Saturday, October 10, 2009

Biking the Bohemian Highway!

Redwoods, firs, Blue Gums, cypress, cedar, pin oak and
more crowd the roads here in the Russian River Valley.
Our hydraulics class with Arcturus Marine completed, Ron and I drove up the coast to the tiny hamlet of Monte Rio, located at the confluence of Dutch Bill Creek and the Russian River. We're doing a 3-day bicycle and wine-tasting tour with Undiscovered Country Tours. There are 10 of us riding this tour, folks from all over the country, from Denver to Virginia and points in between. While we can't ship wine to Maryland (due to the completely archaic blue laws there) we CAN ship it to Florida! Yay!! We've already sent ahead a couple cases of wine from Arrowood and Sequoia Grove, which will be waiting for us when we get the boat down south in the coming weeks. Now we have a chance to see more wineries in this more remote section of Central California.

For a little background on the area, The Russian River Valley has been a popular resort area since the 1920s and 30s, when wealthy socialites from San Francisco and Oakland began traveling there for summer rest and relaxation amidst the towering redwoods and conifers that define the rugged landscape. Today, it's a premiere grape-growing area boasting dozens of award-winning vineyards with lots of small towns that are fun to visit, especially by bike. Today's route took us south along the Bohemian Highway towards Occidental, then over to Sunce', a small-family-owned winery where we had a delicious picnic lunch in the sunshine by their bocce ball court and wine-tasting pavillion. I wasn't sure how the biking would go after the wine tasting, since we still had a good 20+ miles to go after lunch, but it was delightful!!
Inside Sunce's wine shop and tasting bar

View of the vineyard work area from the picnic pavilion

The Russian River Valley is named, of course, for the river which flows through it - beginning in the coastal mountain ranges of Mendocino County, following Highway 101, and turning west at Healdsburg to empty into the mighty Pacific Ocean at the town of Jenner. We will be seeing that area on Monday, I believe, but today's ride of 38 miles was only a taste of the hills and the incredible scenery to come!

Karyn on a bridge over the Russian River

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