When planning the trip, I wanted to maximize as much time there as I could without missing a lot of work. The great thing about traveling west from Arkansas, is that I was able to work all day Wednesday and take a 6:00pm flight out of Little Rock to Dallas and onto San Francisco. The flight was scheduled to land around 10:20pm. The worst part about going out west, is that if you want to leave on a morning flight out, you basically travel all day before arriving back home. For example, I a 7:00 am flight out of San Francisco doesn't get me home until around 3:00 pm. So, I decided that I would take a long commute to work on Monday and take a red-eye. The plan was to leave Sunday/Monday morning from SFO at 12:35am and arrive Monday morning back in Little Rock at 8:35am just in time to go to work! I also wanted to see what it was like to take a red-eye to gauge any future trips out west.
The flight out there was pretty easy. I arrived on time and my friend picked me up at the airport. The first hours are pretty boring. A drive from the airport to his house in Fairfax which is located in the North Bay area. Tomorrow is where the adventure starts.
Thursday started early. My friend was having to go into work in the area around Petaluma, CA, so I rode up there with him and then took his car for the day. My adventure for the day was paying a visit out to Pt. Reyes. I had explored a website www.trailstompers.com while looking for trail runs in the area. I wanted to do a run and found the run Bear Valley to Arch Rock. This run would take me from the Visitors Center down to the coast. The run was about 8.2 miles, so I figured this would make for a great run. It turned out to be very beautiful run. Here are some pictures from the run.
By the end of the stroll, I was getting hungry since it was around 12:00. I decided to head into Point Reyes Station for some food. I ended up at the Station House Cafe. One item on menus that I love try especially when I'm near the ocean is fish and chips. It was a tough choice between that and the burger. I decided to go with the fish and chips which was a good choice. After lunch it was back to exploring, I headed back north on Highway 1 for drive. The scenery is amazing on this part, but I know there is even more amazing scenery that I didn't get a chance to see. I couldn't imagine cycling length of Hwy 1 with all the ups and downs on it, but it would be worth the challenge. I eventually ended up in Boga Bay before heading back to pick up my friend.
From there, it was back to the Fairfax area and choose dinner. I do like to sample local brews in an area when I get chance, so for dinner we ended up at the Marin Brewery. I tried a couple of their IPAs and thought they were good, but not anything to brag about. For dinner, we all ordered a pizza which turned out good, but nothing to write about. Overall, I would call the place a good place to check out if you happen to run into it. After dinner, it was off to a local bar for a little bit before a big ride that was planned for the next day.
The first part of the morning on Friday we figured out what we were going to do for the weekend. We decided to rent house up in the Russian River area. Once we got that figured out it was off for a ride in the Marin Headlands area. I knew the ride was going to be mostly climbing, but I didn't know it would start so soon. We had about a five to ten minute "warm-up"/me figuring out to shift on a bike I was borrowing before it was time to start climbing. During the first climb up to the Alpine Lake area, it was nice to be able to enjoy the scenery and the views. The only issue I was having is that my lunch was sitting to well, so I backed off a little and just enjoyed the ride. We eventually decsended to Alpine Lake before starting the climb to Mt. Tempalis. It was amazing to be able to ride through the redwoods just along the rode and enjoy the cool shade and temperatures. The scenery changed quickly as we got higher in the Marin Headlands and it finally opened up to fields and views of the Bay area and the Pacific ocean. The day was a bright sunny and clear day and you could see for miles. As we were getting to the top, my friend and issues with his bike, so got to the top and decided to head back. The ride back was a nice decent followed by riding through town. Overall, this was an amazing ride and I wish this ride that I had in backyard.
The last day of my trip was a full day. We went out to Louis Armstrong park where I went on a trail run that had around 1200 ft of elevation change and everyone else went out on a hike. The run was great. It was fun to run through the redwoods on the cool morning. After the run, we out for brunch at the The Diner and then back to the house. We decided to go ahead and do a wine tour. Now we are west of Napa and Sonoma, but still there were hundreds of vineyards in the area. The first one was around 3 miles from the house. We were able to stop at 4 different places from about 12-5. The wine was excellent in that area. I can't even imagine how long it would take to first and taste them all! The four we visited were VML, HKL, Porter Creek, and Moshin. I thought the best wines were between Porter Creek and Moshin, both of which had excellent Pinot Noir.
Once we were finished with winery visits we headed back to the house to cook up some dinner and around 8 my friend brought me to a bus stop in Larkspur which would take me direct to the airport. This would finish up a great trip to San Francisco. My flight left around 12:45 am and I was back in Little Rock on Monday morning around 9:00am. What trip and hopefully I'll get the chance to go back out there again!