Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 23 - Marina del Rey to Costa Mesa

Daily Statistics:
Rode 50.5 miles and burned 2580 calories.
Left the motel at 8:10 and arrived at 12:30.

Today was our final day on the road. Maybe it is because the last couple of days have been so familiar, I haven't taken many pictures. Or maybe it is like Sara said, you take a lot of pictures of the first kid, and when the second one comes along, you forget the camera. At any rate, there were a lot of nice things along the ride, but I didn't capture them.
The first 12 miles or so and the last 10 or so were both great. We rode along the beach initially thru El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach (maybe another beach or two), and eventually cut across the corner of Palos Verdes. I would have liked to go around PV, but the route sheet took us through some awful spots to get to the south side of Long Beach. We didn't have a SAG until 34 miles, I think because Barbara would have been mugged in the earlier spots.
Probably because the ride was coming to an end, most of the group rode together most of the way. At the SAG, I had Barbara take a picture of the group. Here are Dan, Cy, Ron, Craig, Tom, Bill, me, Rachel, and Paul posing for the shot.
After the SAG, we finally got back on the beach in Seal Beach, and on a bike path that allowed us to finally get some speed, after going through street after street with a stop sign on every corner, and Ron warning us that the police hide behind bushes to ticket cyclists for running stop signs. We passed by Mark's old digs in Huntington Beach, on into Newport Beach, finally heading up the hill to the final stop in Costa Mesa.
I may post a final thoughts later, but for now, let me say this was a great route and a fabulous ride. The scenery is incomparable, and the riding very challenging. I would say our average day on this ride was significantly harder than on my cross country last year, even though the average mileage was down. I would recommend the trip to anyone.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 22 - Oxnard to Marina Del Rey

Daily Statistics:
Rode 53.3 miles and burned 2811 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:11 and arrived at 12:34.

Today was a very pleasant easy ride into Los Angeles. Ron and I rode with Tom and Cy Wellman, and Paul Trent and Bill Zeeb. They set a very nice pace out of Oxnard. About 7 and a half miles in, we were in front of the Point Mugu missile park. You can see the guys checking things out. Both AMRAAM and Sidewinder, two of my pride and joys, are on display, with a variety of other older missiles. The Sidewinder is the older version, not my new and improved model.
We made our way down highway 1 to the first SAG just past Zuma beach. I was happy because the skies were overcast, but everyone else wanted more sunshine. Virtually the entire group was together at the SAG, so I took a picture which shows the beach setting. A couple of AbB alumni also joined us at the SAG. They had ridden with Mike before.
After the SAG, we continued on through Malibu until we got on the bike path at Temescal Canyon with about 7 miles to go. This was a fun way to go, but you can't go very fast, because there are walkers, skaters, and lots of casual riders sharing the path. When we got to Venice Beach, things got even busier. We eventually arrived at Washington Blvd, with the motel a mile down the road. We stopped and got some ice cream at Stone Cold Creamery before heading in.
Today was pretty easy riding, as we had almost no hills to climb, and lots of smooth riding along the beach. One more day to go!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 21 - Solvang to Oxnard

Daily Statistics:
Rode 81.6 miles and burned 4657 calories.
Left the motel at 7:49 and arrived at 2:06.

Today was another great day to be on the bike. We left Solvang and were quickly headed up highway 154 towards San Marcos Pass. About 10 miles in, we came upon Lake Cachuma. I am familiar with it from my early days in the AF, and was happy to see it was at one of the highest levels I have seen.
At 18 miles, we turned off onto Stagecoach Road, headed for the old Cold Springs Tavern. I had spent a number of nice weekend afternoons here when at Vandenberg, so was anxious to get a shot here. Ron and I asked a very nice lady to take our photo, and she used each of our cameras to take the shot. Unfortunately, neither of us checked the results, and when we got in, found that neither of us had a picture. So instead, you will get a picture of the bridge we went under to get there, which is a pretty neat feature of engineering.
After the SAG shortly after the tavern, we finished the ascent up over the pass, and were sent down Kinevan Road. This is a very narrow, well shaded, and extremely windy descent from the top for about a mile. We then took 154 down to San Marcos Road, which is a wider, better paved, but still very windy and very steep descent to Santa Barbara. We wound our way down to the beach in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, it was fairy foggy for much of the way, so I didn't get any great shots. We made our way through the small towns of Summerland, Carpinteria, Sea Cliff, and others to Ventura, and finally Oxnard. I did take a shot of the boat harbor in Oxnard.
After dinner, we had a fun tee shirt swap. With just two days to go, we will have our farewell banquet tomorrow evening in Marina del Rey. Sara has joined me for the last couple of days, so it should be fun.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 20 - Santa Maria to Solvang

Daily Statistics:
Rode 40.5 miles and burned 2044 calories.
Left the hotel at 9:07 and arrived at 12:45.

Today will be pretty short and sweet. We had a short day scheduled, so I decided to ride with Mike and his wife and Marie from New York. I stayed with them until the SAG at 20 miles. The route was essentially Foxen Canyon Road until about 7 miles to the motel, when we turned onto Ballard Canyon Road. I am told Foxen is a key part of the Solvang Century.
At any rate, we were in more salad ingredient farming country for the first 10 miles or so, and then the farming was largely grapes, and wineries dominated. We stopped for refreshment at the Sisquoc store, which is a county historic landmark (but for sale). I was most impressed at the SAG. Paul Trent's wife Annie was there, and some friends of theirs out for a drive stopped by. She introduced the four of us by name, without any hesitation. Most impressive.
After the SAG, I rode ahead by myself, eventually catching Team Flamingo (Dan and Craig) just as I arrived in town. I didn't take any pictures on the road today, as brown California hills and more agriculture didn't have any real appeal. I took the one shot in town to show the Danish motif the town carries throughout.
It was quite warm as I made my way around town waiting for the room to be ready. We make our way over San Marcos Pass tomorrow on our way to Santa Barbara and beyond. I hope we leave early!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 19 - Paso Robles to Santa Maria

Daily Statistics:
Rode 84.6 miles and burned 4690 calories.
Left the motel at 7:36 and arrived at 2:11.

Some days are just made to be on a bike, and today was one of them. We left the motel in perfect conditions, and made our way on some rural roads for about 12 miles to get on California highway 41 to Morro Bay. We had a steady, but not too demanding, uphill climb until about 20 miles, when we were treated to one of the nicest downhills ever. There was very smooth pavement, broad, sweeping curves, and little traffic. We sailed along this way for about 8 miles, and then made our way to the first SAG in Morro Bay. While at the SAG, I took this photo of the famous Morro Rock. A number of folks also treated themselves at a lovely little bakery in the lot.
From the SAG, we made our way through Morro Bay State Park, and along Turri Road and Los Osos Valley Road to San Luis Obispo. Nothing major to see, just the standard brown California hills. We left SLO by the airport, eventually getting back to the ocean at Pismo Beach by way of Price Canyon Road. The second SAG was in Pismo at a nice little park. Mike Chaney, who you may remember from the cross country ride last year, joined Ron and me for about 15 miles, into Guadalupe. This was mostly on California highway 1, with a notable detour on Halcyon Road, so we could be humbled by the steep climb shown here (about 16% grade for 0.3 miles). You see Ron Doornink finishing in style.
From there, it was about 10 miles on into Guadalupe, a town I remember well from my days years ago stationed at Vandenberg AFB. We used to eat at the Far Western, which apparently is still as good as ever. We stopped for lunch in town, and took a picture of Mike Chaney and me before he headed back.

The last 10 miles into Santa Maria were flat and blessed with a nice tailwind. We flew in to the motel, and Barbara was in with the luggage promptly after we arrived. All in all, a great day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 18 - King City to Paso Robles

Daily Statistics:
Rode 62.7 miles and burned 3414 calories.
Left the hotel at 7:24 and arrived at 12:34.

Today was one tough day. We had a number of tough climbs, and two in particular of the 10% grade sustained for over a mile. It was also much warmer than it has been, as we were inland. The route was nice, however. We stayed on country roads with very little traffic. We left King City on county road G-14 and stayed on it virtually the whole way. As these things work out, the first part when it was pretty chilly was along stretches much like you see here, where we were shaded by nice live oak. Of course later in the morning, as it got hotter, there was no shade to be found.
We passed by the entrance to Fort Hunter Liggett about 18 miles in, and stayed along it for several miles. I happened upon some of the troops out getting a little shooting practice, and took the following shot of them at work. From there it was just a couple of miles to the SAG in Lockwood 24 miles in.
After the SAG, it was just up and down the hills until Lake Nacimiento. I took this shot when we were still well above the lake. We eventually wound up at lake level, as the road goes across the dam that makes the lake. From there it was just more up and down until Paso Robles. The old legs didn't have much left in them when I got here. We are in a very nice Holiday Inn Express, so I should rest good. We have a long day into Santa Maria tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 17 - Carmel Valley to King City

Daily Statistics:
I am only estimating today. Had problems turning on my Forerunner 305, so will use the 56 miles from the cue sheet as mileage, no calorie estimate.
Left the hotel at 8:05 and arrived at 1:02.

Today was a lovely day to ride again. We left the neat lodge we had stayed in, and headed on up the Carmel Valley. The road wound up the valley steadily for just over 19 miles, with a short section of a pretty demanding climb of a couple of miles. The terrain is pretty well captured in the photo below. If you look carefully, you can see a cyclist on the road ahead. We were in and out of the live oaks as we made our way.
I was most fortunate to come on a flock of wild turkeys in the road just in front of me as I came around a turn. By the time I was able to marshal my camera and get a shot, they had moved into the field, but you can get a pretty good idea of the group. We had our one and only SAG at 18.1 miles in (this was probably a reasonable estimate of the half way in effort point). We topped out at 19.3, and headed down the Arroyo Seco valley.
As we moved down the valley, we came upon more vineyards. In spots like the one shown here, the grapes seemed to go on forever.
The route stayed on Monterey County Road G16 until we were about 3 miles past the town of Greenfield. While I was having lunch at a little Mexican restaurant in Greenfield, I started pushing combinations of buttons on my Forerunner 305, and suddenly it was turning on. I was relieved, although I had lost about 42 miles of the ride. Three miles past Greenfield, we turned on county road G15 for the final 10 miles into King City. We rode through King City to the motel. Mike ran a great flat tire clinic, where I picked up several great pointers for future use. Tomorrow is supposed to have some tough climbs, so see you then.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 16 - Santa Cruz to Carmel Valley

Daily Statistics:
Rode a total of 74.3 miles and burned 3995 calories.
Left the motel at 7:05 and arrived at 2:15.

I know I keep repeating myself, but this was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on a bicycle. We wound our way out of Santa Cruz through the neighboring towns of Altos and Capitola, with the largest stretches on Soquel Drive and San Andreas Road. Between town and the first SAG at 25 miles in, we passed through a good stretch of what is know as the "salad bowl." For good reason, as we saw lots of strawberries (see workers below), lettuce, and other crops in work. As the picture shows, some people have to really work for a living. It makes you grateful for what you have in life.
After the SAG and a few more miles in the fields, we entered a bicycle path we stayed on for almost 15 miles, until we where basically through Monterey. Monterey and the surrounding coast made for terrific views, both as we came to town, and through the city. I decided to show some of the boats in the Monterey harbor.
Not long after leaving Monterey, we arrived at the highlight section of the day, about 9 miles of 17 mile drive. This is absolutely spectacular. The ocean views are magnificent, the houses are out of sight, and you pass three of the world's premeir golf courses in Spyglass, Cypress Point, and Pebble Beach. I have included a shot of Pebble Beach, but each is a gorgeous layout.

After we left 17 mile drive, we came into Carmel-by-the Sea. It is a neat little town, but I am not sure I fully appreciated it, as we saw it on a very steep climp up Ocean Avenue. Once we got through town, it was a short stint on highway 1 to Carmel Valley Road. Ron and I stopped at Subway to refuel for the 10 mile run up the valley to our lodging at Los Laureles Lodge. This is a neat converted stable, very rustic.
We are being shuttled to dinner, and it should be fun. We will see what tomorrow has in store.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 15 - San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Daily Statistics:
Rode 84.9 miles and burned 4825 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:12 and arrived at 1:58.

I stayed fairly focused today on the objective of arriving early in Santa Cruz. My daughter Kristin lives here, and I wanted to have the opportunity to spend some time with her. As a result, I passed on a number of outstanding photo opportunities as we made our way out of San Francisco. The first 20 miles were pretty challenging, as we had to get up and over a number of good climbs to get out of the city and onto highway 1. The day started a little overcast, but I thought riding conditions were perfect. Lots to see, but no time to stop.
We zipped through a number of small towns such as Rockaway Beach, Pacifica, and Montara before reaching the first SAG in Moss Beach. From there we moved through El Grenada and Half Moon Bay, as well as a series of state beaches and parks. It was beautiful riding, but I was focused. When I got to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, I thought I better have something to show for the day, so took the following shot.

The second SAG was set for 56 miles in to the ride at Gazos Creek, but Ron and I got there well ahead of our support, and pushed on through without a stop. I slowed long enough to take the following shot for my good friend Steve Davenport. It may be named for relatives.

The route sheet brought us into Santa Cruz by way of West Cliff Drive, which is a very lovely road. I was ahead of plan enough that I stopped for the following shot looking toward the surf museum in the old lighthouse. From there it was on to the motel. I found Ron along the boardwalk, where he had had a nasty encounter with some railroad tracks. He had some scrapes, but mostly to his pride.

I had made my goal of arriving in time to attend Kristin's soccer game. She is playing in a recreational league with what seemed a very nice team. She played very well, but the team wound up on the losing end of a 2-1 score. She is shown here in full action on the field.

She was able to join us for dinner and ice cream, and then took me over to her apartment, which I had yet to see. She has a very tidy little place just off downtown. All in all, a very nice day.

Day 14 - Off in San Francisco

This is just a quick note to highlight my day off in San Francisco. I was very blessed to have my brother John Paul and his new marriage partner (after 28 years together) come to see me. In addition, my second cousin, Larry Olafson, who I mentioned on the day in Petaluma, joined us for dinner as well. The photo (taken by Bill) shows me, John Paul, and Larry at the restaurant ready for dinner. It was a fine and very enjoyable evening.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 13 - Petaluma to San Francisco

Daily Statistics:
Rode 50.2 miles and burned 2890 calories.
Left the motel at 8:40 and arrived at 2:18.

First, I would like to report that I had a very pleasant visit with my second cousin, Larry Olafson, last evening in Petaluma. Larry grew up and spent most of his life in North Dakota, moving to Petaluma about 5 years ago. We had not had contact since we were just kids until a couple of years ago, when we reconnected at the Olafson family reunion in North Dakota.

At any rate, on to todays ride. It was really a very pleasant day all around. Ron and I decided to ride with Tom Wellman, Paul Trent, and Bill Zeeb, which worked out very well. We headed out of Petaluma on typical California brown hill terrain, including Nicasion Valley Road and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Along the way, we found some of the crew stopped at a little spot with cheese, having coffee and smoothies. The waterfowl were also in the pond enjoying a break.

As we continued on our journey, the road was not always the flat, easy ride I had hoped for on the day before the break. You can see Tom coming up the hill, with Paul and Bill trailing. Some of the road also went through a small stand of redwoods.

We eventually made our way to the day's only SAG at 29 miles along. The route sheet had been fairly straightforward to this point, with a handful of turns to manage. From the SAG onward, we often had several instructions per mile, and you had to stay on top of it. I think it was in Mill Valley where we went up a street called Chapman Avenue, which was a narrow, winding climb through nice residential homes. Rounding a turn, we were surprised to see a couple of deer along the road. They didn't seem very alarmed, and I took the shot below. It is a little dark, but you can see we were quite close.

We eventually arrived in Sausalito, where we had a lovely lunch break. The guys thought we sat next to authentic natives. The girl was tattooed the extent of both arms. Leaving lunch, we made our way up and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though it was Friday, there was plenty of foot and bicycle traffic, and we could only go very slowly. When we got a ways up the waterfront, Ron was kind enough to take this shot of me with the bridge in the background. You had to expect this shot today.

We found our way to the motel on Lombard Street. Some of the group went the other way on Lombard to ride the crookedest street in the country, but for me, that is a maybe tomorrow. We finished the day with a nice dinner at Lori's Diner in Ghiradelli Square. Tomorrow is our second and final rest day, so I will be doing laundry and cleaning up the bike before my brother comes to visit in the afternoon. If anything noteworthy happens, I will post, otherwise I will wait until we hit Santa Cruz.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 12 - Cloverdale to Petaluma

Daily Statistics:
Rode 70.7 miles and burned 4533 calories.
Left the hotel at 7:21 and arrived at 1:04.

Today was somewhat of a contrast to what we have had over the last many days. When we left breakfast, it was basically clear skies, and stayed that way all day. We left the motel early, but only rode about a mile and a quarter before stopping for a more hearty breakfast than the motel had to offer. Once filled with pancakes, bacon, and eggs, we headed out for some very rural country roads. The first 30 miles or so were along vineyard after vineyard, as we rolled through the Dry Creek Valley on Dry Creek and Westside roads. I think this picture gives you the feel for how the grapes were never ending.

Ron was slow leaving breakfast, so I headed out, and eventually joined up with Bob and Tom. Tom's brother is off to do a triathlon this weekend, and Tom has been riding with Bill and Paul, but they skipped the fancy breakfast to get a jump. We moved off smartly with Bob and Tom in tow, and what do you know, we caught up with Paul and Bill just before entering River Road at about 30 miles. Tom dropped off to rejoin with Paul and Bill, and Bob and I rode hard into the SAG.
As I was getting ready to leave, Rachel rode in. I thought I should take the following picture for Andrew Perry, as Rachel is clearly a proper Englishwoman in her Britannia jersey.

At any rate, I headed out from the SAG on my own, after proceeding a few more miles along the Russian River, I turned onto Bohemian Highway. This was a very pretty road, and actually took me through a short stint of redwoods, but stayed in the trees for at least 10 miles. It also had a lot of climbing, although not nearly as severe as the last couple of days. I took the following picture in honor of Gene Emborsky (yes this is one of many), but trust this wasn't the worst this day, and certainly not of the last couple.

A short stint on the Bodega Highway brought me to Valley Ford Road. The scenery was basically brown California hills, but the good news was much of the rest of the way into town was blessed with a nice tailwind, which made for easy riding. We were routed over a nasty grade on Walker Road, where I met several local riders out for a noon training ride. I made my way onto Pepper Road, when I was caught from behind by Ron, who had been riding hard all day to catch me. We rode together on into the motel, and promptly went for a nice lunch.
Tomorrow is to be a short day, if the program holds. The brochures had listed today as 52 miles, but Karen had a route sheet for 69+, which as you can see became over 70. Hopefully, tomorrow sticks to the plan, as I am ready for a break.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 11 - Fort Bragg to Cloverdale

Daily Statistics:
Rode 76.8 miles and burned 4918 calories.
Left the motel at 7:59 and arrived at 2:34

Today was a great day with something for everyone. We left the hotel heading south on highway 1. This kept us along the shore for about the first 19 miles. It was overcast as usual, and trying to rain in spots, but never quite making it. I took the shot below around the town of Mendocino. We also went through Little River and Albion, neither of which was much to shout about. Mendocino looked very nice and up and coming, however.
At 19 miles, we had our biggest route sheet direction of the day. We left highway 1 in favor of route 128 to Cloverdale. The scenery quickly changed, and we were back in the redwood forest, this time the Navarro River Redwoods. After about 8 miles of beautiful riding at a solid pace, we arrived at the first SAG at Paul Dimmick campground. I took the following photo looking back down the road to try to give a little feel for the beauty of riding through these magnificent trees. When we left the SAG, we had another 4 or 5 miles in the redwoods.

As we left the redwoods, we entered wine country in the Anderson Valley. It seemed there were vineyards on all sides, and as you can see in the below photo, new ones are being put in as well. There should be no wine shortage in the near future.
About 40 miles into the ride we came to a roadside fruit stand. The apple cider had been highly recommended by our ride leader, so we of course had some. It was very good. I drooled over the fresh blackberries and raspberries, but didn't think I could eat a pint on the spot, and couldn't figure out how I would transport them without making a giant mess, so let them be. Lots of other fruits as well.
At the 48 mile point, we were to have had the second SAG in the town of Boonville, but unfortunately, Ron and I were ahead of the support. We stopped at the little cafe/store and got a snack, called ourselves in, and headed out. We quickly started to climb, and Ron was outclimbing me. The climbs today were never more than a couple of miles before it would level out for a ways. I finally got over the top and rolled down the last 6 or 7 miles into Cloverdale. This is a nice little town. We had dinner at a small brewpub, who did a fine job. All in all, this was one of my favorite days so far. Many more vineyards are in store tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 10 - Garberville to Fort Bragg

Daily Statistics:
Rode 70.1 miles and burned 5645 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:03 and arrived at 1:47.

We started out the day alternating between short stretches on highway 101 and sideroads that ran near it. We were in trees and cool weather most of the day. A lot of the towns have shops that sell redwood chain saw carvings. At a place called Confusion Hill about 18 miles into the ride, I took this shot of a chain saw carved totem.

Our first SAG stop was at a store by a state park called Standish Hickey. Most of the crew was stripping off their heavy gear in preparation for the climb up Leggett Hill. I couldn't resist taking this picture of Craig Chandler (52) and Dan Hannigan (49) in their matching flamingo jerseys. Craig and Dan met on the cross country ride in the mid-90s, and have stayed in touch ever since, even though Craig lives in CA and Dan in MA. They decided to get back together for this ride. They love to stop at interesting sights and take a lot of pictures. I saw Craig taking pictures of cows yesterday, and asked about it. He said his daughter loves cows, and always wants him to take pictures of them.

Leaving the SAG, we soon turned off 101 onto highway 1, where we would spend the rest of the day. The first item of interest was a ride up Leggett Hill, which got us to an elevation of about 1963 feet, the highest we have been by far on the ride so far (I think we get about that again tomorrow). It seemed to me a little tougher grade than Mt Lemmon for the first couple of miles, then wasn't too bad to the top. Many of the folks had left their warm gear with the SAG van, and found the 10 mile trip down the hill pretty chilly. I even thought about putting my arm warmers on. At any rate, about 46 or 47 miles in, we were back at the Pacific. I took this shot looking south towards Fort Bragg at about 11:30, and you can see we weren't in the sun, but the shore was pretty. I think the weather is why there aren't a billion people living up here.

The second SAG was at a state park about 3 miles down the coast. At any rate, the road just rolled up and down along the beach for the last 30 miles, taking us through tiny towns of Westport, Inglenook, and Cleone, before we came into Fort Bragg. Tomorrow, we head back inland.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 9 - Eureka to Garberville

Daily Statistics:
Rode 81.5 miles and burned 5922 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:04 and arrived at 3:00.

Today was an absolutely wonderful day. It was probably my favorite so far, and we have had a number of outstanding days. First, I must say it was a day AbB and Andrew Perry would be proud of. I checked, and the mapquest distance from hotel to hotel was 66.5, and AbB got us there in 81.5. The good news was the extra mileage was well worth it.
We started out winding through Eureka to avoid 101 as much as possible. We eventually left town on 101 anyway, but only for about 5 miles until we exited to go by the College of the Redwoods, a very pretty little school. We then went on backroads to Eel River Drive, which had a solid little climb, working our way to the town of Ferndale, where we had our first SAG at about 21 miles in. Ferndale is a neat little town with lots of nice Victorian homes. I have included the Victorian Inn from downtown to give you the flavor.

Leaving Ferndale, we proceeded on Grizzly Bluff Road, which was a little rough in many spots, and also had probably the steepest grades we have encountered so far. I did make it up and over, so no harm done. Returning to 101 for a short 4 mile jaunt, we then exited for the highlight of the trip, the Avenue of the Giants. I have driven through there a couple of times, but riding through on the bike brought a whole new appreciation of the trees and the country. It was absolutely great riding. I can't really bring you a good feel for the beauty and magnificence of the great trees, but I will show you a couple of the touristy shots, so you can see just how big these trees are.
I had to have the above shot of the drive through tree, which is over 5000 years old. I have the same shot with my old Toyota Corolla and the kids at about 10 from over 20 years ago. I thought they would appreciate this one of me going through on the bike.

Mike says the above is an old time MRI machine. Not sure if he is right, but you can see they grow big. At any rate, the Avenue of the Giants was a real pleasure. We had lunch at the Avenue Cafe in Miranda, and then headed on in. The temperature was getting pretty warm, and there were a couple of tough climbs before we got to the motel. I believe it was well into the 90s when we got in. This was quite a change from the 50s and 60s we have been in along the coast.
Tomorrow, we head for Fort Bragg, which takes us back to the coast.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 8 - Crescent City to Eureka

Daily Statistics:
Rode 84.7 miles and burned 6165 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:04 and arrived at 3:16.

After a fine day off doing laundry and watching football, we left the hotel in the usual fog and gloom of the last couple of days. Mike had warned us if it was like Saturday, we wouldn't be allowed to ride the first descent, as it would be just too dangerous in the fog. Fortunately, it was good enough to go, although a number of the folks found it a little chilly.
The initial 24 miles were on highway 101, with the Trees of Mystery at 14.6. I stopped and took this picture of Paul Bunyan and Babe. Dan and Craig were there, and Paul was having a good time playing with them. They have someone providing a voice who has a good view of the area. He had great one liners, and used them liberally on Dan and Craig.

At about 24 miles, we left 101 for the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It was great riding. The first SAG was at a spot called Big Tree Park. The photo of me shows that it is in fact a big tree. Right after the SAG we went through a large meadow area where elk are supposedly regularly present. Karen had briefed she had never failed to see elk going through there. Unfortunately, there were no elk today when we went by.

After leaving this are, we had another 19 mile stint on 101 before leaving for Patricks Point Drive. Ron and I stopped just before the SAG for lunch at a little restaurant where it said the town was a drinking town with a fishing problem. Anyway, it was a good lunch, and we were on our way. Mike came by as we were almost there and took a photo that shows that while overcast all day, you could in fact see the water today.

Coming into Eureka, we spent some time on the Hammond Trail bike path, before returning to 101 for the final miles into town. As I was entering old town Eureka, I came upon the Ingomar Club (see below), which was the former home of a lumber baron. It makes a pretty impressive sight, and must have been quite the place in its heyday.

I finally arrived at the motel mid-afternoon, and Barbara came in almost immediately with the luggage. After showering and route rap, we made our way to a little barbeque place for dinner. All in all, another great day to be on the road on a bike.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 6 - Gold Beach to Crescent City

Daily Statistics:
Rode 61.1 miles and burned 3783 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:05 and arrived at 12:52.

When we left the hotel, we immediately started a nice 4 mile climb. I noticed someone had written on the pavement at the top "nice warmup" and think they had it about right. The down side of today's ride was that it was basically socked in solid the whole way. We passed by view points for Arch Rock, Natural Bridge, Whaleshead, and others, and just had to accept they were out there. Mike says we can check his blog for a couple of years ago to see what we missed.
I have included a picture of Bill Zeeb and Paul Trent carefully pointing out Arch Rock. You are seeing it exactly as we saw it. As a side note, Bill and Paul were not satisfied that Ride the West was covering the ground, so started a few days earlier in Port Angeles, WA and rode down to Astoria for the start. They plan to continue south from Costa Mesa to the border when we finish. There are always overachievers in every group.

We had a SAG in Brookings. The ride up to that point was essentially on Highway 101, with all the highlights we missed in the fog. Shortly after the SAG, we switched to more rural country roads for most of the rest of the way, with a short stint on 101 as we crossed the California border. I hadn't planned to include a border shot on this ride, but since more fog photos didn't seem helpful either, I have put this one in.

The white notice you see on the support leg of the "Welcome to California" sign was a notice to bicyclists that there was construction on 101 for the next couple of miles, but don't take Ocean View Dr because it was worse because trucks use it for a shortcut. Of course, our route sheet said turn on Ocean View Dr. It turned out to be a lovely country road, with no problems for the rider. We continued across 101 on Sarina Road to Fred Haight Road, and then another short stint on 101 across a bridge. We got back off on Lake Earl Drive, and stayed on it and its continuations into Crescent City. There was a nice couple of miles on Pebble Beach Dr along the beach, and we then weaved our way to the motel. All in all, it was a pretty easy day of riding, but a pretty sad day for sightseeing.
We are off tomorrow, but I will post if anything noteworthy happens.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 5 - Bandon to Gold Beach

Daily Statistics:
Rode 58 miles and burned 3514 calories.
Left the hotel at 8:10 and arrived at 12:43

Today started very nicely, with the sun shining in Bandon and the temperature in the low 50's. We headed up the road, and quickly got to our first photo opportunity, the Face Rock Wayside. I never did figure out which rock was Face Rock, but am providing one of the scenic views of this beach.

Moving on down the road, I came across a couple of cranberry bogs. As my Ocosta High School readers know, these were very common from my youth, but unless I go home, I rarely see one. Here is one for those of you who don't know how they grow. The bonus is you can see me (shadow) taking the picture.

A couple of miles before the SAG at Port Orford, the fog rolled in, and pretty much stayed with us the rest of the ride. The SAG was at Battlerock. The signs said it was named for a battle in 1851 between a band of Indians and some soldiers who had landed, and were pinned down on the small island. They eventually escaped and returned with many more soldiers and eventually removed the Indians. Not exactly fair, but that was the way it went. I have no pictures, because all fog banks look the same.

We stayed in the fog the rest of the way to Gold Beach, except for a brief stretch when we went inland behind Humbug Mountain. I knew the ocean was out there, but could take no real pictures, so you will not get any.

After we got in, Ron, Boaz, and I stopped at the Porthole restaurant for lunch. This was a nice little spot recommended by the desk clerk at the motel. Mike then ran a very informative bike care class, before route rap and dinner. Tomorrow looks fairly light, then it is a nice off day in Crescent City, CA. Yes, we will finally leave Oregon tomorrow. See you then.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 4 - Florence to Bandon

Daily Statistics:
Rode 78.6 miles and burned 5100 calories.
Left the hotel at 7:38 and arrived at 2:23.

Today was another beautiful day on the bike in Oregon. We were a little more inland than we have been, so we were in more trees and less coast. We still managed to have a number of scenic opportunities, and riding in the trees was very pleasant. Just over 11 miles into the day, we took a short detour to Oregon Dunes State Park. As you might imagine, this is a lot of sand piled up. The shot below gives you one perspective, but it varied depending on your vantage point.

We then proceeded on to the first SAG of the day at the Umpqua River lighthouse (I told you yesterday the Oregon coast has a plethora of lighthouses). Since the SAG was there, I took the photo below. It is pretty much your classic lighthouse.

Upon leaving the SAG, it was pretty much highway 101 for the next 18 miles or so. As we were approaching the town of North Bend, we had to go across a bridge that was a little over a mile long. The sign said walk bikes, so that is how we started. I had gotten a little way, when a car coming the other direction slowed and hollered "there is no law you have to walk", so I got on and road a narrow ledge (the bridge was fairly narrow) of about 2 feet the rest of the way. I had to pay attention, because if I slipped off, it was a good drop, with plenty of traffic to run over me.
After passing through Coos Bay, we made it to the second SAG in Charleston. It was around noon, so Ron and I had lunch in a small deli. They were rightly very proud of their chowder. At the SAG, I took the following picture of Ron and Rachel (our English lass) with Charlie the Tuna. These chain saw carvings are fairly common in the NW. Sorry I clipped Charlie's head.

With about 20 miles to go, we turned on to Seven Devil's road. This started out sharply uphill, and then became a nice rolling road. Mike had promised panoramic views, and I was starting to doubt him when I hadn't seen any for the first 6 or 7 miles, but we eventually got some. They are better in person than on film, so I haven't included any. With 5 miles to go, it was back on 101 to the hotel in Bandon. The pleasant surprise was I have a room with a million dollar view of the harbor and beach. The wind is blowing to hard to sit out, but it is still nice to enjoy.
We wrapped up a fine day with dinner at the Minute Cafe. Nothing special, but solidly nourishing, and should get me through the day tomorrow.