Last weekend Roman and I rode out to Mt. Vision in Pt. Reyes Station. I love Pt. Reyes and I'd ride there more frequently if I could, but it's pretty far from where I live and if I ride from my doorstep, I'm usually running low on energy by the time I make it there, so riding up Mt. Vision is usually out of the question; maybe once a year, if that.
In this case, we took advantage of Roman's car; I took BART to Berkeley and we drove out and parked at Samuel P. Taylor. I like to separate my bike riding from cars as much as possible (and I live in a place where that's actually feasible) but I admit that it was nice to get up to Bolinas Ridge without riding the usual 30 mile prerequisite.
We started by going up Shafter grade, which is a super steep uphill - I think 20% in spots. Rather than roast our legs right out of the gate, we walked-n-talked the majority of the climb. I think we saw Mike Varley coming down, but I'm not sure. It's always good to see another like minded rider out there.
It was perfect weather - Overcast with fog caught in the trees and a couple of misty sections where I had to wipe my glasses down. Roman rode his Sam and I was on my Platypus - perfect choices, both.
If I ride from my house I get to Bolinas Ridge at high noon or one but it was so much nicer to get to it earlier in the morning. It felt particularly smooth on this ride, and I don't know if it was because I felt less tired or because it had been muddy and then dried smooth.Usually I ride it on my Susie with 2.6's but the Platypus and 48mm tires felt fine. The trail looks smooth here, but it's actually one of the bumpier areas. Roman took a video of me right after I took this picture; The long wheelbase and generous W-factor (more on that later) makes a big difference on terrain like this.
After this we hopped onto the road, made our way thru Inverness and ate some sandwiches outside the market overlooking Tomales Bay. There's a shipwreck there that everybody takes pictures of, but I was more into this cute bus stop.
Right before Sir Francis Drake turns into Pierce Point Road we cut left and got back on trails.
I think the private sign is a holdover from before all the houses on this road were abandoned. This was such a beautiful trail that Roman and I purposefully rode at a glacial pace just to spend more time on it.
We had to check out at least one of the houses. This one, boarded up and covered in moss, had Department of Interior warnings pasted up all over it and even the warnings looked ancient.
Another view - A nice place really, but the plywood, heavy moss, warnings and our general surroundings gave it a spooky vibe. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a dark backstory behind this place. If you know and it's mundane - don't tell me; I prefer the mystery.
Peeping Rom. The inside had great views in every room and looked fairly intact except for some graffiti. There was a bucket full of grey water and a somewhat anachronistic bottle of Pert shampoo that suggested somebody had maybe been squatting there before it got boarded up. The toilet was positioned so while you're using it you have a direct view out towards Tomales point - luxury stuff.
This is the view from the house, more or less. This is one of those maddening scenes that blow you away in person but don't quite translate well to photographs.. or at least, I can't manage it. It looked like we were on another planet, despite only being a quarter mile from Sir Francis Drake road.
Pt. Reyes isn't like Yosemite or Zion or any of those popular destinations that have an obvious postcard view to wow visitors - it's more subtle, and that's what I love about it. It's usually overcast, and everything is dim and quiet, especially on the trails where the mossy pine trees and their detritus underfoot muffle all sound except for the drip drip of condensation falling from leaf to leaf. It's so densely wooded that you almost feel like you're indoors, and then you'll round a corner and see a break in the trees that has a view like no other, anywhere, or at least, anywhere I've been.
If you google Pt. Reyes, you'll see pictures (in uncharacteristic sunshine) of the lighthouse, the beaches, and probably the shipwreck, but I think the best part of it is on the trails where I feel totally alone and out there. That sounds like it would be disconcerting, but somehow it's the opposite.
We rode Mt. Vision road to it's end and took the singletrack from there, which is fantastic, like riding a long, green tunnel.
Sorry for the butt shot. This trail is too good; better than I deserve.
Then it opens up a bit with views of Tomales Bay to the North and seemingly endless hills packed thick with pine trees to the East.
Roman's crank developed a little play (it's an external bearing thing - we just needed a 5mm allen to fix it) and we were both more than happy to take a break and extend our time on the trail.
After that we made it back to Limantour road and descended down to Olema, where we got a coffee and sat for awhile before climbing back to Sam P. and the parked car. The shadows were getting long and we were both surprised that it was already close to 5 o'clock; We rode 36 miles or so in six hours. Perfect!