Sojourn Bicycling :
Sonoma Coast, CA
Getting In The Saddle. Falling In Love With Cycling...
lunch awaited us at the Robert Young winery made the ride through Chalk Hill seem effortless. It felt as though we were on a scavenger hunt; unearthing sensory treasures at every turn. Our thirty-five mile ride ended back at the Manor and was highlighted by yet another enchanting evening and dinner at Seghesio Winery. After a welcome of wines and artisan cheeses, we were ushered into the private cellar to feast on Columbia River salmon paired with a glass of 2010 Fiano white. We grazed on farmer's market salad and drank a 2008 Costiera Pinot Noir. The meal ended with a scrumptious nectarine-almond tart offered with strong fresh brewed "Flying Goat" coffee. Sojourn anticipates your every need. Take for instance, the van. This is a perk most appreciated. Many of us took advantage of traveling this way for a few miles each day and I'm very glad that I did. It was here in the van that both Cy and Kurt endeared themselves to us. Cy is a rare specie. She is part wood nymph and part outdoor "diva" whose enthusiasm for life is infectious. Driving and pointing out interesting landmarks along the way, she regaled us with recent bike adventures and amusing anecdotes. When she's not guiding Sojourn tours, Cy lives on the beaches of Hawaii in her Volkswagen van. Kurt is a rustic "outback" looking lad and excellent photographer. He left a promising engineering career to follow his heart back into nature. Part coach and part saint, his bright-eyes and energetic leadership skills motivated and challenged us on our ride each and every day.
TO THE COAST
We rode through Guerneville, a quaint little "hippy" town located along the Russian River then lunched amongst majestic redwoods in the Armstrong State Reserve Park. These trees stand three hundred feet tall and many are more than fourteen hundred years old. They are an awe-inspiring testament to mother earth. Pumped up and fueled up, I was ready for what was to become my most memorable ride. We cycled out of the forest and continued west, following the river to the sea. Bodega Bay meets the Pacific Ocean in the tiny town of Jenner. We stopped briefly at Aquatica to grab iced espressos and rest on the waterfront deck. Our winding ascent up Route 1 was daunting at first, but the huffing and puffing and pedaling uphill paid off. When we reached the top, we biked along the most dramatic stretch of rugged coastline California has to offer. The splendor of its jagged cliffs and crashing waves is unsurpassed; I knew then that I was on the ride of a lifetime.
BODEGA BAY LODGE
By now, every sight, sound and smell was amplified tenfold. The vision of a roaring fire and intoxicating scent of wood burning in the lobby's huge stone fireplace was my first olifactory memory of Bodega Bay Lodge. This idyllic coastal setting was stunning, secluded and serene. From my balcony, I enjoyed sweeping views of both the Pacific Ocean and the calm bay. Later that evening, we gathered for a cocktail party graciously hosted by Cy and Kurt. After watching a slideshow of our travels and toasting the sunset, we walked downstairs to the Duck Club's private dining room. It was the perfect evening for New England fog chowder, pan roasted halibut and a tasty dessert of apricot-cherry bread pudding. Talk about sweet dreams--dinner was simply delicious! Although morning fog along the coast is the norm, we awoke to a crystal clear day. It was as if Sojourn had special ordered the weather just for us. We were free to explore Bodega Bay and its history. Speaking of explorers, the Spanish, arriving in 1775, were the first. Originally, the Miwok Indians fished its shores and Russian fur traders settled here until the late 1880's. To this day, the shallow protected waters of the bay are safe haven to wildlife that includes migrating birds as well as scores of sea lions.
THE INN AT OCCIDENTAL
Despite wary stares from resident sheep, we began our cycling south through sprawling farmland. The wide-open space triggered memories of "Little House on the Prairie." Riding along the country roads, it was as though I had reclaimed my youth; I felt like I was twelve years old again. Lost in thought, I rode the long downhill road lined with fragrant eucalyptus trees, into town. The Tomales bakery is located on the corner of Dillon Beach Road. It is the most adorable storefront complete with old-fashioned cabinets displaying an array of tempting baked goods. There was plenty of seating available outside on the painted benches so we parked our bikes and purchased delicious pizzettes baked with yellow summer squash and caramelized onions.
The Inn, built on a hillside, is surrounded ....