Two Bird Cafe Lunch Run - February 8, 2014

 Mike Hinton  by Mike Hinton, Redwood Region Vice President

If it's the beginning of February, it's time for our seemingly annual trek to the Two Bird Café in San Geronimo. This year's trip differed in a couple of respects from previous years. First, instead of gathering at our usual meeting place in Novato, we convened near the Starbucks in Mill Valley. This location was excellent for our Marin-based members, but for me, not so much as it's nearly 65 miles from my home in the Napa Valley. Secondly, the weather was VERY different from past years - instead of bright sunshine and dry roads, Saturday morning brought torrential rains and urban flooding! 

Nevertheless, I headed for Mill Valley with plenty of time to spare before the anticipated 10 a.m. meet-up.  When I arrived at the parking lot, two things stood out.  One, the lot was full and I had to scramble to find a parking place, and two, there was no one else there!  Several minutes later, Kurt Fischer arrived in his Weissach Edition 911SC, so I knew we'd have at least a leader and a sweeper.  Kurt and I chatted for a few minutes by the cars, but then were driven into the warm and dry confines of Starbucks by the gusty squalls that suddenly kicked up.

Slowly a few other members trickled in, and by 10:00, we had our full complement of participants:  7 cars in total!  This number was far less than the 33 who had signed up; I can only think that maybe people didn't want to get their cars dirty or something.  Nevertheless, we had enough folks to do the drive, and the small group would be easy to keep together. As Kurt led our small group out of the parking lot, the first route revision was immediately required: the road up to Panoramic Highway was closed!  Undaunted, Kurt got the group turned around and we headed for Highway 1 via Camino Alto and Miller Avenue.

Once onto Highway 1, we headed north towards Stinson Beach. The rain was still falling steadily, and the road surface was quite wet, if not flooded. I was glad to have newish Dunlops on the 1987 Carrera, which handled the wet conditions in fine style. As we proceeded, I thought that maybe "Shoreline Highway" should be renamed "Random Rock Road" as there were dozens of small slides that left various-sized rocks all over the road surface. Fortunately, there were no boulders, and traffic was light enough to permit using the entire width of the road to avoid the larger rocks.

As we headed further north, visibility was reduced by the heavier rain and mist that clung to the hills near the water. Even on a gloomy, rainy day, the Northern California coast is beautiful, but I wasn't able to snap any photos while driving because full concentration was required to negotiate the route safely. At least we didn't have to worry about cyclists! 

Eventually, our small group made its way to our rest stop in Olema. One of the store proprietors saw our group and asked Chris Harrell: "What kind of car is THAT?"  Chris had brought his Fiat 500 Abarth instead of his 1973 911 due to the superior defrosting capabilities of the much-newer Fiat. Chris said that he had a great time in the Abarth, which has enough turbocharged front-wheel-drive power to get your attention!

At Olema, the group decided to cut the route short and head directly to the restaurant via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard instead of heading further north to Marshall-Petaluma Road. I was a bit disappointed, but the decision was sensible - Marshall-Petaluma Road is a very narrow, twisting road that is subject to flooding in a number of places (still would have been fun, though!)  Our group arrived at the Two Bird almost on time, and since the group was small, we were able to share the main dining room with the other paying customers. Unfortunately, we had service issues at the restaurant - part of our group finished eating before others were served.  Not good...

After finishing our meal, both Vern Rogers and I decided that more driving was needed in order to make up for the loss of Marshall-Petaluma Road. So, Vern led me through Nicasio and into Petaluma on some of the fine back roads. We both had a good time, and went our separate ways at Highway 101.

Even though the turnout for the event was small, all participants still had an enjoyable drive. Our next event will be the Tech Session at Hi Tec Automotive, and the event will be inside! The tech sessions are always enjoyable and informative, and there's always plenty of time to socialize, so come on out.   

It was a dark and stormy day!

It was a dark and stormy day!  photo by Mike Hinton