|Miles travelled: ||72 (694 total) ||Average speed: ||13.1 MPH |
|Time on bike: ||5:30 ||Top speed: ||46.7 MPH |
Morning at Manchester Beach and it’s time to get ready. I brewed up some hot chocolate and oatmeal to warm me up after my “shower” routine, which consisted of washing off my top half as best I could with one of the (cold water) camp faucets. I like roughing it, but that’s a little too rough for my tastes. I’d be looking forward to a real shower at the next camp.
Out of camp at 8:30am, I met up with the Seattle gang at the local grocery store down the road. I acquired some much-needed nail clippers to tame the claws I’d grown over the past week and a half, and picked up some more oatmeal and bagels for the next week’s breakfasts.
it’s a grocery store AND a hardware store… how handy
We flew out of Mendocino County and into Sonoma at a furious pace – 33 miles down in a little over 2 hours. The trick of leveraging my weight downhill to cruise uphill paid off today; I actually led the pack for most of the first 20 miles. (Not that it’s a competition or anything, but it is pretty good when I’m carrying twice as much gear.) On one downhill I broke my top speed again, this time just by coasting. Who knows, maybe I could have broken 50mph had I pedaled. (Not going back to find out.)
Eucalyptus replaced redwoods in the foliage, and the coastal scenery was as enjoyable as ever.
We stopped at Ocean Cove Grocery for lunch. Sitting outside on the porch eating our food, the sun was scorching. I left before the others and wasn’t even a mile away when they had overtaken me and left me in the dust. I would be facing the ups and downs of Sonoma County on my own.
In addition to the sun, wind, and tiring climbs, my stomach was starting to bother me. I don’t know if it was the footlong Italian sandwich, the footlong burrito, the almond Snickers, raspberry chocolate fudge, or the Red Bull cola, but something was agitating me.
There was one climb past Fort Ross that was menacing. Curvaceous road, winds blowing, little shoulder to speak of… it seemed to take forever to climb. Once I reached the top it turned out it wasn’t the top… more climbing to do.
seaweed (or algae or something) in the water
The climb sucked so bad that it deserves a second paragraph. It really sucked.
At the actual top there was a SUV that had turned around behind me and then started honking at me. I wasn’t sure if I’d dropped something or if this was someone who had a vendetta against cyclists and wanted to emboss me into his tire. Then I heard someone call out my name – turns out it was Chris Keegan, an old friend from our high school days in Helena! It blew my mind that I would actually run into someone I knew out in the middle of nowhere. Chris had actually been following my travels online and was heading out with his wife somewhere in Sonoma for the weekend, and had been watching the roads figuring he might be able to spot me. Small world.
After a fast but nervous downhill and some more climbing on dead leads, I stopped in Jenner to catch my breath,refill my water bottles, and to pick up some fruit from the local stand. I bought a tub of cherries and strawberries, and the lady threw in an apricot and plum for free. That plum made me regret not getting a bag of those plums… wow.
After Jenner is was three hills until Bodega Dunes. The mileage was a bit off and ended up having to go a few miles farther to find the camp, but I made it. I rejoined my friends from Seattle and we sat on the beach, resting after another day of long miles.
Most Exciting Moment
As night was falling and we sat at a picnic table, a skunk darted through our camp. It was at that point when I realized there is no defense against a skunk. What are you going to do, try to scare it? Chase it? Pretend like you’re a bigger, meaner skunk? Not unless you want the skunk to blast you.
I heard later that night the skunk came back and was fighting with some other animal, making strange growling noises. I was glad to have slept through it (another advantage to snoring).
- a deer
- a skunk (relation to camp infiltrator unknown)
- another Scrat looking creature