Stafford Lake-Cheese Factory-Pt Reyes Station

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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Today’s club ride goes for a counter clockwise lollipop loop through the back roads of Novato out to Stafford Lake. The route continues with a stop at the Cheese Factory and a flat run along Nicasio Reservoir on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd to the lunch stop at Pt Reyes Station.

We begin the ride from Marinwood Community Center on Miller Creek Rd in San Rafael.

The group heads north on Miller Creek Rd to the multi-use path off Marinwood Ave; this path runs parallel to US-101 and leads us out onto Alameda Del Prado towards Del Prado Shopping Center.

The flats on Ignacio Blvd takes us west pass the newer style cookie cutter suburban neighborhoods to the short climb up Sunset Pkwy. The kids at San Jose Middle School are outside doing their morning push-ups; remember those PE days? Now we have to pay to do those free exercises at a costly gym!

The descent on Sunset Pkwy drops us down through the older neighborhood with many single story ranch style homes along Cambridge and Arthur St.

Indian Valley Rd is a quiet 2 mile stretch of road through a somewhat rural area with many horse ranches and boarding facilities. Most of these horse properties have direct access to some of the most beautiful riding trails in the area.

We continue weaving our way around the different neighborhoods on Wilson Ave and Mill Rd to Vineyard and Sutro Ave.

We head west on Novato Blvd; it’s a nicely paved two lane road with no shoulder area.

The multi-use path off Novato Blvd takes us up and over into Stafford Lake; it’s gets us off the main road with beautiful views of the dam and lake.

The multi-use path takes us directly to the parking lot at Stafford Lake Park.

We exit the park and continue NW on Novato Blvd for the stair step climbs towards Hicks Valley. The second section is the steepest with gradient ranges of 7-10% grades.

The gorgeous bucolic country scene is a wonderful distraction to the climbs with its rolling green hills, vineyards, ranches and open pastoral lands dotted with grazing cattle.

The descent on Novato Blvd drops us down into Hicks Valley to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd.

There is another regroup at the Cheese Factory. The waddling ducks around the pond look really plump-I think they’re eating too much artisan cheese!

We stay on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd for the short climb up and over to Nicasio Valley.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd continues along the flats with fabulous views of Nicasio Reservoir-this is really one gorgeous stretch of road!

The road drops down towards the dam through Laurel Canyon to the colored bridge. Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd weaves its way along Lagunitas Creek out to CA-1.

We take CA-1 S to Pt Reyes Station for a lunch stop at the Bovine Bakery.

We reverse our way back on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd to the colored bridge and make our way up the spillway to Nicasio Reservoir.

The flat miles on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd heading NE provides a different view of the low water levels in reservoir.

From Nicasio Valley Rd, the lack of water in the reservoir reveals the old Nicasio bridge on the old Nicasio Valley Rd.  On the opposite side of the road, the hillsides are a magnificent vibrant green from the recent douse of rain!

The small rise on Nicasio Valley Rd takes us up and over into Nicasio with beautiful valley scenes; wide open hills, grazing jerseys, the Nicasio School and the giraffes inside the Nicasio barn.

The flats through the redwoods on Lucas Valley Rd lead us out to the gentle climbs up to Big Rock summit.

Thanks to Bob L for pulling me along for the last 3+ miles on Lucas Valley!

It was great to ride with the group again and thanks to Deb for leading!

Garmin Stats:
48.36 Miles with 2482′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 617′
Max grade: 10%
Terrain: Some hills

Weather: Cloudy overcast skies with some afternoon sun. Temps ranged from the low to high 50’s. SE winds with 100% humidity

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.


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