After the rather miserable day last Wednesday we spent another few days battling with the misery of the fog and mist and cold until Sunday, when things improved considerably. I had been worried about updating the blog given how downbeat we have been the last few days so I’m pleased that we’re now in a more positive mood. Having met other cyclists on the road also struggling with similar issues I do feel a bit reassured that it isn’t just us having a low point.
After a restful day on Thursday we woke on Friday to yet more cloud, but at least the tent was dry. We had a leisurely morning having a cooked breakfast as we only had 30km/20 miles to our next camping spot (we are on a go slow mission) and most of the other cyclists had left before we had even exited the tent. The ride was largely unmemorable I’m afraid; more of the same from before. A narrow to non-existent shoulder, mostly good overtakes, limited views with the cloud. We stopped in Stewarts Point to have a cuppa and pick up some veg from a roadside stall to bulk out our dinner and then had a slow 11km/7 miles to Salt Point State Park.
This was the first state park in California that cost more than $5 per person (it was $6 :-O) but they didn’t have any showers. However, they did have wifi so we got to catch up on a few admin tasks. We were the only cyclists there that evening and we found plenty of wood to have a campfire to keep us warm, and someone had left us some chain lube, which we were running low on, and bag of granola in the food storage locker (it went well with the dried milk we got from another racoon locker a few days earlier), so we could have something other than porridge in the morning – win!
The campsite host at Salt Point warned us sagely that the roads around Fort Ross were even narrower than we’d had up until now and so we decided an early start on Saturday to beat the traffic was in order. The thing is, car drivers/non-cyclists can get a warped sense of what things might be like on the bike. Yes there was little to no shoulder and yes the road was wind-ey and hilly, but this also means that cars go slower and you tend to therefore get more room. Suffice to say, it wasn’t really a problem. I suspect had it been sunny we would have raved about this section of the coast as it had hints of being amazing. But in the white fog and mist it was just a bit, well, meh really.
We stopped off in Bodega Bay to stock up on a few groceries; this seemed like a nice little town unfortunately totally ruined by oversized cars. At Bodega, there was a choice of a state or regional park; we opted for the latter as this was beyond town, rather than having to double back on ourselves. It was on a sand spit and so was, well, sandy. The hiker/biker site seemed like a bit of an afterthought, being just an area of soft sand that hadn’t been developed as a “proper” campsite. We found space within the trees on more solid ground to pitch the tent, but Adam ripped his down jacket in the process :’-( It was also windy and cold and no scope for a fire so we spent most of the evening huddled in the porch of our tent playing cards. The other two cyclists also there agreed with us that the weather these last few weeks has been mentally draining, distracting from what is probably quite a nice bike ride. I think also because we know we are having some time off the bike in a few days we are focused on that goal and everything else seems like a bit of a chore.
Thankfully, finally, we awoke on Sunday to hints of sun and peeks of blue sky. We had again decided to try and get on the road early as we figured Sunday would be full of people returning to San Fran after a weekend away. We still needed all of our layers initially as it was still cold, but it started to brighten up and we managed to slowly discard some of our winter gear. A lot of the traffic seemed to turn towards Highway 101, rather than 1, and so we had a relatively quiet pleasant ride down to Samuel P Taylor State Park. There were lots of roadies out, being a Sunday, who all stopped to chat as they overtook us on the hills.
We got to the campsite by lunchtime and being the first here, got first dibs on all the stuff people have left behind in the food locker: two bottles of beer, half a bottle of red wine, lots of wood for the fire, marshmallows and other assorted goodies. I know that a lot of people are finishing their bike tours in San Fran but I’m surprised by how much stuff is left behind! We decided against the shorts, the 100ml of vodka (as we don’t have any tonic or cola), dehydrated chicken rice and stinky clothes left behind.
Hopefully once we get to San Fran we can give the bikes some attention; as already mentioned Adam’s rear tyre is shredded, my gear cable for the front derailleur has frayed so I’m pretty much stuck in the middle ring all day so now my knee is hurting from pushing too big a gear uphill – we really need, and are really looking forward, to this break….nearly there now.