This morning dawned drizzly and gray and the coast was again streaming with fog. It was going to be another moderate day mileage wise and I was determined to relish the NoCal coast. So I took my time through the rolling hills that dominated this day of riding. There were several points where a deep canyon would cut into the bluff and the road would descend into it, take a small (shoulderless natch) bridge across it and then climb the other side. The fog wasn’t all encompassing this morning so when viewpoints opened up I could see headlands extending into the gray ocean with rocks cutting through the fog.
The road turned inland just a bit and it was brown scrub land on the bluffs and farmland on the eastern side of the road. The road still rolled up and down but was pretty gentle for a period, though it would descend and climb out of these river valleys and after a bit not to many miles returned to the coast. There was very few communities for the first twenty-five miles or so, just farms, houses and the bluffs. At a place called Irish Beach the road dived into a particularly deep canyon and twisty climb out featured (according to the K&S) the steepest grade on the whole route. It was indeed steep but thankfully not too long.
Not too far past that climb was the campground originally billed for tonight but as I was now riding somewhat off the daily routes I pressed on. Reaching Point Arena there was a little cafe and it was almost lunchtime so I decided to take a side trip out to the Point Arena Lighthouse which was down a two mile road. It turned out that you had to pay US$7.50 to get onto the grounds of the lighthouse, so I chose to photograph it from afar. Riding back I had a nice tailwind pushing me back to the Rollerville cafe which bills itself as the “last cafe ’til Hawaii”. I had a grilled cheese, fries and the big winner: an espresso milkshake.
The sun had burned most of the fog away by this time and the riding was really pleasant right along the headlands. There were short rolling hills that you could almost always get enough momentum to crest from the downhill before it. At the top of one of these hills was the tiny town of Anchor Bay where I unexpectedly encountered the beerhounds and less unexpectedly C&C in front of a grocery store. There was a laundromat here so C&C and I did laundry as the beerhounds, hoping to put in a good few more miles headed out. After laundry it was only 5 miles or so to the small town of Gualala where C&C and I stopped to get supplies. We ran into C__ there who would also join us at the Gualala camp.
Leaving Gualala it was just about a mile before we crossed the Sonoma County line. The campground was only a half mile past that. Descending into a valley we arrived at Gualala Point Regional Park just a bit before 5:30. I set up and ate dinner during which C__ arrived. We all chatted until dark, mostly about San Francisco as we are only a couple of days away now and three of us are ending our tours there. Just before dark a bearded fellow shows up on a recumbent and sets up for the night. He turns out to be a a kind of perpetual tourist, working odd jobs and ridding on. An odd duck, sort of a quintessential hippie Californian.
Miles ridden today: 53.6
Miles ridden to date: 1024.86
A few pictures from this day can be found here