Monday, September 26, 2011

Lucas Valley Road to Tomales, Point Reyes, and Mt. Tamalpais

This weekend seven of us rallied for a ride along the Marin coastline and nearby hills. Rain had threatened to cancel our ride at the last minute, but we took the plunge and hoped Weather.com's "30% chance of precipitation" would convert into a few light mistings at worst. Our gamble paid off and the reward was much lighter traffic than usual for this time of year and area.

One of our many group stops for the day to get our bearings and pick the route forward.

I'm a little torn on the *best* way to run these rides. The romantic part of me favors the trip over the destination and letting adventure win over perfect planning and a Garmin to guide your every turn. But, I want to value everyones time and possible frustrations over a few wrong turns or delays. So far we've been pretty lucky and the unintentional pivots have turned out well.
Our morning ride consisted of heading west on Lucas Valley Road, through Nicasio, then Samuel P. Taylor Park, up Highway 1, and then a big arc consisting of Tomales/Petaluma Road, Chilleno Valley Road, and then Petaluma/Point Reyes Road we land in Point Reyes Station for lunch.

Some locals pointed us to the Pine Cone Cafe where we enjoyed a good old-fashioned American lunch. If you're trying to lower your cholesterol level or counting calories this is not the place for you. But if you want some great comfort food while sitting on outside benches soaking in the sun then you can't beat this place.

After lunch we continued south on Highway 1 to the Bolinas Lagoon where we jumped on the Bolinas Fairfax Road towards Mount Tamalpais. The first few miles we had to punch through the marine layer which was rolling in. Once out of the fog we found ourselves in a surreal environment: Ridgecrest road runs literally along the ridge gaining altitude quickly over a series of whoop-de-dos while the view off to the right has a sea of white clouds swirling along under a clear blue sky. My only regret for the day was not taking a picture.
Our group ride ended at the road up to the top of Mount Tamalpais. From here we all rolled down into Mill Valley and went our respective ways. The ride turned out great and I look forward to the next one in this area.