Day 12 – July 1
The first of July was scheduled to be one of our longest day’s of riding. 41.5 miles that ended up being 43. While that sounds rough it wasn’t a terrible day. Don’t get me wrong, we were still exhausted and so hungry we wolfed down dinner at the campsite and hit the hay, but I would consider it a good day when my chain stays mostly in the middle or big front chain ring.
By the way, remember in the last post when I said that it was a super rough day going up and down hills. Well come to find out I didn’t have my lowest gear. For some reason I lost my ability to shift into my granny gear so no wonder a few of those inclines were nearly impossible to get up. We hopped online and Ron found a way to get me the lowest gear but it was at the expense of gears 2, 3, and sometimes 4. Not great but I’d rather have that than not until we reach San Fran.
We woke up early since we knew we had a long day ahead of us. The miles actually rolled by pretty quickly. And by rolled by, I really mean rolled by. It was like a roller coaster. Not a lot of elevation but up, down, up, down, up, down.
I really should have another picture here after Stewart’s Point Store. It should be one of the 6 double-trailer dump trucks parked for their break. You see, they were our companions all day long. They seemed to find us in the narrowest roads with the non-existent shoulders. They made 2 or 3 runs that day, no one knows to where or from where they were coming and going, they were just there. It made for a bit of added stress to an already long day but we made it to the campsite safe and sound.
The terrain is definitely interesting to say the least. We knew we had a slightly shorter day today (scheduled to be 24 but turned out to be 32 – I’ll get to that later) so we weren’t prepared for the fact that the book calls 10 of these miles the most strenuous. Well, gee, you don’t say. I’m going to post just a few pics that we took from our vantage point. Said vantage point was at the top of a sheer cliffside falling down into the ocean with about 5 inches of asphalt (if that) over the edge of the white fog line. Roads that are barely clinging, and I mean clinging to the sides of the cliffs just waiting to be eroded away. Beautiful, but white knuckle for sure. (For sizing, picture all the trees in these photos to be full size and see how little they look.)
The picture below shows the best switch back. If you start at the top of the picture and look at the farthest hilltop to the left you will see a small patch of dark green trees. That is where the road starts. It goes to the left edge then comes back to the right edge just below the hilltop to the slight right. Then it cuts back to the left, then the right, then the left, then comes out of the middle and starts climbing again. There were HUGE houses to the right side of this. I mean HUGE.
So back to that 24 mile bike ride that turned into 32 but didn’t really get us any farther. We were going to go to Bodega Dunes State Beach but decided maybe we would shoot for a bit farther, say Valley Ford to lessen our mileage tomorrow (another 42 mile day). We bypassed the state beach and headed into the town. They hooked us up with some info about the ONE small hotel in Valley Ford. We tried calling, no answer. Well, we certainly didn’t want to go 9 more miles and not have lodging or a place to camp. We decided that we were not going to go back the 2 miles up hill to the state beach so we’d instead go the 1/2 mile further to the county park they told us about. Not 1/2 miles but 1 1/2 miles later we get to the pay booth, then we had to trek 2 more miles down a very bumpy, rough road to the hiker/biker site. Okay, good, things are okay. This is the view from our camp spot. Not bad. We get our tent and sleeping gear set up. Head down to the beach to enjoy a little of the sun and surf.
We decide to head back to our campsite, just a stone’s throw from the beach, and we see a bus unloading a bunch of kids right next to our campsite. So much for an early bedtime. Come to find out the hiker/biker site is right next to the group site where 35 youth we going to be spending the night. Um, don’t think so. Not only that, but by this time the fog was rolling in thick. We decided that a hotel and a hot meal sounded better so we packed up all of our stuff, rode the 3 miles back into town and called it good. Hence the extra mileage that didn’t get us any farther.
Unfortunately our road kill count grew a lot but thankfully our flat tire count did not. Road kill is now up to 15, yikes! Two very full size raccoons and two itty-bitty skunks were added to the total.