Howdy folks. I write to you from King City, CA (but shh… we’re behind on our blogging). Here I’ll tell you the story of how Lizzy and I rolled (actually climbed a lot- despite every elderly man joking to us that the whole trip is downhill) down the coast, nearing San Francisco, a real milestone for us.
After eating breakfast with Ariel at a nice cafe in Mendocino we walked to the cliffs once more to look for whales. We had no luck, thanks to the heavy fog but the scenery was still beautiful. We stopped at a post office (Lizzy writes a post card every single day) before returning to Ariel’s, saying our thank yous and goodbyes, and rolling down the mega hill which she lived atop.
We didn’t head out of town until around 11 AM, and hoped to go 50 miles to Gualala. As we rolled through intermittently fog filled agricultural land I sang Gua-La-La-Gua-La-La to the tune of “Monday Monday” (which has been stuck in our heads since we heard the song in some on point cafe earlier in the trip).
We met a bicycle tourist from Quebec who was headed North; he told us a little about his travels through Mexico and told us to “eat lots”- he definitely has the right idea there. He mentioned Guadalajara, and from then on Lizzy occasionally referred to Gualala with this new name.
We rolled along, and eventually the fog seemed to clear up. We passed a field of baby sheep and slathered on a thick layer of sunblock to protect our sun-starved skin… despite thorough application Lizzy and I both have burns that we won’t forget about anytime soon.
We stopped at the Point Arena Library to work on the blog, see what was ahead, and do some general planning. We left town with 18 miles to go, and perhaps a little less daylight than would have been preferred; by the time we rolled into Gualala it was getting dark.
Our destination was a park a mile past Gualala, to which we rode most cautiously. We set up our tent behind a day use area restroom (out of parking lot sight hopefully) and prepared the nightly special- Beans, corn tortillas, sauces, and chips. We were happy to have a free spot for the night, and hoped we wouldn’t be disturbed in the morning… We planned to get up early and bust out a longer day to make the next- our San Francisco day, a low-mileage one.
As we fell asleep, very hopeful to not be in some sort of trouble in the morning, we joked that if we pulled this camping spot off it’d be the greatest heist in 100 years. We now say this about anything remotely sneaky we do.
Sure enough the next morning we awoke to some noises beyond the structure that hid our tent and we began packing up quickly without discussion. Someone had indeed showed up much earlier than we’d expected, to open the day-use area gate, but must not have seen our tent, as the only car in the parking lot belonged to a friendly fella with a good looking dog.
We climbed out of Gualala and up some rather impressive cliffs on the 1. Lizzy and I were both surprised by how much agriculure/grazing occupies the land adjacent to the many high ocean cliffs. Cow vacation property… Cowndo.
Our morning break destination was Jenner, which we’d seen on a mileage sign, and dreamed of how it would host a nice market with good deals and maybe a dumpster. On arrival we were disappointed by the small size of the town. Why put it on a sign if it doesn’t have great snacks? In all honestly, it was a beautiful place situated on an Estuarine river system with many seals onshore.
After a short stop we climbed ten miles out of Jenner to Bodega Bay, which was indeed slightly larger and as we learned upon entering town, had a very special hot dog joint. We headed to The Dog House to use their wifi, maybe get some fries, and consider our hope of an 80-mile day, especially with 40 miles of hills bullying our legs already. We had no idea what we were getting into.
As we rolled around a corner The Dog House cam into view, along with a sign boasting “endless fries.” We were in.
The 5 baskets of fries that followed
will not can not be forgotten… Not only were they the highlight of the day, freshly cooked and with their many sauces, but they were the hot topic during our next 40 miles of riding. Lizzy, complaining of “potato belly” and us both experiencing occasional but not completely unpleasant vomit-burps.
We used the wifi at our french fry detour to find an airbnb to stay at that night. My sister Ashley had offered this as a birthday gift, and Lizzy and I figured it would be a good night to have a comfortable place to sleep, as well as to shower the day before we biked to San Fran and visited Watsi.
Eventually we left Sonoma County, which we’d biked all 58 miles of that day. Luckily the tallest hills of our day were during our first half. I say luckily because as we approached Point Reyes Station, the small rolling hills felt more like more major accomplishments than small rolling hills. Especially with Potato Belly.
Just as the sun was setting under partly cloudy skies we arrived at our spot for the night. We hitched a ride into town which boasted a small but comprehensive market. We got some fresh vegetables to make tacos, as we do when we have a kitchen to cook in (the veggies not the tacos). The night was filled with cleaning, looking at how sunburned we were, catching up on our writing, and finally prepping a full taco dinner- mushrooms and salsa and all.
Lizzy and I were pooped and both fell asleep dreaming about cycling that night- I guess the long day had gotten to us.
Hopefully all are well- stay tuned for our adventures in San Francisco and beyond! Lizzy’s got lots to tell ya’ll about!