Last January Olivia and I did a coast ride from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo over two days and I loved every second of it! I have been itching to do another coast ride nearly every day since! Olivia is the queen of adventures and came up with the bright idea of riding the coast to the North of us, rather than riding South again. Wind plays a big factor in which way you want to ride, and North to South always makes the most sense (or makes you feel the fastest :) so we decided to Drive a rental car up Eureka from Marin, drop it off and ride South from there! (Did I tell you Olivia is brilliant;)
Last year we rode with just cookies & credit cards in our pockets, and then shipped a change of clothes to each of the places we were staying so that we didn't have to carry backpacks. This half worked out as one bag arrived and the other didn't, leading to an impromptu shopping spree in San Luis Obispo! This year my Dad wanted to join our adventure and agreed to drive to Eureka (all the way from Salt Lake City I might add!) and do sag for us. Having him there was incredible, he drove ahead of us with our bags and got in a mountain bike ride or walk/run along the coast while we rode to meet him. Then we'd all meet up for dinner (in which I ate scary amounts of food...a whole pizza, bison burger w/ sweet potato fries, to name just a few;)
For all you fellow adventurers out there, here is a short link to the route we took: http://goo.gl/maps/cVRE0
And so the adventure begins!!
We drove the short but beautiful way up the 101 to Eureka and stayed the night in a great Air BnB with hosts Kath and Tom! Definitely recommend that as a place to stay, we were close enough to Old town to walk to dinner and explore the amazing victorian architecture, Kath and Tom were beyond hospitable, and it was VERY affordable. While exploring Old Town we found this great place called Taste (see pic above). They combine local wine, chocolate, cheese, meat, and oyster tasting with the Humboldt County tourism center! Really cool idea and a really fun place to get a feel of everything local. After that we had sushi at the Bayfront restaurant and it was delicious!
We started day 1 with one on my favorite things in life, a BIG breakfast! Then we headed off (with zucchini bread in our pockets this year in place of cookies...check the recipe section!) down the 101 briefly before turning off towards Ferndale. We were headed toward the lost coast and had no idea what we were in for but it was a day I will never forget! Ferndale is the cutest little victorian town and was definitely the "calm before the storm" or I should say the flat before the (steep) climbs! At the end of the town of Ferndale you take a right and then quick and steep left hand turn under a large arrow pointing to the town of Petrolia. Then its straight up a narrow, windy, climb for what seems like forever but honestly you don't care because its beautiful! Just when you think you are at the top, they tease you with a screaming downhill (be careful the roads are really bumpy and riddled with potholes) you see a little glimmer of the ocean and then its back up again, and I mean straight back up! You get some beautiful false flat at the top, making it feel like you are riding through the rain forest, and then you descend down to the lost coast which is phenomenal! So rugged, so wild, with black sandy beaches, dunes, and huge waves! Sadly you are only on the coast for a brief (but gorgeous) time and then you head up towards Petrolia. From there its up and down through Petrolia until you hit the town of Honeydew which has a small market (cash only) to refuel at for the next climb up King Range. Sadly we didn't have any cash so a broken hearted Olivia had to walk away without her bag of pop chips (we were craving salty!) and we were also out of water (yes you should always carry cash!;) There is a great descent after the King Range climb and then you ender the Humboldt Redwood State Park which is spectacular! HUGE Redwoods line this one lane winding road, I'm still speechless! Once you hit the 254 you take a right and the last 12 miles is through the Avenue of the GIants, more redwood magic! We ended day one in Miranda, a tiny tiny place in the middle of nowhere but we loved it!
We stayed the night in Miranda Gardens which were these cute little cabins in the Redwoods, I loved it! There was a restaurant and organic coffee cart right across the street so we were set. After day one I ate a whole pizza, after 7 hours and a lot of climbing and ate every bite without an inkling of guilt, it was great! Of course we started day 2 with another big breakfast, a bunch of coffee and a bit more rain gear than the previous day. We started off in the rain but it cleared up pretty quickly and then was gorgeous with the bits of fog spotting the mountains and everything green popping! We made our way down the 101 getting off in Redway and Benbow for long stretches and then hopping on the 271 for a bit before getting back on the 101 heading into Legget where we hopped on HWY1. HWY1 from Legget to the coast was a blast! Little climbs, twisty turny descents and of course more beautiful scenery! Once we popped out on the coast I was in heaven, it would be all coast riding from there! We stopped off in Westport at a great little store (cash in hand this time). To Olivias dismay there was no pop chips but we did manage to devour an entire bag of Kettle Chips, two coffees, and zucchini bread! 25 miles left till Mendocino and we were definitely fueled up! As we passed the Mendocino town limit sign and took a right we spotted my Dad on Gunther (that is what he named his Mountain bike ;) cruising around so we caught up with him and did the little loop around Mendocino. I was so tired but seeing Mendocino totally re-energized me, that little town is incredible! It juts out into the ocean and is surrounded by rocky cliffs and rough surf, once again I was in heaven! We stayed at the Hill House Inn which was great. After we showered up we grabbed coffee at Moody's and explored the little town, walking up and down each street and trying to take in just how great this place really was. We decided to eat at the Irish pub in town called Patterson's and it was just perfect! Lively atmosphere, YUMMY food, and super cozy! I ate a bison burger and sweet potato fries, again with not an ounce of guilt, it was delicious! Then it was off to bed (after I washed the bikes in the shower...shhhh don't tell :)
We started our morning with...I bet you can't guess...a biggggg breakfast! We ate at the MacCullum house and had a gorgeous view of the ocean while we had breakfast. We all contemplated postponing our coast ride and spending the day in Mendocino, it is so hard to leave a place like that. Once we were done stuffing our faces yet again we did one last quick loop of Mendocino, took in the scenery and then took off down HWY 1. We quickly realized that the entire day was going to be filled with breath taking views of the coast. It was a clear day, the surf was crazy, and I couldn't help but think about how lucky I was to be exactly where I was in that very instant. It went on like this for miles and miles of ooohhh'ing and awwww'ing! We made lots of stops on day 3, both to take pictures and to eat more yummy things! We stopped in Point Arena for a coffee boost and Stuarts Point for yet another bag of kettle chips and an Izze Soda. We found a great little coffee shop in Jenner with the best homemade pretzel I've ever eaten and hand poured coffee...once again heaven! Then it was just ten short miles to our destination in Bodega Bay! My Dad was there waiting for us, sitting on the back of his truck and taking in the views! I was immediately bummed as we rolled into Bodega Bay because I hate when adventures end, but I also thought back to the last three days and how I'd never forget them and I had to smile. Spending three days doing what I love, with the people that I love, in a place that I love...life doesn't get much better than that! Until the next adventure... :)