Segment 7- Garberville to Tomales
The patchy population in northern California culminates in Garberville, where a town built around some form of agriculture, emits equal parts tranquility and fervor. I stopped into the local natural foods store and shopped amongst the town’s spectrum of folks, ranging from sage white haired hippies to tank top wearing, dirt under their fingernail youth...all looking for that little expensive foodie treat. I certainly didn't seem out of the ordinary. Ascending out of town, the eminent climb of the Pacific Coast route began as Legget Hill stood invisible and domineering in the foreground. I shifted into my easiest gear, settled in, and started my climbing cadence--letting my mind wander. As I climbed, the air temperature steadily approached 100 degrees. Fortunately I knew it wouldn't last, hot days like this inland almost guarantee a foggy, contrasting cool coast. It was here I started thinking about our Great Divide compadres, they wouldn't have this kind of coastal marine influence reprieve. When it's hot, it's hot. Like clockwork, I ascended the twisty east side of the coast range towards the coast. The creeping fingers of coast fog were only preceded by a precipitous drop in temperature. Each bend continued to climb and after a while I forgot all about Legget hill, I just found myself in a rhythm and ascended in the clouds.
A chilling descent shot me out to the coast and suddenly the waves and bluffs extended as far as the eye could see. Only a bit further south lie North Coast Brewing Co.--which stands out among the rest any old day but when you've been biking for weeks...this place is an oasis. I made small talk with the bartender and a couple of the folks at the corner end of the bar, bashfully telling the tale of riding my bike for several weeks and attempting to reach Mexico. As we drank reserves, one of the bigger bellied, redder nosed regulars shared with us he relocated to Fort Bragg from Santa Cruz, trying to find the old quiet coast he had experienced in the early 70s down in Santa Cruz. There is certainly a distinct and quieter vibe to this section of coast than even the slow coast of Santa Cruz and areas surrounding.
Despite the oft sensationalized Legget Hill, the much less talked about part of the route is the day after biking from Fort Bragg towards Bodega Bay and Tomales. Over a day of riding cliffs, creeks, lagoons, and eroding coastline you end up doing as much climbing going up and down constantly as you do going up Legget ~3000 ft. of climbing. Nothing short of spectacular awe-inspiring views one after another greeted me along this stretch. I suppose in many ways I had so many dips that every rise and ascent to a new vista felt like another accomplishment and pay off with a hair raising chest roaring celebration (or some variation of that). South of Mendocino, excepting Bodega Bay, the population is fairly sparse and spread out along this section of coast. Sweeping views, old military forts, and a huge collective of dairy farms make up this mosaic of coastline. Bodega Dunes State Park for the second consecutive year provided a thorough soaking, and created a little lake out of our campsite. A drippy, foggy morning made the passing into Tomales grey and created a mystical veil over the largely agricultural region. From there, the idyllic setting of Marin with happy healthy people everywhere makes a smooth path all the way to San Francisco.
- Pacific Coast Milestones -
- FROM: Bonny Doon, CA
- DOB: 1999-11-30
- OCCUPATION: Adventurers
Genesis Moment and Inspiration for your Trip?
We have biked the entire Pacific Coast already, and it may seem odd that we are doing it again. Along the last journey we met a screen printer and fellow bike tourist named Justin who had ridden the Pacific Coast route over five times. When we first heard this we thought he was crazy – there is so much out there to explore! But he went on to explain, and ultimately convince us – that not only is the ride experience different every time due to weather, new companions, older selves, etc; but traveling known roads you can come back to the places that really impacted you, and try the alternate routes you had to pass over last time. The ride just gets better and better because your relationship to the trail is what frees you to explore more deeply. When you know that there is a taqueria and clean water only ten miles away you are more likely to actually stop and jump in the roadside lake that otherwise remains unexplored….
Have you Traveled by bike in the past?
Matt and I live in a Tiny Home deep in the mountains above the town where we work and our daily commute requires a year round touring set up. At every moment we have to have everything we need for the day – heavy bags full of produce, a down jacket, bike shoes and sandals, water for the day and a lunch, the list goes on. We have a daily relationship with loaded bike travel!
Matt has been bike touring since he was 17, and set off on a very aggressive pedal across the country on ACA’s Sierra Cascade Route and Northern Tier Route attempting 5,000 miles in two months. After making it all the way to the ACA headquarters in Missoula, Montana and earning his ice cream he was hit by an SUV just east of Missoula and heli-evacuated to the nearest hospital. That accident, which snapped his leg in half and exploded his bicycle is what “saved his life,” as he says. Through the long recovery process he learned to slow down and his relationship to bicycle touring, which had formerly been focused on mileage and destination, is now more focused on the slow and simple pleasures of the road.
Kate has been biking to different ice cream parlors all over California her whole life but didn’t start her first multi-day bike travel until she met Matt. They have been on two bike tours together, one big, one small. On the first one, she had a small heart failure in the mountains of Big Sur and had to bike eight miles of steep uphill to get to cell service. She learned that she has a mild heart condition, and biking is good for it. That “adventure” has been a similar inspiration in her relationship to biking and using her body as a means of excursion – a long journey in patience and thankfulness for the incredible feats that a body can perform!
What is your goal for the route?
Sunshine, lakes, ice cream, back country, rain forest, hot springs, tacos, aged cheeses, and so much laughter.
What do you hope to get out of this journey?
A more intimate understanding of and connection to the Pacific Coast. An opportunity to reconnect to the folks we have met along the way – a real rarity of this type of travel! A relationship to the brands that we use and care about – knowing the people who are making what we are using. We want to live each day 100% fully.
What’s in my bag? List four things that you could not live without (take a photo of each on a neutral background)
Little journals Kate made, Book of poems by Mary Oliver,Our friend’s homemade Organic sunscreen, Rechargeable boom box for pumping James Brown on the climbs
- Pacific Coast Milestones -