A couple weeks ago a patchwork group of us spent a night camping out on Tomales Bay. Last year's trip was super fun and we wanted to recreate it. This year we started on the west side of the Bay, near Inverness, and paddled north until we found a beach that was sufficiently wide for camping. For the rest, I'm going to be lame and refer you to Rob's blog post (click the Journal tab), which awesomely and succinctly describes this year's fun. He also has all my photos, so go look there! :) Click Read More for a map and trip stats...
The perfect kayaking trip should start something like this: a cool foggy morning, bundled in your favorite sweatshirt, with 30 minutes of meditative/caffeinated (do those cancel each other out?) beach sitting: bare toes hidden inside the boat for warmth.
In September 2008, Nena and Terry met and moved into a little apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Terry taught Nena how to dance like Justin Timberlake and Nena taught Terry how to recycle (ok, so both of those lessons failed). However, some of the cross-cultural exchanges stuck. For example, Terry developed an affinity for hiking and country music that grew long after the end of the Procter & Gamble internships. In May 2014, Terry visited Nena in California with one request: go on a California adventure.
Commence road trip to Morro Bay, in the first person...
At 8:20am on Easter morning, Alice and I simultaneously pulled into our favorite Park-N-Ride in San Rafael. We have a history of perfect timing - we're both 10 minutes early. We loaded White Lightning onto my car (next to Big Purple) and headed up the 101. Estero Americano flows into Bodega Bay, roughly 1.5 hrs north of the Bay Area. The launch site is at the end of a dirt road that spurs off the intersection of Marsh Road and Valley Ford Franklin School Road. Another kayaker arrived shortly after us, and spent 20 minutes urging Alice and I to join a kayak racing club in Berkeley.
Alice and I made reasonably spontaneous plans to paddle yesterday (no cancellations and only planned 2 days in advance - that's real progress). Since we were both tired of driving, we decided to meet in the middle, at San Quentin. Yes, San Quentin State Prison. There's an easy launch spot called Jailhouse Beach that's sheltered by the prison on one side and by the Richmond bridge on the other. There are only a few parking spots along the side of the road, but we had no trouble. It's 1-hour parking, but in Alice's last 3 visits she hasn't gotten a parking ticket. Shhhh!
Alice, Stijn, Johnny, and I met at the Berkeley Marina at 9am for a very "unplanned/casual" paddle. I use quotes because it took us a week of rapid-fire emails and changing plans to reach this point. Most of us (except Johnny) had abandoned our boats for far too long. For most of us, this was our first sea kayaking trip out of Berkeley. We launched from the docks near Cal Adventures on the south side of the marina. The parking is free and the launch works well at most tide levels.
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
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Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.