PCH - Day 29 to Soquel, CA
Awoke on the beach for a 70 mile day. Blue skies erupted from the fog, the sun rained down, and a huge tailwind smacked our backs allowing us to cruise near 20 mph as an average. And it was beautiful and glorious.
A string of state beaches lined the route with greens and reds from plants contrasting with the blues and indigos of the ocean water. We did encounter one mishap when Janna hit a stray orange safety cone on the side of the road. She flipped into traffic causing a truck to skid into a car which flipped the car over three times. Meanwhile, I was screaming into the traffic dragging Janna and her bike back simultaneously.
Jk. She did hit the cone and crashed but with minor surface wounds. No traffic crashes either.
We did find this balla placed called Pie Ranch which serves as a social justice/locavore/organic environmental ethics restaurant and operates out of an old barn in the middle of the country. We happened by it 4 minutes prior to it opening. We decided to stop and wait, and the place was immediately swarmed by cars of people arriving at this little gem which is apparently actually a big deal place. The pie was fucking great. They also take interns to encourage a new generation of farmers concerned about the welfare of the land and building awareness in school children about where food comes from, amongst other endeavors.
Later, we arrived in Santa Cruz where we rode down the boardwalk past roller coasters which seemed a harsh contrast to the previous days’ rural and wild settings. Now prepping for a 70 mile day tomorrow along Monterey Bay to Big Sur.
PCH - Day 28 to Half Moon Bay, CA
It is truly wonderful to lighten the eyes from the covers of a bed.
After waking at our Warmshowers place, David, Janna, and I biked to the Golden Gate Bridge. It seemed like a monumental moment for me – an official marker of sorts that indicated, “hey, you’ve fucking biked from Canada to San Francisco!” This badass feeling was immediately supplemented by comments from other road bikers training around the city. They would catch up to us and ask where we started/were going. They seemed to drool (my interpretation) from our responses and gave us mad props. Fucking badasses…at least to some.
After passing over that bucket list ride of the Golden Gate, we headed downtown to get food and drop by the Pride Parade. Good food from local vendors, a bakery, and farmers market for produce made being back in a big city super sweet. We parted ways with David and headed south alone. We took tons of time to just enjoy the day and the views of Golden Gate Recreation Area and Golden Park. Alas, our first flat tire happened, but we were only 6 minutes from camp, so we walked the rest of the way. Also, we got out of the fog after passing through the Devil Slide Tunnel- this was a big deal to us.
After being in extremely remote/rural areas of Northern California for a week, a return to cell reception is a return to speak.
First moment reception brought speak was a text from Harrison coming through to let me know that SCOTUS had ruled in favor of health care and gay marriage. Janna, Adam, Brianne and I quickly turned our phones into news feeds and celebrated with shouts of joy in a small grocery lot in the middle of no where by the ocean. Love won.
Which brings me back to meeting up with Brianne and Adam. About a week ago, after conquering the remote Lost Coast (with chewed roads that spat on us resulting in wheels being broken off bikes and pannier clips breaking off), we came into the land where we camped in the red woods. Behold as night was carrying on, Adam and Brianne rode into camp having caught up to us. Hot tea flowed and it was fucking awesome to have them catch up with us again. We decided to ride together to San Francisco before we would part ways.
The next day was my favorite part of the trip as we rode through the Avenue of the Giants on our bikes. A far immersive measure is provided by biking in this regard; while a car allows one to see many things quickly, it is as if you pass them by. The redwoods in a car would seem like a movie preview. A bike is the movie. You experience everything in detail of the full senses – fog hitting your flesh, the shadows of the trees fading coolness on the skin, sun’s warmth grappling with the branches to get through, the sweet smell of fennel and cedar in the air, and the road birthing hills that force you to sweat with mouth open in awe at the passing redwood. Definitely the best.
We rode through the drive-through tree in Myer’s Flat and conquered a hill in heat to cross out of Leggett, back over the mountains in a high pass, and back to the coast. Now on the ocean, we spent days with Adam and Brianne admiring the swiftly changing coastline and ecosystems as trees fell way to golden grass and a dryness in the air that inferred drought. As a consequence, biker/hiker sites at campgrounds began charging more fees to use water for showering and water conservation was the first tip on everyone’s tongues.
We met up with Jeremy and Espoire (the 16 and 17 year olds biking the coast solo), when they texted us to hold up so they could catch us. As their typical badasses, they also did the Lost Coast and buried their knees in asphalt as a result. David also caught up and we spent several days as one giant group camping, cooking, and biking out those miles.
Today, we pushed for San Fran and said goodbye to all as everyone is moving to slightly different routes. To begin the trip, I assumed meeting characters on the road would be a treat and novelty; now I’m grateful for cemented friendships and the promise of future hangs after the trip. After camping in the relentless fog, damp cold, and nights with raccoon screams, Janna and I arrived in San Fran, more than a little stunned to find a ton of food options after so long (hence ice cream immediately).
Tonight, to sweeten the fact, we biked with David to stay at a Warmshowers host in a beautiful house on the Sausalito Hills with a direct view over the entire bay. They cooked a giant vegetarian meal for us and honestly brought out six ice cream containers for us to eat as much as we wanted from. The view of the bay can be seen in the photo above. With laundry being done, full stomachs, and clean skin, it feels satisfying to be here.
PCH - Day 25 to Gualala, CA
PCH - Day 23 to Leggett, CA
After ascending a 2500 mountain from sea level, we coasted through Humboldt Redwood State Park. We saw the largest coastal redwood and got the road mostly to ourselves because it was Monday. As a result, we hiked to several prominent trees and took our time enjoying the redwoods. Seriously just lingered at 3 mph on the road moving through them and wafting their images in.
And most amazing of all, unbeknownst to us, Adam and Brianne had booked it across the main route after several days of recovery in a hotel room, in order to catch up with us. As we were pulling into our campsite for the night, Janna suddenly got a call from Brianne asking where we were. Realizing we were camped within shot, Adam and Brianne biked all day to meet up with us again. It thrilled us and capped off a sweet day.
Gnarly grades of gravel road, biking mountain-bike style downhill, having to push my bike up two mountain passes with 38% grades in sections were all worth it for the Lost Coast – absolutely majestic. The road was so shitty that it tore off two panniers and knocked my front tire loose. Even going downhill, I about used up my brakes and had to re-tighten them because the road was a mess of riddled potholes and gravel for most of it.
The Lost Coast was deserted, remote, and pristine. I can only imagine that this is what the coast originally looked like.
PCH - Day 20 to Ferndale, CA
Short day prepping for the Lost Coast tomorrow. We have our biggest climbs of the trip (2500 foot climbs) to get over the mountains and to the largest wilderness coast in the lower 48 states. Very remote, no towns, and miles of mountain climbs, redwoods, and untouched land.
Now a thought on car culture. I feel like people in cars are frequently angry (myself included). It’s as if we hate parking further than we want, we want to get someplace as soon as we can, and we can only drive to some places and not others because you can’t leave a giant metal beast running in just any parked spot. I have seen so many people just get flaming pissed by having to wait on other cars or bikes. Biking this distance has really shown me the opportunities biking realistically can afford as a common alternative for getting by: you can park pretty much wherever, you don’t get pissed at other people in your way, and motion is desired for the body not a consequence to be avoided.
Finally, our campground for that evening. While in Arcata, I managed to feast myself silly on cake and pastries from a local co-op. I packed out a ton and took some with me for today's riding. As we pulled into our campground, which was a country fair grounds in the off-season, I managed to eat my last pieces. The place made us apprehensive. First, the "host" on duty refused to exit their RV when we checked in. Next, there were several minivans filled with trash (literally brimming to the windows with it) along with smells and appearances of drug usage. We found a spot way away from them to setup our tarp. Needing to urinate, I went over to the restroom/shower house. Inside, it was the quintessential replica of the main-scene bathroom from the movie Saw. Broken, dingy yellow tile greased and smeared with different colored (red, black, brown!) dried fluids adorned the walls. The lights were those sulfured yellow varieties only. The shower had no curtain. But the dark corner where it sprung did have a broken white plastic lawn chair underneath. All toilets where covered with garbage bags save one which itself was copiously filled with human excrement. I quickly used the bathroom making sure to touch barely anything, then decided to just plunge back in and take a shower regardless.
By this point, an RV had pulled up to us and an older couple parked by our tarp's side. They came out to introduce themselves, and we ended up having a great conversation with them as they fried up some freshly-caught lake fish. After that, Janna and I climbed into the tarp to go to bed. Tomorrow was going to be the Lost Coast alternate, which meant we needed some good sleep for the large climbs.
Around 1:30 am I woke up feeling a little off. My stomach began flipping over and over again. I rolled back and forth trying to settle what was increasingly a boiling mess in my gastrointestinal system. I started sweating profusely and knew I was going to vomit. I climbed out of the tarp and made my way in the dark to the Saw-restroom. I went in and dry-heaved for 20 minutes into a trash bag I dug out of the bottom of an overfilled refuse bin. I was crazy nauseous and couldn't believe I was sick in a hell-hole of a room like this. With a wave of nausea done, I went back to the tarp, laid down, and moaned with illness. Janna woke up and I relayed the awful sickness I was feeling. I got hit by another round of the urge-to-vomit. I sprinted to the Saw-restroom with Janna trailing. Janna confirmed that the men's restroom was far more horrid than the women's. I heaved into the trashcan several times before telling Janna to head back to the tarp. After she left, I thoroughly vomited all that cake up. I tied up the trash bag, placed in the overflowing bin, and headed back to the tarp at 4:00 am. Janna asked me if I still wanted to take on the Lost Coast after not sleeping all night. I said, "YES, absolutely."
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