The road beckons in summer but so do my family members, who’ve usually planned a series of camping trips during peak riding season.
It’s an annual tension that typically ends with me going camping. As a compromise, I will sometimes ride my bike as my wife pilots our gear-laden SUV to the nearest state park.
This year, I was able to beg off three nights in a tent. My schedule changed and I had to work.
But since my wife and daughter were staying just an hour away on the scenic Point Reyes National Seashore, I seized the chance to ride out for dinner one night.
It was a good chance to road test the bike, which had just been repaired by my new, independent mechanic, Michael Pettis. Turns out, he did a great job.
The bike purred like a kitten on the gorgeous 60-mile round-trip that takes you from the rolling farm country of west Petaluma to the redwood groves of Marin County. On a weekday night when there’s hardly and traffic, you can fully appreciate the beautifully banked highway that wraps around the west side of Tomales Bay. On the long straight at Nicasio reservoir, I got into the triple digits, flying past a lonesome fishermen standing on the shore.
If you’ve never ridden this part of California, you are truly missing out. Marin and Sonoma counties are motorcycling nirvana. The roads and the scenery are unmatched. Just don’t come on the weekends, when crowds descend. And watch out for police, who have become increasingly aware of the region’s popularity among those who will go fast.
If like me, you must balance family obligations, the North Coast will serve you well. My wife likes to camp at Samuel P. Taylor state park near Fairfax. It’s kid-friendly, has a great swimming hole and is not far from the spectacular Point Reyes peninsula.
On my short visit, I saw a number of motorcycles parked alongside mini-vans. Best of both worlds?