The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘Olema’ tag

On the Road……Olema’s Giant Eucalyptus Trees

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The specimen below is probably the largest Eucalyptus I’ve seen. These trees are native to Australia and were originally planted in California — I’m guessing — as wind breaks for ranches and farms. They are quite draught resistant, making them extremely productive trees in this climatic zone. Plus, they smell really good!


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October 9th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

On the Road……Highway 1 @ Vedanta Retreat, Olema

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Just outside of Olema lies the Vedanta Retreat center.

I pedaled up the entry driveway past what they call the Vivekananda Bridge. There really was a palpable sense of peace and calm, maybe because for the last 37 years this has been a place “…where spiritual seekers of all faiths may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life.”

Here’s a synopsis of Vedanta philosophy from the Vedanta Society of Northern California‘s website:

The basic teaching of Vedanta is that the essence of all beings and all things–from the blade of grass to the Personal God–is Spirit, infinite and eternal, unchanging and indivisible. Vedanta emphasizes that man in his true nature is this divine Spirit, identical with the inmost being and reality of the universe. There is, in short, but one reality, one being, and, in the words of the Upanishads, “Thou art That.”

Vedanta declares that one can realize God in whatever aspect one wishes, and, further, that one can realize him directly and vividly in this life, in this world. Such realization constitutes spiritual freedom and contains in infinite measure the fulfillment of all man’s ideals and aspirations; it is indeed the true purpose of human life.

Vedanta holds that all religions lead to the same goal. Further, Vedanta reveres all great teachers and prophets, such as Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Jesus Christ, and respects their teachings as the same eternal truth adapted to the needs of different times and peoples.


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October 8th, 2010 at 12:54 am

On the Road……Sir Francis Drake Blvd @ Highway 1

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A typical Marin County bulletin board: “Holistic Lawyer”, “Way of the Goddess”, “Mystic Roots Band”, “Gurdjieff” and a plumbing contractor.

Downtown Olema

Downtown Olema


SFD Blvd @ Highway 1

Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is eponymously named after the English explorer, pirate, slaver, and planet circumnavigator (Sir Francis Drake, b.1540-1596) and was once slated to become a four-lane highway known as CA Route 251:

…However, the development and freeway planning were stopped due to concerns about fragile ecosystems that urbanization would have damaged or destroyed….There was another problem though: the plan put the entire area on the San Andreas Fault. The decision to not redevelop West Marin made the freeway unnecessary, and it was therefore scrapped (from the Wikipedia entry)

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October 5th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Route Map……US Hwy 1: Heading South from Olema

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One really appreciates elevation gains/losses when on a bicycle. To wit, I’ve traveled this stretch by automobile dozens of times and on all those occasions I perceived the route as being perfectly flat.

Anyhow, this stretch of Highway 1 connects the small west Marin towns of Olema and Bolinas. You travel over rolling hills and past park land and old ranches while following the San Andreas earthquake fault along the valley floor. (I wrote a little about this natural history and geology in an earlier post).

Elevation Profile

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October 5th, 2010 at 6:34 pm

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On the Road……Olema, End of Indian Summer

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I discovered a new swimming hole this year. Just in time, as Northern California’s Indian Summer (usually Sept-Oct) finally ushered in some genuinely hot weather.

Last year’s End of Summer post described another popular swim hole: the Inkwells.

The new spot is about a 15-mile roundtrip from the town of Olema, with mostly rolling hills and the occasional volley of cars skimming by pretty close as there is no shoulder for protection along Hwy 1.


Simpler Times Pilsner

Simpler Times Pilsner

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October 4th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

On the Road……From the 2009 Archives

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For whatever reason, certain images never got posted during 2009. So this is some year-end housekeeping.

This shot is from the crest of the hill on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. just before descending into the town of Olema.

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December 31st, 2009 at 4:03 pm

On the Road……Olema, Highway 1

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Olema is said to mean “Coyote” in the native coastal Miwok language. Long thought to be the epicenter of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Olema Valley is where the Pacific and North American tectonic plates meet. So, geologically speaking, everything on the east side of the valley is in North America and everything on the west side is not (such as the Bishop Pine forest, behind and to the right of this barn).

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July 2nd, 2009 at 7:45 pm