Bodega Bay –> San Francisco
LAST DAY. We woke up and pressed on towards our final destination. Most of the ride was relatively flat through rural areas. We stopped in Point Reyes Station for coffee and delicious baked goods from Bovine Bakery. It appeared that taking Hwy 1 would avoid lots of turns close to San Francisco and we debated taking that even though the route showed a different way. A local informed us that hwy 1 near San Francisco, although along the scenic coastline, was dangerously windy and we decided to stick to the designated pacific coast route.
The route had turns every couple of miles once we were close to the city and unfortunately we were all separated. Diane cycled with a local named Charlie who was out on ride to the bridge and offered to show her the way. Jess was separated from Kari, Doug and Thomas and after an extra handful of miles found her way back to the group. We all met up a few miles before the ending point and tackled the traffic to get to the big anticipated bridge.
Biking across the 3 mile long Golden Gate Bridge was something we had all thought about throughout the entire trip. This was our final destination and crossing this internationally recognized civil engineering marvel harvested feelings we cannot describe. It actually required lots of concentration and manuvering ability due to oncoming cyclist and pedestrian traffic as well as strong winds. Whenever we had to go around a pillar, we would turn 90 degrees into the strong wind and then back 90 degrees being cautious not to run into anything or lose control.
At the end of the bridge we took pictures and thought about the end of our trip — although we knew it would not sink in for a while afterwards. We biked to our hostel, climbed on the roof and looked out at the city. We ate burgers, fries and milkshakes down the street from our hostel and enjoyed sleeping in a bed knowing we would not be packing our bikes the next morning.
We made it! 1080 miles from Tacoma, WA to San Francisco, CA. 🙂
Salt Point State Park –> Bodega Bay Dunes (Sonoma Coast State Park)
Today’s ride had some of the windiest roads we’ve ever encountered. Its fun, but sometimes stressful on a bike. When you’re riding downhill around a 180 degree curve and are surprised by a large uphill, shifting gears in time can be difficult.
We stopped in the town of Jenner and had coffee and snacks at an interesting coffee shop that overlooked a calm lake. It was very peaceful, although the coffee shop was playing loud techno music which Kari and Diane agreed did not fit the vibe of this quiet setting.
We arrived in Bodega Bay, set up our campsite and biked a mile to town. Our main goal was fries and milkshakes and we settled (or upgraded) to fries and beer. Tonight was our last night camping on the trip. Tomorrow we would arrive in San Francisco and couldn’t believe how fast it had gone. We rested up and prepared to ride the last 70 miles of our trip.
KOA near Manchester –> Salt Point State Park
We woke up to rain, foggy and cold weather. 4 miles into the ride we stopped at the Lighthouse Inn for breakfast. We all joked about checking into a hotel and watching TV, and Diane was pretty serious about the idea. Instead we continued biking through the fog. When the fog cleared, a strong headwind blew at our faces. We decided today that biking into a headwind is the worst thing ever. You’re giving it your all and going 7 mph on a flat road. Going uphill is that much more difficult, and the downhills aren’t even enjoyable.
The funny thing about today, is that if you look at the elevation in todays ride – the stretch of 40 miles is probably the flattest part of the whole coast. And of course it is one of the toughest rides because of the strong headwind. We were surrounded by farmland and no cell service and just wanted to get to the campsite.
We eventually got to the campsite and sat down at the picnic table and fantasized about fries and milkshakes and buffets full of food. We ate granola bars and went to check out the beach. Hiking down 2 miles, we arrived at a beautiful coastal view all to ourselves. It was magical, and all the negative thoughts about the day were gone. We sat on the rocks and looked out at the ocean and relaxed. The hike back up to the campsite was filled with thoughts of food and sleep and followed by making dinner and getting in our sleeping bags.
MacKerricher State Park –> KOA near Manchester
We stopped at a coffee shop in Ft. Bragg 2 miles into our ride and asked locals about the sea glass beach that was somewhere in the area. We searched for it briefly and without much luck we continued south. The ride was relatively flat in the beginning, and we had a nice tail wind pushing us along. It was clear and the views of the coast were spectacular. We were in a relatively unpopulated area, and at times we felt like we had the beauty of the coast to ourselves and our bikes. Diane stopped to take lots of pictures.
Towards the end of the ride, the weather turned from clear, sunny and warm to foggy and cool. We arrived at the KOA near Manchester with a hot tub and clean bathrooms with free showers. The hot tub was extremely relaxing. And a nice warm shower and charged phones were added benefits of this campsite– its the little things we had lacked the past few days. We slept well that night.
Standish Hickey –> MacKerricher State Park (2 mi N of Ft. Bragg)
‘The Leggett Hill’
The hill we climbed this morning was the most anticipated hill on the whole route. The elevation at the top reached 1800 ft making it the highest hill on the pacific coast. With all of the hype, we dominated this hill thinking it would be more difficult than it was. It took concentration, perseverance, strong legs and motivation, but we all arrived at the top ready for more climbing. The downhill was amazing. It was so long we got cold on the way down and had to stop to put more layers on. The bottom of the hill greeted us with another 500 ft climb that led us to the coast and the town of Westport. We stopped for snacks before continuing on.
The rest of the ride had lots of ascending and descending on a windy road with a decent amount of traffic. We stayed at MacKerricher State Park, and spent the afternoon on the beach. Jess was dared to jump in the pacific and she was in the water in no time. We made dinner and called it a night.
Humboldt State Park –> Standish Hickey State Park
The morning ride was relatively flat through the redwoods. We got back on highway 101 briefly and climbed a few hills before stopping for breakfast at a local diner in Garberville. We ran into a few of the other biking groups in town. After breakfast we grabbed groceries for the next two days and continued on the ride.
The rest of the day involved a lot of climbing and more traffic than we would have liked. Diane saw an RV with Illinois license plates parked on the shoulder and got so excited she waved to the guy in the driver seat. When she saw him wearing a University of Illinois baseball cap she was even more excited.
We arrived at the campsite and hiked down to the swimming hole. It was saturday afternoon so this area was filled with kids and families swimming. In fact, our campsite happened to be right next to a loud family reunion that was quite noisy. We didnt let it stop us from resting up for the next day.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
We did not get on our bikes at all today and it was wonderful. We woke up and leisurely ate breakfast and drank coffee. In the late morning we went for what ended up being a seven mile hike through the redwood groves that surrounded our campsite. We came back, took a nap to fully take advantage of resting, made dinner and called it a night.