Old Coleman Valley Road

It’s hard for me to write about going to the coast because it all begins to sound a lot like this: the morning was sunny and windy (or else foggy and cool), we sat on the beach and watched for whales, ate a wonderful dinner, watched another beautiful sunset, and then had a campfire. While I am so grateful for the time spent there, it doesn’t exactly make exciting blogging.

However, I do want to tell you about one of the most spectacular 12 miles in all America, called Old Coleman Valley Road. Starting in the little town of Occidental, head east on the road right beside Negra’s Italian Restaurant. Instantly you are winding through scenic countryside, rolling green hills, natural oak allees, full of wild turkeys and deer. Since this narrow lane is only about one and a half cars wide, you never know when an oncoming car will careen around a corner, and you’ll swerve for the ditch automatically. At the divide, turn right onto Coleman Valley Road, not straight on Joy Road (still beautiful, but it won’t take you to the ocean). In April the road is lined with wild forget-me-nots, iris, and calla lilies in abundance. In the deep shade, oaks give way to redwoods, carpeted with ferns. You’ll wind into the valley with apple orchards, decrepit barns and a very old one-room schoolhouse. Then you start climbing up to the windswept grassland of the ridge top with panoramic views on both sides. At the highest point, you are 1500 ft above sea level with views for 30 miles out to sea. Then comes the scary ride, swerving downhill rapidly back to sea level in ½ mile! You’d love it!

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