Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bodega Bay, Gualala, Mendocino, Fort Brag and Friends

As I left San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge on an uncommonly sunny day, I simultaneously felt daunted and relieved.  Relieved by the fact that I had conquered the road from LA to San Francisco and Daunted by the amount of miles ahead of me.  But there was nothing to do but continue on.  Besides, like I said, it was a beautiful day.  The first thing I noticed is how vastly and instantly different the northern California terrain is from it's southern counterpart.  I was now riding through forrest.  A spectacular transformation.  Another bizarre change was in the construction of the housing.  Everything was wooden with almost no curvature to any side.  Super straight and geometric.  I did make one stop on the way to Bodega at one of the many oyster/chowder shops that were along the coast.  It's hard to turn down a fresh cup of chowder to begin with, let alone a specialized chowder only northern chowder restaurant.  Finally I rolled into Bodaga, which is a decently windy coast town.  There must have been some open glass bottles or something like that close to a beach because there was this constant spooky whistling.  I felt like I was in a Scooby Doo episode where everyone thinks there's a ghost, but really it's just bottles by the sea shore.  Only in my episode after they find the ghost sounding bottles there ends up being a man eating ghost anyway...  I wasn't scared.

     The next day ended up being a pretty uneventful ride to Gualala.  I stopped at a small but quaint coffee shop in Jenner looking for internet but there wasn't any to be found.  Internet access and phone service has been pretty sparse the past few days.  But if you're going to find it anywhere it's going to be in a coffee shop... just not in Jenner.   Gualala was nice except for this really crazy domesticated raccoon.  This guy was relentless.  Me and the other biker named Ress could only hope that the other camps were a little more messy than we were so it wouldn't go after all of our food during the night.  Ress scared it away a couple times and we didn't end up getting raided in the middle of the night so it ended up being a-ok.

Judy Bonnes
    Another earlyish start that morning and I plugged along to Mendocino.  Can I just say that although I haven't' really been climbing roads that get me much  higher than 100ft above sea level, but I must have climbed over ten 100 foot hills.  So, although I'm not gaining the elevation, my body still feels like I've been climbing a mountain.  Make up your mind earth.  I forgot to mention that early in the morning on my way to Gualala out of the coffee shop I stopped at, my BOB trailer popped of it's mount and ended up slightly pushing my wheel out of true.  (It was wobbling.)  So the past few days I'd been keeping my eye out for a bike shop to get my wheel looked at.  So I started the day out a little uneasy and I was keeping my progress pretty slow on my uneven wheel.  About half way through my day I stopped at this small town called Elk, California to eat one of my pre made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, when, in mid bite, a local woman came up to me and offered to buy me a cup of coffee at the shop right next to us.  Not being able to turn down coffee and some good company I accepted and we ended up having a really cool lunch together.  Her name is Judy Bonnes and she is a silk painter who lives in Elk.  I had no previous knowledge of the art of silk painting but she showed me some of her stuff and it's really cool.  For all you out there interested in hand painted silk scarves check her out on face book.  (Judith Gates Bonney)  After lunch I pushed on into the wind shooting for Mendocino.  After a front tire blow out in Little River I ended up pulling into a bike shop called Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too and was introduced by circumstance to a super cool dude named Jason.  Jason ended up taking time out of his busy schedule and the mountain of bikes that were stacked up for him to fix in front of me and took a look at my wobbly ride.  What I thought was just a little alignment problem ended up being a broken spoke which Jason replaced along with getting me a couple of extras on to take along with me.  Overall a really cool experience.  I wish I had more time to get to know him and experience the shop for a little longer but I had to push on to the Russian Gulch State Park where I would be staying for the night.  (If you're looking for a cool time in Norther California though check out Catch A Canoe, it's a great family place for canoeing and riding.

     So I was expecting the bleak lonely bike/hike that I've been used to the past week or so when I rode down into Russian Gulch.  There was already a couple there, which was cool, but nothing really out of the ordinary.  Then, all of a sudden about five more bikers ride down to the camp site, completely packing out the space.  This, for me, was amazing.  Apparently these guys, and girl, started touring in different places separately but ended up just getting on the same route and just been staying at the same sites for about a week.  They were all laughing and joking together and reminiscing about their experiences of the previous day and then they just sucked me in.  It was awesome.  Like a biker family we all just started talking about all the what/when/why's of our tours, a guy named Diego gave me nearly a pound of chocolate and the Canadian couple made everyone omelets in the morning.  I was definitely jealous of the bond they had formed but it was great to experience this cool community for a night and a morning.  Yesterday was an amazing day.


  1. Beau, I'm curious what kind of bike are you using, brand, style, etc...? How much weight are you towing in your BOB? My sister has a coffee shop in Minneapolis, I wish it was on your route. You're doing great and I love the blog.

  2. mr. Chad.
    Honestly, It's nothing spectacular. I'm just on a Trek Hybrid 7.1 FX, which is a super middle of the line bike. The bike was about 400 bucks and the BOB I got used for 240. I think I have around 65-80lbs which is a little to heavy, but I'm making progress. You don't need anything crazy to tour just the will to do so... and some spare tubes and solid brakes I guess. Thanks for reading and maybe one day I'll make it out to Minneapolis. :)

  3. That's cool, it's better not to over complicate anything, like you say, in all reality all you need is the will. I was wondering if a person would use a road bike, commuter, mountain, etc... Your hybrid looks like a road/mountain combination. It sounds like tubes is a very important item to have. Keep up the great work.