Whilst on tour we’ve discovered that some days we expect to be good can turn out to be different. That may be because of a whole host of things, such as the weather, especially if there’s a headwind, the attitude of the drivers, the quality of the road surface, the view we may or may not see from the road. Yesterday, Wednesday, was expected to be good day. We’d heard Highway 1 would be pretty devoid of cars, coastal views would be spectacular and it was only about 65km to Gualala Regional Park where’d planned to camp for the night. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the worst days, often feeling like we were partaking in the Hunger Games.
We set off in sunshine, which for the Pacific Coast was a novelty. After 1km we rejoined Highway 1 and had to stop to put on extra layers because we were back in the cold, damp mist. We were further south than Mallorca, in August, and wearing three layers and full fingered gloves. The next 30km were extremely dull as we rode along a straight road into the mist, not seeing a thing apart from the inside of a cloud. We both ended up listening to our iPods to relieve the boredom. There were a few coastal views that in good weather would probably be stunning, but I am here to see those views rather than having to imagine what they’re like.
In Manchester I bought some salted peanut chocolate to improve our mood, although the benefit of the chocolate was offset when I got a puncture. Whilst replacing the tube I also noticed my rear tyre, which I fitted in New Zealand 7,000km ago is now destroyed. Hopefully it’ll last another 200km as we’ll then be in San Francisco.
The next 25km or so through Point Arena where into a fierce headwind and more mist. Every piece of advice about riding the Pacific Coast is to head south because the winds will be favourable. Well that wasn’t the case yesterday. It was just a slog. Despite being 15km from our campsite we stopped for lunch under some trees, more as a mental than a physical break.
We eventually reached Gualala, and headed straight for the alcohol section of the supermarket for a bottle of wine for the evening and when we reached the regional campsite some kind guy gave us a bit of wood for our campfire. An evening spent chatting with a German cyclist about how we all miss the European cycling infrastructure improved our mood. We’re now having a day off in Gualala before continuing on to San Francisco. Since arriving in Vancouver at the start of June we’ve ridden over 4,000km with only occasional rest days, which may also explain why yesterday was such a mental and physical slog. We’re both looking forward to our “holiday” from the biking when we hit the Bay area.