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Bike Tour II, Fort Bragg to San Francisco

Fully loaded bike

Day 1: Fort Bragg to Russian Gulch

I spent a couple extra days at the family cabin. In order to make up time, I asked my mom to drive me from Ferndale (my original starting point) to Fort Bragg, and yes, perhaps in order to get over that big-ass hill near Leggett. I rode just for a few hours to Russian Gulch to settle in for the evening.

Highlights/Lowlight:

  • Lemon cake and latte courtesy of mom
  • Devil’s Punch Bowl (a large, collapsed sea cave with churning water)
  • Crazy domestic beer drinking/muscle diving teens blasting traditional Serbain music all night
Driving to the coast from Humboldt County.

Driving to the coast from Humboldt County.

Russian Gulch

Russian Gulch

Day 2: Russian Gulch to Manchester Beach

Rode though the lovely towns of Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk and stopped at Manchester State Park pretty early to set up camp. I had one of the best sandwiches of my life at Elk store in…Elk. When I walked in at 10am, a lady asked me “May I make you a sandwich?” She was totally serious. I said yes. The weather turned sour, things were damp, and there was some old crazy dude with a joint the size of a king salmon at the hiker/biker camp in Manchester. I chose to pay for a full site on the other side of the park.

Highlights/Lowlight:

  • Deli sandwich in Elk
  • Guinness on the beach (I only drank 1/4 and got sleepy)
  • Free firewood score from friendly German neighbors
  • Freezing-ass drizzle and damp clothes
Campsite at Manchester Beach

Campsite at Manchester Beach

Seaweed

Seaweed

Day 3: Manchester Beach to Bodega Dunes

This was as rough as it got. At 3am, my tire exploded. The nice German neighbors thought it was a gun shot. They have read about the violence in America.  I woke up cranky from no sleep and carefully changed my tube, which popped right as I rode out of the park. I identified this as a tire problem, and put my last tube in just about 140 miles from the nearest bike shop. I rode through Gualala and gave myself a little treat for brunch; an enormous plate of Mexican food and some hot chocolate. It never occurred to me that this much food would effect my ability to ride….but god dammit, it was worth it. I put my camera away and suffered through the next 70 miles. When I arrived in Bodega, it was dark, there was no fire, no wise creature cooking soup for me. Oh wait, that’s Dagobah. Never mind.

Highlights/Lowlight:

  • Gluttonous brunch stop
  • Salt Point State Park
  • View from the peak before Jenner
  • No Yoda
Mariachi's in Gualala

Mariachi's in Gualala

Dinner by candlelight in Bodega

Dinner by candlelight in Bodega

Day 4: Bodega Dunes to San Francisco

This campground has free hot showers. I just don’t know what could be better. I resolved to ride all the way home today, not wanting to be stranded when my final tube popped. As I rode into Sonoma County, I saw the clouds part, and the sun peak through for the first time in 3 days. I didn’t even mind stopping to deflate/reset/repump my tube a couple times by the side of the road. This is the part of the ride I can’t recommend enough. It takes you through Tomales, behind Tomales Bay, into Point Reyes Station, and through Samuel P Taylor Park. You pretty much have your jaw dropped the entire ride. I made it home, and slept for two days.

Highlights:

  • The ten mile stretch behind Tomales Bay, probably the most beautiful ride I have ever been on
  • Pizza at Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station
  • New tire and tubes at Sunshine Bicycle in Fairfax
  • The glorious assent up my steps, through my door, and into bed
Daniel Mckenzie, randonnuering

The only self portrait I could muster.

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