It was cool, sunny and pretty clear when we left Garbersville this morning. We got an early start because we knew would have climbs reaching a thousand feet.
We could have stayed on 101 until we made our turn to the ocean on CA-1. Instead, we took a couple of detours. One led us through Richardson Grove State Park. The traffic was light and when stopped at a gas station we came across a few attractions – The Grandfather Tree and the One Log House. According to the sign, the tree is 1,800 years old, with a diameter of 24 feet, and 265 feet high.
We continued on CA 271 through Piercy and eventually returned to our friend, Highway 101. The roads had been following the meandering path of the Eel River.
By the time we had reached our ice cream stop south of Leggett, we had climbed at least 1700 feet in 22 miles. We needed to rest and refuel for our turn to the ocean and some even longer climbs.
We said goodbye to our longtime traveling partner, Highway 101 and turned onto CA 1. When it reaches the ocean, it is known as Shoreline Drive and the Pacific Coast Highway. Until then, we had a winding, twisting climb of 1000 feet in less than 5 miles. At times, the shoulders were narrow and had steep drops without guard rails. This was probably the hardest climb of the ride so far.
When the road finally leveled out, we now had a steep descent that lasted nearly 11 miles. The road was still very curvy. We had to keep our hands near the brakes the whole way. You could easily get over 30 mph, then hit a sharp turn. Though the traffic was very light, it was tough to share the road. All the way down I kept wishing the downhill would end. I knew we had another climb coming. You never want to give up elevation you worked so hard to earn. At the bottom of our drop, we had to claw up another 500 feet in less than 2 miles! To get a better sense of our struggle, take a look at the analysis section on Strava here.
Soon after that final climb, we were rewarded with beautiful views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean. Now we were only 6 miles from our lodgings in Westport, CA.
We got in before 4 PM, changed shoes and walked to a nearby grocery/deli. We would shower, get dinner and breakfast supplies later. Ron bought beer and I bought the cheese and crackers. We enjoyed them at a picnic table outside our room listening to the crashing waves.
When the new owner of the hotel was walking through, I talked about the previous owners and how I had enjoyed my stay 2 years ago. The house keeper came walking by and went into an area I remembered as the hotel laundry room. Then, I politely asked the owner if we could do one load of our laundry. With a little hesitation, she agreed. It wasn’t the highlight of our day, but it came close!
The Not So Lone Rider