Enjoy the Journey!

Heading Out of San Francisco and Meandering through Marin

Carla King

Heading out of the San Francisco Bay can be such a slow, enjoyable process you may not even get out of Marin County and up into the wine country on your first day. On a sunny day, I urge visitors who have the time, to ride to Stinson Beach with its wide sandy expanses of Pacific ocean-front. And then the winding road to the top of Mount Tamalpias beckons, “Come take a look at this view!” Old Fairfax-Bolinas Road swoops along gentle hillsides and into dense redwood forest with trees whose trunks have wiggled their toes into the road. A swoop around Nicasio Reservoir invites faster-than-legal speeds, but don’t worry, gangs of colorful, loud sport bikers usually keep the cops busy, so just putt putt by and give them a wave. Another night in San Francisco or Marin, and then you’ll be ready to head farther north, or east, or farther flung!

 Hmmmm. Which road today? Photo by Kinny Jones

 Up the hill from Stinson to Mount Tam. Photo by Kinny Jones


Roads are surprisingly empty, especially on weekdays. Photo by Kinny Jones

There are always surprises. During a group ride to Bodega Bay we turned west on the Bohemian Highway. My group zoomed through Freestone without stopping but I spotted a cute little bakery called Wild Flour Bread. Curious, I came to a full stop, parked the bike, and stood in line with about 20 people swooning from the fragrance of fresh gluten baking in wood-fired ovens. A burly guy on a Harley told me he makes a two-hour pilgrimage here every weekend.

It wasn’t long before I was at the front of the line and had to choose from an array of equally tempting options. What, are you trying to kill me? I asked the guy at the counter, who turned out to be the owner Jed Wallach. Sticky buns? Naaah. I’ll hve the apricot-nectarine and double-chocolate orange apricot scones, and the white chocolate ginger scones, too. And a couple peach pecan as well. My friends will thank me, if I catch up with them.

Photo: Wild Flour Bread website

After enjoying a bite of each, and strolling the organic garden outside, I hopped back on the bike and caught up with my group in Bodega Bay, passing out tastes of what they’d missed.

Wild Flour Bread is open Friday through Monday including holiday weekends except for Christmas day, from 8:30 to 6:00. They’re closed Tuesday through Thursday.

Freestone is a small, unincorporated community in Sonoma County located at the intersection of Bohemian Highway and Bodega Highway. It’s west of Sebastopol along Salmon Creek on Valley Ford, California. It is a small town of only about 50 people. The town is only about 1/2 mile from one end to the other.

Vegetarian pizza is on the menu each Friday and Monday.

A FAVORITE MARIN-COUNTY LOOP

I’ve included a map of one of my favorite rides, below. I head out of San Francisco on the coast road and stop at Point Reyes, just to cruise town, see if there’s anything going on. If not, maybe visit the Cowgirl Creamery for a snack, or to pick up supplies for a picnic lunch, or nab a packet of luxuriously rich cheese to bring home with me. Point Reyes has a lot of great lunch spots, too, where you can just hang out on a patio and see what new oyster bacon-cheese-concoction some new chef or other has come up with.

Freestone is next on the list for the bread and coffee. Then Occidental next door, if you’re lucky, for a stop at Osmosis Spa where you sit naked in a big tub and they cover you with soft, hot, fermenting cedar chips. (I know it sounds gross but it’s awesome.) Then you shower off in warm spring water and chill out in a private room, or meditate in the formal Japanese garden. Massage? Yep, they’ve got that, too. Your motorcycle ride will be transformed. Either that or you can stay at one of the nearby B&Bs.

After that you can join the throngs of motorcyclists racing around Nicasio Reservoir and then head to Fairfax, NorCal’s famous back-in-time hippie town, for some fresh, organic, handmade ice cream in flavors like rose and lavender at the Fairfax Scoop. (They’ve got the standard strawberry and chocolate, too.) If it’s a hot day there will be a line down the sidewalk. But it’s worth the wait.

Finally, head down Sir Francis Drake through San Anselmo – another terribly cute NorCal town – but this one is a bit fru fru, and you’ll eventually connect with 101 and be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Not ready to stop yet? Make a right turn immediately off the bridge and head west through the Presidio to Ocean Beach.

There now. You’re a local.

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Heading Out of San Francisco and Meandering through Marin Copyright © 2014 by Carla King. All Rights Reserved.

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