Petaluma to Duncans Mills

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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The plan for today is to ride from Petaluma and meet the Weds group in Valley Ford for the loop out to Duncans Mills.

We exit town on Western Ave and take N Webster St to Bodega Hwy. Valley Ford Rd goes through the heart of bovine country with miles and miles of rolling pastoral lands for as far as the eye can see!

The extra 19 miles from Petaluma to Valley Ford is pretty much on flat terrain with a few short climbs. Dairy farms and ranches occupy much of this open land; cows, horses, sheep and goats are out grazing the green grasslands of this bucolic landscape.

We join the group at the parking lot of Dinucci’s in Valley Ford.

We take Freestone-Valley Ford Rd to Bodega Hwy and ride through the quaint little towns of Freestone and Occidental along the Bohemian Hwy.

The fast descent on Bohemian Hwy exiting Occidental goes through the woodlands down to Camp Meeker and into Monte Rio. We cross the Russian River on the Monte Rio Bridge and take Hwy 116 west; this road follows the Russian River to the turn on Austin Creek Rd.

Austin Creek Rd is a beautiful quiet stretch of road that runs through the redwoods along the east side of Austin Creek.

We head south on Cazadero Hwy; this road runs along the west side of Austin Creek and leads us back out to Hwy 116.

We continue SW on Hwy 116 to the lunch stop at the Gold Coast Bakery in Duncans Mills. They have a great rear patio area with lots of sunshine and outdoor seating. I even got a very delicious butter horn pastry-it was good!

We exit Duncans Mills straight into the headwinds on Hwy 116 heading west. The road hugs the Russian River out to the turn onto Hwy 1.

The moderate 7-8% climb up to Goat Rock on Hwy 1 is followed by a series of fun rollers along the Sonoma Coast State Beaches.

The ocean views are spectacular; from the rocky shores to the sandy beaches. The natural beauty of this coastline is just magnificent and it’s always here waiting for us to enjoy-WOW!

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We cross Salmon Creek and enter the coastal town of Bodega Bay; you’ll smile when you see the colorful kites and wind spinners. I also like the sight of the pink and white striped water taffy candy store. The smell of the fresh fish fry always has me wanting some-I’m missing out on some greasy goodness!

We continue inland on Hwy 1 for the rolling climbs back to Valley Ford. You’re at the top when you see the sheep ranch and the trees at the top of the ridgeline.

We roll into Dinucci’s parking lot to say our goodbyes and head to the market for one last pit stop. If you ever need water, there is a spigot with a hose at the Fire Department located across the street from the store. From this point, we just retrace out route back to Petaluma.

It was another wonderful day to be out riding with friends and enjoying the quiets back roads around Sonoma County. The best part is the run along the beautiful coastline-I love living in NorCal!

Thanks to Carla and Rich for leading the ride! The weather was fabulous-it’s another great spring day in sunny California!

~28 people in attendance with 2 tandems

Garmin Stats:
85.88 miles with 3786′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 563′
Avg grade: 2%
Max grade: 8%

Weather: FANTASTIC! Sunny blue skies with NW winds. Temps ranged from the high 40’s to the mid 70’s

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Pick the day. Enjoy it to the hilt!  ~Audrey Hepburn
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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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