I had beat the rain yesterday on the ride to Phillipsville. While the room had a coffee maker, it didn’t have a microwave. I had hot coffee, a banana, and a cold breakfast sausage sandwich to start my day. Second breakfast was going to be in my future. It had rained overnight and the roads were still wet when I took off about 7:30 AM. There was a 30% chance of rain later in the day, along my route, around 1 PM. I had 3 miles left on the Avenue Of The Giants before I hopped on my good friend, US 101. There was going to be over 4,000 feet of climbing today and it started on the freeway.
I was probably 8 miles down the road when some light rain started to fall. I was prepared for rain and put on my lighter rain jacket. The rain got heavier, so I pulled over again to put on my heavier rain jacket. The rain kept getting worse and I took shelter under an overpass. I still had cell service, so I checked the radar. It appeared that the heavy rain might break, so I decided to wait it out for 10 minutes. The mental jukebox had tuned to REO’s ” Riding The Storm Out” as the rain did lighten up. Within minutes after heading out, the rain had stopped and the sun was even breaking through. There was fog in the mountains and steam was coming off the road. The suggested route had me jumping off of 101 for five miles on a road that paralleled 101. Based on yesterday’s experience, I was leary of leaving 101. Around 18 miles in I came to a gas station/convenience store. I bought a breakfast similar to my first, but the sandwich was hot this time. The lady at the counter told me I should take the side road because it would bypass a big climb. I took that advice. Things were going well and I had just crossed under 101 on this side road when I came to signs indicating a road closure. I had to make a decision to try and get back on 101 or take a chance that Hidalgo could cross where cars could not. I went forward.
Sure enough, a mile down the road, just as the signs had indicated, I found the construction crew. There were barriers, but there was enough room for a bike to pass. I yelled out, “Is this road closed to everybody or just the general public? ” (a line from the first Rocky movie) They laughed and let me through. As I was pulling away, I could here the foreman scold them that they shouldn’t let people pass without his approval.
This side road took me back onto 101. I was told yesterday that my last chance to get supplies or something to eat was going to be just before Leggett, where US 101 splits a little east and CA 1 begins toward the coast. It was getting close to noon, and I was getting close to that split. I saw a trucker was walking across the road back to his big rig, parked on the shoulder. He was carrying a takeout basket with some kind of sandwich. He said they were the best burgers around and I ought to stop. So I did. After 31 miles and 1600 feet of climbing I needed the break.
Another 2 miles down the road, I met my new friend, CA 1, which eventually becomes the Shoreline Highway. During lunch, I had checked the map and saw a lot of climbing ahead for the next 7 miles. Then it would start to go downhill. The grades were steep enough that at points, I could only do 3 or 4 mph. For a while, I would take a break after about a half mile interval. Basically, I was “sprinting” for 8-10 minutes at a time, resting for one, then repeating for 2 miles. Finally, the grade decreased to where I could go a mile without a break. Eventually, I hit the crest and started an equally difficult downhill stretch of miles. The roads were still very wet, there were many switchbacks and I was pumping the breaks constantly. When Hidalgo is loaded with the weight of a second bike, I get nervous doing much more than 30 mph. On curvy roads, I want to to stay way under 25. The shoulder was, at times non existent and the ground sometimes dropped steeply from the road. Fortunately, traffic was extremely light and the cars were careful. Regardless, the downhills were stressful.
I had less than 10 miles from the hotel when it started to lightly rain. On came the light jacket. The rain got heavier. On came the heavier jacket. I was getting pretty wet, the roads were curvy, narrow and going up and down at steep grades. I sought shelter under some trees and tried to check the radar to see if I should ride on or wait. With the rain, the heavy clouds, and tree cover, I barely had a signal on my phone. My weather app wouldn’t work. I called Becky. She once again saved me with a view of the radar. She said it should be passing soon. Sure enough, in a few minutes, it had lightened up and I climbed my way to the coast.
As I crested a hill, I could see rocky cliffs and the roar of the ocean. There were people parked at a viewpoint taking pictures. I asked a pair of sisters to take my picture with the ocean in the background. We had a nice conversation about my ride and their trip down the coast from the north.
I caught a little more light rain on the final 4 miles to the hotel. Jean, the owner/proprietor welcomed me as her 2 golden retrievers announced my arrival. As we talked, I told her about my ride and she told me she had been a Big Sister in years past! She let me use her garage to clean up Hidalgo, since that’s where he would spend the night. I even got to use a good pump with a pressure gauge to fill Hidalgo’s tires properly!
Dinner was a freshly made burger from a nearby market. I got a beer and a few snacks for tomorrow as well. I made the short walk back to the hotel and joined some of the other guests at picnic tables that overlooked the ocean. We had a good time trading stories. As the sun set, we called it a night. It was a great evening at the Westport Inn.
The link for the ride summary might show the biggest amount of climbing yet. If not in total, at least in average per mile! There should not be rain tomorrow. I have enjoyed the company of the people I’ve met along the way, but I still like to ride alone.
The Lone Rider