We meet on Sunday morning in San Francisco at a central location to gather guests and luggage. Setting out in our team vehicle, we'll make our way north across the Golden Gate and into Sonoma County. After a brief orientation, we fit everyone on our carbon road bikes and head out on a ride on country roads to tiny Occidental and an easy spin down the redwood shaded Bohemian Highway to our base camp: the charming Village Inn on the banks of the Russian River. Avid cyclists can add on the "breakaway route" on Coleman Valley Road to the coast, then north to the Russian River.
When we arrive at the Village Inn in Monte Rio, we will have an afternoon wine tasting with wines from the Russian River and Sonoma Country, complemented with award winning cheeses made by artisans throughout Sonoma County. To accompany the cheese and wine, we'll sample locally baked breads.
After the wine and cheese reception, we sit down to a team dinner at the Village Inn.
We meet for breakfast at 8:00 A.M. at the Village Inn & Restaurant. After a brief overview of the day to come, we head out on a ride under the redwood trees of the Bohemian Highway to Occidental. From there, we travel along the Russian River Valley to a small family-owned winery (that makes exquisite zinfandels) for a tasting, afterwards a guide prepared picnic lunch awaits. Returning to Monte Rio along the Russian River. The "breakaway route" adds on a fast ride through the redwoods to Cazadero, then to Duncan's Mills, then back along the Russian River.
After a continental breakfast, we head out on our bicycles for a tour of the Russian River Valley and northern Sonoma County Wine Country. We'll do some quality bicycling along miles of sun-drenched vineyards, stopping along the way at one of our favorites. If you wish to pick up a bottle or two at the wineries, our team support vehicle will carry them for you. We ride through the inviting Wine Country town of Healdsburg, where we'll stop for lunch, before continuing on our way to another winery for a select tasting. After lunch, we return along the west edge of the Sonoma Valley in the afternoon light.
Breakaway options for the day include some short but steep climbing through remote roads in the Green Valley wine region, and a challenging climb and technical descent on Sweetwater Springs Road.
Dinner tonight will be at the Village Inn Restaurant, providing fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, overlooking the Russian River.
Today's ride provides a completely different experience than the prior two days, as we head straight for the coast to where the Russian River empties into the sea. The Pacific Ocean has carved out the country's western border mile after magnificent mile, so we follow the Pacific Coast Highway south, past the bluffs and beaches to the bustling fishing village of Bodega Bay. Made famous by Alfred Hitchcock's film 'The Birds'. We make a lunch stop here at the Tides Wharf (which makes an excellent seafood chowder!), relax on the sunny deck while the gulls and sea lions entertain us.
After lunch in Bodega Bay, we head inland through rolling pastures to the tiny village of Bodega, we continue inland past the oak-studded coastal hills to the Bohemian Highway and the welcoming town of Occidental. Then it's a gradual downhill ride through the shady redwoods back to Monte Rio, where we complete our relaxing getaway. Our team vehicle awaits to return cyclists to San Francisco, where they may continue their journey independently.
Had a great time cycling on the Desert Escape Tour. Undiscovered Country Bike Tours really know what's needed to provide exceptional service on a fully supported bike adventure. From start to finish everything was taken care of - from great bikes that were accurately sized, to goodie bags, maps, repair kits, drinks and snacks - they had thought of everything. That combined with a great group of people of all ages and abilities made for a very enjoyable experience. The cycling was challenging but lots of fun - everyone could go at their own pace. Scott and Rick, our guides, were very friendly, fun to hang out with and they went out of their way to make sure everyone was looked after. The accommodations were very comfortable and there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the facilities at the resorts. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend - I'm sure I'll be back for another adventure.
TripAdvisor January 2013