Biking Around Napa, Hiking the New Span of the Bay Bridge, Tilden Park

July 13th, 2014: Bay Area

For Fourth of July Weekend, J and I went biking to and around Napa Valley.

Our route: red on foot, blue on ferry, green on bike.

On Friday morning, we rode our rented road bikes to the Ferry Building and boarded a nearly empty ferry to Vallejo.

The ferry moved swiftly northward. I saw a single dolphin.

Our rental bikes.


A mostly empty ferry.

Goodbye San Francisco.

Red Rock Island.

Under the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

An old office.

From Vallejo, our route took us along smaller streets, on a service road/bike path along the 80 highway, and up a valley road to the hills northeast of Napa Valley.

The day was cloudless and hot, and my sunscreen dripped off almost immediately. Once we reached the rural road, we were feeling fatigued due to lack of lunch and inadequate water supplies. We passed beautiful farmland and vineyards.

J and I stopped at a bustling produce stand and bought some peaches and green grapes. They didn’t have potable water.

The ride was now uphill alongside a creek in varying degrees of grade. I was nearly out of water, though the grapes were keeping me going.

At the intersection of Wooden Valley Road and Monticello, we began the steepest ascent yet. I had to stop multiple times to catch my breath, wipe the sweat from my eyes, and adjust my attitude.

After cresting, we zoomed down the winding road into Napa. We stopped at a corner store to guzzle some liter sized sports drinks, then casually biked the rest of the way to our bed and breakfast in the center of town.

The ride was around forty miles.

Highway and grass.

Wild fennel.


I swear I parked my Porsche around here somewhere.

The Goodman building.

Across the street from Goodman: Gordon.

Mastery over nature.



Just kiss already…

We cleaned up and walked around town in search of a filling dinner.

On the 4th, we watched the red, white and blue candy parade. It felt like we were in Smalltown, USA.

We then biked southwest through country roads surrounded by vineyards. Our lunch destination was closed, so we backtracked to a backup. It was a beautiful ride. And unlike the day before, we had plenty of fluids and snacks.

That evening, we joined the crowds at the river to watch fireworks get launched from just across the river..


Patriotic pooping parade.

J on her bike.


And even more grapes.

The house at the end of the line.

Colorful, but bleak.

Pontoon bike.

Unusually close fireworks.

Our ride back to Vallejo was more direct, shorter, and stressful. We passed through industrial areas, rode on the shoulder of the 29 highway, and got lost in a few bayside neighborhoods.

J got a small puncture when we were almost to the ferry, so she biked the rest of the way as her tire lost air.

The final stretch of scenery was a blighted hellhole, and there was plenty of broken glass on the path.

At the ferry terminal, we changed her tube.

Back in SF, we better inflated her tire and biked to Crissy Field to return the bikes. From there, we walked the five miles home.

Mossy Adirondacks.

It was a lot of sun and exercise for one weekend, and the back of my neck looked like a rare steak.

Homemade gnocchi: poorly formed, but tasty.

The next weekend, we hiked the new pedestrian path of the Bay Bridge.


A scenic underpass.

Life finds a way.

Status lights.


Car fence.

Kinky tree stuff.

Baby seagull on a poppy pylon.

Old meets new.

The city seen through seismically unstable supports.


Demolition crane.


A broken bridge.

A bridge based on Madonna’s front teeth.

Then we rode the small gauge steam trains at Tilden Park.

Small gauge.

Sorry, but no babies.

Dirty feet on the baby train.

Leaving the shade.

Gilligan in utero.

J overlooks westward over her domain.

Every other part of the bay is too sunny. I prefer my foggy domain.

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