Point Reyes Overland Overnight

We’ve always taken Route 1 out to Pt. Reyes from Mill Valley, and frankly, it sucks car exhaust. So, I finally got a copy of the Marin County Bike Coalition’s map, which details the dirt tracks across the Marin Headlands. Saturday morning, we geared up the bikes for an overnight and tackled the overland route to Stinson Beach.

Oregon Ho!
Oregon Ho!

While we’ve done some dirt with loaded bikes, we’re gearing up to get in shape for a month-long tour of Iceland this summer.  Naturally, we tossed the pressure cooker and mason jar of sauerkraut on top of the usual touring kit.

Riding the rutted, rattling and rolling Coastal Trail, we got to Stinson Beach at around 3pm. We stopped there for a double hamburger at the beach. That wasn’t just to be cute…Amory only had eight dollars, so we couldn’t afford 2 separate burgers. After a bit of dawdling observation of the bikini cliques (and their dorkster guyfriends), we set off for Wildcat Camp, our evening destination.

It was sundown when we got to Fir Top, at the top of the Five Brooks trail to Wildcat Camp. That was where the ranger got us. We didn’t have a permit to camp, and they were all full anyway. So he took our drivers licenses, reported us to park headquarters, and shooed us off the mountain. It probably took 40 min to get back to the road and he followed us in his pickup truck the whole way down. Sorta lame, but heck, he’s just doing his bureaucratic duty.

We ended up camping 3 miles up the rode at the Olema campground and pressure cooked some salt pork, lentils, and quinoa for supper. We’re thinking this kind of camp food might just get us through Iceland.

In the morning, we set off for the Bolinas Ridge trail. It was unexpectedly FANTASTIC. A rolling, adventurous ridge ride. It doesn’t have that many expansive views per se, but the real treat is how quickly you pass from one ecotone to another.


We started in Marin cattle pastures and then crossed over into Oregon, with second growth Douglas fir, sword fern and huckleberry. After a couple more miles, we broke out onto a scrubby manzanita ridge, with views of the ocean. The whole ride was 11 miles to Bolinas-Fairfax Road, which we bombed down to the reservoir, then up and over the hills for an afternoon snack at the Good Earth Market.

We continued on, hoping to catch the Larkspur Ferry home, but we got there in between schedules, so we rode on to Sausalito to catch the 5:30pm boat. We rolled in at 5pm, bought a double-scoop waffle cone at Lappert’s, and crowded in with a boatload of tourists. I had to bum fifty cents off a guy to cover my fare (cash only!). But, I had my rum-raisin-Kona-pie ice cream cone, and that’s what counts after a couple long days on the saddle.


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