In the Bay Area: 439 Miles To Go

I’m in Corte Madera, Ca.  Rode 57 miles and 3400 ft of climbing, today.   956 Total miles covered to date.  Tomorrow is a rest day.

As we traveled south of Bodega Bay, this morning, the air quality improved from the fires, which made cycling easier, despite significant climbing.  Today’s climbing consisted mostly of short fast downhills and relatively short steep, 10%, uphills.  We have a day off just north of San Francisco, much needed and much deserved.

Yesterday, when I didn’t have sufficient internet upload many photo’s, we visited the Sea Ranch Chapel.  A hidden gem on the north coast.  If you ever are near, it is a must stop.  It is so beautiful and peaceful it can bring a tear to your eye.

It was a smokey day, initially.  Robin sported a bandito-look.

After most of the climbing was complete, we entered Samuel P Taylor State Park on a bike path of all things.  IMG_17305 miles of FLAT peaceful road through the redwoods.  I haven’t appreciated a bike path in quite some time as much as I did this.  It was as peaceful as it looks.  We had the path all to ourselves.  What a gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly,  Jan Bee, joined us for dinner.  IMG_1731

Lots of Smoke from the Fires: 496 Miles To Go

I’m in Bodega Bay, Ca.  Rode 48 miles and 3800 ft of climbing, today.   889 Total miles covered to date.

Today was bittersweet.  We were riding in much smoke from the fires that are currently burning out of control in Napa and near Santa Rosa.  Hiway 101 was closed for a portion of today, and that sent many, many cars onto Highway 1, where we are riding.  So, there was more traffic than expected, today, lots of road construction and poor road surfaces.  The skies were smokey, and the view often obscured, which is unfortunate as this section of Highway 1 is known for its spectacular hanging on the cliff views.  Due to the smoke and poor air quality, a good portion of our riders chose to not ride and hopped into the van.  Robin and I pressed on and I don’t feel any worse for wear.  As we entered Bodega Bay, we passed a make-shift evacuation center,  somber reminder of the devastation and loss that is impacting so many.

Poor internet, tonight, so pics aren’t uploading.

 

The Magnificent North Coast of Ca–544 Miles To Go

I’m in Gualala, Ca.  Rode 60 miles and 4700 ft of climbing, today.   841 Total miles covered to date.

It was an amazing day on the North Coast, sunny and warm and at 1p, we received our 20 mph north wind–a very strong tailwind–every cyclists dream.  I have spent much time on this section of the coast, camping, hanging out with family and supporting friends who dive for abalone.  It is such a place of good, happy memories.  I am blessed to be here and back riding with Robin.

Didn’t take many pictures, today, but it was spectacular.  I think I was just so glad to be on my bike that I didn’t want to stop.

Robin and I fell into our easy pattern of riding down the road, each of us taking a 3 mi pull in the front and then switching.  The road, Hiway 1, is not easy.  Not only is there lots of up and down, but the road surface is rough and often there is no shoulder.  We have to move into the traffic lane, and when there is a lot of traffic, vehicles have to wait to go around us.  I encountered one especially impatient large RV driver who could not pass me because there was oncoming traffic.  We were on a twisty slightly uphill section with absolutely no shoulder and a guard rail.  He (I assumed a he!) started honking at me and kept trying to force me into the guard rail so he could pass.  I was surprisingly calm and just kept moving further into the lane, in essence, “taking” it, making it essential for the RV to pass me by moving into the oncoming traffic lane, when it was clear.  There was NO WAY, I was going to move an inch to the right and let the guy pass in the same lane as me as I would get squished into the guard rail.  Robin was watching from behind and thought I was a goner. I stayed my course and started pointing with my left arm–and shouting– for the RV to move over.  He kept honking at me.  Eventually a wide shoulder opened up and we moved off the road and let the RV and other cars pass us.  Lessons from the road:  hold your own, live to ride another day.

It should be another beautiful sunny day, tomorrow.

Back in the Bike Bubble, Back in the Saddle–604 Miles To Go!

I’m in Fort Bragg, Ca, with my bicycling group, transitioning nicely back into the bike bubble.  781 Total miles covered to date.  We ride to Gualala, tomorrow morning.  This section of the pacific coast is the section I have been dreaming of and waiting for.  And, now I am here with my bike in solid standing.  Thanks for hanging in there with me and all the wise counsel, and kind words of encouragement and support.  It was a 2 1/2 day quick round trip to Santa Cruz and back.  Bike is fixed!

A big shout out and much gratitude to the team at BikeStation in Santa Cruz for the smart, helpful professional and priority service and attention I received, especially, Sara, Dom, Johnny, and of course Joanne!  And Sara, next time I have an opportunity to take something apart, I will share it with you!

 

Bike Issues and A Side Trip to Santa Cruz

Covered 15 miles on Wed on the bike.   Total distance covered to date is 781 miles.  I’m in Santa Cruz.

Well, if you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’ve been a bit busy the past few days recovering from a bike failure.   I’ve got it nearly fixed, and will be back on the road by Saturday, hopefully.  I’ve kept from everyone that I have been having  derailleur issues for the past 400 or so miles.  My wonderful bike building/mechanic team in Santa Cruz has been supporting me trying to troubleshoot what is going on as I have traveled through Washington, Oregon and into California.  You see, I’m an early adopter of new technology, always have been, and before I started riding, I put some gee whiz, high tech electronic shifting on my bicycle.  And,  when it started to perform erratically, it just blinked at me and I realized I had limited troubleshooting options.  There are few knobs, buttons or cables to push or pull to enable me to mechanically figure out what is going on, because it is electronic!  And, bike shops along the way have limited experience with this new technology.  All there is are the blinking lights and batteries to change out.  In hindsight, perhaps not the best decision to put all this gee whiz technology on this bike for this type of riding, and wishing and regrets don’t solve problems.

I started the day crossing the Humboldt Bay and riding by the historic mansions of Eureka.  The large mansion, the Carson home was built by a lumber baron in the 1880s and has been a private club, male members only, since 1950 with sexual harassment claims by the employees.  Yes, this stuff still exists.

Shortly after photographing these mansions, my derailleur failed in total.  No shifting whatsoever on the rear cassette.  It had been getting worse and worse as the days and miles went on.  The most fortunate thing–once I got beyond the devastation, disappointment and frustration that my bike was only capable of forward motion in the gear it was in–was that I was in Eureka, a large size town with a rental car company near by.  As I stood by my bike looking like a deer in the headlights, my brilliant riding partner, Robin, suggested I get a rental car and take my bike to Santa Cruz to be fixed.  Robin, you are the best!  And, so I did.  I really had no other option, other than to put my bike in the van and become a passenger for the next weeks.  I opted to take charge and solve the problem.  Sitting and watching was not my dream for this trip and would not make me happy.  I didn’t know when I could re-join the group, but I knew working on a solution, moving forward–though not on the bicycle–was what I had to do.  I had to leave Robin to ride on without me –hopefully only for a few days– and my heart is still heavy about this.

Called Enterprise, they came and picked me and my bike up.  From the first phone call, it was literally 45 minutes and I and my bike were in an SUV heading south on 101 to Santa Cruz., a 6 1/2 hour drive.   Hit rush hour traffic as I crossed the Golden Gate bridge, enable these two shots.

Today, my bike is in the very competent hands of my bike shop/mechanic team.  IMG_1688Parts are on order for overnight delivery.  Bike will be repaired, tomorrow, fingers crossed, and I will rejoin my group in Fort Bragg–some 5 hours north–on Saturday, assuming everything goes as planned.  And,  if not, I’ll continue to make the best decisions I can with any new data I have.  With this recovery, I will be off the epic cycling adventure for 2 1/2 days and 160 miles–though I can convince myself, this jaunt to Santa Cruz and then back up the coast in a rented SUV, is also epic in its own way.

Yesterday was certainly very difficult and disorienting.  In less than an hour I went from moving at 13 – 14 mph on a bicycle on backroads to traveling at 75 mph on a freeway in a car as I left  the “bike bubble”.    When I got home,  my house seemed really large and filled with lots of stuff.  I arrived home still in my cycling gear, as I didn’t bother to pick up my bag, other than a pair of shoes and my laptop when I left Eureka.  I felt unbalanced as I didn’t have enough information to know when I could return to the “bike bubble”.  I was forced to wait.  I still have to.

Today got easier.  So, here is what I know for sure, for myself.  Solving problems and working on solutions sure beats being a victim of circumstance.  Big dreams and goals don’t always go as planned.  Acceptance is the key with whatever happens.  Make the best decisions possible with the data available.  Enlist trusted friends and experts to be thought partners and provide support.

To all involved who have helped me navigate this chapter, I am grateful beyond words.  Truly.

 

 

More Than Half Way! 734 Miles to Go

Covered 73 miles and 4800 feet of climbing, today.  Yowee! Total distance covered to date is 766 miles.  We’re in Arcata, CA.  We are more than half way.  Amazing.

Well, I had a day off yesterday, in Crescent City, which I truly needed.  I took a long nap and did mostly nothing except put my feet up, clean my bike and do laundry and then slept solidly through the night.  I was exhausted from last week and needed the rest, truly.  And, today, I bounced back stronger than ever.

But, first a bit about Crescent City.  It is extremely vulnerable to tsunami’s, had a major one in 1964.  The natural geography of the ocean floor and the crescent shape bay make the area especially susceptible.  fullsizeoutput_240fThe city has shored up the jettees with these 25 ton concrete tetrapods.  There are 3530 tetrapods on the breakwater jetty’s of Crescent City.  That’s a lot of tetrapods, I say.

 

 

 

 

 

Coming into Crescent City we were pushed along with a 20 mph tail wind.  It was wicked fast with more lovely ocean views.

Today, we traveled from Crescent City to Arcata, which entailed significant climbing, lots of road construction, lots of crappy roads, gravel and pot holes.  We were rewarded with spectacular ocean views, and a blissful ride through the redwoods.  And at the end, the infamous North Ca, afternoon 20 mph tailwind.

At the major construction work and most major bridges, there is a button to push for cyclists which sets of flashing lights to alert motorists.  It is a great safety feature.  On this one, the sign said we “Must” push the button.  Of course we did!  And lastly, Robin is helping out as sous chef for the remainder of this trip.  Tonight was her first night working.  Way to go Robin!

California! 807 Miles To Go

Covered 60 miles and 3000 feet of climbing, today.  Total distance covered to date is 693 miles.  We’re in Crescent City, CA.

We crossed into California at mile 34, today.  Feels like home. IMG_1650

Had another very hilly day on the bike.  Fortunately most of the climbing was in the first 30 miles and then we had a 15 – 20 mph tailwind for much of the last part.  I’m still exhausted, though.  The ocean vistas and views were spectacular.  I have wanted to ride down the coast for many years and it has been just to see this scenery.   Feels like I have already traveled quite a long distance, which I have, nearly 700 miles.