A couple of weeks ago, violagal on the Chain Gang website posted that she would be in the Bay Area while on her cross-country trip from Vermont — would anyone be interested in riding together? Why yes, yes we would!
We all met in Greenbrae, a tiny little burb just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Even at 9am, the weather in San Francisco was gorgeous and completely fog-free — very unusual!
A little boy was eyeing us up in the parking lot; Cole made his day by asking if he’d like to sit on his bike. The little boy’s mom made MY day by being happy and enthusiastic about that and talking about how she can’t wait to get him a little dirtbike. Cool moms rock.
Shortly thereafter, the guest of honor arrived. Miriam is quite possibly the coolest person I’ve met in a while: after defending her thesis in astrophysics from MIT, she’s decompressing by taking two months to ride her F650 around the country.
We headed west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and it occurred to me that I’d never actually been on that road before. It’s a fun sweeping ride through sections of trees and wide open areas.
When we hit Hwy 1 at Point Reyes Station, Don took the lead from Cole and led us towards Occidental. Our original plan was to eat at Point Reyes Station and call it a day, but the weather was gorgeous and none of us had any other plans, so we decided to make it a much longer ride.
Lunch was at Howard’s Cafe in Occidental. I’d last eaten there in August 2002, when Diana and I led a Wind Dancers ride up through this area. Great memories!
Three Funduros and me:
Cole, me, Miriam, Don:
During lunch, Miriam and I agreed that it was a shame that Howard’s didn’t have ice cream. “Aha,” Don said, “the best ice cream in the Bay Area is at the Chocolate Cow in Sonoma!” And so we made plans to ride to Sonoma….via the coast.
We headed out of Occidental on Coleman Valley Road, another little gem that heads west out to the Pacific.
Don on Coleman Valley:
Coming up on the ocean:
Cole left us at Hwy 1 once we hit the ocean, since he had to head back to San Francisco and get some other stuff done. Miriam, Don, and I turned back east onto the Bodega Highway — within spitting distance of our lunch stop in Occidental — and wound our way to Sonoma.
Lots of vineyards in Napa County:
The Chocolate Cow lived up to its reputation — I had a yummy chocolate milkshake and was sorely tempted to try out the truffles.
Me and Miriam at the Chocolate Cow:
After the sugar intake, we headed south towards Sears Point raceway. Miriam was going to head west back to San Rafael, Don would go east towards his home in Stockton, and I was heading south.
Miriam right before we split off:
Don heading east on Hwy 37:
Approaching the Carquinez Bridge to cross from the North Bay to the East Bay:
All in all, it was a wonderful day. Good riding, good company, and a new friend! Can’t ask for more than that.