It began with a flurry of busses. Who knew there were so many ways to get down the coast? Some had kind passengers offering holiday sweets, others had maniacal drivers intent on playing chicken with the Redwoods alongside the road. (or more accurately the road was alongside the Redwoods, as they tended to pave around these gentle giants) Either way, the county bus lines got us over the hilly parts, and most importantly gave my knees their much desired break. Between bus lines we’d ride a bit, sometimes covering 15 miles, occasionally more. Relying on local advice, we rode the more rewarding parts of the road between Gold Beach, OR and Garberville, CA.
In Crescent City, we stayed with a wonderful couple that we contacted via Warmshowers (a reciprocal bike hospitality site) The leisurely wait for the bus over one of the passes in this instance allowed for some good beach contemplation. The tide was rising, otherwise we would have been able to visit the lighthouse as well. At least it stood still long enough to take a photo, then it was off to the Redwoods!
Departing from Klamath, CA we pedaled our way softly up into the forest. The sky around us grew darker as the canopy began to swallow the sun. Vehicle sounds ceased for all but the gentle creak of our chains as we made our way to Prairie Creek Campground. As darkness settled, we eased our way into camp.
Once settled in we decided to have a look around, and ran into some lovely folks WOOFing it down the coast who were willing to share their fire with us. On this damp eve, it was good to have a source of warmth. The next morning we woke to fog, and some Elk. I guess thats why they called it Elk Meadows… As the fog began to clear, we headed down the road torwards Orick, where we would catch our next bus to Garberville, and see a wholly different section of the Redwoods.
Biking out from Garberville, we rode past what I would describe as the more “Touristy” section of the highway, complete with the “Worlds Only One Log Cabin”, and “Confusion Hill” I didn’t take photos because it felt contrived. Suffice to say their bathrooms were very nice! Besides, the starry night sky from Richardson Grove State Park was much more interesting anyways
At this point in time, we said our farewells to US 101, and for the first time in our journey joined up with the scenic California Highway 1, complimented with an immediate 2.5 hour climb up to the largest hill we had encountered to this point.
With our water supplies running dreadfully low, we stopped at the base of the hill to fill up at the gas station. We were then told “Nobody around here drinks the water because when they do funny things happen to their guttyworks” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point. With the promise of a free-flowing spout of water at the top of the mountain that “You just can’t miss” according to the gas station attendant, we started to climb. Reaching the top only to find that no such well even remotely existed, I suspected the gent at the gas station was now laughing his leg off at us, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to bike back down to check. Instead, we bombed down the other side for a solid 35 minutes, eventually bottoming out.
Breaking back onto the coast for the first time in almost one hundred miles, we paused to reflect just as the sun sank behind the sea.
After nearly biking off a cliff in the dark (for reals this time) while attempting to find MacKerricher State Park, we headed out for Mendicino. (Note to future self, pay attention to addenda on the Adventure Cycling Association map to avoid future cliff biking offings)
The last bus that we caught was from Point Arena (One of my favorite towns on this section of coast, even though we only waited for the bus there, I’d definitely like to spend more time here at some point in my life) to Bodega Bay, where I celebrated our conquering of the bus lines with a Bodega Head IPA whilst sitting on the beach at Bodega Bay. A good way to end the day. Okay, now I’m done rhyming. Orange, nothing rhymes with Orange (Says our good friend Robin of Robs Blahg)
Raccoons are real sons-of-a-guns sometimes. Especially when they bring their friends. After settling down for our final night in Samuel P. Taylor State Park, it took not three minutes for the furry rascals to skitter away with our entire bag of chips so naively left on the picnic table a mere three feet way from where Hugh and I were consulting our map. Luckily, a raccoon with a large chip bag in its mouth is slightly easier run down whilst shouting expletives than one without chips, which is precisely why I charged the little buggers before they could get too far away. Fortune was on our side when the raccoon, lets call him “Bob” dropped the bag as he failed to clear the irrigation ditch on the other side of the road. As we cradled our wounded chip bag back towards the salsa (may their union last in peace) a cacophony arose from the woods that went something like this
SKERR SKERR SKERR “Bob – dammit! You dropped the food again!”
SKEECH skerr SKEECH skerr “It’s not my fault! You try running with half a pound of Mission Tortilla chips in your mouth while being chased by some crazy dude wearing a bike helmet”
And thus our chips were saved. Rabie free too! (I think…) Crunch munch crunch.
The next day we made it to our halfway point, which is where I will conclude this segment of our adventure.
All the way from Gold Beach, OR to San Francisco, Ca!
After riding through the wharf section of downtown San Fran, we made our way to CalTrain, where we rode the rails south to meet up with our third partner in crime, Claudia. Stay tuned for the next update!