Easter Sunrise: A Bay Area Motorcycle Tradition



Easter morning brings about an interesting tradition amongst Bay Area motorcyclists. Depending on the weather anywhere from a few to a few hundred motorcycles gather at the top of Mount Tamalpias to see the sunrise. My first time at the event was in 2008 when the weather was good. Last year there was a big debacle if the park service was going to open the gates due to not having enough money for insurance :(. This year the weather looked to be equally good as it was in 2008. Living down in the valley makes the ride up there longer than one would like at that hour of the morning. Morning called at 3am so that means I needed to be asleep by 8pm.

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I kicked the whitenoise generator on the phone and surprisingly was out like a light. I woke up briefly once in the night and was back off to sleep for the night. Morning was right on time.

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The moon was out in full glory today.


I’d planned a ride on meet up and wasn’t expecting any takers at either stop. It was a quick roll through the valley. In 2008 I remember US-101 being very desolate where as this year there seemed to be much more traffic for that time of the night on a holiday. With another quick stop at Stonestown Mall, it was time to head to Tam Junction.

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I do love that the VStrom does have good headlights!

No one showed up for the planned stops, but met two buddies of mine up at Tam Junction.

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The ride last time seemed riddled with hooliganism where as this year it was super mellow. The riders ahead of me would park the bikes in turns. Last time I was getting blown by. I got up to the parking lot at 6:00am and started the mile hike in my gear up to the summit. About 1/4 of the riders made the slog up the hill!

The view from up there is awesome. One can see from the Pacific Ocean to the west all the way to Novato to the north. Sunrises are pretty simple affairs. A giant ball of fire some 93 million miles away comes up over the horizon about every 24 hours. To me though, sunrises mark the promise of a new day. I’m always a sucker to see the sun come up. Thermos in hand with hot tea on tap, it was time for action.

Looking over the horizon, it was all quiet below. Its astonishing to see how quickly the environment changes in the stillness of nature. I’ve captured the scene in a variety of different formats from panoramic down to close up. Note to self, bring a good tripod and check the ISO settings.

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6:51:46 am – Even the city is asleep!

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A quick view to the south of the city and the Pacific Ocean

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There were a number of bikes that came out today. Mild temperatures and no wet weather brought out a lot of riders. A number of people were starting down the mountain at this point and there were many more bikes on the right hidden by the trees.

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The dawn patrol is ready to ride!

Breakfast was at Theresa’s and Johnny’s Comfort Food in San Rafael.

Theresa’s and Johnny’s Comfort Food (C is average. No grade inflation here):

SeatingB+Being early on a Sunday morning, no one was there. Seating was fast and easy.
AtmosphereAThey have a lot of funky things on the wall to look at that makes it a fun place to dine.
Wait StaffA-Very attentive and flexible with ordering. Awesome experience.
FoodA+They had grits. They were good too. Instant A there.
ValueCThe prices were comparable to market.
OverallA-Very good experience. It’s a do not miss stop in San Rafael!
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I decided to take some time and explore the area on my way back down to the valley. I stopped to take some photos of the bridge, but the light was terrible as evidenced by the photo. I was taking the picture right into the sun! 🙁

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Continuing on the road down to Pt Bonita was quite cool. With clear skies, it was extra cool!

I got home having done a full ride and it was only 11:45 in the morning. I got all my chores at the house done. Went for some exercise. Now it was only 4pm. This was proving to be the longest day in a while. 9:00 pm finally came and I was out. All in all a good ride. Looking forward to next year.


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