Valley Ford to Duncans Mills & Jenner

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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Today’s group ride meets up at Dinucci’s parking lot in Valley Ford. Water and porta-potties are available across the street at the Valley Ford Market.

We head north on Valley Ford Rd/Hwy 1 to Freestone Valley Ford Rd and Bodega Hwy. The rolling hillsides are turning green again-hooray for the rains!

We turn on Bohemina Hwy and roll through the quaint little town of Freestone. The Wild Flour Bread Bakery is only open Friday thru Monday only; I’ll have to plan on leading a ride out here on a weekend to enjoy their baked goods.

It’s great to be out here on a weekday; there is barely any traffic! We get to enjoy the roads and the surrounding landscape!

The short climb under the canopy of trees on Bohemian Hwy takes us into the next little town of Occidental.

The fun and fast descent on Bohemian Hwy brings us into the next town of Monte Rio. We cross the Russian River and continue on River Rd/Hwy 116 towards Duncans Mills. I love this whole section of road; you catch glimpses of the Russian River between the trees, the pavement is nice and the surrounding area is just very open and gorgeous! This is like a vacation ride.

Our next turn on Austin Creek Rd takes us about 3.5 miles through the redwoods along the creek. Make the choice to ride in silence to hear the sounds of the water rushing along the creek; it’s a treat for the ears!

We cross the creek and head south on Cazadero Hwy. Once we made the turn, it was just dead silent; we were the only people there! It seemed as if everything was in tune for that one moment-what an amazing feeling! I certainly feel blessed to be able to be out here and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us all.

Cazadero Hwy leads us back to River Rd/Hwy 116. We arrive at our lunch stop at the Gold Coast Bakery in Duncans Mills. There is a nice rear patio area for all to enjoy. Water and restrooms are available. If you don’t like baked goods, you can also head across the street to one of the cafes along B St for sandwiches and more.

After lunch, we continue to head west on River Rd/Hwy 116 to Hwy 1. This next section of road is really beautiful; there are old barns & ranches and the rolling pastoral green hills are dotted with cows.

Wyatt and I are opting to do the extra out and back to Jenner, others are doing the same-we’re following the ride leader! We head north on Hwy 1 for another 1.5 miles or so to the point where the Russian River cascades into the Pacific Ocean.

There is a wide turn out area for us all to enjoy the spectacular views of the river and ocean coming together. There are thousands of birds and many seals along the sandy point. There is a light haze of fog lingering above the cliffs; it’s just gorgeous out here! WOW! For me, this is definitely the HIGHLIGHT of today’s ride!

Alas, it’s time to go; we get back on Hwy 1 and head south for the next 10+ miles. There is a short moderate climb up to Goat Rock and thereafter, it’s a series of rollers along the Sonoma Coastline-it’s a blast! The scenery and views of the coast are magnificent! This is a must-do ride!

We also make a short stop at the Nicholas Green Memorial and Children’s Bell Tower located at the edge of Bodega Bay. It’s very easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. You turn into the gravel driveway at the big yellow 25 mph sign in front of the Brisas del Mar Restaurant. Follow the path and you’ll see the Memorial. It’s a very serene and quiet place to be.

We continue further into Bodega Bay along Hwy 1 for another short stop at The Tides Wharf. It’s a great place to regroup; water and restrooms are available.



From this point, it’s another 7+ miles back to Valley Ford on Hwy 1. All the climbs aren’t as bad as they look. The rolling hillsides are very picturesque!





Thanks to Bob for leading this ride! This is one of my all-time favorite routes! It always amazes me how all this is so accessible to us-I love living in the Bay Area!

~30 people in attendance with 3 tandems

51.35 miles with 2197′ of elevation gain

Weather: FABULOUS! Sunny skies with light fog  lingering along the coastline. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the mid 60’s. This is winter riding at its best!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ALWAYS SMILE & BE HAPPY!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Follow this route for today’s ride:


  1. Nancy- This is beautiful writing along with your wonderful photos. Thank you for all these chronicles. The ocean section of this ride is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and I have seen a lot.


  2. We were on many of the exact same roads while riding the Waves to Wine MS150 from 1999 -2005. Those were two of the days I really looked forward to each year.
    Flying out from the Texas panhandle to that scenery made it even more special. What a difference!
    We met some wonderful people and rode with them every year after the first event we attended.
    Coming back to ride those roads again is very high on my list of things to do.


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