Cloverdale to Santa Rosa/Santa Rosa to San Rafael

Pacific Coast Route Oregon and Northern California, Days 12 & 13

Day 12

Waking up to damp clothes and the prospect of a ride, followed by several hours of driving to retrieve our gear did very little to dampen our enthusiasm for continuing on. We understood that what we were dealing with was minor, and wouldn’t even change the course or distance of our bike trip. It was fortunate that the screw on our rack had failed so late in the game, because if that had happened earlier on, it might have been the end of our trip.

We took some time to blog on the hotel’s computer and ate up the free continental breakfast, which to our surprise included belgian waffles! By 10am we were back on the road with about 30 miles of Vineyard littered roads to cover on the way into Santa Rosa.

We reached Santa Rosa in the heat of the day, hungry and a little dehydrated. Maybe that’s why we did something we hadn’t done the entire trip…we ate at a chain restaurant, a fast-food chain at that. Panda Express never tasted so good, and soon after we picked up our Dodge Avenger at Enterprise and were headed back to the Anderson Valley for our gear.

It took over an hour and a half to get to Navarro from Santa Rosa, despite being tailgated into some serious speed on the 128 by gigantic trucks. We were amazed that they could manage to stay upright, regardless of the fact that they probably do that road all the time, and also a little relieved not to be on our bikes. In fact, the driving was almost enjoyable. The speed and comfort with which we travel by car from place to place on a daily basis is tremendous, and on that occasion, we had reason to appreciate it even more.

We picked up our gear, showered the Navarro store-owner with praise, bought as much food and drink as we could possibly need as a thank-you, and started making our way back through the vineyards of the Anderson Valley.

On the way back to Santa Rosa, we stopped at Roederrer winery, which is known for its bubbly wines (Roederrer is the winemaker responsible for Cristal, among other well-known champagnes). After some refreshing tastings there, we headed to Toulouse, which was Yelp’s suggestion for the best winery in town. Toulouse is hands-down, no doubt about it, my favorite winery. We sampled four whites and five reds and both of us LOVED all but one of them. That’s a very high hitting percentage, especially since we’ve lived in and around wine-country for several years now. After a quick pass through Healdsburg to get another look at their charming downtown area (we’re in love with this city!), we pushed on towards our hotel.

 
 
When we got back to our hotel in Santa Rosa, the Best Western Plus Garden Inn, we took a few moments to lay in bed and relax, but were soon ready for more adventure. Not feeling hungry even though it was getting dark, we decided to go see The Campaign at a theatre nearby and were treated to lots of laughs. Afterwards, we headed to Russian River Brewery nearby for a late-night meal and beer. Apparently, that’s the spot to go for such things, as we ended up on a waitlist to sit down at 10:30pm. The wait was worthwhile though, and we had a great meal and I treated myself to “Pliny the Elder,” one of the best IPA’s of the trip.

Day 13

The last day of our trip was sort of relaxed because my friend Reuben wasn’t due back in the Bay Area with my car keys until early evening. We slept in for the first time during the trip and spent a few hours updating our blog at the hotel computer. Then, we returned the rental car and headed back out on our unloaded tandem to do the last 50 miles of our trip.

We passed through first Petaluma, then Novato, inching ever closer to our destination of San Rafael. Leftover cheetos and Red Bull were consumed, climbs were conquered, cow pastures were successfully moo-ed at; we got it done.

 
 
 
In fact, we got it done well enough that we reached our destination in time to hit BJ’s Brewery for Pizookie (for those of you not in the know, this is the best restaurant dessert money can buy). Then, we road the inter-city bike route to Fairfax, which turned out to include what was by far the steepest hill on the trip. Fairfax was cool and the little neighborhoods of San Anselmo and Kentfield made us dream of the future (a future with a lot more money, ideally).

 
 We met up with Reuben back in San Rafael around 6pm, ready to bring an end to our trip, but still having to drive my car back up to Santa Rosa to grab our gear, which we had left at the Best Western. The time in the car passed quickly, though, and soon we were back in Reuben’s neighborhood, near Golden Gate Park, eating Thai food and recounting the highlights.
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