Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ride the West Day 11 - Fort Bragg to Cloverdale

Daily Statistics
Mileage:  77.32
Vertical gain:  4709 feet
Calories burned:  6409 (2730)

Link to Garmin route data

Today was a day with a lot of variety.  I think you will definitely see that as the story unfolds.  We left Fort Bragg in a thick fog, which continued while we stayed along the coast on highway 1, which was about 19 miles.  Here is a typical coastal scene in the fog.

The coast south of Ft Bragg at Little River
We left highway 1 to take California 128 the rest of the way to Cloverdale.  This immediately puts you in the Navarro River Redwoods.  I was able to ride with Jeff Douglas, Joe Schroeder, and Mark Weisbarth for a few miles in to the first SAG 27 miles in at Paul Dimmick campground.  You can get an idea of the ride from this picture of Mark from the rear.

Mark Weisbarth riding in the redwoods
About 5 or 6 miles after the SAG, we were literally out of the woods, and starting to see our first vineyards.  There is also a fruit stand (Gowan's Oak Tree)  about 40 miles in that was recommended for the apple cider.  Of course this called for a stop and some cider, which was excellent I might say.  I was there with Russ Bordeau and Mike Moseley.  This was the half way point for those doing the full 23 days, so we toasted their accomplishment with the cider.

At Gowan's Oak Tree
I mentioned we were passing through wine country, which we will do a lot more of tomorrow.  Here is a sample of what we saw.

Grapes on the vine
After the second SAG, we had to make our way over a couple of good climbs before the descent into Cloverdale.  There was also road construction in a couple of spots, requiring us to fall in behind the pilot car.  Most of us picked up a lot of asphalt grit on our tires, which stuck like crazy.  I don't think anyone had any real damage to their tires, but there was a lot of cleaning up going on at the motel.

The scenery was typical California brown hills, with a few scrub oak along the way.  It also got pretty warm on the climb, which is not my favorite.  I personally have enjoyed riding in the coastal fog.  Anyway, here is what it looks like in the California hills.

Typical California hills
The descent in to Cloverdale was fortunately uneventful, although I overshot the motel by about half a mile, before realizing I must have missed it.  I got in and had a lovely milk shake.  The good news of the day was that the climbing, while plenty, was significantly less than they had advertised.  Tomorrow will have us spending most of the day in wine country.

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