San Francisco Coastal route...and more

For those of us lucky enough to have been around the cabbot trail in
Nova Scotia, think hard; think how amazing that was. The astounding
natural beauty, the twisties, oh the twisties !!!

Now, multiply that by, at least, 2 !!!!!!!

My work has taken me to California and as a result, I was going to be in San Francisco over a weekend. I've heard there were some amazing roads out there, so I thought....rent-a-bike-and-see-the-sights. I did just that. A quick post into the Northern California section of StromTrooper.com (for us V-Strom owners) and I was furnished with what seems to be the only place that has V-Stroms to rent in San Fran. "Wild West Cycle Rent", renting space inside Subterranean motorcycles downtown San Francisco. Andy and Glenn had me sorted out in no time at all. Everything was done over email and was going perfectly, then we hit a snag. Both their wee-stroms were out for Sunday, and I needed them over Saturday and Sunday. No problem they said, how's about a Vstrom on Saturday and a KLR on Sunday - Fine by me ! As it was, this meant Andy or Glenn (turned out to be Glenn as Andy was sunning himself riding death valley I believe) would make a special trip into the city, early, to receive my v-strom and prep it for it's sunday rider !

All sorted, and followed through. I turned up on Saturday morning as agreed, and was out of the door on a new-ish model v-strom (with a Scorpion replacement slip on can that made the most divine sound !!!!!) - though it was in red....and that red in the wrong light does look a bit, well.....pink-and-sparkley (sorry red-strommers but you know that Black is the fastest color !!)

Bike sorted and off I set into the morning mist, across the Golden Gate Bridge, splitting off the 101 to Hwy 1. What a vista ! The roads wound their way along the coastline with a great mix of camber, inclide, sweep and tight turns; all thw while the perma smile giving me jaw ache. The bike was performing beautifully, and that exhaust note was just right.

The destination was Healdsburg, because there is a winery there that I wanted to buy some wine for my wife.... "Simi Winery" - well [Interlude] one of my wifes names happens to be Simi, so when we saw some wine bearing this name at the LCBO (Liquor store), it was a must buy. After drinking a bottle, we were very impressed and decided to buy some more, only to find that Canada had completely sold out. Apparently there were 6 bottles at the LCBO on Bayview and Sheppard, but their accounting practices must be second to Enron as they actually had none. So, being that I was to be in the area, I the least I could do was to furnish the love of my life with a wee gift now ![Interlude off]. North I went on Hwy 1, winding it's way in valley an o'r crest, then leaving the coolness and mist of the coast to join Hwy 116 just south of Jenner, stopping in Guemville for gas, all the while the temperature increasing steadily the further inland I went. After an accidental detour to Armstrong woods, we left the 116 to follow River Road (following Russian River?) onto a smaller road (westside road) into Healdsburg and then into Simi Winery - would have loved to stay longer, I had lunch in Healdsburg, which seemed such a lovely town, that I'd certainly love to visit again, there were lots of shops and antique places - even a town square that was: a - square(ish) and b - in use !

My exit was made via dry creek road to head North West to Lake Sonoma, which was where I found my new favorite road.... You can keep the Dragon my friends. Hwy 1 was nice, but omfg this road had some many direction changes and some great views, through forest onto open land...just amazing. I managed to jam my blackberry against the motorcycle to free my hands for riding so I could take a video of just a TINY piece - 40 miles or 64 Kms of amazing sceneray and riding !!. I had to stop to catch my breath, only to see a cow cross the river to see me.

Back onto Highway 1 at Stewarts point, I knew the light was going to beat me back to San Francisco, but the lights on the V-Strom are known as being the best you can get, stock ! It was soon there after, that a quick stop resulted in the knowledge that at least 1 bottle of wine wouldn't make it... - the nice people at Simi hadn't quite packaged it properly !!!


All that was left was to turn off Hwy 1, before Tomales bay and take back roads into Petaluma, have some dinner then ride the 101 back into San Francisco, 300 miles of twists and smiles !