Bodega Bay Loop (One of the best scenic drives in the US!)
This route takes you a few miles south of Rohnert Park before turning west towards the coast. The loop starts out on rural roads in some of Sonoma County's most scenic dairy and wine country before bringing you to the coast in the small town of Bodega Bay. Bodega Bay is probably best known for the church used in scene in Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds was filmed. Our loop continues north on the Pacific Coast Highway. There are many places along this road to pull over to take in the scenery, breath in the fresh sea air, and even go down to the beach. While there take a moment to contemplate the geology of this place. The rock, a malange created during crustal subduction, includes both oceanic and continental crust as well as granite from (possibly) Baja, over a thousand miles to the south. The gently sloping land was once a sea bed, uplifted and tilted towards the west where it is being eaten away by the ocean. Like much of California this region is seismically active. During the 1906 earthquake part of the harbor in Bodega moved north 15 feet. By the way, the San Andreas Fault is less than 2 miles to the west so hold on to your coffee in case it awakens. A few miles later we turn east again and follow the Russian River to Geurneville, a former logging town whose success in that endeavor earned It the name "Stumptotwn". If you like you can take a side-trip to see the Redwoods in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The "big one" there is 310 feet tall and an estimated 1,400 years old. The loop continues through several small towns and many vineyards before returning us to HWY-101 which we take north again to get back to the hotel.