It was nearly noon on Tuesday before I actually left the Reno area and commenced careening my way west across I-80 through the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains, leaving behind a thankfully rapidly fading memory of my Reno casino overnight stay. There looked to be at least ten feet of snow along the road sides, and as I came upon Donner Pass at 60 mph I could not but help thinking about that party of travelers in their covered wagons, trapped by a Sierra storm and confronted with choices they otherwise would never have had to make.
|Interstate 80 winds through the Sierra Nevada Mountains|
Forty miles later the landscape flattened severely. I blew swiftly through the northern Central Valley and past Sacramento without stopping. Seemingly mere inches from San Francisco (although I never did see the skyline) I turned northwest off I-80 onto Highway 37 at the edge of Napa-Sonoma wine country, then onto narrower and narrower secondary roads through lush green wetlands teeming with thousands of water birds.
The road soon climbed through scenic steep hilly pastureland where contented California dairy cows grazed lazily on the emerald green grass. Tucked here and there were patches of grape orchard, often seeming to be just someone’s small front yard landscaping.
After miles of twisting, narrow winding roads barely wide enough for an auto and a bicycle I found myself at Point Reyes Station, wondering if I’d ever find the route out again. Of course I missed the turn-off to Bear Valley Road and the Point Reyes hostel, my accommodations for five nights. As luck would have it, though, the next sign I saw was for “Happy Hour” from 4 PM til 6 PM. It was five o’clock in the afternoon and a local draft microbrew or two was waiting for me in the cozy Olema CA bar. After two days and nearly 800 miles of driving, I found the hostel very easily after that refreshment.
|Point Reyes from the Limantour Road|
|Darkness descending on the Limantour Road, Point Reyes National Seashore|