Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 14

Day 14 Stats - September 1, 2006

  • Inverness to San Francisco
  • 46.61 miles, 2001 ft. elevation gain, 835.43 miles total (40,475 elev)
  • Ride time 4h 17m, trip time 6h 10m, start time 08:50am
  • Average speed 10.8 mph, max 37.8
  • Cities visited: Inverness, Fairfax, Larkspur, Sausalito, San Francisco
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:2, Pam:0, Preston:2

Slept in late and woke up to blue skies for our last day on the road.

As with my previous long bike trips, I felt a little sad that it was almost over, but also glad that we would be returning to normal life and also that we had all survived the trip without any injuries or other calamities!

Enjoyed a quiet ride with low traffic from Inverness over to Samuel Taylor State Park. Next up was Fairfax and a whole series of metro-area SF cities, with lots of dedicated bike paths, well marked bike lanes, understanding motorists. Knew that we were getting close by the increasing numbers of yuppie cyclists (like us) with expensive bikes and fancy biking clothes.

After Fairfax, we had to do a significant amount of route finding. Up until now, all we had to do was stay on Hwy 101 or Hwy 1, but now we were changing roads every 2 minutes. The going was really slow, and we lost our SAG driver in all the confusion. We weren't able to meet back up with him and eventually just met at the hotel.

Slowly wound our way to Sausalito and onto the bike lane system there. Starting seeing A LOT of tourists riding easily identifiable rental bikes. We had ridden these exact same roads on similar rental bikes three years ago when we were here for Eric and Tracy's wedding.

Less than 10 miles from the end, I got a flat tire! Another slight delay for our slow-and-pokey final day.

Finally made our way to the Golden Gate, the symbolic end of our journey. It was foggy, windy, and really cold. Took the requisite end-of-trip pictures in various poses and configurations.

Crossed over the bridge, biked through Presidio, Fisherman's Wharf, Embarcadero, the piers, etc., all the way to Mission Street, down to Union Square, and then up to the hotel. Was fun riding alongside the streetcars, taxis, and tourists. Felt like an (ersatz) SF bike messenger racing down the streets.

Even though Golden Gate was the symbolic end of the trip, it was still 5-10 more miles to the hotel and took another 1.5 hours to get there. We walked our bikes into the hotel, where my dad was waiting in the lobby to greet us. It felt strange walking our bikes, knowing that we weren't going to be riding them again for the rest of the trip!

Final trip stats:

  • Distance = 835.43 miles
  • Elevation gain = 40,475 feet
  • Total days = 13 riding days + 1 rest day
  • Ride time = 65h 04m
  • Trip time = 90h 56m
  • Average speed = 12.84 mph

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 31

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 13

Day 13 Stats - August 31, 2006

  • Stillwater Cove to Inverness
  • 62.30 miles, 3898 ft. elevation gain, 788.82 miles total (38,474 elev)
  • Ride time 5h 06m, trip time 7h 05m, start time 07:58am
  • Average speed 12.3 mph, max 36.5
  • Cities visited: Stillwater Cove, Jenner, Bodega Bay, Valley Ford, Tomales, Pt. Reyes Station, Inverness
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:2, Pam:0, Preston:1

Expected a farm-style wakeup (roosters, peacocks, etc.), but the morning was pleasantly peaceful. Watched the farmer move the sheep from their barn out into the hills, ate a quick breakfast from our cooler, and then on the road for another early start. (After Aimee changed her tube and tire, which had been damaged a week ago and had finally given up the ghost sometime last night.)

The joy of cycling on the coast really seemed to sink in today: The northerly wind gently aiding us along. The warm sun on our backs. The pleasant fragrance as we passed through innumerable eucalyptus groves. The low traffic. It felt good to live "in the now", free of quotidian concerns.

Made brief stops at Jenner and some other coastal towns, which are getting progressively more upscale the closer we get to SF. At Bodega Bay, we said goodbye to the coast and headed inland. The temperatures soared, but the road immediately gained a nice bike shoulder which was well worth the heat. I guess the expense and lack of land on the coast make it impossible to have a shoulder/bike lane, whereas there is more space available for such luxuries inland.

Ate lunch at a cafe in Tomales. Sat on some nice benches and enjoyed the gentle breeze. Continued on after lunch through the steamy hills until we finally made it back to the water (and cool ocean breezes!) at Point Reyes Station. From there, we pedalled a few miles off-route to Inverness, our destination for the night.

The Motel Inverness ($135/room) was a very pleasant surprise, featuring newly remodelled rooms, an incredible common area/lobby, and beautiful views of the bay and valley. And this was the least expensive hotel we could find!

Met two women pulling trailers who were close to completing a loop from Oakland up through wine country and back down along the coast and back to Oakland. Also met a guy pulling two trailers(!) and dressed quasi-military (long cameo pants, wide brimmed hat, etc.). Learned that he had moved with his girlfriend to Arcata for a job that didn't pan out. They were biking back to the Bay Area when the girlfriend was blown off the road by a logging truck outside of Garberville. Her bike was totalled and she was banged up enough that she couldn't continue the trip. She was waiting in Santa Cruz and the guy was finishing the trip solo because Greyhound wouldn't let him put his bike on the bus. The story seemed a bit sketchy in places, but we didn't press for details...

All-in-all, another sublime day "on the road". It's hard to believe that in less than 40 miles, it's all going to be over!

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AUG 30

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 12

Day 12 Stats - August 30, 2006

  • Mendocino to Stillwater Cove
  • 72.68 miles, 4400 ft. elevation gain, 726.52 miles total (34,576 elev)
  • Ride time 5h 35m, trip time 7h 48m, start time 08:10am
  • Average speed 13.0 mph, max 42.9
  • Cities visited: Mendocino, Albion, Elk, Gualala, Sea Ranch, Stillwater Cove
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Another delightful cycling day along Highway 1.

Woke up to wonderful amber sunlight shining into our room. The restaurant owners had left us an "early departure" goody bag with delicious scones, jam, and a wonderful assortment of fruit, including about a dozen fresh figs (my favorite)!

Weather was sunny and warm, even first thing in the morning. We left early to avoid traffic, but this decision backfired on us as we ended up leaving right during "rush hour". Thus the traffic was a bit heavier than we had grown accustomed to for about 45 minutes, until we were well south of town.

Most of Hwy 1 has no shoulder at all, which isn't too terrible since the traffic is low. However, a vigilant eye and quick reflexes are essential to dart off the road if a big truck appears in the rear view mirror as you are approaching the top of a hill or a blind corner. It's also quite shady at times, making bright clothing and lights/blinkers essential!

Our entire ride today was aided by a moderate wind from the north, but much of the time this was wasted since the coast is quite hilly. The road is usually 100-200 feet above the ocean, but every time there is a beach or a river, the road does a rapid drop down and then back up. After this happened several dozen times, we started to get pretty tired.

We stopped for brief breaks in Albion and Elk, and then ate sandwiches and food from our cooler at a nice state park south of Gualala.

Met a guy with a lot of face jewelry/piercings who was pulling an 80-lb. trailer from Berkeley to Arcata. He was doing a one-way trip and moving for work. A few years ago, he completed a three-year walking trip across the entire country from New York to Oregon! He was super skinny and had really bad teeth, I think he may have been a meth addict.

Met another solo rider (also going northbound, from San Francisco to Seattle via Bend and Portland). He was pulling a trailer and camping along the way as well. He was taking his time and when we found him, he was sprawled out at a scenic spot reading a book and enjoying the sun.

Traffic picked up again considerably as we went through Sea Ranch, a sprawl-like urban neighborhood community just south of Gualala. Luckily this faded away as we approached our destination for the night.

Our hotel today (Stillwater Cove Ranch, $75 per cottage) was extremely remote. It used to be a boarding school for boys, but now is rental cottages and an active farm (with a million dollar view of the ocean). No phones, no TV, no Internet. Just lots of privacy and quiet--and a bunch of sheep and peacocks roaming around. We tried playing with the sheep until we realized just how dangerous farm animals seem when you get close to them. The owners also gave us a tour of their impressive gardens, which featured an amazing breadth of vegetables.

We ate dinner at the only restaurant around (located at the fancy lodge about 5 miles down the street) and then turned in for a very quiet evening in the cottages.

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AUG 29

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 11

Day 11 Stats - August 29, 2006

  • Garberville to Mendocino
  • 78.18 miles, 5518 ft. elevation gain, 653.84 miles total (30,176 elev)
  • Ride time 6h 29m, trip time 8h 36m, start time 07:31am
  • Average speed 12.0 mph, max 35.1
  • Cities visited: Garberville, Leggett, Westport, Fort Bragg, Mendocino
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

A delightful cycling day, but physically very difficult!

We had a long day ahead so we got an early start with cold breakfast in our rooms at and then wheels rolling just after 7:30. Blue skies, cool but not cold for a change.

Hwy 101 was deserted in the morning and the miles flew by as we enjoyed the nice shoulder, smooth road surface, and almost complete dearth of cars. We skipped two small detours recommended by the cycling maps and stayed on 101 since the riding was so pleasant. In hindsight this turned out to be a sagacious move since the side roads were closed that day for construction!

Confusion Hill (an area just north of Leggett) provided the first physical and mental challenge of the day as we climbed about 1000 ft. and had to contend with limited-to-no shoulders as the truck traffic picked up.

At Leggett, we said goodbye to Hwy 101 forever and started on Hwy 1. We all fell in love with Hwy 1 immediately as the traffic dropped to almost nothing. We spent the next couple of hours ascending and descending the 1800-ft. peak of Leggett Hill (the biggest climb of our entire trip). The going was slow, and heavy tree coverage on both sides occluded any possible view, but the cycling was delightful nonetheless. It felt good to relax our mental guards and focus entirely on cycling without having to worry about getting plastered by a car.

There were no views at the summit, nor a sign indicating the summit, so our ascension was somewhat anticlimatic. We immediately dropped down the other side (freezing in the process) and then had to climb another 700-ft hill before we were finally ejected out onto the coastline.

It felt good to be back in the temperature environs of the coast after sweltering away the last couple of days inland. Cycling the coast along Hwy 1 was what I originally had envisioned the bike trip would be like (bikes whizzing along the cliffs, ocean on the right, mountains on the left, birds darting about, very few cars, cool breeze whipping at our heels). Today was the first day that the ride delivered on that expectation.

Had a great lunch of organic pizza in Westport (Aimee loves the abundance of organic foods in California). Ate lunch on some picnic tables at a beautiful conservancy spot right on the water.

Sped through many nameless coastal cities in the afternoon. Our cycling maps are a little too detailed: Some cities that are listed on the map are so small that we didn't even know that we had gone through them until we showed up at the next city on the map.

Got to Fort Bragg around 3:30pm. We had originally planned on spending the night here and then having a semi-rest day tomorrow in Mendocino, but we changed our plans enroute to include an extra day in SF. I am glad that we didn't give any commerce to Fort Bragg since it is an overcrowded coastal town with way too many aggressive drivers and totally inadequate bike lanes for a city this size. The southern side of Fort Bragg felt great because (a) we were leaving Fort Bragg forever, (b) it was slightly downhill, and (c) we had a tailwind :)

One final big climb of the day and we arrived in Mendocino, a very nice New England-inspired coastal town. This is a town where it's faster to walk than to take your car. Lots of neat little shops, including an organic co-op located in an old church. Before dinner, we walked around and marvelled at the immaculate gardens ubiquitous in this town, each with beautiful flowers and interesting plants (see the pictures if you're interested in some of them).

Grabbed dinner at the Mendocino Cafe then ice cream from the store down the street and back to the hotel in time to watch dusk over the ocean from our room.

We stayed in a B&B above a restaurant, the Blue Heron Inn. Very nice rooms and reasonably priced (for Mendocino) at $110/night. Noise from the restaurant did keep us up until they closed around 10-11pm, but they made up for it by preparing a delicious take-out breakfast for us the next morning.

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 28

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 10

Day 10 Stats - August 28, 2006

  • Eureka to Garberville
  • 74.05 miles, 2963 ft. elevation gain, 575.66 miles total (24,658 elev)
  • Ride time 5h 48m, trip time 8h 02m, start time 08:38am
  • Average speed 12.7 mph, max 36.0
  • Cities visited: Eureka, Loleta, Fernbridge, Scotia, Pepperwood, Myers Flat, Miranda, Phillipsville, Garberville
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Brutal day, although cycling through the Avenue of the Giants was excellent.

Started off early, overcast skies per usual. Ate breakfast in hotel and then rode to Fernbridge along Hwy 101. Took a couple of side trips, one past the College of the Redwoods (today was the first day of classes) and another along the Eel River.

My mom and dad swapped places for about 10 miles near Fernbridge so that my dad could take a break from his SAG duties and experience a bit of the bike trip. They had picked a nice flat spot so he wouldn't have to contend with any hills, but unfortunately we encountered one almost right away! He did great on the hill anyway and it was fun biking with him.

At Fernbridge, we had a difference of opinion. Aimee wanted to just blast out the miles on Hwy 101, whereas I wanted to take the scenic route (which unfortunately added almost 11 miles). We compromised and did an abbreviated route that took us through some very interesting farm country. The roads were rough, however, and in retrospect, we should have just stuck on Hwy 101.

We passed through Scotia in late morning and really wanted to take a free tour that a local saw mill offers of their factory, but sadly we couldn't spare the time. We continued on to the best part of the day, the ride down the Avenue of the Giants, a 30-mile road that parallels Hwy 101 and goes directly through a huge grove of Redwood trees. The traffic was very low, the presence of the colossal arboreals awe-inspiring, and overall one of the best segments of the trip.

Near Pepperwood, we stopped for a picnic-style lunch sitting on the ground again (how come we can never find picnic tables when we need them?!). It was good to rest and enjoy the solitude of the Redwoods, but we knew that we had many miles to go before we slept.

We continued on to Myers Flat where we each paid $1.50 to do the obligatory drive-your-vehicle-through-the-Redwood. At this point, it was getting pretty hot and the Redwoods were starting to thin out, which translated into blazing temperatures for us. We wilted in the heat a bit and the final 20 miles of the day were a bit of a chore.

Saw the first day of school letting out in Miranda and had to dodge several school buses, moms picking up kids in minivans, and high school kids hotrodding in their cars. Stopped for an emergency cool-off break at Phillipsville (about 9 miles from our final destination), and then churned our way up the biggest hill of the day, located just 1 mile from our hotel. The presence of a moderate head wind working against us all afternoon was the final straw in making today our hardest day yet.

Stayed at the Sherwood Forest Motel. A little shaggy but a great value for the money and they had a pool and hot tub which we put to good use. After cooling down and changing, we enjoyed walking the hippy streets of Garberville (apparently Humboldt County is famous for marijuana growing and use, and it definitely shows in the people and stores we encountered).

Nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town and then turned in early in preparation for yet another long day tomorrow.

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AUG 27

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 9

Day 9 Stats - August 27, 2006

  • Klamath to Eureka
  • 70.73 miles, 2920 ft. elevation gain, 501.61 miles total (21,695 elev)
  • Ride time 5h 41m, trip time 7h 10m, start time 09:03am
  • Average speed 12.4 mph, max 33.3
  • Cities visited: Klamath, Redwoods State Park, Orick, Trinidad, McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

A very pleasant cycling day, despite heavy (and cold!) fog through most of the morning and early afternoon.

Started off with another delicious breakfast at the B&B. Climbed our biggest hill of the day (around 1000 ft.) right out of the gate just south of Klamath. Met two recent college grads biking together from Vancouver to Mexico in 3 weeks. They were both pulling Bob trailers with about 40 lbs. of gear, and one of them had a double chain ring!

The next hour was the highlight of the day as we slowly descended through huge groves of giant Redwood trees. The heavy fog lent an ethereal aurora to the trees and it was very peaceful and beautiful.

There wasn't much in the way of cities until Trinidad, so we pedalled most of the morning and had almost 40 miles done by lunch time. We were all feeling quite cold from the fog so we opted to eat a hot lunch in a diner. After lunch, it felt even colder and we pedalled quickly through to McKinleyville (a very nice community), where we took a side route from Hwy 101 and travelled along a dedicated bike path for quite a while. Bike paths are always a treat because we can completely relax without having to worry about cars. The fog finally lifted around this time as well, and we enjoyed lackadaisical biking "California-style".

Just before McKinleyville, we met a heavily-loaded down couple from Montreal (mountain bikes, 4 panniers each) who were just about to finish up in Eureka after biking down from Cannon Beach over the last two weeks.

The bike path ejected us into Arcata, which had a very nice bike lane system (a result of the college there, we surmised). We eventually found ourselves back on Hwy 101 again for the final miles into Eureka. 101 in this area is a 4-lane divided highway, but it has a huge shoulder, so it's quite safe, although quite loud too. The views of the bay leading into Eureka were quite beautiful.

Like Arcata, Eureka has an excellent bike lane network and it took us quite a while to traverse this city of 30,000 people (a megalopolis by coastal city standards). It's interesting to see the sorts of stores that pop up when a city reaches this size: Target, Costco, Applebee's, Winco, Harley-Davidson Store, etc. It was a little strange being back among the megastores after a week of mom and pop stores. Eureka is apparently famous for the large number of Victorian-style homes, and we did see quite a few as we made our way through town.

Stayed at the Bay View Motel ($120/night for two-bedroom suite. Newly remodelled and pretty nice. Felt good to have a long hot shower after the cold riding day. Grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant, restocked our supplies at Winco, and then back to the hotel.

Despite the cold and the fog and the lack of views, today was one of the best cycling days. The miles went by quickly, everybody rode well, and the roads either had excellent bike lanes or were side roads with very little traffic. We also passed several schools with signs indicating that the first day of school is tomorrow, so hopefully that bodes well for a significantly reduced amount of traffic on the roads in the coming week.

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AUG 26

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 8

Day 8 Stats - August 26, 2006

  • Klamath (rest day)

Rest day in Klamath. Didn't sleep in very late, but it felt luxurious to know that we weren't going to be biking today. Delicious breakfast at the B&B and then we went hiking for about an hour and a half in the Redwoods. We were feeling very lethargic and so grabbed a quick lunch at Subway and then headed back to the B&B for an afternoon siesta. We experienced the biker's curse, which is the necessity of suppressing the urge to explore the cool places we are travelling through in order to conserve energy for the bike trip itself.

It was very relaxing to sit and read in the inn, which was ideally situated on the Klamath river to take in sights of birds, seals, and other marine life going about their daily activities.

The dinner last night was so good, we decided to eat in again, but I didn't think it was as good the second time. Probably because we were tired and nervous about getting back on the road tomorrow. Turned in early and had a solid night's sleep, although we did periodically hear a large predatory mammal of some sort sloshing around in the river during the night...

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AUG 25

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 7

Day 7 Stats - August 25, 2006

  • Gold Beach, OR to Klamath, CA
  • 81.48 miles, 4081 ft. elevation gain, 430.88 miles total (18,775 elev)
  • Ride time 6h 39m, trip time 9h 11m, start time 07:55am
  • Average speed 12.2 mph, max 38.3
  • Cities visited: Gold Beach, Brookings, Fort Dick, Crescent City, Klamath
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

(This journal entry written by Aimee.)

A very long day despite leaving exactly one hour earlier than yesterday. Sunny, clear skies all day. Very windy.

One minute into our ride, passed the Gold Beach high school football team, running to some distant point down the highway. At first, they looked to be the cross-country team, but the heftier young men who were huffing and puffing in the back and the leaner young men in muscle shirts in the middle gave the team away. Aimee thought about yelling "You should be on the cross-country team!" to the lean leader of the pack, who was running effortlessly ahead of the rest. But on second thought, she thought that might seem sort of rude (Aimee is a former high school cross-country runner!) Moments later, we encountered the middle-aged coaches (with emerging potbellies) pull up in their cushy trucks in a turnout, where I presume they were going to meet the team.

We pedaled up the first hill of the day (712 feet) and summited the Cape Sebastian section of Highway 101. Just as we began our descent, we encountered John and seized upon the opportunity to snap some more photos. Unfortunately, in his rush to get out of the car, he locked the keys inside! After a few desperate moments of trying to open the car doors, Preston and Aimee decided to bike ahead to a spot where Preston's cell phone would have coverage. Just then, a couple from Colorado pulled up in their minivan and offered to bend a coat hanger and try to unlock a car door. Preston and Aimee pushed on upon Pam's urging. About 10 minutes later, John pulled in in front of Preston and Aimee with the car. The coat hanger had worked! A short while later, Pam arrived on her bike.

After a snack of bananas and Pepsi (for Preston), we pushed on through some beautiful scenery of sea stacks and waves. The lightweight cyclists from Santa Barbara and Kansas passed us, all energized and jazzed up about the day as usual.

We made it to Brookings, stopped for just a few minutes, and then made our way past fields of Easter lilies to the California border. Our guide book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast, says 90 percent of the world's Easter lilies come from this region. The air had a faint, sweet smell to it, and the sun felt good on our backs.

Within a few miles, we crossed into California. We snapped some photos at the aged California border sign. Someone needs to clean that thing! There was a brown gooey liquid drizzling from top to bottom. Preston was relieved to find that the roads in California had decent (if not great) shoulders for bikes to ride in, despite numerous dire predictions to the contrary from cyclists we passed.

After a few minutes, we veered off onto a side road, Ocean View Drive, which Preston described as scenic, but Aimee saw as needlessly hilly when Highway 101, which paralleled the road appeared perfectly flat. We pedaled through Smith River and to Fort Dick, where Aimee was startled to discover that the "restroom" was a padlocked Port-a-Potty! It turned out to be the cleanest Port-a-Potty she ever saw.

Finally, we pedaled onto to Crescent City, where Preston, Pam and John ate lunch and Aimee gnawed on some bread because she was bored with all the other food. The viewpoint was great, but extraordinarily windy. Continued along Pebble Beach Drive, past at least 150 pelicans floating in the ocean, along a river walk and finally past the somewhat dingy motels of Crescent City. Up, up and up we pedaled, over a huge hill -- 1,500 feet in all. It must have taken us an hour. The road was shaded, which was nice, but the big rig trucks made the experience a nervous one, especially since most of the road had little-to-no shoulder.

The site of Requa Road was a sweet one. We arrived at the inn shortly after 5 pm. What a lovely old place. Tons of great books to peruse in the living room. A nice fireplace, making the inn the first place Aimee has been able to wear a T-shirt on this trip. We showered. Aimee picked out "Under the Banner of Heaven" and quickly became immersed in it. Preston happily flipped through the pages of a Jacques Cousteau book about ocean critters. Dinner was at 7 pm. and very gourmet. We met a 20-something couple from Edmonton, Alberta (Rebecca is a social worker, Brad is a biologist) and another couple from Southern California (Lisa is a teacher, Ken works at a financial-advising software company). Pleasant company.

After dinner, Preston had a grand old time in the living room with the inn's cats!

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AUG 24

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 6

Day 6 Stats - August 24, 2006

  • Bandon to Gold Beach
  • 58.87 miles, 2539 ft. elevation gain, 349.40 miles total (14,694 elev)
  • Ride time 4h 06m, trip time 5h 49m, start time 08:55am
  • Average speed 14.6 mph, max 35.9
  • Cities visited: Bandon, Langlois, Port Orford, Ophir, Gold Beach
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Sunny skies in the morning for the first time since we left Portland! We were able to drop our leg warmers, but the arm warmers stayed on all day. Ate fruit and cereal in our hotel room and then took off at 9am.

Biked along the coast out of Bandon and stopped almost immediately to take in the breathtaking vistas. Today was definitely the most scenic segment of our trip so far with striking views every time we were near the water (rocks, waves, birds flying).

Rode Hwy 101 most of the day. Made excellent time--pushed along by a hefty tailwind. Brief stop in Langlois for a snack then on to Port Orford. Hung out for quite a while at a beautiful city park on the water where we talked with two different groups of friendly onlookers interested in our trip. Also met up with several groups of fellow long distance cyclists: A married couple struggling up some of the big hills on their mountain bikes. A group of five men headed for Crescent City.

And, our favorite, two guys (Tom and Bob, ages 58 and 60, from Kansas and Santa Barbara) who had started in Victoria 11 days prior and were heading for Tijuana. They were credit card touring like ourselves, but without the luxury of a support car. At first glance, they were outfitted like day cyclists, but in reality they had ingeniously stripped every superfluous ounce of weight from their bikes until they were left with the bare minimum necessary. In their water bottles, they had stuffed all of their clothes (two bike shorts, long and short sleeve jerseys, bathing suit, rain jacket). Camelbaks for water. They each had an oversized saddle bag that held tools, spare tires, spare tubes, pumps, etc. They washed clothes every night and their only shoes were their biking shoes. In all, their clothes and gear came to only 10 pounds! Each one of their fully loaded carbon bikes and gear weighed less than my steel Jamis with no gear!

After chatting with these guys, picking and eating blackberries, and enjoying the sunshine, we continued on for our planned lunch rendezvous in Ophir. Unfortunately, due to a name change inspired by political correctness, the "Squaw Valley Road" indicated on our map was now "Valley Creek Road", causing us to miss the turn. It didn't really matter, we just stayed on Hwy 101 and pedalled straight through lunch to our destination for the day, Gold Beach.

Arrived at Clear Sky Lodging, a cluster of town homes, a pool room, a sauna, and a spa. We were pleased with the full kitchen, living room, and bedrooms set away from the rest of the house. We woofed down lunch (Thai leftovers), and Aimee also delighted in having organic skim milk available by eating Raisin Bran. We lounged about and napped, then headed for Cape Sebastian around 6 pm. The winds at the viewpoint almost blew us over. Headed to Ray's Marketplace and bought a $7 baked chicken, some bread, salad items, and fluorescent orange Easy Mac and Cheese (to Aimee's chagrin).

Ate a relaxing dinner back in our rental home and went to bed early.

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AUG 23

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 5

Day 5 Stats - August 23, 2006

  • Reedsport to Bandon
  • 54.12 miles, 2280 ft. elevation gain, 290.53 miles total (11,200 elev)
  • Ride time 4h 03m, trip time 5h 21m, start time 08:54am
  • Average speed 13.3 mph, max 30.9
  • Cities visited: Reedsport, Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston, Bandon
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Woke up to overcast skies after a good night's sleep. Ate delicious breakfast (pecan French toast and sausage) at the Rosewood B&B and then on the road just before 9am.

Ride today seemed very short, probably because we were whipping through the miles aided by a bit of a tailwind. Bike route took a 20 mile detour from Hwy 101, very hilly but fairly low traffic and some lovely views (marred somewhat by large clearcut areas). Sun came out just before noon and we got quite hot working the hills.

Ate lunch at 1:30 pm at a non-descript pull-out along the clearcuts. We sat cross-legged on the dirt and gravel next to a blackberry bush, but we didn't care. It felt good to sit down and bask in the sun.

45 minutes later, we'd made it to Bandon! The LaKris Inn ($71/night) is definitely a step up from the classic roadside motel. In addition to nicely tended gardens and benches outside, each room has a unique theme (our favorite was the safari theme).

Showered. Napped. Cruised the Internet. Watched Star Trek: Next Generation. Explored Bandon Dunes, the world-class golf course a few miles north on Highway 101. Felt good to be done early and to have some free time to relax.

Around 5:30pm, we explored Bandon's Old Town. Quite a nice place. The waterfront walkway has an enclosed sitting and eating area, with beautiful log carved benches and a giant table. We were all truly impressed with the waterfront. Bandon clearly is more affluent than many other coastal towns.

Dinner at Thai Talay. Quite a surprise finding a Thai restaurant at a small coastal town, but the food was outstanding. Had lots of leftovers. After dinner, watched the sunset a few minutes down the road. Enjoyed the evening light on the nearby rock formations and on the driftwood on the beach.

Very cold at the beach. Should have packed more warm clothes!

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 22

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 4

Day 4 Stats - August 22, 2006

  • Florence to Reedsport
  • 23.30 miles, 1099 ft. elevation gain, 236.41 miles total (9220 elev)
  • Ride time 1h 52m, trip time 2h 24m, start time 10:30am
  • Average speed 12.7 mph, max 29.4
  • Cities visited: Florence, Gardiner, Reedsport
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Leisurely start on this relatively short day. Slept in and then grabbed breakfast at the Beachcomber in Florence's Old Town. The Beachcomber is one step above a tavern, featuring locals drinking Hamm's at the bar at 9am on a Tuesday morning. The $3 stack of pancakes were delicious nonetheless.

Still overcast but warmer than previous days. Long sleeves and leg warmers again. Excellent road conditions today, ample shoulder and not too much climbing. Moderate traffic, but still too many RVs (a couple of RVs driven by incompetent old drivers narrowly missed us today... grrrr).

Met a disabled biker today (no legs) riding a recumbent bike that he pedals with his hands only. His range is about 30 miles a day before his arms give out. They started in Northern California, rode up to Seattle on inland roads, and are now heading back along the coast. Also met a nice couple from Seattle, also riding recumbents. Traded road stories for quite some time. We worry about the folks riding recumbents because they seem less safe than traditional bikes (specifically recumbents are wider, so sometimes they are riding outside of the bike lane and in the lane of car traffic!)... but maybe they think we're crazy for riding regular bikes :)

Arrived at our lodging for the night, the Rosewood Bed and Breakfast. Very nice house and proprietor (Dennis, a retired schoolteacher who has lived in Reedsport for 20 years), $75/night. Dropped off our bikes, took a brief rest, and then drove down to Winchester Bay for lunch.

Explored the beach and sand dunes for a couple of hours in the early afternoon. The sun was out and intense, but we couldn't bask in its glorious warmth because of extreme winds. Had a great time running around on the dunes and rolling around in the sand. Didn't spend too much time out there, though, since we didn't want to enervate our strength before tomorrow's riding.

Returned to the B&B and napped. Woke up and grabbed pizza at the restaurant down the street from the B&B. Aimee was disappointed that the cooks smothered the entire pizza in pepperoni, instead of just half of the pizza like requested. Came back and socialized with some of the other B&B guests and then turned in for the night.

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 21

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 3

Day 3 Stats - August 21, 2006

  • Lincoln City to Florence
  • 73.30 miles, 2979 ft. elevation gain, 213.11 miles total (8230 elev)
  • Ride time 5h 45m, trip time 8h 02m, start time 8:40am
  • Average speed 12.7 mph, max 29.7
  • Cities visited: Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats, Florence
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:1, Pam:0, Preston:1

Woke up 7:20am. Pretty good night's sleep. Ate free breakfast at hotel.

Overcast all day. Starting temperature around 55F, but didn't feel nearly as cold as yesterday's foggy start. Jackets and leg warmers all day. Ditched jackets around 3pm (temp had climbed to around 65F).

Pretty heavy morning rush hour traffic out of Lincoln City, not very fun. A flat tire for Aimee followed by a delay due to a traffic accident on Hwy 101 both conspired to give us a slow start for the day. By the time we stopped for a snack break at the Bob Jones bridge near Otter Rock, we'd only done 12 miles in 90 minutes.

Rode through the side streets of Newport and across the Newport bridge (perched precariously on the bridge's lilliputian shoulder). Nice views. Saw a sea lion swimming in the water.

Stopped for lunch at Ona Beach State Park, very pleasant. Picnic tables, serene river. Ate our Tillamook cheese curds and smoked cheddar cheese, salami, turkey, grapes, and potato chips freshly purchased by our trusty SAG driver. Only 30 miles done at this point, we all realized we had to pick up the pace considerably...

Rode on and on, into Yachats. Almost caught up with a pair of camping cyclists we'd met the day before at Pacific City in front of the surfer restaurant (we called them the Transgender Cyclists since we couldn't determine if one of them was a man or a woman). They were from San Francisco and had travelled by train to Vancouver, B.C., and were pedaling back to SF.

After Yachats, we entered some hills, and really started mowing down the miles because we realized we needed to if we were to arrive in Florence at a decent hour. Paused to snap some photos of sea lions frolicking in the waves. Survived our first (and hopefully only) tunnel experience just past Heceta Head by madly pedalling as fast as possible (we made it no problem).

Met two bikers (man and son) from Vancouver BC. The man had biked the entire Pacific Coast 20+ years ago and was now reliving part of the trip (Oregon coast only) with his youngest son.

Snapped some photos of the lovely sand dunes. Then slogged it out until we got to our hotel. Pretty decent shoulder. Stayed at River House Motel (looks kinda dumpy from the outside, but really nice on the inside - $86/room). Motel has great location walking distance from Florence's Old Town, the nicest town we've been in so far on this trip.

Strolled through Old Town. Dinner at the Firehouse Restaurant (angel hair pasta, tri tips, French dip, and lasagna). Heath bar Blizzard from DQ for dessert. Home to the hotel by 8:30. Ahhh... Felt good to chill out and watch TV.

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 20

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 2

Day 2 Stats - August 20, 2006

  • Tillamook to Lincoln City
  • 58.32 miles, 2979 ft. elevation gain, 139.81 miles total (5650 elev)
  • Ride time 4h 36m, trip time 7h 09m, start time 7:55am
  • Average speed 12.6 mph, max 33.9
  • Cities visited: Tillamook, Netarts, Pacific City, Lincoln City
  • Total flats to date: Aimee:0, Pam:0, Preston:1

Woke up 6:30am. Good night's sleep. Ate free breakfast at hotel.

On the road by 8:30am. Weather very cold (55 deg F) and foggy. Had to bundle up with arm/leg warmers, jackets, etc. Pretty low traffic on roads. Arrived in Netarts and saw the exact place that Eric and I dipped our wheels into the ocean to kick off our 2003 bike trip. Saw about 100 seals sleeping on the beach, as well as some herons.

Nice bike lane for the first major climb of the day, just south of Netarts. Very serene and peaceful, heavily forested (and damp!).

Saw dune buggies tearing it up on the mini-sand dunes north of Sandlake then spun our way to Pacific City where we ate lunch at a restaurant on the beach while watching surfers, kite flyers, and people climbing the giant sand dune north of the beach.

Progress was a little slower after lunch due to a full belly of food. Traffic picked up quite a bit as well, although generally an ample shoulder.

Best part of the day for me was the 10-mile side loop on Old Highway 101. Almost zero traffic, the sun had come out, beautiful views.

Unfortunately, the worst part of the day was the next (and final) hour biking from Otis through Lincoln City. Tons of cars (probably Sunday night rush hour, folks heading home from the beach), semi-decent shoulders but lots of debris. Lincoln City sucks for bikers, no bike lane and 5+ miles of strip malls.

Made it to our hotel (Looking Glass Inn), overlooking the water and an island full of harbor seals. Great hotel, full suite with two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, etc. $136.

Rested up, read, did some Internet and bike repairs in the afternoon, then ate dinner at Mo's Restaurant across the parking lot. Went to bed around 10pm after a little talking back at the hotel.

Ran into about 10 fellow Pacific Coast cyclists today, including a few poor souls going northbound. The northbound route always has worse shoulders (often none!) than the southbound route, and the winds usually blow from the north.

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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AUG 19

Portland to San Francisco Bike Trip - Day 1

Day 1 Stats - August 19, 2006

  • Portland to Tillamook
  • 81.49 miles, 2818 ft. elevation gain
  • Ride time 5h 59m, trip time 8h 04m, start time 7:30am
  • Average speed 13.5 mph, max 33.4
  • Cities visited: Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, North Plains, Banks, Tillamook

Woke up 6am after a restless sleep (nervous and stressed out about the start of the trip). Ate a quick breakfast and loaded up the car, on the road by 7:30am. Luggage, food, and bike stuff for all of us took up a ton of room, wouldn't have been possible with out the Thule roof box (thanks Rich!).

Tried a new route, which I have christened the New Westside Passage, to get from our condo to Hillsboro: Basically, we headed up to Council Crest, then took Hewitt Road, which connects with some newly constructed bike paths. Once we got to Hillsboro, we joined in on the Maggie's Bun route until Highway 6, which we took all the way to Tillamook. Hwy 6 was extremely busy (sometimes up to 1 car a second passed us), but 99% of it has generous 4-6 foot shoulder/bike lane, so except for the noise, it was pretty nice.

Weather was mostly perfect: 65 degrees when we woke up, sunny, breezy and pleasant until about lunch time, when it was starting to get pretty hot (probably 90 degrees) -- this unfortunately coincided with our major climb of the day over the coastal range (elevation ~1500 feet), so we were pretty hot. Luckily, once we dropped down the other side, the breeze blowing in from the ocean kept us nice and cool.

Didn't realize until the early afternoon that this is the same weekend that Ericand I (plus Aimee the first day) started our bike trip across America in 2003 (we rode the other direction on August 17, 2003, from Tillamook to Portland). Riding the same road brought back fond memories of that trip.

Riding with my dad as support-and-gear (SAG) driver is a real luxury compared to my last bike trip.

Arrived in Tillamook around 3:30pm. Stayed in Western Royal Inn ($90/night for dual room suite). Nice enough place, remodelled in 2004.

Ate dinner at Lin's Chinese Restaurant, great food, ample quantities, total $33 for four people. Treated myself to a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard for dessert. Walked back to the hotel and lights off, in bed by 9pm!

Bike issues: Preston: Tire nicked, blew a tube (in hotel room, after ride finished!), replaced with backup wheel

Body issues: Preston: Neck a little sore

tags: pdx-sf-bike-trip
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