Although very scenic at times and chalked full of other cool adventure cyclists touring the coast, it has been the hardest stretch since the Dalton Highway simply in part by the amount of ice cold constant rain we had the entire way. It is currently even pelting the windows as we sit inside our friend Kari and Jeremy's place in Mendocino, while warm and dry inside and dreading the time we need to saddle up and ride on out of here again in it.
Upon heading up the steep hill leaving George and Karen's place in Depot Bay (very sweet and generous Warmshowers hosts), Ville jammed his chain between his frame and cassette. While standing a while in the pouring rain trying everything to yank it free, George and Karen rescued us and took us to the local bike shop to break it free. Thanks you both, you are truly what helps us to keep going in this complete depressing torrential downpour! Back on the road, we headed to a yurt we rented with another cyclist, Joseph, and our buddy Mark (who made it all the way over from Bend to hang with us for a few days). The next couple days we were pampered by Mark shuttling our panniers while we rode 30 mile stretches per day and then splurged on cheap motel rooms to get out of the pouring rain at night. We drove out to the dunes with Mark and explored some of the coastal areas, even took in some dancing lessons at Jitterbug and Java in Reedsport. It was a tearful goodbye when Mark left us to continue our trek south, Mark thanks so much for making it out to see us and share in some good belly laughs! We miss you :)
There was a whopping 16,000 ft of elevation gain on the Oregon coast, and a handful of very scenic days where for moments the sun peeked out and the views that stretched before us of jagged cliffs plunging down into the angry ocean were magical. Thanks so much also to Alden and the crew of cyclists who took us in when we were soaked through in Port Orford, having even a dry garage floor to sleep on was 5-star luxury. Because of the horrible weather, poor Alden had 11 dripping wet cyclists in his little trailer to try and put up with (everyone came together and made a big feast and spirits were high inside while a thunderstorm raged outside). South of there was a fantastic scenic stretch and into California we rode and pushed 85 miles to get to Crescent City where another Warmshowers church hosted over 20 cyclists trying to get out of the storm. Thanks St. Paul's Church for helping us again when we needed it most! What a great stop.
Almost at the border, the winding 2 lane scenic road became a multiple lane freeway with cars flying by at minimum 65 miles and hour and throwing spray in your face. It was pretty brutal. We caught up to two Canadian girls, Alex and Marie-Eve, whom we met earlier on and are on their way to San Diego. We camped together at Patricks Point where we woke up to a pond at the bottom of our tent. Luckily we were able to make it to Arcata by lunch and stretch all our crap, even tent, out across a bunch of shopping carts under their front entryway (the security guard kept eyeballing us, but never quite kicked us out) and dry them enough to keep going. We pushed on to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and camped out under the giant trees. If you haven't made a trip through the Avenue of the Giants, it is a serious MUST! A little over 30 miles of the old 101 Highway meandering through the largest towering redwood trees that brings with it a calming stillness to your heart and a feeling of what living in the time of dinosaurs must have felt like.
Heading out of the Redwoods, back on the 101 Freeway, the skies that had held off raining for us to enjoy the forest, opened up and down-poured on us for the next 30 miles to Leggett. From there Highway 1 begins and took us climbing up into the rainy skies where we pitched a tent and tarp we picked up in Arcata to try and help keep us dry, off in the trees. The morning was still a downpour and knowing we would finish our day at Kari and Jeremy's place in Mendocino was our inspiration to get packed up and push on. Down the steep hills we flew being pelted in the face by rain and once we hit the coast, we could barely make out the waves it was so dreary. At our lunch break in Fort Bragg, the sun finally broke through and I was nearly in tears I was so happy to finally see some sun and dry out. After pounding burgers and milkshakes, we jumped back on our steeds and coasted the last 15ish miles to Mendocino. And boy how happy we were to get to their warm and dry beautiful house on the cliffs overlooking the ocean!!
The last couple days have been spent walking around the streets and down by the beach in the rain, but so happy knowing we could make it back to the house for hot showers and a dry warm place to sleep. Kari and Jeremy, thank you SO much for saving us from the rain and spoiling us rotten. You both are awesome and need to come visit us for some good times of travel :) Heading out into the rain to the Halloween Street Fair here in Mendocino and will hit the road again heading south tomorrow. Next stop, San Francisco in about 3 days ride. Happy Halloween everyone!!
K.G. & Ville
Made it to Santiago, Panama. We are back baby!
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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