make your way to Tiburon. This will add about 7 miles to your ride, some short, steep climbing and descending sections, and stunning views.

    It would be my choice for a 1-day loop around the Bay Area for a fit cyclist.
    If I understood you correctly, it kind of works out to be the same route as above but with a loop, out and back, to the recreation area. Is this what you were describing? http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1814523 The distance works for me, the scenery and photo ops would certainly be there... that's a hefty climb for a Florida boy but I'll make it to the top if I have to get off and push. ;-)

    If the above routes are on track, I'd like to come up with three or four more routes. It would be great to see and ride through a redwood forest, too. Not sure how viable that is.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I think the Calistoga Old Faithful is virtually coin operated

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by diverguy View Post
    If I understood you correctly, it kind of works out to be the same route as above but with a loop, out and back, to the recreation area. Is this what you were describing? http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1814523 The distance works for me, the scenery and photo ops would certainly be there... that's a hefty climb for a Florida boy but I'll make it to the top if I have to get off and push. ;-)
    That is the route I was describing. Note that on a foggy day, the ride "Up the headlands", as the locals say, is not worth it as you won't see anything.

    The place to ride through redwoods might be Samuel P. Taylor State Park between Fairfax and Olema. The latter part of the ride from Fairfax to Samuel P. Taylor is on a winding, shoulderless road that weaves through redwoods and there is a bike path through the park. It is an enchanting ride if done when traffic is low and the sun is dabbling through the trees.

    I don't know about wooden bridges (that is more an Oregon thing) but the area north of Fairfax/Olema has some older towns with lots of interesting buildings and vistas. Once you are on the coast, the views are stunning. It will be a challenge to see much desert without driving a long way, though dry scrub abounds in some areas. While there are coastal "mountains" all around here, the big Sierra-sized mountains are hours away by car.

    A hub and spoke tour from SF makes no sense as the only real way to go is north and you won't see much difference in what you can see a day's ride away. You might consider picking a spot up the coast, taking a bus or bumming a ride from craigslist.com to, say, Gualala or Mendocino and then riding down. You should be able to find hotel accommodation each night, though it might not be cheap, and you could ride all the way back to SF. I recently rode from Mendocino down to Petaluma (a day's ride from SF) in 3 days. I rode along the stunning coast and then inland at the Russian River and then south through farmland to Petaluma. The ride from Petaluma to SF is via Fairfax and with a bit of a detour, you could get to Fairfax through Samuel P. Taylor Park and the bit of second growth redwoods there (note, there are a few "saved" first growth trees in the State Park, I believe). You can read about my recent ride down the coast, if you would like to see what that might be like.

    The very best place around here to see first growth redwoods is in Muir Woods, which you can ride a bike to but a car or bus works well, too.
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  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
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    Hi Diverguy,

    I have a clearer idea of what your priorities are.

    Marin Headlands: highly recommended.

    Be aware of the fog and likely fog patterns. June through August there is usually morning fog in and near SF and the Golden Gate, and near the ocean. The fog typically burns off in late morning, and often rolls back in late afternoon. That pattern can vary; but on many days during these months, that is exactly the pattern -- almost like clockwork, but with some random variations thrown in.

    The fog doesn't have to be seen as the enemy, though. Just be prepared. Many tourists can be seen shivering in their summer shorts and shirts in SF in July. If you have a good layering system, you can handle it easily. It an be a misty and wettng fog sometimes.

    It can also be very beautiful. Very. Some of the favorite pctures in my mind are of the fog spilling over the mountains. It flows and swirls like an immense white tidal wave that is weightless.

    It's also beautiful viewed from above -- fom a plane, or a tall building, hill, or mountain.

    The views from atop Mount Tam (Tamalpais) are great. Highly recommended.

    You can probably find some good photography on the web of this fog. I used to have a print of the GG Bridge half shrouded in fog, photographed from above the Bay, and it was a favorite image. You can get similar views from high in the hills of Marin Headlands.

    Point Reyes has some great rides and views. I met an artist named Stephan Bauman(n) as I recall who included a painting he did there in his PBS painting series called 'The Grand View.' If you google it, there is a free episode from that series on one of the artistnetworktv-like sites. And it is the Pt. Reyes episode. It gives an idea of what the beaches and cliffs of Pt. Reyes are like.

    The small beaches and pirate coves on the Tomales Bay side of Point Reyes are very beautiful and charming. The water of the bay is much calmer than on the ocean or Pacific side. Warmer and better for swimming too. There is a small trail connecting some of those beaches. Good Hiking. The ride through Inverness to those beaches is also a good one. The Inverness Library might be the most charming anywhere. Worth a stop. Just a very short detour.

    There are also good campgrounds on Point Reyes. Some sites are up in the forested hills, others are right on the ocean. Point Reyes almost feels more like an island than a peninsula -- it is very pene-insula. The plants are different, the soil is different, the geology is different, the feel is different.

    Apparently, in geological time it is just floating by, and happens to be partly touching the mainland right now. A good time to ride aboard on a bike. It's a gem.

    There are also some good rides down on the SF Peninsula, above the Palo Alto area. I like Old La Honda Road to Skyline, south to Alpine Road, then down through Loma Mar to Pescadero and the ocean. Then you can loop back up via Tunitas Creek. West La Honda Road is another option. There are some great views and photography opportunities from Windy Hill, Skyline, and Russian Ridge. There are some majestic old-growth redwoods at a quiet,relatively unknown grove called Heritage Grove.

    This whole area feels different from Marin County. (Also, West Marin County is very different from East.)

    Page Mill Road is an option for the descent.

    If you like architecture, the Stanford Campus might be worth a brief tour. Caltrain departs near the Embarcadero, accepts roll-on bikes -- avoid commute hours -- and will let you off at University, and there is a bike path right across from the station that goes up Palm Drive. Google Street View will give you an idea, but it isn't quite like being there. The Chapel, the Rodin Sculpture Garden, and the general layout of the campus are beautiful. I believe the same designer-architect (Olmstead) also designed Central Park, among other projects.

    [You can also ride one or both ways via the paved bike trail (Sawyer) that runs along Crystal Springs Reservoir, to Canada Road, to Mountain Home Road (at Roberts Market), to Sandhill Road, to Old La Honda Road (or, in the other direction, Stanford). This makes for a good ride from SF.]

    Camping in the redwoods at Butano is an option. It's a nice, quiet, low key, out of the way spot.

    Returning to Marin, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Civic Center in San Rafael. I love walking around inside that building. It is genius.

    There is a nearby ride that follows the bay past China Camp, which is an interesting little out of the way spot with an interesting history. There are also some nice little parks along the bay on that ride. And a campground. On the other end is a Whole Foods, with a Trader Joes and a Performance Bike shop across the street.

    There is a ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island. There is camping (reserve early for July though), and good views of San Francisco, the bridges, and around the Bay Area.

    Hope some of that is of interest.

    (And please excuse any typos. I'm getting low on time.)

    Have a great trip.

  20. #20
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    That is the route I was describing. Note that on a foggy day, the ride "Up the headlands", as the locals say, is not worth it as you won't see anything.
    Good to know. Niles H also noted that July, when I was originally thinking of going, is commonly foggy in the morning but tends to clear by mid day. So, I could sleep in a bit, start out mid-morning, end up at the headlands about mid-day hoping the fog has lifted, and finish the ride by mid-afternoon. That could work quite nicely.

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    The place to ride through redwoods might be Samuel P. Taylor State Park between Fairfax and Olema. The latter part of the ride from Fairfax to Samuel P. Taylor is on a winding, shoulderless road that weaves through redwoods and there is a bike path through the park. It is an enchanting ride if done when traffic is low and the sun is dabbling through the trees.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I checked it out on Google Street View. The road through the park is a little rough but the views of the redwoods would be worth it. I initially mapped out a route that turns back on Platform Bridges Road and backtracks. But it only adds an additional mile and one more climb to go out past Nicasio Reservoir and come back that way. The road looks decent and the grassland/farmland scenery looks nice. What do you think of the route?

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I don't know about wooden bridges (that is more an Oregon thing) but the area north of Fairfax/Olema has some older towns with lots of interesting buildings and vistas. Once you are on the coast, the views are stunning. It will be a challenge to see much desert without driving a long way, though dry scrub abounds in some areas. While there are coastal "mountains" all around here, the big Sierra-sized mountains are hours away by car.
    Ah. Those were just examples. I'm not necessarily seeking them out on this trip. The last tour was through the high desert Rockies and the tour before that was the Berkshire Mountains up into Vermont to tour the covered bridges.

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    A hub and spoke tour from SF makes no sense as the only real way to go is north and you won't see much difference in what you can see a day's ride away.
    I'm beginning to understand that. Always helps to get the perspective of locals. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I recently rode from Mendocino down to Petaluma (a day's ride from SF) in 3 days. I rode along the stunning coast and then inland at the Russian River and then south through farmland to Petaluma. The ride from Petaluma to SF is via Fairfax and with a bit of a detour, you could get to Fairfax through Samuel P. Taylor Park and the bit of second growth redwoods there (note, there are a few "saved" first growth trees in the State Park, I believe). You can read about my recent ride down the coast, if you would like to see what that might be like.
    Great travel log and stunning photos! Nicely done. Looks like a great trip.

  21. #21
    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    The small beaches and pirate coves on the Tomales Bay side of Point Reyes are very beautiful and charming. The water of the bay is much calmer than on the ocean or Pacific side. Warmer and better for swimming too. There is a small trail connecting some of those beaches. Good Hiking. The ride through Inverness to those beaches is also a good one. The Inverness Library might be the most charming anywhere. Worth a stop. Just a very short detour.
    Thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response. It's very much appreciated. At least one of my rides will take me out to the Point Reyes area and a small side trip down to the Tomales Bay area seems definitely in order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    There are also some good rides down on the SF Peninsula, above the Palo Alto area. I like Old La Honda Road to Skyline, south to Alpine Road, then down through Loma Mar to Pescadero and the ocean. Then you can loop back up via Tunitas Creek. West La Honda Road is another option. There are some great views and photography opportunities from Windy Hill, Skyline, and Russian Ridge. There are some majestic old-growth redwoods at a quiet,relatively unknown grove called Heritage Grove.
    The suggestion is a good one. I plotted this out and it was 7369 feet of climbing over a 57 mile loop. It's a bit more than I'm up to doing on a multi-day vacation tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    [You can also ride one or both ways via the paved bike trail (Sawyer) that runs along Crystal Springs Reservoir, to Canada Road, to Mountain Home Road (at Roberts Market), to Sandhill Road, to Old La Honda Road (or, in the other direction, Stanford). This makes for a good ride from SF.]
    Your suggestion got me to poking around on the map and I came up with this possible route:
    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1816451
    For some reason, it wouldn't let me map out onto Skyline Blvd for about 1/2 mile but Street View shows traffic going both directions along that section so it shouldn't be a problem. Past the reservoirs, over the hills down by the ocean, and then cross back over at Pacifica. About 39 miles and 3713 feet of climbing. What do you think? It's probably not enough climbing for your tastes but do you foresee any problems with the route?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    There is a nearby ride that follows the bay past China Camp, which is an interesting little out of the way spot with an interesting history. There are also some nice little parks along the bay on that ride. And a campground. On the other end is a Whole Foods, with a Trader Joes and a Performance Bike shop across the street.
    I'm going to look into that one a bit further, too.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I think the Calistoga Old Faithful is virtually coin operated
    FWIW: Even the "real" Old Faithful in Yellowstone wasn't exactly the highlight of the park at least for me.

  23. #23
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    I see a lot of good suggestions to check out in the area! But I'd like to slip a couple in myself, perhaps Lake Sonoma could be added to the list, the lake has a nice look out for some very scenic pictures and the ride itself is wonderful! There's also a few different loops through Alexander valley as well (those are both towards healdsburg so further north then I think you're currently looking at). Petaluma has a marsh/wetlands trail system that links up the sonoma coast I believe.. also another good one for scenery. Oh and I disagree with the earlier flats comment, I ride the flats in this area all the time and hardly ever have any issues.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

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    If you are planning a ride down the Peninsula, be aware that the stretch of Highway 1 from Pacifica to Montera is known locally as Devil's Slide and is a particularly nasty bit of highway. Do not ride it during rush hour. I've ridden around SF for years and never once had the nerve to ride on this bit of road.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

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    No longer just a beginner diverguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    If you are planning a ride down the Peninsula, be aware that the stretch of Highway 1 from Pacifica to Montera is known locally as Devil's Slide and is a particularly nasty bit of highway. Do not ride it during rush hour. I've ridden around SF for years and never once had the nerve to ride on this bit of road.
    Okay. Good tip. Thanks.

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