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Montezuma Hills Day Ride

Our motorcycle ride today begins along the ocean in Bodega Bay. This is a rather short ride headed inland across the state headed for the Sacramento River Delta. Been wanting to check out the Montezuma Hills and today is the day. Never heard of the Montezuma Hills? That makes two of us. I had to see it for myself.

Overnighting in Bodega Bay along the Pacific Ocean, we were treated to a lightning storm that lit up the sky most of the night with repeated flashes of light out over the ocean. But no rain at daybreak with the storm visible to the south along the ocean. I wanted to explore Bodega Bay. I had recently learned of the Bodega Bay Nuclear Power Plant, or rather the site that never became a nuclear power plant, and that sounded interesting.


Boats headed out of the harbor towards open ocean.

I found the Bodega Bay Nuclear Power Plant. Sort of.

A bit anti-climatic, the site of the Bodega Bay Nuclear Power Plant in present day is merely a small overgrown pond. The story though, is quite fascinating.

At the start of the 1950s, the 947 acres of Bodega Head, a thin peninsula that juts out into the ocean, was divided among three property owners. Late in the 1950s, PG&E acquired property from a local rancher to construct what was claimed to be the first nuclear power plant in the United States. Construction of the Atomic Park began in the early 1960s. During construction, PG&E was so confident of future permitting that it began to ready the site, including digging what was designed to be a 90-foot by 120-foot deep hole to house the reactor only to be thwarted by a grass-roots effort of concerned citizen's in 1964 that opposed a nuclear reactor being built here mere yards from the ocean.

Geologic studies at the site revealed an active fault line passed right through the deep pit, the discovery was made in the midst of construction. The proposed location of the Atomic Park was dangerously close to the San Andreas Fault, which was the deciding factor to halt construction. The fault line runs parallel to the coast and crosses Bodega Bay. During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, nearby land moved as much as 15 feet; tremors are still common to this day. The discovery of the fault line beneath the proposed reactor site prevented the nuclear power plant from every being built.

The "hole" is constantly being replenished by the same fresh water spring that drew both Native people and early settlers to this location. Today, the site has been reclaimed by nature and is overgrown. A pond has taken over the 120 foot deep hole and any trace of a construction site has long since been reclaimed by nature.


I rode out to the furthest point into the ocean to the Bodega Bay Trailhead and looked north. It was a view up the rugged Pacific coastline towards better weather.

Doran Campground across the entrance to the harbor. I'll have to check out Doran Beach another day.



Hole in the Head (Nuclear Power Plant site) on the left, Doran Campground on the spit of land at right. Bodega Bay in the background along the coast.

There was a parade of boats headed out of Bodega Bay into the open ocean at this early hour.

North of Bodega Bay is the Coleman Beach Overlook. We've stopped at this overlook many times along Highway 1 with over two decades of Pashnit Motorcycle Tour groups. The storm out over the ocean was headed inland. I could see flashes of lightning striking the ocean. The rain curtain was visible in the distance, but still no rain.

The peninsula of land sticking out into the ocean in the distance is Bodega Head where the Nuclear Power Plant site is found.

Looking north up the coast looked promising to escape the incoming weather, but I was headed inland. Highway 1 follows the edge of the ocean for 140 miles to Rockport until it finally curves inland across the Coast Range to avoid The Lost Coast.

Coleman Valley Rd is a goaty backroad that climbs up into the Coast Range.

Coleman Valley Rd spans a mere 10 miles from the Highway 1 to Occidental.

Do you love the goat? I do. I do.

It may be single-lane narrow and bumpy, but...

The reward! Coleman Valley is best known for an amazing view of the Pacific Coastline.

The view from Coleman Valley Rd of the Pacific Ocean is its own reward. But, the rain curtain at left was chasing me inland.

Coleman Valley Rd is short, it wiggles up to the top of the Coast Range.



Zero people, no traffic, nobody out here, a common theme with these rides.


The temperature changes very quickly. Temps will change over 30 degrees in a very short time span through this journey the further inland we ride. Still within sight of the ocean, and it was already time to re-layer. I watched the lightning storm over the ocean slowly come inland.

The rain curtains were chasing me away from the ocean.

Coleman Valley Rd is single lane with blind corners.




The one-room Ocean View School along Coleman Valley Rd dates to the 1920s.

Coleman Valley Rd is short, a mere 8 miles till it hits Joy Rd ,then another 2 miles down the other side into Occidental. To the south from here is Bodega and an easy reconnect with Highway 1 towards Tomales.

Coleman Valley Rd continues another 2 miles into Occidental and ends at The Bohemian Highway.


Coleman Valley Rd was littered with debris from the wind the night before.

Once the Coleman Valley Rd ends at Occidental, you can continue the eastward trek across the Coast Range on Graton Rd.

Graton Rd through the redwood forest was also covered in debris from the wind storm overnight.

Once I reached Graton, it was drizzling a wee bit, but not enough for the rain suit.


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