Courtney Lewis
Pacific Coast
Crescent City, CA to Gualala, CA It feels incredible to have only your own body to thank after a day of riding—flip that around and it can feel pretty rough. I left my hosts in Crescent City early on the 28th feeling wonderful and refreshed, but by the next afternoon my knee could barely bend and had started to swell. I made the unfortunate decision to push through the pain and turned away from Arcata onto the Lost Coast Alternate the next morning. My knee has been a huge setback this week, and it's reminded me how wonderful strangers can be while simultaneously testing my patience.

The Lost Coast Alternate Route on the ACA Pacific Coast Tour is absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend it enough for those of you touring the west coast. The tour starts through an adorable and small western town: you pass by an iron frame pointing you toward the upcoming towns on the route, (one of which consists of two houses and tree with the town name nailed to it), and then it's straight up a ~2000 foot climb. I barely made this first climb, strapped Giselle into her case, and all but fell down the descent. It takes you through gorgeous farming country and rolling mountains and hills, wrapping around past the coast in black sand beaches pebbled with enormous rock structures.

By the second, smaller climb I had to stop. I was awkwardly lifting my hip to make it through a rotation, and my knee was started to look downright distorted. I love the self-sufficient endurance of a bike tour, and I didn't want to throw in the towel and ask for help. I passed by a woman stopped on the edge of a cliff having lunch in her car, and we chatted about the roads. I attempted to be casual as I mentioned my knee—she was kind enough to offer me a lift. The two of us camped out past Petrolia next to a gorgeous swimming hole halfway through the route where we met back up with the two brothers I had camped with the previous nights. The Milky Way stretched across our campsite at night and I iced my knee with veggie burgers from the only store on the road. Summer drove me over the next 2300 foot mountain and off the Lost Coast the next morning.

The days since have consisted of many snacks and very short rides. I've stayed with two random folks who offered me a place to stay, including one guest house with a full-sized basketball court built into the room. My last campsite had ten touring cyclists at the same hiker biker spot. When I ride I stop every hour or two to buy a cold drink or treat and rest it on my knee, and I've taken in a lot more small towns in northern California than I did in Oregon or Washington. I've found three spots with non-dairy ice cream (a personal win) and upped my frozen-veggie intake considerably. I'm thinking I'll hit San Francisco within the next week, but with how well things have been going so far I'm not concerned one way or the other.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Courtney Lewis

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Favorite Blackburn Gear -

- BLACKBURN GEAR -

- Camping Gear -

- Riding Gear and Equipment -

- Clothing-2 stuff sacks labeled “pretty clean” and “dirty” -

- Giselle (my dog's) Gear List -

- Backpacking -

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Courtney Lewis
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? I’ve had the fortune of seeing a lot of the world, and it’s taken me time to recognize that there is so much amazing adventure within close reach here in the US. Travelling from one end of the country to the next will give me an incredible lens into the landscape of my home, and I am excited of the people and natural beauty that I will meet along the way. I’ve followed the Blackburn Ranger program for the last few years, and the variety of their backgrounds and approaches were immediate inspiration for me to tackle the same path in my own way.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? The last time I traveled by bike was a few years ago, but I can always be found around one of my bikes, commuting or exploring on day trips. When I travel, I make sure to rent a bike or bring one with me: there’s no better way to see a place than to get around by bicycle.
  • What is your goal for the route? I plan to camp along the entire route, and share all of the natural beauty and cultural quirks along the way. I also plan to hike a number of summits with my bike and friends, and find beautiful views that can only be found far away from cities.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I'm excited to shake up my routine, and the routines of my friends (and friends-to-be!) along the way. I want to push my limits to get the most out of the time I have, and to learn more about myself.

- Pacific Coast Milestones -