The B-17 Trail in Fairfax is a great ride in itself and even better in that it leads to Tamarancho’s Flow Trail. But the story behind the naming of the trail is a great and tragic one. It seems that shortly after WWII a B-17, carrying what many believe was a cargo of one or two nuclear bombs or parts of bombs, crashed into White’s Hill in Fairfax. The bomber was on it’s way to Hamilton Army Air Force Base and the crew got lost in a thick fog. They were communicating with the Oakland Army Airfield and mistakenly thought they were approaching the Oakland landing strip. The Oakland radio controllers advised them to desend to 1500 feet and head out over the ocean which would enable the Oakland tower to pick the plane up on radar. The crew of the B-17 descended to 1500 feet and ended up crashing into the side of White’s Hill killing two crew members and critically injuring six. Military police arrived quickly and surrounded the plane while crews removed two large crates the size of automobiles and quickly carted them off. Some speculate that they were top secret equipment having to do with the Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests. A researcher by the name of Gary Peak later confirmed this in interviews with the flight crew.
Creating this trail logo for the B-17 trail was a lot of fun because I love this trail and I have always been a fan of the B-17 “Flying Fortress” having built many models of it as a kid. The trail is a great mix of a few technical rocky bits along with some nice, smooth single track through the redwood and pine forest. It’s a serene environment and lends itself to the extra focus you need to navigate it well as you flow along it. That flow preps you for the actual Flow Trail or Endor, named after the small moon that the rebels in Return of the Jedi landed on to take out the shield generator guarding the second Death Star (Yep, I’m a Star Wars geek). You can’t help but imagine yourself atop a speeder bike evading Imperial Scout Troopers as you race along the trail.
If Your Going: Get a day or annual pass for Tamarancho online here or at a local bike shop in Fairfax. B-17 is part of a great 10 mile loop that takes 90 to 120 minutes depending on how much scenery you want to stop and enjoy. Most folks will do the loop in a clockwise fashion but it’s not mandatory, grab a map at one of the local shops as well. After the ride grab a bite to eat and a pint at the Gestalt Haus or Iron Springs Brewery or a healthier meal at the Good Earth.