Sound to Sand - Chapter Two

Total Miles

    Day 1   Day 2   Day 3   Day 4   Day 5   Day 6   Day 7   Day 8   Day 9   Day 10   Day 11

Pictures to come soon!!

Day 1 - 5/9/22 (1 Miles)

Moe’s Bike Shop to the Quality Inn & Suites in North Bend Oregon.

We paid $120 for this stay, and $270 for the previous one, last September. Amazing how the rates change. Alan Moe, the bike shop owner, gets MVP award today for picking us up at the airport. The plane arrived 20 minutes early, yet, there he was, waiting for us when we walked out of “security” at the Southwest Oregon airport. 90% of the passengers were golfers, headed to Banon Dunes where there are 5 or 6 world class courses.

Alan got us to his bike shop, we put on helmets and bike shoes, loaded the bike and rode in very light rain, the 1.3 miles to the Quality Inn. We waited out a 1-hour rain shower, and them walked over to La Herradura Mexican Restaurant, and had a great “Linner” at about 3:30. Accuweather said rain would end at 3:17.  Then, off to the Safeway and loaded-up on trail-mix and Kind Bars for snacks over the next few days.

Rainy, gray, and cold today, but should be just cold and gray, with maybe a little sun tomorrow. Let the Chapter 2 adventure begin!

Day 2 - 5/10/22 (55 Miles)

The temp was in the low 40’s, but calm and mostly sunny morning to start today’s ride. We started off with a couple of waffles via the free breakfast at the Quality Inn. It’s actually pretty nice to get some coffee and mediocre food before the ride. For the last couple of years, due to Covid, we haven’t been able to have the “free” breakfast at the motels. No bananas today, though… bummer.

We hit the road at about 7:30, and did some residential and urban cycling through North Bend and Coos Bay until we hit the actual Bay and headed to the little town of Charleston, just about where the Bay yields to the Pacific Ocean. We stopped on the bridge over the South Slough, and took a couple of photos of the calm 9yay!) Coos Bay.

 Just after the bridge, we took a left on Seven Devils Road, which headed straight up to a ridge that was behind the ridge in front of the Pacific. We went over the rolling hills on the ridge through several clear cuts and other logging remains. Not real pretty on the ridge we were on, but since there were no trees of any size, we had great views of the neighboring ridges. Sunny, no wind, smooth roads, but cold – mid-40’s. Long pants, jackets, buffs and full gloves for us.

From the ridge we had a gentle, smooth 2-mile descent back towards the ocean. A couple of easy miles on Highway 101, and we reached the little town of Bandon. We stopped when we reached the town to find a place to eat. We looked across the street, to our left, and there was The Station. Perfect breakfast spot with incredibly quick service!

We also stopped at the Bandon Bicycle Works and picked-up a spare tire…just in case. We chatted with the shop owner about other bike tours in Oregon, and also around Graeagle and Quincy – he was from Santa Cruz. From Bandon, the road heads inland a bit, so no ocean view, we found the World-Famous Langlois Market and Deli. Apparently, they are famous for the hotdogs and homemade mustard. We were not quite in the hotdog mode, but there were log truck drivers, UPS drivers, tourists and locals lined-up for the hotdogs, so it appeared that they may, indeed, have famous hotdogs.

We instead opted for root beer, Doritos (cool ranch), and Snickers. Day 2 and we’re already deep into the junk food… this could be a long trip!

From Langlois, we crossed he Sixes River. A pretty river, but very muddy – looks like it’s been raining a lot inland – and the Elk River (no Elk). Port Orford was smaller than expected, but our room at the Castaways Motel had a terrific view of the coastline, the tiny port, and several “haystack” rocks out in the ocean.

We walked the 10 blocks to Mr. Ed’s for dinner and grabbed a pizza, along with a 7-Devils Porter for Andy. Good pizza and great porter. Bartender Bobby was able to pick up a guitar and play a Rush song “Closer to the Heart”! Another terrific day of pedaling the Oregon Coast in the books. Tomorrow, on to Brookings.

Day 3 - 5/11/22 (57 Miles)

Up at 6:00am to a sunny and calm day. Breakfast in the room of yogurt, trail-mix and juice. Looking forward to breakfast #2 at Gold Beach, and praying for tailwind!  Not much tailwind today, but it has to be in our top three days of cycling across the US. We started-off from Port Orford on Highway 101 for about 5 miles along the coast. Wide clean beaches, clear skies, calm ocean and several “haystack” rocks out in the surf. Beautiful!

We crossed Humbug Creek and followed it inland, through several Fern Gully scenes. Moss hanging of the Fir trees, sun (where it could get through) glistening off rocks and tree branches, and the fast-moving creek bouncing off mossy rocks on its way to the Pacific.

We followed the creek for a few miles and about 812.5 in elevation (but, who’s counting?) until we cleared the saddle and had a delightful downhill back to the Pacific, on an exceedingly smooth road surface. The drivers have been very courteous, and give us plenty of room. So, even though, it’s “Highway 101” there is not very much traffic is this part of the state, the road surface is super-smooth, and the shoulder is more than ample in most spots, and the scenery is world class. In short, better riding conditions than Ridge Road.

When we reached the Pacific again, we had several miles of beach views with several rows of waves breaching (white with foam?) along the flat, wide gray/tan beaches. Did we mention there was no wind?  Breakfast #2 in Gold Beach did not disappoint. If you’re in Gold Beach, don’t miss Double D’s – best breakfast in town!

From there, more gorgeousness as we made our way over hill and dale through the Samuel H Boardman scenic corridor. We stopped and one of the many spectacular overlooks and met Dennis, a guy that was living out of his car, and gifted us this line: “the harder the adversity, the better the results.” As he said that, he looked up, and so did we, and we all noticed a rainbow around the sun. We’re sure that’s a sign of good luck somewhere in the world. So, we thanked Dennis and pedaled the last 3 miles to the Wild Rivers Inn. Another terrific day.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain. Yuck! We hope it’s gentle

Day 4 - 5/12/22 (47 Miles)

Headwinds, rain, and cold – Oh MY!

We shoved-off from Brookings after the classic road breakfast in the room: yogurt (coconut for Kim, peach for Andy) mixed with trail-mix and some juices. We have only 27, mostly flat, miles to got to the Good Harvest Café in Crescent City for breakfast #2, so the light treats should hold us ‘til then.

It was about 5 miles to the California border, and when we reached it, just like that – the rain stopped. Hallelujah – back in the Golden State, where rain doesn’t go anymore. We cruised though (FLAT!) farm lands and cow pastures until we reached the front gates of the Pelican Bay maximum security State Prison. At that point it started raining again, and it was easily quiet around the prison. We high-tailed it out of there, making sure we came to a full and complete stop at the gate intersection.

After viewing Pelican Bay prison, at a surprisingly close distance, the rain didn’t seem so bad, even though it rained for another 30 minutes, until we reached the Good Harvest Café. Great food, and we each had 2 mochas for warmth in the near term, and “fuel” for the mid-term. We were doing great on time, and we only had 19 more miles to go, so we took our time watching our gear dry, and waiting for the rain to subside.

Well… the rain didn’t subside, nor did the 20-mph headwind (with 28-mph gusts!) coming off the Pacific. A bit of a “not fun” couple of miles, ‘til we reached the 1,200’ climb ahead of us. We’ve never looked forward toa 1,200’ climb in the rain. Continuing proof that wind is worse than a hill for cyclists.

The bonus was that we were no into the Del Norte Redwood Park. WOW – several trees must have been 15’ at the base, and one looked to be about 20’ diameter at the base. Redwood forests are nature’s cathedrals, simply breathtaking. Not necessarily good while pedaling up a 6% grade, but does make the miles shorter.

1,200’ up, so we earned a glorious 1,200’ descent back down to the Pacific. Great views of the Doug Fir and Redwood forests, but then… it started to rain harder, so a bit of a gnarly downhill with traffic and construction along the way. We DID make it back to the Pacific, and thoroughly enjoyed the ½ second view through the rain, and fog, of the beach and surf to our right.  We followed the beach for a bit, we think, as the fog and rain grew worse. About 5 miles later, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Klamath, CA, as wet and cold as any ride we can remember on our cross-country journeys.

Everything was fixed with hot showers and dinner across the street at the Country Club Bar and Grill. Classic logger bar with the Bar on one side, the Grill on the other – two separate businesses – and, a pool table in the back with a Bud Light fixture hanging over the table. Apparently, no money was required for the juke box, and the couple playing pool must have really liked George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers, because we got our fill of that group.

Early night tonight, as we have a long 67 miles to Eureka tomorrow. The rain is supposed to be lighter…hopefully!

Day 5 - 5/13/22 (65 Miles)

No rain!! 100% cloud-cover though, and lots of fog in the trees. Still cold, in the high 40’s, but a great day for a ride. Unfortunately, we were greeted, right away, with an 800’ climb. Not a great way to start. About 6-miles on Highway 101 – light traffic, smooth wide shoulder – nice cycling. We took the exit for the Newton B Drury Parkway and into the Prairie Creek Redwood Grove. We had a nice, gentle descent through a massive grove of HUGE Redwoods. Definitely worth the climb to get to these trees – there’s nothing quite like a Redwood forest!

We popped out of the Redwoods into a giant meadow, which turned out to be an Elk reserve. We even saw what looked like feral Elk relaxing outside the ranger station. Shortly after the Elk preserve, we rejoined 101 and made our way through the grayness of Patrick’s Point, and took the side road, Patrick’s Point Drive, to the little town of Trinidad, and had lunch next to a Mom, Dad and son from Australia. They were heading North. They started at Cabo San Lucas. Hats off to them – plus, the Da was wearing shorts! Tough people, those Aussies!

Leaving Trinidad, we rode on the Trinidad Scenic Drive, which turned out to have several stretches of gravel and mud, yuck! Actually, happy to get back on 101 for a couple miles and then we exited on to a lovely bike path, The Hammonton Trail, that we followed all the way to Arcata. We cruised past Humboldt State University, the town square, the Holly Yashi studio, and back out to our friend, Highway 101. But now, light-traffic 101 gave way to busy 101. Good shoulder, so not a big deal – just noisy.

We then noticed a brand-new bike path just of the highway. Cool? We jumped on that and had the whole path to ourselves, except for one jogger. Suddenly, the bike path just stopped, with a little sign that said “End Bike Path”. Back onto 101 for the last 3 miles to the Days Inn – home for the night.

Day 6 - 5/14/22 (58 Miles)

Got up late this AM – 6:21! The team needed a little extra rest after two long soggy days in the rain. We looked outside, and the parking lot was…kind of dry. In any event, we were heading to Miranda today. So, we loaded-up, stuffed the gear and the bike in the elevator, and walked half a block to Starbucks in downtown Eureka. A couple of Mochas and some food, and we were ready for the road.

Thank goodness it was very flat (save for one leg-burner) light traffic and a smooth shoulder for the 26 miles to Rio Dell. There, we stopped a picnic table and finished the food from Starbucks – a breakfast wrap with egg, sausage, and potato, and a cheese and fruit dish.

The jackets and rain pants came off for the first time this trip. Indeed, when we got to Miranda, we opted to dine inside as the outside was too hot. Weird, since the last four days we’ve been pretty cold all day. We’re moving inland along the Avenue of the Giants and the Eel River, and the temperature certainly reflects that.

The Avenue of the Giants is simply and idyllic place to ride a bicycle. The road is smooth, mostly flat, and the Redwoods are mesmerizing! We pretty much rode the length of the Avenue today, in perfect weather. A great day in Redwood country. Home for tonight is the Miranda Gardens Resort, the finest lodging in Miranda. It’s actually a nice room/cabin which appears to have been recently remodeled, and will work perfectly for us. It is right across the street (Avenue of the Giants) from the restaurant (great service!) and the grocery market, so we loaded-up on snacks for this afternoon, and also for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Day 7 - 5/15/22 (41 Miles)

Only 41 miles today, so we left late, around 8:00am. Half a mile in, we heard a strange noise from the back of the bike. We pulled over to take a look, and discovered a large tire bulge. Bummer. After struggling with a very tight new tire, that did not easily fit on the rim, we pumped-up and hit the road once again.

We made our way, following the South Fork of the Eel River, past Redway and Garberville. In Garberville we found a tasty bakery, but not much else. The town looked like it had been passed by. We’ve seen quite a few boarded-up restaurants, gift shops, markets, and berylwood galleries. Many looked like they shut-down long ago, and other looked like victims of the pandemic slow-down.  Speaking of the pandemic, there are VERY few mask-wearers in SW Oregon, and NW California. One would hardly know a pandemic was happening from visiting this part of the world.

Lots of river and mountain views today! Some spectacular views from the very high bridges across the South Fork of the Eel. We must have been, at least, 300’ up on a couple of the bridges – don’t want to drop the camera during those shots!

The weather was, again, warm today, and though it was a short day, we had the last 25 mile or so, with no mini-marts and significant climbs, in the heat! We had our sights set on two mini-marts just before Leggett, our destination for today. We approached the first one, and it looked good: an old Coca-Cola sign out front and a few pick-ups parked off the road. As we got closer, our hopes were dashed by the obvious disrepair of the place. It had been closed for years. The curse of outdated maps.

By now we were tired, almost out of water, but only about 6 miles away from the motel in Liggett. So, it looked like it was just going to be an unremarkable slog to the finish-line, especially when, at first sight, the last mini-mart, predestination, was closed, too. However, as we got closer, it looked like we could, at least, get a cold root beer at this place. We pulled across the road, eager for a rest and a cold drink. Not only did we find that, but they also had shade, restrooms, great burgers, beer, and…live music! What an oasis!! We ended-up staying for about 45 minutes enjoying the show.

We then pedaled the remaining 3 miles to the motel, The Royal Tree Villas. Only stay here as a last resort. Not cheap. The rooms are dumpy and dated, and one of the German Shepherds at the office chomped on Kim’s leg. No broken shin, but still…

Tomorrow is over the hill and back to the coast – where we are scheduled to have 2 days of tailwinds! Yippee!!

Day 8 - 5/16/22 (56 Miles)

Today was to be a tough day – not only to get by the attack dogs and out to the road, but we had to navigate that twisty, narrow, and steep section of Highway 1 from Highway 101 to the Pacific, about 26 miles North of Fort Bragg. We got a pretty early start, thanks to the speedy breakfast of yogurt (marionberry) and trail-mix, and were on the road at 7am.

We quickly met-up with the 900’ climb, on the narrow stretch of Highway 1. The only good thing was – there was NO traffic! It took us about and hour to go the 5-miles to the top, and maybe 5cars passed us during that time, and they were going very slowly and gave us plenty of room. A delightful 18-mile pedal to the Pacific, over what we thought was going to be a nerve-wracking section. Woohoo!!

We were happy to be back to the coast, and take in all the great scenery of the Northern California Coast. The coast lived up to its reputation: the weather was cold (50-ish), foggy, and windy – delightfully miserable. Delightful because there was a huge tailwind! What a difference that makes, as the miles seem to roll by, instead of fighting for every inch when going into a headwind.

We stopped at Westport, about 10 miles north of Fort Bragg, and what seemed like a closed-down, abandoned (kind of like an English hop processing plant) operation, but was actually a quite functional mini-mart, complete with good coffee, breakfast sandwiches and chocolate croissants! A perfect stop! We’d been pedaling over some challenging terrain, and breakfast #2 in Westport was just what we needed for the 16 miles to Fort Bragg, where we planned to stop for lunch and bike maintenance. We even ate outside, as the fog had lifted and the sun was making an entrance.

When we reached Fort Bragg, we headed straight to the bike shop to resole our back-tire issue. Of course, there was not mechanic there, but when the owner’s wife said, “What, you don’t know how to change a tire?” Geez, just give us the tires and we’ll do it. So, we changed the tires just outside the shop in an indoor walkway – really weird place to change a tire. She let us uses their floor pump and was very accommodating in letting us borrow their metal tire levers to get the current tire off and get a better fitting tire on.

About 30 minutes later, we walked across Redwood Ave, and had some excellent pizza and local brew from North Coast Brewing. The final 10 miles to Mendocino were glorious, with a more solid tailwind, great ocean view, and moderate hills. Dinner at Patterson’s Pub, a short walk around town, and back to Joshua Grindle Inn. A great ending to a terrific day. We are lucky!

Tomorrow, off to Sea Ranch to visit Gnarly Charlie, Andy’s college roommate for 3 years, that he hasn’t seen in 39 years.

Day 9 - 5/17/22 (54 Miles)

Had a great breakfast at the Joshua Grindle Inn of coffee, yogurt, granola, juice, and hard-boiled eggs. Enjoyed breakfast for a while, so got a late-ish start at about 8:45.

We are now moving out of the redwoods and pines, and more into the rolling pasture-life landscape of this section of the coastline. We cruised through the tiny towns of Little River, Albion (which had a VERY high bridge!), Elk, and Manchester – none of which had a place for breakfast #2. We were getting a bit chippy as the riding was difficult, with lots of rolling hills. Thank goodness for the tailwind, which acted as a third pedaler. By this time the wind had kicked-up to about 20 mph, so, sometimes we just to a break and let nature’s pedaler do the work.

When we finally arrived at Point Arena, things looked pretty bleak in the food department, as a couple of cafes were closed, and the last option was the food Co-op. Bonanza! Great coffee (from Thanksgiving Coffee Co.) indoor seating, and terrific bagels loaded with all kinds of goodies. They also had restrooms – key. A timely and yummy, refreshing stop before our final push to Sea Ranch.

Sixteen miles later, we stopped in another town that time forgot, Gualala, and had some ice cream at the local grocery store. A civilized respite before the final six miles to Chuck & Libby’s place in Sea Ranch. We found the house easily, and met the pups – Merle and Moose. After being approved by the dogs, we showered, got the laundry started (yay!!) and then took a hike to the Pacific to check out the local Seal rookery. There were about 30 seals down on the beach, and 3 new, baby seals – very cute! Chuck & Libby filled us with pasta, salad, garlic bread, and wine, which Chuck and Andy caught-up on old times and new.  Another great day!

Day 10 - 5/18/22 (45 Miles)

If yesterday was a late start, today was the latest start – around 9:45 and a half. But it was to be a short day, of only 45 miles, aided by tailwind, to Bodega Bay. Almost of the day today, was spent right near the guardrail, about 500’ above the Pacific. Great views up and down the coast, and 20’ in front of the bike – which is Andy’s favorite view. He says it allows us to pedal another day.

We caught a great coffee shop / general store in Stewart’s Point, and a terrific sit-down lunch in Jenner. Again, tough climbs, tricky downhills, but by the afternoon, as we neared Bodega Bay, we probably had a 30 mph tailwind pushing us South. A great way to finish the day, and a fabulous way to “save our legs” for a long (72 mile) day tomorrow.

Scheduled to cross the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow. Woohoo!! And, stay the night at Katie’s house, where we started this odyssey on May 8th.

Day 11 - 5/19/22 (70 Miles)

Long day (70+ miles) so we did the road breakfast of yogurt, juice, and trail mix in the room, and left ridiculously windy Bodega Bay a little before 7am. We headed inland, towards Valley Ford, with a little tailwind, even this early! The bad news was that, just past Valley Ford, we turned back towards the town of Tomales and Tomales Bay and into the wind. The scenery for this stretch was quite different from the Redwoods and coast-line views to which we had grown accustomed. Now, we were in the rolling hills and dairy land of Sonoma County.

Over hill, and sometimes very steep dales, we pedaled on the way to Tomales Bay. Sure enough, just before we reached the bay, we ran into a few patches of wind-tunnel-like headwinds. A few of which almost stopped us, but once we got to the bay, and turned left, we were back in the tailwind business – thank goodness!!

We road along the East side of the bay, enjoying the many birds zooming by, and, of course, the bay itself. When we reached the end of the bay, we stopped in the cute little town of Point Reyes Station. We pulled over at the local market, which was adjoined to the feed store, and of course, an expresso and baked goods walk-up window. Excellent mochas, chocolate croissants, and ginger cookies. All that combined with the smell of fresh baled alfalfa, and you have a special morning!

The day had taken us from dairy land outside of Bodega Bay to oyster beds in Tamales Bay and back through (little) Redwoods, once we got to Samuel Taylor State Park along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. We followed Sir Francis Drake Blvd for a few more miles until it, harshly, dumped us in to Fairfax and – urban cycling for the first time this this trip – yuck! However, the route did take us through some very bicycle-friendly neighborhoods and through the quaint, little, old downtowns of San Anselmo, Ross, Kentfield, and Larkspur. After Corte Madera, we hooked onto a bike path that took us along the bay front and through Sausalito.

Perfect weather today, and there were several cyclists, walkers and café patrons all through Sausalito. A good day to cycle through Sausalito, and a GREAT day to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge! We were thrilled to have reached this milestone, and equally thrilled to not have collided with the pedestrians or the tourists on rental bicycles. Crossing the bridge was probably the most dangerous mile-and-a-half of the entire journey. And, there were no cars involved, only inexperienced cyclists on rental bikes.

When we safely reached the San Francisco side of the bridge, we celebrated by high-fiving, getting a new map, chugging some Gatorade, and visiting the gift-shop restroom. We gathered ourselves for the final 6 miles, and had just enough Google directions (sometimes the bike routes are not great on Google) and improvisational orienteering skills to find our friend, Katie’s house and call it a day. And… what a day it was – we road from Bodega Bay, and got to cycle across the Golden Gate. We think we’ll remember this day 10 years from now.