Somewhat spontaneously recently I bought a Rodriguez bike. Rodriguez bikes are hand made in Seattle underneath their retail shop - it's a very impressive operation and they make some beautiful bikes. Given i'd just bought this semi-touring bike, I needed a trip to take it for a spin. Originally I was going to ride from SF to LA, but changed my mind because I wanted to minimise the amount of flying I had to do with my new bike. This did mean that I got to take the Amtrak from Seattle to Eugene, which was awesome - very cheap and extremely comfortable (I think my ticket was something like $40 for a 7 hour journey).
Day 1: Eugene, OR to Coos Bay, OR (49 miles)
First things first: I got the bus out to the coast from Eugene, after staying in an airbnb best described as "interesting". The bus leaves from Eugene Station at 7:00am and only costs 5 bucks!
Despite being very close to the coast for the first day, I never actually saw the sea, which got a bit tiring after a while. Once I got to Coos Bay, I stayed in a great motel with a jacuzzi, which was very welcome after cycling 50 miles.
Coos Bay is a logging town, with really a truly large quantity of logs:
Day 2: Coos Bay, OR to Gold Beach, OR (85 miles)
This was the longest day of the trip - I had originally intended to go to Port Orford, but I got into town at about 3pm, and felt pretty good, so I decided to push on to Gold Beach.
On the way, I saw this great sign:
and actually got out to the coast, with some great views of the beaches and rock formations.
In gold beach, I stayed at Azelea Lodge, a decent motel run by a lady from Zambia, of all places.
Day 3: Gold Beach, OR to Klamath, CA (75 miles)
Another long day, crossing into California.
Around Smith River, there is great cycling that you can do just off the highway, all the way into Cresent City. I'd definetly recommend this, it was great to get off the highway for a bit.
I made a pretty bad decision in Cresent City, to continue to Klamath - mainly because I was feeling good, and I wanted to see some of the redwood trees. However, the section from Cresent City to Klamath is extremely steep and tough cycling. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I arrived, and it was late enough that the single restaurant in Klamath was closed. The owner of the hotel I was staying in came to my rescue by making me these gourmet egg sandwiches with some pitta bread I had in my bags.
Day 4: Klamath, CA to Eureka, CA (64 miles)
This section was one of the best days of the trip, because the route goes through two sections of the Giant Redwood National Forests. The trees were absolutely stunning (and huge, obviously). There's a short, steep climb just out of Leggett as you get onto Highway 1 (a bit of a relief after riding on Highway 101 for 3 days, which was quite busy). The climb is worth it though, as almost the whole way down to the coast is sweeping downhill turns, which was very fun.
Day 5: Eureka, CA to Garberville, CA (Bus + 25 miles)
I took a bit of a rest day today, partly because I was tired, and partly because the highway between Eureka and the start of the Avenue of the Giants is not very nice, so I decided to just skip it. Seeing the highway from the bus made me very glad about this. The bus dropped me off in Weott, where there is a separate "scenic route" which runs parallel to the highway. This was super fun cycling, a short but quite sharp hill to start with and then ~15 miles of pure coasting downhill, with lots more big trees. I must have seen fewer than 10 cars in 2.5 hours of cycling. It was great.
Day 6: Garberville, CA to Mendocino, CA (77 miles)
Day 6: Mendocino, CA to Gualala, CA (50 miles)
Surprisingly, this was the hardest day yet. In total, there was 5000ft of climbing (and descending), which was the same as the ride out to the coast yesterday, but significantly twistier, and difficult to maintain any kind of speed. Also, it was so windy, which really killed my speed on the flat sections. Just outside of Point Arena I stopped at the most village shop i've ever been into, and had a bottle of fanta and a crab sandwich, which both might have been lifesaving.
Mendocino is a very cute town, which I learnt is often used as a set in films, because apparently it has a style which is specifically "Maine", but it's on the west coast, which makes it easier for the film studios in LA to get to. Weird. I splashed out a bit here and stayed in a hotel/spa with an outdoor hot tub and sauna, which was a great way to steam out the lactic acid in my legs. Mendocino is also a bit of a hub for foraging, and it's definetly a place i'd like to return to and spend a bit more time.
Day 7: Gualala, CA to San Fransisco (20 miles + bus + train)
After the previous very hard day, I wasn't really feeling cycling more of the coastline (and it was forecast to absolutely pour with rain), so I get a bus into Santa Rosa, and then took the SMART train from Santa Rosa to the end of the line, Larkspur. From there, there is a cycle path almost all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, which was great to cycle over and felt like a very fitting end to the trip.