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Opinions on Somona coast loop

Old 05-25-15, 12:26 PM
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Opinions on Somona coast loop

I am traveling up to Sonoma County for a wedding in the middle of June and I have planned out a ride for the day after. I devised the ride to be near the coast since I see that the average temps in the area for June are 80F, and above 80 I start losing juice. So I'm inviting comments on this route, as I'm quite clueless what to expect. Especially interested in the safety of the PCH part of the route.

Here's the route in Google Maps:
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/2959...1146!3e1?hl=en
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Old 05-25-15, 09:56 PM
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The Sonoma Coast is wonderful for riding. Be prepared for major temp swings--cold fog along the coast and hot sun inland.

Traffic in that area is light on CA-1, especially if you can go on a weekday. Inland, if you see one car in ten miles, it's a traffic jam.

All the roads around there are great, but I'd recommend changing the southern end of the loop to take Fort Ross Road instead of Timber Cove. Fort Ross is narrower and bumpier, but in my opinion has much better scenery, including outstanding open views of the ocean. Descending Meyers Grade to the ocean is also fabulous, but it would make the ride substantially longer. Consider also riding the loop counterclockwise, so you're close to the ocean and have the prevailing north wind at your back.

As far as supplies, there are a few general stores on the coast and a water fountain at a Buddhist monastery on Hauser Bridge Road but that's it.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-26-15, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for the great reply.

Are there farms or other facilities along the loop where one could get water, besides the monastery?
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Old 05-26-15, 09:37 AM
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There are occasional farms and ranches, but they tend to have threatening signs out front about trespassing and attack dogs. The loop as you've mapped it isn't terribly long -- if you bring three water bottles and fill up at the Stewarts Point Store, the Fort Ross Store, and the Hauser Bridge monastery (at the top of the very steep climb north of the bridge over the Gualala River), you'll be fine.

If you want a somewhat less empty route, you could try this 36 mile route where you'd pass multiple towns: Cazadero, Fort Ross, Jenner, and Duncans Mills. The scenery is similar, and similarly outstanding, to the route you suggested.

Last edited by shotwellian; 05-26-15 at 09:46 AM. Reason: adding something
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Old 05-26-15, 09:46 AM
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I'd be inclined to do the loop in the opposite direction. Prevailing winds out of the NW would be less of an issue along the hillier inland section than along the open coast. You also get much better views of the ocean and coastline when riding on the ocean side of PCH.
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Old 05-26-15, 04:09 PM
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I was actually up in The Sea Ranch this weekend and did a loop that touched a small portion of the route you have here. In my case, I started in Gualala and headed south to Annapolis Road > Skaggs Springs Road > Stewarts Point, then back north on Hwy 1. About 36 miles in total, so it was a nice afternoon jaunt. The recommendation I would have is to keep the wind at your back and ride south on 1, so going counter-clockwise is ideal. If you must go clockwise, try to do it earlier in the morning as the winds tend to pick up in the afternoon.

Sadly, you have a good chance of getting buzzed a time or two by a car on Hwy 1. There's no shoulder to speak of, so you just need to keep your wits about you and keep your fingers crossed. Having a flashing LED doesn't hurt either.

I spend a great deal of time at Sea Ranch and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen the temp hit 80, so heat shouldn't be a concern. All bets are off once you go inland, but right on Hwy 1 you'll be fine.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 06-16-15, 06:14 PM
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Field Report

We had a great ride. On Saturday, my nephew and niece and I did the route suggested by shotwellian, starting in Cazadero, which was perfect since my ride partners were staying in a house on Fort Ross Road. We took Myer's Grade down to PCH from the crest of Ft. Ross.

I didn't know this would be redwood forest area, which was a nice surprise.

Another surprise, we were grinding up Ft. Ross about a quarter mile before Meyer's Grade and there was a CHP vehicle parked with lights all a-flash. A rather incongruent scene on this backwoods road. Turns out, a motorhome RV missed the turn and plunged down the 45+ grade embankment and was about 100 feet down with its nose jammed into a copse of trees. Were it not for the trees they would have had quite the carnival ride to the bottom. Apparently no one was hurt, but let's hope they were wearing their diapers. The entrance to the road at Meyer's Grade has a sign, "No RV's". No S**t!

It was mostly a foggy day, perfect for riding, but it did hamper the great ocean views.

The route took us back toward Cazadero at Bodega Bay, such beautiful pristine wilderness. Back when I was a young teen in the 50's the public had created a big fracas when PG&E planned to build a power plant there. It's nice to finally see the bay that was saved.

Driving on the way up to NorCal I made it a point to go over the GG Bridge, and on the way back over the new, new Caquinez, and the new Bay Bridge. The BB, wow! It's so unbelievably beautiful from the top deck, it was an incredible ethereal experience just to drive it. And I got this ride for free, as the car in front of me at the toll plaza paid my $4 toll! Go figure that one.

All in all, an excellent trip. The wedding on Saturday was like out of a fairy tale.
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