Day 11: Bodega Bay – SAN FRANCISCO!

It was a bittersweet morning. This was our last day of our trip and although we were ecstatic to make it to San Francisco, we were sad the trip was ending. Especially since Dad and I finally felt like our bodies were in ‘touring’ shape, haha! It’s true that you can continually push your body to extremes and it will adapt…eventually.

We got on the road around 8am , continuing on our trusted Route 1. About an hour into our ride, we ran into brothers Alastair and Andrew, who we had first met six days ago in Newport, OR. We’ve crossed paths since we met them — staying at the same campgrounds some nights, seeing each other on the road — and we were happy to catch up to them again. They went ahead and we made plans to meet in Pt. Reyes Station for lunch.

It was a hilly en route to Pt. Reyes, but we were rewarded with farmland views and some of the best downhill biking I’ve ever experienced. I know I said two days ago we had an awesome downhill after the Leggett Hill but today the road conditions were perfect. Hardly any cars, gentle turns (at least not 90-180 degree turns), smooth pavement — it was so much fun! The scent of the eucalyptus trees that lined the roads may have heightened our senses, but it was pure euphoria. I think I may have been laughing aloud all the way down haha!!

Feeding time!

Feeding time!

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At the bottom, we went through the town of Tomales, which is known for their oyster bays. We passed by many oyster distributors I’ve heard of from my SF friends — Hog Island, Tomales Bay Oyster Company. It was a bit early in the day (10am) for oysters (for me at least!), but a beautiful place to enjoy fresh, local oysters.

We made it to Pt. Reyes Station and met up with Alastair and Andrew. We all had lunch at Bovine Bakery, a spot that was recommended from a fellow camper two nights ago and was very popular with SF cyclists on day trips. It’s about 80 miles roundtrip from SF.  IMG_4374IMG_4376

Looking at our maps, the route had us diverge off of Rt. 1 and go inland through towns like Lagunitas, Fairfax, Corte Madera, but Alastair and Andrew said the trip on Rt. 1 would be terrifically scenic, but hilly. We like the sound of ‘scenic’ and took our chances with ‘hilly’ and continued to truck along Rt. 1. It was a terribly hilly ride, especially since we didn’t expect too many hills today, but the views were once again breathtaking. Here’s a view of Bolinas Bay/Stinson Beach (and the first time we saw people actually swimming in the ocean!):IMG_4381IMG_4382

After some more steep climbs near Mr. Tamalpsis State Park, we descended into the Marin City and about 10 miles later, had our first view of the city of San Francsico!!! When we finally got to the bridge, we couldn’t help but take some pictures!IMG_4384IMG_4385IMG_4390

The Golden Gate Bridge is really a stunning piece of work and we were able to enjoy the views since there wasn’t even a trace of fog.

We made it!!!

We made it!!!

However, it was astonishingly windy on the bridge. I should submit this picture of Dad to Michelin for consideration of the next Michelin Man!IMG_4397

There was lots of activity in the SF Bay. Sailboats, windsurfers, kitesurfers, large  container ships…we even saw dolphins! After dodging the tourists, we made it to the end of the Golden Gate, only to be completely confused on where to go. The only bicycle signage we saw was where not to go. Thankfully, other cyclists helped us fund our way into the city and we biked straight to Free Wheel on Hayes Street. They were able to pack up and ship our bikes to CT for a flat rate of $200. They were very helpful and had a great shop. Thank you Monica and Andy for the recommendation!IMG_4398IMG_4408

We met up with Monica at her apartment and enjoyed a real shower, real towels, a wonderful home cooked meal, laundry and clean clothes. It was an awesome way to end our 11 day adventure. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it went by so fast. That being said, Dad and I are already planning our next trip: SF to San Diego!!

Official mileage log

Official mileage log

Miles: 73.9

Total Trip Miles: 1033 miles

Weather: Sunny!

Riding Conditions: Overall, good! The road from Bolinas Bay to Marin City was narrow and had more traffic than we were used to. And finding our way off the Golden Gate bridge into the city was confusing. And those hills in SF are no joke!

Campground: Monica and Jeremy’s beautiful apartment in NoPa. Grade: A+

Day 6: Charleston, OR – Gold Beach, OR

It was a very cold start this morning — 45 degrees when we woke up at 6:30am! Can you believe it’s July 27th and 45 degrees over here?!? Luckily, we had several climbs in our first 15 miles to warm us up. Btw,  I don’t think I’ve ever wrote ‘lucky’ and ‘climbs’ in the same sentence hah.

It was also another day of meeting people along the way. There was Gary who was making his way north in a recumbent bike. He had hiked the Appalachian Trail and is now traveling the west coast via bike. Dana’s also headed north, going to the Grand Tetons for a wedding. And Steve is from Utah, and is biking south to San Francisco because his wife’s in NY for two weeks so why not? (It’s also his fourth time down the coast).

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We decided to make it a shorter day than usual due to campground locations, but we didn’t realize that the campground we were planning to stay at was hosting the county fair! Thankfully they found us a spot and we were able to enjoy the fair, including Saturday’s spotlight event: Tuff Trucks Competition. Think of a red neck monster truck derby and that’s what it was. Pieced together trucks, raunchy MC, dirt flying — Dad and I loved it. There’s no way in the world we would have ever seen something like this out east and here we were, sitting in the second row, screaming and hollering with everyone else haha! (Video to come, once I figure out how to load it onto the site…)

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Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay for the whole fair and missed out on some great events, like:

  • watermelon spitting contest
  • ugly dog contest
  • all you can eat ribs eating contest

But what’s a fair without fried dough (or funnel cake as they call it here).

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Thankfully the ruckus didn’t go on too late and we were able to go to bed at a reasonable hour (and wake up refreshed for a long day ahead of us).

 

Total miles: 80.7

Weather: Cold morning but warmed up to the low 80s

Riding conditions: Another day of amazing tailwinds negated any road issues we had

Campground: Curry County Fairgrounds in Gold Beach, OR. Cold showers and noise from fair (especially screams from the Zipper — my amusement park ride nemesis). But what an experience! Grade: B+

Day 4: Garibaldi, OR – Newport, OR

What an amazing day for seeing/meeting other cyclists! We saw a total of 16 touring cyclists and eight of them are at camp tonight. There was some overlap with our route and the Trans-America route which is probably why we saw such an increase of bikes on the road. It’s great meeting people who are doing the same crazy thing you’re doing haha!

This morning, within 10 miles of our start, we came upon Oregon’s own Tillamook Creamery. There really is never a bad time to have ice cream (right?) so we indulged at 8:45 am with a scoop (mint chocolate chip for myself, cookie dough for my dad). Tillamook is an all farmer owned company and we were happy to support them.
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Our route brought us pass Netarts Bay, where we saw many people clamming in the low tide. Based on the languages posted on the restrictions notice, it seems like its a popular place!

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There was a three mile climb out of Netarts and we experienced one of the wildest climate changes ever. Going up the hill, the clouds started to flow into the street and everything was quite wet — almost rainforest-like. Not only was it wet, but chilly at 58 degrees at the top, brrr. Then, about 100 ft pass the summit, it was sunny as can be with blue skies. The only clouds we could see were the ones going over the mountain and over the cliff. On our decent, we even crossed sand dunes!! No more moss covered trees or rains drops. It was full-on desert on the other side.

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When I stopped to take off my jacket, I saw that the temperature was now 78 degrees. We couldn’t believe how different the climate was only 3 miles away!!

Between Sandlake and Pacific City, the ocean was calling us, so we made a run for it. Boy, is that water COLD!! We haven’t seen one person in the water this whole trip, so we knew it had to be pretty chilly.

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On our approach to Newport, we followed the Oregon Coast Bike Route onto Otter Crest Loop, on old highway that winds up and down Cape Foulweather along precipitous cliffs. This road was a welcomed diversion from heavily trafficked Rt. 101 and the views of the coastline just got better and better.

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At the end of the loop, we saw these ocean beach dunes. Looks like it could be Egypt (without the water, of course!). Another wonderful surprise about Oregon’s coast.

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As I previously mentioned, we stayed at a state park tonight with eight other touring cyclists:

Chris – headed north from San ??, CA
Tommy – started in Vancouver, headed for SF
Andrew and Alastair – headed home to SF, coming from fly-fishing trip in Alaska and thought biking from Seattle was better than flying
Gary – headed to San Diego, CA
Kat – from Sweden, going cross-country
Aussie guy (didn’t catch name, whoops) – headed to Eugene, OR, has been on the road for 2 years (!!!!)
Dutch guy (again, didn’t catch his name) – headed to Burning Man but doesn’t have a ticket yet

As you can deduct, there were plenty of stories to go around!

 

Total miles: 90.2

Weather: 50s in the morning, warmed up to the 70s and back to the 50s by 3pm.

Riding conditions: some tricky or non-existent road shoulders; tailwind in the afternoon

Campground review: South Beach State Campground one mile south of Newport. $6/person, hot showers, good company, lots if trees for hammock options. Grade: A

Day 3: Cathlamet, WA – Garibaldi, OR

After traveling alongside the Columbia River for about 30 miles the previous day, we finally crossed it via ferry to reach Oregon!!

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In Oregon, we were greeted by towns named “Wauna” and “Knappa” and headed for Astoria, a fairly big shipping and fishing town in this neck of the woods (pop. 10,000). We found ourselves off route, when Yauncey came by and asked of we needed help. He lives about 15miles south of Astoria and bikes to the city three days a week to go swimming. He guided us back on route and told us about Astoria’s new economy in tourism, the dying fishing industry, and where to get lunch en route to Seaside. Another pleasant encounter with someone who knew their way around!

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About 40 miles outside of Astoria, we ran into Tommy, a fellow touring cyclist headed to San Francisco. He had started in Vancouver about a week ago and was traveling solo.

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Our next treat was riding into Seaside, because it was the first time we saw the Pacific. All day, we followed the Oregon coast and were amazed by its majestic beauty and size.

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We approached Canon Beach, OR, which is eerily similar to East Coast beach towns in like Provincetown and Hyannis. But we did get to see Haystack Rock, an impressive 245ft rock jutting out about 50 ft from shore. The pictures don’t give it justice.

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Today’s ride had some climbs, but at the top we were always rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Oregon coast.

Total miles: 91.5 miles

Weather: 50s and chilly morning, 70s during the day (tan lines developing)

Biking conditions: We rode on 101 for most of day, which is the road we’ll be traveling down for the majority of the trip. It was traffic-y, but that was expected. We had a wonderful 20 mile stretch out of Astoria that was an English country-like road with no traffic.

Camping review: We stayed at the Biak-by-the-sea RV park; $21 for the night; hot shower; grocery store nearby. Grade: B

Day 1: Seattle to Centralia, WA (cont.)

What started off as an overcast day, finally became sunny, around 4pm. And as the clouds cleared, we had a clear view of Mt. Rainier. Stunning. Also at this time, we had a slight tailwind (yes!) to help us get through the next 20 miles to our destination.

During the day, we met out first bike touring buddies (the first of many I hope!). Unfortunately, we didn’t catch their names, but they are from Holland and are two days away from finishing their trip, which started on May 20 in Virginia. They followed the Trans-Am route and were heading north for Seattle. They raved about the beauty of rural America and the Tetons, but wished that Yellowstone limited the number of cars in the park. And they highly recommended that we use http://www.warmshowers.org during our travels. For those who do not know about this site, it’s a place where people open their homes to traveling hikers and bikers. I’ve never used it, but it may be handy one day!

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All-in-all a very successful day that ended with a hot shower at camp, clear weather and a good night’s sleep…or so we thought…

Day 1: Seattle to Shelton, pre-lunch

Wake up call this morning was at 4:30am (!!!), since we were taking the Seattle-Brementon ferry at 6am. We truly hit the road at 7:10am in Brementon, heading south.

Currently, we’re in Shelton, WA, about 40 miles southwest-ish of Seattle. It could have been 56 miles if it weren’t for Mr. Rick Allen, who saved us from a map reading error (I take full responsibility), re-routed us and got us back on track with minimal damage (only one mile more than our intended route).

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It’s been a chilly morning with an average temperature around 60 degrees and overcast. We’ve only had one hill in Union, WA that left us slightly panting but it is the first day, so we’re not quite in ‘touring’ shape. Now en route to Centralia–65 miles away!

P.s. We’ve added a photo gallery (linked to our Flickr account) to the right sidebar (for mobile users, this feature is found at the bottom of the page). We’ll be adding pictures there throughout the trip, so be sure to check them out!