Last night I spent time on Trip Advisor and the Sonoma County website figuring out what to do while we’re in Bodega Bay, Sonoma County.  The obvious choice would be visiting vineyards but we are driving, so that wasn’t going to work.

Birds-ChurchInstead, I decided to make a loop trip which would take us to see the “Birds” church and schoolhouse, then to a vineyard, then up through this best kept secret, the Coleman Valley Road.  I’d mapped out a route using Google Maps and then Steve plugged the various stops into the Garmin.

First-backroadIt’s a good thing we don’t freak out at each other — usually — because our first part of the trip took us through the back roads to Bodega to see the church.  Our driveway was wider than this road and I’ve been on smoother gravel roads than this one.  We only met one oncoming vehicle — another truck — so it wasn’t too bad.  I did appreciate the landscape though as it reminded me of my homeland, Scotland.

We stopped at the church and took pictures before continuing onto the next stop.  We had forgotten what I’d planned, so it was a bit of a guessing game until we got to the Paradise Ridge Winery.  We were there just as the tasting room opened and Steve enjoyed all but one of the wines he sampled.  On the recommendation of the tasting room gal, we changed plans and headed off to the Barndiva restaurant in Healdsburg for lunch.   Wow, what ParadiseRidgean incredible venue and delicious food… yum (I had a filet mignon hamburger – without the bun – and Steve had the duck confit.)  We wandered around the town before resuming our journey.

Anticipating this “best kept secret” backroad journey with incredible views, we set out from Healdsburg to Bodega Bay along the Coleman Valley Road from Occidental.  The first part of the journey was beautiful as we passed vineyard after vineyard then things started to get weird.  The Garmin told us to turn right at one point — only to realize that it had sent us to a hotel/spa.  Okay…. BarnDiva Doubling back and getting back on the highway, we continue on to Occidental.

After a quick stop there, we continue on — and my anticipating is building.  What are we about to experience I wondered…

Well, my excitement soon vanished as we bounced along the Bohemian Highway.  Seriously, I have no idea how it got the name because it’s certainly not the type of highway I’m used to.  Oh, but it gets better… because when we finally get on to this Coleman Valley Road, we’re greeted ColemanValleyRoadwith that sign… Oh, what have I gotten us into?

What felt like hours later, and only peeing myself once, we finally get back on Hwy-1.  We’re still talking to each other but Steve said that the tires left the pavement when I stopped to let 2 oncoming cars pass… I don’t think so… I didn’t feel a bump when I started up again.  But then again, he was closer to the edge of the road than I was.  Hmm…passenger side wheels hanging in mid-air is probably something I should avoid in the future.

Yes, I admit the views were wonderful, especially the Near-Bodega-Bayocean views as we got closer to the point we could start breathing again.  Would I recommend it?… definitely not in a longbox crew cab truck and only if you have nerves of steel (and/or you are wearing Depends!)… only partially kidding on the Depends part.

By the time we head north to the last stop on the itinerary we’d both had enough.  The #1 Trip Advisor thing to do in Bodega Bay – Bodega Head – was not going to be part of our experience.

Tomorrow, we leave the coast and start our inland adventures.  I sure hope the roads are better!

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