By ROBERT DIGITALE
The view of green, forested ridges and grassy hilltops extends for miles from the top of Coleman Valley Road.
My wife and I could get there by car, but we prefer to ride this iconic Sonoma County back road on a motor scooter.
Scooters, like all two-wheeled modes of transport, aren’t for everybody. But Carol and I have had plenty of fun riding them for the past six years. And for the last three years, we’ve managed to get around with just one car and one scooter between us.
This arrangement works because I live about a mile from the newspaper, and winters here are mild compared to Chicago and New York City. I bundle up in January and brace myself for the short, chilly trip to work. When it rains on workday mornings, the scooter stays home (and Carol drives me to work). When it starts raining during the day, the scooter stays dry while parked for free at one of the city garages. That’s right. Motorcycles and scooter riders get free parking at Santa Rosa’s parking lots and garages.
The best part of owning a scooter is when Carol gets on the back and together we ride the winding Wine Country roads – zipping past vineyards, apple orchards, ranches and wild lands. We just got back from an overnight trip to Bodega Bay, via Coleman Valley.
The scooter has become a special way of connecting with our county, especially its restaurants, cafes and bakeries. (To work off some of the accompanying calories, on Monday we hiked the Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail over to Doran Beach.) In the last six years we’ve gone out to tour the back roads leading to Graton, Freestone, Forestville, Occidental, Sebastopol, Windsor, Kenwood and Healdsburg. Sometimes we’ve gone exploring on an Art Trails weekend. Sometimes we’ve just ventured out to try a new eatery. Either way, we see anew the beautiful land in which we live.