We'd been warned that the next stage was badlands - "Do not go off the road!" - and made haste past industrial estates and enormous lorries to the spectacular sweep of the Richmond Bridge, which Wikipedia tells me is over five miles long.
This was the day that everyone wanted to tell us how cute the Vespas were. The tollbooth attendant on the bridge, when I approached with my fistful of dollars, said "Well hello there! Thank you!" in the kind of voice you'd use for a dog bringing you the newspaper. The Vespa effect, there.
After a stop to buy sandwiches, we left the towns and climbed mountain roads with groups of gentle deer and distant views of jagged, misty pines. We started to descend, and I wondered if we had missed the national park we were supposed to be visiting. A pretty lake crossed by a long, low bridge, then a turnoff down wet and twisting woodland roads. This was the national park! We took the road as high as it went, passing the observatory that had recently been a small white bubble high above and far away, and when the road ran out we parked and walked the rest.
We'd learned in San Francisco that any walk in the USA is a 'hike', and laughed about it, but this genuinely was, with rocks to scramble over. At last we were at the top - the top of Mount Tamalpais, known affectionately as 'Mount Tam', with views of the Richmond Bridge and as far as San Francisco. We ate our sandwiches and headed back down.
The return trip took in a little of Highway 1, with coastal views and wide open bends that could be attacked in a very different manner to the mountain twisties. Then it was back on the Richmond Bridge, now rush hour busy, and through the towns to Pleasant Hill in the fading light.
When we got in, I told Howard I was so cold I just wanted to sit down under several cats. Fortunately, this could be arranged.
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