Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leggett to Fort Bragg, California November 4

45.54 in 4:41.....Nov. 4.....Pam drove me back up 101 from the campground in Willits to Leggett, where I stopped on Saturday. My knees were my main concern, and after a days rest, they were great today. The weight of my loaded panniers was putting a strain on them, so today, a huge climbing day, I was unburdened by unnecessary weight. Tomorrow, I will once again be loaded down, because I am heading down coastal Rt. 1, and it is not safe for big RVs because of cliffs and narrow roads, so Pam will be heading to a campground near Stockton for a free stay that we signed up for at Camping World in Sacramento. I will be heading for the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. It is going to be interesting to see how much Pam and I see each other until I get well below San Jose. We have plans to hook up and do the tourist thing in San Francisco, but that may require a ride on the BART. (Bay Area Rapid Transit for the record. ) We'll see how that works out.
Now, back to today....Heading to the coast on Rt 1 entailed to major climbs, one way more major than the other. The road was narrow and very curvy for 22 miles. There was a restriction for RVs and big trucks, and traffic in general  was very light. I couldn't imagine the extra stress of doing this ride in the tourist season, but most bikers do it then. It is so much nicer and safer now. The weather also cooperated, varying anywhere from 49 to 63, depending on where I was, and also shade or sun. It was very comfortable for climbing, frigid on the descents, which were also significant. I had an 11-1200 ft.climb right off the bat, and my fresh legs were eating up the elevation, when about one third of the way up the hill, I caught a guy who we will call Wolfgang (his name) The Philosopher from Bend, Oregon. He was 63 years old, and was heading from Oregon to his winter home in Tucson, Arizona. This wasn't his first time to do this, so he knew the roads. He liked to talk, so I just listened as he expounded upon life all the way up the big hill. I slowed down for him, and watching him work as he talked took my mind off my legs. He had a Granny gear that was great for the hills, so I am going to remember that for my next bike, when I get old. That little 1200 ft climb was the easiest I've ever done, because of his company. He was a Vietnam vet that got 'way too many' degrees on the GI Bill, and he told me how highly intelligent he was. He worked Intelligence in the service, but if he told me about that he would have to kill me, so he talked about everything else, including a 13,000 mile bike trip that he had done, amongst many other rides. As we came down the flip side of the hill, he was holding back because of his gear, so I took the opportunity to fly down the hill ahead of him. The downhill was wicked, with many 10-15 mph warning signs that had me working the brakes for the curves. At one point I hit over 40 mph and didn't even know it, because I was concentrating on watching for bumps and potholes in the sun and shade mix that was making it tough to see the road. A bump at 40 could really put me into the air, but it was a fun descent of about 1600 ft( not all at once, there were some rollers). I ended up climbing  3600-3700 ft and descending and descending about 4500 ft. That's some serious hill work that added up to more elevation than all but a few rides on this trip, including the mountains of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
After the descent, I had another 5-600 ft climb that was much more difficult than the first, without Wolfgang. Another descent followed, and I suddenly noticed some blue sky, in a opening in the trees, and ....Bang... There was the Pacific Ocean. The mountains had been pretty dense, with new growth redwoods and other tall trees, with the familiar fern ground cover that I've seen all along the coast. As soon as I popped out along the ocean, the camera came out, because the cliffs, and sea stacks poses a photo opportunity every time I went around another bend, or crested another hill. It was indeed as beautiful as advertised. Rt 1 is indeed narrow in places, with shoulder only in a few places. There was very little traffic again, and I had a nasty, cold tailwind, that was at my back most of the time. When it wasn't, it was ugly. After about 15 miles, Rt. 1 moved inland a little bit, and I was riding through cattle ranches, right on the coast, with the ocean visible in the distance. A few towns dotted the route, but my goal was Ft. Bragg, a town of about 7-8000. It is a nice beach town, and California Rt 20 runs from there, right to Willits, so Pam came picked me up there to take me back to the RV. There just aren't many roads connecting coastal Rt 1 and US 101, hence, the need for Pam and I to go our separate ways for a few miles.

Wolfgang the Philosopher

Back at the Pacific Ocean

Rt 1 hugs the cliffs and looks down on the ocean

Rt 1

Awesome views

These high grasses that people use back home to decorate their gardens grow wild out here

Back at the rocky and rugged Pacific

And this is why Pam isn't driving the motor home on this road!

Occasional shade

Bike lane had its own lane on the bridge

Bike trail bridge

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