Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 22, Sunday September 6 - Scotia to Garbervile, California

Have you heard us mention that it's cold out here? You must think we're exaggerating, but it's the first week in September and the leaves are changing,

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that's just plain cold.
But the sun is shinning,
and it's a start to a beautiful day.
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Scotia is this country's largest company owned town; (Pacific Lumber Company)
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you can see how well loaded with lumber they are.
Shortly out of town, we entered the Humbolt Redwood State Park Avenue of the Giants; a 30 mile treat of the incredible redwoods
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that snakes along the Eel River.
The enormity of these trees still amaze us
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as we go ithrough tunnels of trees
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then out to the river.
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We went through a couple small yet colorful towns
and met a couple of equally interesting Brits.
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With a 2500 foot climb that the map calls "arduous" ahead of us tomorrow, we stopped early to rest.

Day 23, Labor Day Monday, September 7 - Gaberville to Fort Bragg. California

We can break today's ride into thirds, not equal thirds by distance or time, but by contrasts. The morning started in rugged cowboy hill country

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with narrow valleys being cut by the ever present Eel River.
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The winds were so calm the water reflected the 100'+ trees like a mirror.
redwood along the eel.JPG

And then part two began with our 2500' winding, hairpin curve climb
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that lasted most of the day. Take a look at this shot early in the climb of the Eel River.
Deep in the middle of the woods as we came around a narrow turn, we had a close encounter with what has to be Kurt's cousin.
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Luckily, he's as fast as Kurt is on the court, so we didn't have to rush.
This is one mountain we had to climb down; the sharp corners and grades didn't allow us a good downhill fly.
All of a sudden the temperature dropped and we knew we were getting closer to the coast. It took another hill to climb to reach part three, the coast. One minute we are in thick forest, the next on a spectacular sunny shoreline.

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Just can't get over the sight.
We still had a winding road to get to town, but.

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We reached our destination, Westport, by 3:00, but it was a one-deli town. That was the only restaurant/place to eat, and though the deli was filled with Duckies
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it wasn't enough to keep us. Only 15 more miles to Fort Bragg, and though it took us another two hours on very weary legs, we made it long before sunset.
Another ten hour, 72 mile day!

Day 24, Tuesday September 8 - Fort Bragg to Point Arena

We pulled out of Fort Brag this morning in full sunshine, within a couple of blocks we were in heavy fog.

For the rest of the morning we watched the continuous tug-of-war between the sun and the fog over control of the coast. Each offered us a spectacular show

We hesitated to leave each spot as the scene changed by the minute,
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but we couldn't wait to see what was around the next bend. The quaint coastal towns and coves of Mendicino County are beautiful.
The road and hills between the town of Mendicino and Elk are filled with magnificent home,
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cute B & B's, lodges, inns and everything in between.
Still cannot get over the color of the water
or how one minute the sky is crystal clear and the next minute is thick fog.
No matter, every scene was like a postcard
and every turn offered another incredible
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breathtaking view.
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......just one more.
The land on our left side is stricking as well,
but still cannot compete with the coast.
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Day 25, Wednesday September 9 - Point Arena to Bodega Bay, California

It was a beautiful ride today, cloudy/foggy, and hilly

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but incredibly peaceful. It helped us to appreciate the part of the view that did not include the coast.
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The water is just as beautiful today, however without the sunshine you may not fully appreciate it.
Much of our ride was on twisting,
very narrow and steep roads with no shoulder and straight down drops off the right side white line.
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Not sure if the thick fog made the challenging road seem better or worse.
The coves we could catch glimpses of were beautiful
and without the sun we made better progress, except when we had to stop to take multiple pictures of the wildlife.
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For lunch we dined beside Fort Ross (we never found the historical maker, so couldn't tell you it's significance)
on leftover smashed cinnamon rolls and tortilla chips......lunch of champions apparently. Towards the afternoon, it lightened up enough to showoff the water's beautiful color
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and lighten the famous (to wine drinkers anyway) Russian River.
Our last seven miles cleared enough to light the small coastal towns
as we approached.
Happily we found a great little place in Bodega
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that overlooked the now sun-filled harbour.
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Time to enjoy the day, 64 miles done.

Day 26. Thursday September 10 - Bodega Bay to Sausilita, California

"We" had to get up before 6:30 this morning, because "we" wanted to get an early start. That was until we bumped into Don (pictured later), the Brits, Jim and Allen (hamming it up and showing off their t-shirts),

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staying at the same place, and the stories began. Shortly before 9 am, "we" managed to pull away, just in time to catch the fishing trollers in the early morning fog.

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After riding along Bodega Bay, we turn inland into a beautiful sunny day.
The air was crisp, but the sun warmed our chilled bones and the continuous rolling and rolling and rolling hills burned our legs. Fifteen minutes after leaving, we'd stripped off all our cold weather gear.
What western cowboy country ride is complete without a covered wagon?
With the wind at our backs, we biked along the Tomales Bay for miles
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enjoying the colorful sights.
By late morning, we happened upon a great lunch spot
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and Don.
don on tomales bay.JPG
The clam chowder was incredible, the view beautiful,
the entertainment off key (look closely, those are sea lions on the sailboat)
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and the characters unexpected.
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As we were pulling away, this French Canadian pulled up,
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though it is the second time we've met him, still haven't gotten his name. But his story is great; he has biked and skateboarded across Canada from Quebec and now down the west coast.
By one o'clock with the sun high in the sky, our course tuned us onto a wonderfully shaded and paved bike path.
We didn't realize how much we appreciated the one hour ride in the shade until we reached the end of the trail and were once again in the 90+ degree heat. Note: the sun and heat comments are not a complaint, just tough to go from 50 to 90 in one day. Fifteen miles from our destination, we start to see signs of civilization past
and present.
As always, the last miles are the toughest, but we made it 65 miles to a wonderful hotel room in Sausalito.

Day 27, Friday September 11 - Sausilito to Half Moon Bay, California

In Remembrance of 911 and Those who have Given to Our Country (taken at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge).

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We arose to a beautiful sunny and warm morning, so we pilled on the sunscreen, packed the jackets and headed out the door
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to see Sausilito.
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Downtown Sausilito is charming, rich and seems to deadend into the San Francisco Bay, offering a beautiful view of the city
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or so we are told.
So we turn the corner to head to San Francisco and realize Sausilito is not without it's steep climbs. This hillside filled with beautiful homes needs to be biked over
to get to the other side, HA! At least, we hope, the higher prespective offers a better view of the city. As we soon realize, we can't even get a good glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.
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What were we Thinking? We've been to San Francisco, We've been over the Golden Gate.....it was Freezing.
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But we were able to get a clear shot of the bridge, from this angle anyway.
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Our course took us to the west side of San Francisco, which we had not seen in previous visits
and dropped down to the cold Pacific Ocean. It was just south of the city we encountered our very steep climbs.
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Luckily, our last nine miles was downhill or flat
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filled with beautiful homes that stood off the beach allowing trail (yes, as in horses) riding and beach going.
But the biggest treat was the pot of gold at the end of today's ride.
Don't ask me how or why we ended up staying and the magnificent Mill Rose Inn Bed and Breakfast, but if you want an incredible and romantic getaway wihin walking distance of the beach, a charming town and wine country, book it

Day 28. Saturday September 12 - Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, California

We managed to roll away (instead of going back to bed) from our incredible fireside breakfast

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into a foggy morning. Riding through fields of brussels sprouts, green beans
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and occasional groves of Eucalyptus trees whiles breathing in the sea air was very refreshing. When we were able to see the sea, the waves were huge and pounding the rocks.
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The sky tried to clear close to noon for a quick shot at Pigeon Point Lighthouse,
then all of a sudden the sun was blazing
and the sea came alive with color.
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Though we had some tough climbs the downhills were straight with smooth wide shoulders so our 51 mile ride was great; did we mention the wind was at our backs?

Week 4 Complete

Scotia to Santa Cruz, California

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389.7 miles