Boondocking the Nation: 17 Days, 8300mi, 1 Motel
Marina, CA > Russian River (Rt. 116)
After spending a tent-free evening in my drainage tube, I awoke to a thick 6AM Pacific fog. The foot of my sleeping bag was partially wet with dew, though the poncho did a swell job of keeping it mostly dry. I hastily packed my gear and set off into the foggy morning air heading north up CA1. Visibility fell dramatically to 30ft by the time I got a few miles onto the 70mph freeway. I continued at 50mph calmly reserved that a multi-car pileup or any accident would come much sooner than I could react. Deadly consequences could ensue but that’s life. I would eventually get passed by a semi and follow his tail lights at a distance, red orbs fading in and out of the grey fog. Fortunately, the fog lifted near the strawberry and artichoke fields of Salina. Pickers were out already earning their family’s wages in the green flat fields.
The temperature hovers in the mid 40’s but the high humidity and constant shore winds make it feel much cooler. Brrrr.
CritterII Lurking in the weeds
I choose to stop and warm up with a cup of coffee in Half Moon Bay. I pass on the Starbucks and McDonalds and turn off CA1 toward the historic downtown. I immediately see a coffee sign and turn into a little shopping center to “Raman’s Chai and Coffee – Best Chai in the World”. Raman, a Hari Krishna, is slow to rise and take my order, a different welcomed pace, a kind warm smile. His vast menu of drinks takes me a while and I only order a medium coffee yet later regret not trying his Chai Tea. I tell him of my trip and he enthusiastically follows my story then provides further advice of sights to see in San Francisco.
His son Raj, a school teacher, shows up and we talk about my trip and his travels for the better part of an hour. Before my departure, he introduces me to his loyal morning customer base huddled around a table discussing philosophy, lifestyle and local news items.
Once more, I tell my story and hand out my blog card. They are a wise and generous group, wishing me a safe journey on my way north.
Back on the road, the air is warmer and temps continually rise as I pull closer to San Francisco.
Traffic thickens and I try out some lane splitting. With my wide cases, it only works sometimes but mostly I sit in traffic watching svelte naked sport bikes split past and to the front of the lights.
Alcatraz in the distance
I roll down to the piers on the bay then up for a ride on Lombard St, passing a marooned tour bus grounded at the front bumper and rear exhaust digging into the asphalt, its Asian passengers milling about the sidewalk.
Lombard St. is a hoot and I ride it mostly one handed, heavy on the rear brake, taking photos as the traffic inches its way down. Yeehaw!
View looking up after I made my way down safely.
I check out Haight Ashbury and while riding, receive an email response from Miss Rivka. She will be at her booth in the Point Reyes Farmer’s Market until 1PM. I key it in to the GPS and have almost exactly that amount of time to make my way there.
This Aston Martin followed me over the bridge. Cool car.
I was behind a KTM and some other adventure bike.
I cut to the Golden Gate Bridge and park for a picture...
San Francisco in the distance across the bay.
then head for Point Reyes up the twisty CA1 behind a line of the slowest cars on earth. Gahhh!
A frequented beach for the Los Angelinos
Eventually I pass the cue and arrive at the market just in time to meet the famous Darth Peach of ADVRider.com.
More beautiful in person than photographs, I introduce myself and taste some of her complex and unique varieties of jam. I select some interesting flavors such as Peppered Pomegranate and Jalapeno Garlic for fellow inmates back in the Shenandoah Valley.
I help her pack up the stand and enjoy her genuine personality and wit. She offers to show me around some of the area this afternoon and I graciously accept. While she returns home to get her Tiger, I stroll around Point Reyes for an hour then suit up when she returns.
I follow her to the Point Reyes Seashore and the views through my helmet look like snapshots from her Ride Report as she negotiates the sometimes rough road through ranch land and down toward the ocean. She frequently points out the view of Tamales Bay to the right and the foggy Pacific to the left.
Our valley tag mascot, RatFink, sneaks a ride on DP's Tiger :norton
The one and only :wave
She waves me by and I take photos descending the grass lined ridge seeming to drop precariously into the sea.
The fog lifts for a bit allowing a glimpse of the blue waves shimmering in the sun.
We park and take a walk up to a subterranean structure on a point, resting to watch the Tule Elk across the ridge.
They emit high pitched mating calls I recognize from National Geographic TV but have never heard in person.
I always wondered how she got some of those shots. Bend it like beckham...nope bend it like DP
After a while of enjoying the peaceful scenery, discussing various motorcycle topics and watching the migrating Elk, we gear up and make our way back out to CA1 headed north.
She breaks for the Post Office in Tomales Bay while I wave goodbye and continue north.
My intended camp at Jackson State Forest is too far to travel this late in the day so I continue with no particular place in mind.
Each alcove and parking area has obvious signs declaring stiff fines for camping. Soon I come across a sign for the Russian River and recall what the V-Strom rider said yesterday while stopped at the Elephant Seals. I continue upstream and enjoy the warmth of the protected inland climate. I encounter a line of stopped traffic and sit and wait for a concert to empty. The traffic does not budge for 5 minutes so I turn around and begin looking for a place to stealth camp just off the highway.
On the left is a path for the power lines with enough tree cover to hide my bike and tent from passing traffic. I set up a temporary shelter of my poncho strung to the rear rack and lay out the sleeping bag. Alongside my shelter are rows of local Pacific Blackberry bushes so I walk around picking handfuls and enjoying their sweet taste and hairy base different from our eastern variety.
Soon the sun sets and I crawl into my makeshift shelter on the ground and quickly fall asleep.