Day 12 - Point Arena to Bodega Bay

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April 26, 2002 ( ~ 68 miles)

We departed pretty early from our Point Arena motel after enjoying the complementary tea. One of the reasons that the Pacific Coast route is so popular for cyclists is that there is an almost constant tailwind (if you're heading south). This was very much in effect that morning. We sailed to Gualala so fast.

We stopped for brunch in Gualala at the Lala Café. We had sandwiches and then the biggest piece of apple pie ever. We must have eaten some other stuff too cause the workers there asked us how many miles we were planning to ride that we would be able to burn off all that food. It was really good. I guess I haven't mentioned this yet, but when you ride your bike all day, you not only need to eat a lot, but all food is several times tastier then it normally would be, unless you're in Upper Lake.

As we were leaving Gualala, we encountered the first bicycle tourist of our whole trip. Adam was having a candy bar at the grocery store, waiting for his cohort Allison. They had an arrangement where, because he liked to go much faster then her, he would ride ahead and wait for her in designated towns. I have to say I would be totally pissed if Ryan tried to do that. Not that he is faster anyway. But it seemed to work for them. We were heading for the same campground, so I hoped we would see them at the end of the day.

We passed another bunch of cows that really wanted to follow us. This further supports my theory that this is some kind of regular ranching practice and that these cows are lonely adolescents.

We really enjoyed the tailwind. We covered a lot of ground in the morning. Mostly we were going through wooded areas right on the coast. Then we got to this part of the highway that was called "shoreline highway" or something like that. I wondered why they bothered to give this part of the 1 a separate name when the 1 already has a few different names. But this part was really different. The road there was just barely tacked on to the side of treeless coastal hills. We were really high above the ocean and the drops were almost straight down. It wasn't too scary because there still wasn't much traffic. We encountered all kinds of road construction though. It seemed like a particularly harsh job for the construction crews to be trying to cut road into almost vertical hills with the wind battering them all day. We had to wait a couple of times because of more single-lane-only action.

At Jenner, which is where the Russian River empties into the ocean, we stopped to have some of our new favorite snack: carrots dipped in peanut butter. It's kind of like celery and peanut butter, but carrots keep longer in warm panniers [and celery is gross]. We talked to this other cyclist from Occidental who was "just out for a little 100 mile training ride." He was really nice and we talked gear and touring for a long time. Around then the wind was becoming kind of violent. I asked him if this was going to continue all night. He thought so.

It was only 10 or 15 miles to Bodega Bay, and in that time the wind picked up so much. It was blowing us over into the middle of the road. As we approached the sandy beaches near our campground (Bodega Dunes), the wind kicked up the sand and blew it against my face. It hurt. I was worried that our tent would be blown around too much and collapse on us as we slept. But the hiker-biker site was sheltered enough.

We picked a place to put up the tent and Ryan went off to pay or something. He was grumpy for some reason [I wanted waffles]. When he came back he was all outraged and said, "I thought we agreed to put the tent over there!" I turned around and the tent had flown 20 feet and was resting against a bush. Ryan really thought I was overriding his decision, he was so grumpy. Like I would pitch the tent in a bush Ryan!

So Ryan clearly needed to get some food soon [waffles]. We left our stuff and rode our bikes to Bodega Bay. We got mixed up and we rode to the dock part of the bay, totally missing all the food possibilities. This wouldn't have been a big deal except that Ryan was bonking and the wind was SO harsh, it took forever to get anywhere. One reason I was excited to visit Bodega Bay is because I was recently able to sit through all of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. The birds where not menacing that day. There were a lot of them, but they were just crouched down in the water, trying to avoid the wind.

Finally we found an expensive restaurant and Ryan was so glassy-eyed that I made us eat there [I really just wanted some waffles]. It was very good. For dessert I had more apple pie and Ryan had New York Cheesecake drizzled with raspberry sauce.

When we got back to our campsite Adam and Allison had arrived. They got totally worked by the wind cause they were out in it for a couple hours more then us, plus they had come from a farther place. They got so tired of it that they tried to hitchhike for a while, but no one with a vehicle big enough for their stuff would pick them up. They seemed fine though, and launched into this elaborate meal preparation that made me realize that we have a long way to go before attaining camping championship. Like first we would have to stop staying at motels and eating decadent meals out.