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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sonoma County - Vacation at Home Summer 2009 Part 1

By Vesta Copestakes
Last year we took you on Two Wheel Tours of our back roads and tiny towns. This year we’re expanding the pleasure to include Sonoma County Regional Parks, State Parks with Eco-Adventures hosted by Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods, a group motorcycle ride hosted by Santa Rosa BMW & Triumph, water sports inspired by Suki Water of Water Trek Eco-Tours… and who knows what else will come forth as the summer unfolds.

Water sports will be more challenging as summer heats up because of the low flow regulations handed down from Sacramento. We ask that people conserve water so that our fish and our swimming/boating humans can play in healthy rivers and lakes throughout the summer. The better people are at conserving water, the more opportunities we’ll have to use it for life and pleasure.

Thanks for supporting our local economy by playing at home! Happy Summer!

Enjoy our Treasured State Parks
Michele Luna, Executive Director, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
(707) 869-9177,

Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards) is very excited to present a number of wonderful opportunities to enjoy our treasured State Parks this summer. We are honored to be celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve becoming a State Park. Actually both Armstrong Redwoods and Sonoma Coast were added to the State Park system at the same time. We’re focusing on Armstrong Redwoods this year and planning some great events to commemorate this nostalgic time. We are also providing the community and park visitors with some great educational opportunities through our EcoAdventure Program.
Armstrong Redwoods 75th Anniversary Events:
• Gourmet Hike – July 25, 2009, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
The Gourmet Hike will meander through the old growth redwoods of Armstrong Redwoods. Guests will start their journey in the group picnic area and proceed along the Pioneer Trail where they will stop to partake in gourmet appetizers prepared by a local chef and paired with Sonoma County premier wines & beer. Entertainment along the trail will enhance the magic of the walk through the towering, majestic giants. Docents will also be available along the trail to share some of the natural and cultural history of the park. The final and fifth stop will be the historic Redwood Forest Theatre where birthday cake and champagne will be served as guests listen to music and socialize in a venue that has been used since the 1930s for treasured theatrical and musical events. Restaurant sponsors to date include Applewood and Highland Dell.
Tickets are $30 per person or 2 for $50 and available on our website.
• Old Grove Festival & Family Day in the Park – September 25, 26, 27, 2009
I will provide more details next month. The headliners are as follows and tickets are also available on our website for all shows.
Friday, September 25, 2009, 5:00 pm – Chanticleer
Saturday, September 26, 2009, 5:00 pm – Maria Muldaur’s Garden of Joy Jug Band
Sunday, September 27, 2009, Noon – Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra

• EcoAdventures
Reservations can be made on Stewards website or by calling (707) 869-9177 or by email • Birding on Bodega Head with Hollis and Jerry Bewley
Saturday, July 11, 2009, 9 am to 12 pm at Bodega Head
Join the Bewley’s for a great introductory birding experience. You will see offshore coastal nesting spots quite possibly with chicks ready to fledge. Osprey, egrets, herons and harriers should be abundant. You might even see sea lions porpoising around the Head. Dress in layers and bring binoculars, water and a snack. Limited to 20, $15 per person donation, Stewards members FREE.
• Sunset Paddle on the Russian River Estuary with Watertreks
Saturday, July 18, 6:30 pm – Meet at the Jenner Visitor Center,
$15 per person donation, Stewards members FREE
Join Suki Waters, owner of Watertreks for a grand sunset paddling experience on the Russian River Estuary in Jenner. Dress in layers with a waterproof layer on top,
For reservations contact Suki at, or 707-865-2249,
Kayak rentals - $35 per person, other equipment available for a fee.
• Full Moon Paddle on the Russian River Estuary with Watertreks
Tuesday, August 4, 2009, 6:00 – 9:30 pm – Meet at the Jenner Visitor Center,
$15 per person donation, Stewards members FREE
Join Suki Waters, owner of Watertreks for a grand sunset and full moon paddling experience on the Russian River Estuary in Jenner. Dress in layers with a waterproof layer on top.
For reservations contact Suki at, or 707-865-2249,
Kayak rentals - $35 per person, other equipment available for a fee.

• Willow Creek Photography Hike with Harvey Mendelson
“There’s a Picture in the Picture”
Sunday, August 2, 2009, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join Harvey for a hike on the Islands in the Sky loop trail and learn how to get to the real picture when you photograph nature. Harvey has a beautiful collection of photographs that he took on the John Muir Trail using this technique. Meet at the Willow Creek Freezeout Road entrance. Dress in layers, bring a digital camera, lunch, water, and sun protection. Limited to 20, $15 per person donation, Stewards members FREE.
Other Ongoing Activities:

• Seal Watching – Docents are at Goat Rock beach on weekends all summer to help park visitors view the harbor seal colony. The pups are growing but still distinguishable.

• Tidepooling – Roving Naturalists will be available for tidepooling at Campbell Cove on June 27th at 9:30 am and at Marshall Gulch and Carmet on July 25th at 8:30 am.

• Armstrong Redwoods – Roving Docents will be available mid-day on many Saturdays throughout the summer to interpret the natural and cultural history in the old grove forest. Group tours can be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. Reservation forms are available on Stewards’ website.

Lazy Days on the River

By Donna LaGraffe
Sonoma County Regional Parks

“Up a lazy river by the old mill run The lazy, lazy river in the noon day sun Linger in the shade of a kind old tree Throw away your troubles Dream a dream with me-ee…”

Those famous lyrics written by the Mills Brothers and made famous by Louis Armstrong could have been written while floating down the Russian River in mid summer.

While floods and dangerous currents are common in winter, the Russian River flows much slower in the summer, allowing for an abundance of summer recreation opportunities. Long known as the perfect vacation destination, the Russian River flows south from Cloverdale through Healdsburg, and west to Guerneville, reaching the Pacific Ocean at Jenner.

All along this 65-mile stretch of river you’ll find parks and other access points that allow you to enjoy whatever form of river recreation you choose.

Fishing is popular at Wohler Bridge (seasonal), Forestville River Access, Steelhead Beach and Cloverdale River Park. Types of fish in the river include Large Mouth Bass, Small Mouth Bass, Striped Bass, Bluegill, Catfish and, seasonally, Shad, Chinook, Coho Salmon and Steelhead.

Canoes and kayaks can be put in at several points along the river, allowing for trips of a couple of hours to all day. There are boat launch facilities at Steelhead Beach and Wohler Bridge, and smaller boats can be portaged to the river at Cloverdale River Park, Healdsburg Beach, Forestville River Access, Sunset Beach and Guerneville River Park.

If you don’t have your own boat, there are several outfitters along the river that will gladly rent you a boat and gear to have a delightful day floating downstream. River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips at the Healdsburg Bridge, and Burke’s Canoe Trips in Forestville both offer a buy one – get one free canoe rental with purchase of a Regional Parks Annual Pass by June 30.

There are two new park facilities on the river. Guerneville River Park is located on the south end of the Guerneville pedestrian bridge near the Pee Wee Golf Course, or is accessible by car from Highway 116 to Drake Rd. With a paved parking lot, restroom, picnic sites and river access, this park is wheelchair accessible and is the perfect spot for a summer picnic.

Sunset Beach River Park just opened this month, and has parking and portable restrooms, picnic tables, and a ¼ mile path down to a large gravel beach on the river with a scenic view of the Hacienda Bridge.

Sunbathers love to soak up the rays there and at Steelhead Beach, and lifeguards watch over the swimmers at Healdsburg Beach. Dogs on leash are welcome at all seven Russian river parks operated by Sonoma County Regional Parks.

You can even host a summer party at the group picnic area at Riverfront Park (by reservation), Steelhead Beach, Cloverdale River Park or Guerneville River Park.

Find out more about the wealth of river fun that awaits you here at home by visiting or call (707) 565-2041 weekdays.

Savor the Outdoors

By Suki Waters – WaterTreks EcoTours

This evening before I chose to cook a stir-fry and relax for the evening I joined a friend to photograph the coastal sunset near where I live, at the mouth of the Russian River.
I did not take many photos but instead became much engrossed in the play of nature. The mouth of the river had recently closed and the seals were doing their undulating dance from the river to the sea across the glistening sand bar. Their trek was not long and the waves would occasionally glide across the narrow closure to lick at the still river waters. The sunset was beautiful once again.

Every evening they are a unique glowing touch to the soul. The playful action of the changing colors on the waves had me mesmerized for some time.
The setting sunlight was shining golden with increasing hues of crimson on the waves as they broke and gently slid onto the beach. On their glide up the beach, the now smooth and released power of the waves gave off a shimmer and sparkle across the sand with flashing reflections of the colors of the setting sun.

The smoothness of some seemed to slowly become disconnected from the edges of the ocean water and became separate entities. My friend commented that they seemed to be transforming into wispy ghostly memories of the power that had just released them. And his observation was perfect as they slowly melted into the sandy shoals and disappeared, sinking down to become diluted somewhere in the reservoir of the sand bar between fresh river water and the salty Pacific.

While this visual display was playing out before my eyes I was becoming lost in the rhythm of the voice of the Ocean. The slowly deepening throatiness of a building wave was blended with the simultaneously roar of another, cresting and breaking. And in the background, the hissing higher toned rush of the dying wave’s water running up and between the infinite sand particles on the beach were echoed by a separate hiss of the previous wave’s waters racing to return back through the sand to join the main body of the sea.

It was not only the seeing, but also the hearing of nature, the sensations of the slight temperature changes and immediate drop in temperature the moment the sun dipped beyond the horizon of the sea that touched me. I was deeply aware for a few moments of being one with nature in flux and gently entwined my fingers with his. His acknowledgment was a glowing smile as we both appreciated such a splendid moment shared between dear friends. I retained this memory in writing in October of 2004.

The experience is only one of many that repeatedly touch my soul when working, playing or simply relaxing in the many varied natural habitats we are blessed with here in Sonoma County.
As an outdoor enthusiasts, Guide and west county resident with many generations of ties to our local communities and natural areas, I enjoy sharing my experience, enjoyment and enthusiasm for outdoor activities with county residents and visitors along the Russian River and Sonoma Coast.

In Sonoma County, we are fortunate to have many well established and professional outfitters and guides to provide information and assistance, as well as great volunteer training opportunities in our local parks and through Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods to help maximize your experience, understanding and appreciation of our abundant outdoor areas.

Whether you are interested in fishing or kayaking with wildlife along our Russian River or estuary river mouth, hiking or horseback riding the scenic trails of our river valleys or coastal hills, strolling with squirrels and ferns under our Majestic Redwoods at Armstrong Woods State Park, surfing, exploring tide pools or kite flying along our Sonoma Coast, joining a wildlife ocean charter in Bodega Bay or bicycling or van touring our scenic winery routes, you can’t beat Sonoma County for variety of opportunities and professional providers to assist you.

Check with your local publications, Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Center, or your Lodging Provider for information on opportunities to visit and explore. Welcome and we hope you enjoy our local outdoors.

Watertreks Eco-Tours And Kayak Outfitters

Highway 1, PO Box 39,

Boat Launch Beach Area, Jenner, CA‎

(888) 865-2249‎

Santa Rosa BMW Triumph’s ‘Ladies Only’ Ride

By Suzanna Boogay

Last month, I organized and lead a ‘Ladies’ Only’ ride out of the dealership where I work in Windsor (Santa Rosa BMW Triumph). The route chosen was approximately eighty-five miles in length, and traversed our local back roads. The challenge mapping out the route was not in there being a loss of roads to choose from, but rather the seemingly endless options. Do we take Highway 128 to Boonville? Skagg’s Spring Road to Stewart’s Point? Coleman Valley to the coast? King’s Ridge Road up to Heaven?

You get the picture.

Due to time constraints, the length of the route was limited, however, we were still able to cover quite a few of my favorite Sonoma County back roads, including: Slusser, Vine Hill, Highway 116, Bodega Highway, Valley Ford – Freestone, Highway One to the Town of Tomales, Dillon Beach Road, Franklin School-Valley Ford Road, Bohemian Highway, Occidental, River Road and Mark West Springs Road.

Our group met early in the morning in Windsor at the dealership, ready to roll. It was suggested that everyone show up with a full tank of gas, and join us for hot coffee and a bagel breakfast before kicking off. Ride participants consisted of nine diverse and beautiful women; Holly Berkley, a 52 year old energy medicine therapist who rides a K1200S, Amelia, a 22 year old print specialist who rides a Suzuki GSF 500, Leanne Southard, a 59 year old courier who rides a BMW R1200C, Kimber Sterling, a 44 year old registered nurse who rides a Suzuki SV650, Laura Slater, a 43 year old veterinarian who rides a BMW F650GS, Vesta Copesakes, a 60 year old publisher (of the West County Gazette) who rides a Honda NT650, and lastly myself, who works in sales at Santa Rosa BMW Triumph, age 30 and rides a BMW F800S. Together we had well over one hundred years riding experience!

Because one third of the women had never experienced riding in a group, I made certain to cover some basic tips and guidelines prior to departure. Some of these guidelines included keeping a buffer in front and behind you, riding in staggered formation on straight-aways, keeping one ‘second’ behind the rider in front of you, using turn signals, being responsible for the person behind you, making sure they see where you turn off, etc. Adhering to even these simple parameters really contributes to a much safer experience.

Sunshine would have been our preference, but we had to make do with the cold and foggy conditions, typical of summer months. Thankfully by the time we returned from our ride, the fog had burned off, revealing blue skies. Any local with a heart beat would argue that the scenery west Sonoma County offers is just about unrivaled in beauty. Along our ride we passed all the usual tree suspects; bays, madrones, eucalyptus, and of course the almighty redwood. The other flora of the area mixed with the moist air created an exquisite symphony of smells you’d find only here in Sonoma County.

Highlights of the ride included a stop at Tomales Bakery, where most of the ladies (those who didn’t have bikes with heated grips), warmed their hands by holding onto hot beverages. Even though we just had bagels at the dealership, the temptation of the Tomales Bakery’s luscious pastry offerings was too great to resist. Rider camaraderie flowed thick and fast as the women connected with each other at each stop. Other passer bys were enthused by the spectacle of so many female riders together. After all, women are still a mere 12% of the total riding populace!
Our ride was uneventful, although, we did manage to get lost in the labyrinth of Sebastopol back roads. Fortunately, it was a very scenic error and we quickly got back on track again. In fact, most of the riders in the group would not have known I was lost had it not been for the deceased roadside skunk we passed … twice.

At the end of the ride, we returned to the dealership where Dennis and Chris, proprietors of Santa Rosa BMW Triumph prepared a BBQ lunch for us. Contact information was exchanged around a picnic table. In fact a few rides have already been planned since our first ride together! If you or any other female riders you may know are interested in connecting with this group, and participating in rides in the future, contact me and I will make sure to forward your information on. This is the beginning of something fantastic!

Suzanna Boogay
(707) 838-9100 ext 2

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