Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gnarly, Man, Gnarly!

Day 12 - Fort Ross, California to San Rafael, California

When we told our waitress at the McCallum House Inn in Medocino that we were headed south on Route 1 from there, her only comment was "Gnarly" so we had to look it up to see exactly what she might have been trying to tell us:


Adjective with four meanings:

Very good, excellent; "cool"
Gross, disgusting
Painful or dangerous
Twisted,  bumpy

Our adventure included all of the above!

Our view this morning at Fort Ross Lodge

Glenn and Jim are thrilled that this is day 12,
the last LONG day of pedaling!

This cow actually posed for this photo! 
We were constantly amazed at finding ranches and
livestock on cliffs overlooking the Pacific.
Prime real estate for those guys!

      Fort Ross is a historic Russian Era fort compound that has National Historic Landmark status.

Circa 1812-1842

The 3,400 acre park offers pristine natural landscapes as well as historic structures and exhibits that bring to life the former Imperial Russian settlement, early California Ranch era, and Kashaya territory.

A series of "Drive By Shootings" from the Passenger Seat
Perched at the Edge of Cliffs!

The fog lingered for hours this morning

Eerie shot of Glenn at the mountain's edge....fog hampering the view


The Penultimate Day of the Ride

Today was great.  I could not have imagined that this many days into this venture, that I would have enjoyed it as much since the trip has been very demanding physically.  I realize that the riders in the Tour De France go twice as far in one more week then we did, but they are much younger, too, and it is their full time job.  

We started with what has become a climb to get the juices flowing.  It was rather foggy to boot.  The support team came back to let us know what the conditions were like.  As they were there I felt I could ride ahead.  I thought that Jim might take the opportunity to be brought to some place flat.  But he would have none of that and he mastered another climb and descent.  There were points where the drop offs on the side of the road were sheer.  I would look down and thought that the middle of the road seemed much safer than the edge.  I suppose some might view that to be a disadvantage of going from north to south, but I enjoyed having the ocean in sight. 

Once we descended it was a fairly easy ride into Bodega Bay.  We knew the girls were there trying to finish yesterday's blog.  I noticed that Tippi Hedren is to be there this weekend.  Some of THE BIRDS was shot there.  Guess we will miss getting her autograph.

After Jim and I left, he gave me permission to go at my own pace since I had more miles to do.  The road really shrank once we made a turn.  I have been on country roads that are larger than Route 1 was at that point.  There were more climbs and some headwinds as we got to the Tomales Bay.  The ride along the shoreline was very pretty and, for the most part, the road was flat to rolling terrain.  When the SAG vehicle caught up with me, I surrendered my back pack.  Unfortunately, that also meant that I accidentally, gave up my map, too.  I have grown to distrust my bike computer directions so I was a bit concerned about how I was going to get to the hotel, especially when it led me to a very steep climb over a mountain in the last few miles.  Living on the top of Mt. Wilkinson adequately prepared me for it though. The ride was truly enjoyable today.

The day was not yet complete.  We had planned to go to San Rafael so that we could visit Lotte Cossman.  My father referred to her as his lady friend.  She made the remainder of his life after my mother died so meaningful and enriched.  She moved here over a year ago and lives close to one of her daughters.  This was the first opportunity Lynn and I had to meet Susan and her husband, Dana.  The time we spent helped to cap off a perfect day.  The Golden Gate and San Francisco are just a short ride away.

Jim, heading into the fog

Gems from Jim

There has been a bit of Zen in this journey.  How one looks at things.  I have turned into a gadget-guy over the years.  Brand names and how much something costs have influenced worth.  It is why I don't understand bicycles.  There are so many difference brands and price points.  How could I ever choose?  Is my Trek 1.5 worthy of a this trip?  Shouldn't it be all carbon?  After all, it's shifters are entry level, will I look like a beginner?  

Back in Coos Bay, one of my front sprockets bent.  Badly.  What the heck is wrong with this bike?  I hobbled to a blessedly nearby bike shop.  Bike's fine, let me hammer that sprocket back into place.  Lord, no, let me buy a new one. Why, I'll just hammer it flat again?  Don't worry, it'll be as good as new.  And it was. For days.  At the end of yesterday's leg, she bent again.  Unridable.  This time, I borrowed a hammer.  It was a good ride today.  Reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence, when Phaedrus fixes John's handlebars with a beer can instead of an expensive brand name shim.  Banging that sprocket flat was one of my Zen moments.  And by the way, the bike has been every bit worthy.  It was I that could have used more training, truth be told, would have kept up with Glenn better and probably wouldn't have bent that sprocket twice.

I've also learned to stop focussing on the future and pay more attention to my surroundings.  No GPS or map was really accurate enough about what lie ahead; certainly they were no predictor of how I'd feel or perform when I got there.  The smallest hills often stumped me more than the mountains, and it took two weeks to realize that setting a goal of 50 miles was preventing me from doing 70.  Sometimes Glenn would point out magnificent landmarks I'd missed because all I saw was the road under my front tire.  Worrying about the future while looking too closely at the immediate is not a good combination.  Look around.  Smell the eucalyptus.  Glimpse a seal sunning on a rock.  Today I picked up an acorn unlike any I've ever seen.  I don't know what it is, but I stashed it in my pocket. 

Another day along a "gnarly" coastline!

Switchbacks through the mountains provided some excitement today

And more beach views...We never tire if these.
Hope you aren't bored with them!

Interesting architecture - stands out in this rustic area.

Surfers!   Not much surf here but they were trying!

The Tides Wharf was our refuge for two hours today.
We had our first taste of WiFi and CA Chowder!

 Except for a short sequence at the beginning filmed in San Francisco, most of the movie, The Birds, exterior scenes were filmed around the two towns of Bodega (a small inland village) and Bodega Bay (a larger village on the bay). Alfred Hitchcock chose Bodega Bay, with surrounding bleak treeless hills, quiet fishing harbors and fog.  Not hard for us to see how Hitchcock chose this area!

A visit by Glenn ( and Jim) as we enjoyed our stop at
Bodega Bay

Laurie happened to notice this Harbor Seal at The Tides

At times, we felt like we were in the Wild West, passing ranches
housing cattle and horses.  We reached a small town that could have
been in any movie western.  I didn't snap a photo, but in the block before
this hotel, there was a Saloon :)

We have been trying to think of words to describe the scenery of the last two days.
Remote, isolated, dismal, shades of gray and brown, foggy, rustic, treacherous
all have come to mind but as soon as we see the ocean, we know why
we have taken this journey!

Tomale Bay....Oyster farming is a major industry on the bay.

More Drive By Shooting!

Meeting up with Glenn to make sure he is hydrated
before we take off for San Rafael.
He was on his own from this point on!

The ocean and the cliffs are behind us and we head inland to San Rafael

 Entering the hills of Marin County

A very bike friendly area!

Designated Bike Lane!

Jim is happy to be at the hotel!   A king sized bed tonight!

Lynn and Glenn with Lotte, a family friend.
Couldn't be in San Francisco and not visit her!

Today's Stats:

Jim pedaled 42 miles today on this terrain that resembles an abnormal heart rhthym!
Glenn clocked 80.4 miles in a riding time of 6 hours and 17 minutes. He left Fort Ross at 8:15 this Am and arrived at the hotel in San Rafael at 4 PM.....Long day.
He expended 4605 calories and climbed 5438 feet in the last long day of the ride.
Tomorrow is a short but monumentous journey into San Francisco over the
Golden Gate Bridge!

The pink flowers that I asked about are in the Amaryllis family.
The are called Pink Ladies or Naked Ladies.

Also, no one made a guess about the miles traveled so we will
repeat that Trivia question tomorrow night when the ride has been completed :)

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