Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mini bike trip

Nim's been away at backpacking camp for 11 days now (I pick her up tomorrow), so naturally I came up with a notion for Chad and me to enjoy last weekend:

Take bikes on train up to SF.
Ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and up to Santa Rosa via the scenic route.
Stay in Santa Rosa overnight, then ride via another scenic route down the Napa Valley to Vallejo.
Take the ferry from Vallejo to SF, then take the train back home.

Chad, who is good at accommodating my notions, happily played along with this plan :)

We were too busy riding, talking, and musing about life to take pictures, so I only have a few from the ferry at the end when we had time to kill.  Perhaps that was appropriate since the loop was dreamed up around the possibility of easily taking bikes on the ferry across the bay -- something I had never done before.  (It's easy:  ride your bike up to the dock, scan your clipper card, get on the boat and put bike on the rack on the stern of the boat; reverse process to get off at the other end.)

Waiting for the ferry.  There was a convenient restaurant with a terrace overlooking the water next to the ferry dock.

Resting in comfort out of the wind at the end of the ride. You really get a size of how large the Bay is when you get out on it.  It was also quit jolly seeing familiar sights and landmarks from unfamiliar angles.

Other observations we made:

The bike behavior of tourists cycling is quite different than that of cyclists touring.  (particularly noticeable around the bridge)  Beware the tourists cycling.  

The climb up Franz Valley Road between Santa Rosa and Calistoga is just delightful, as was zipping down the edge of the valley on Silverado Trail while the tailwind lasted :)  

There are too many cars!!  By and large I had mapped out a good route, but there were a few sections that were more busy than expected.  I don't remember it being quite this infested the last time I rode out in this direction.

If your lunch is smaller than expected (scrounged from the very small Nicasio store), just wait for the cheese factory down the road.  Mmmm....truffle brie....I'm very glad Chad spotted it and stopped.

One should be aware of when Giants games let out when one plans to take the Caltrain.  When we got to the SF station, the line of people for the next train in 20 minues snaked two corners around the block and down Townsend; we were lucky that the train conductor saved the bike car for people with bikes and only people with bikes, so we got a seat. After two days and about 140 miles and Chad's ailment that turned out to be a sinus infection, that was most appreciated!

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