Ride Report - Not the Milly, June 2003

by Mark Sapiro


A few people responded to Bonnie Faigeles' and my request for people to join us on our tour of the northern portion of the Milly route. In the end, Robert Habdas decided to do something else, Patrick Garner joined us the first evening for the rest of the tour and we missed connecting with Brenda Giese at our friends in Nevada City and Brenda wound up going home, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

I have for some time been intrigued by the concept of the Milly. Early this spring (or possibly late winter) Bonnie Faigeles and I were discussing trip plans for the spring and summer. I mentioned that it looked like I would have time in June to do the Milly. Bonnie was interested in touring in June as well, and we decided to go together. It turned out that due to another trip, I couldn't start before June 4 and Bonnie had to be back by the 15th as she was starting school on the 16th. This left 12 days, June 4 through 15, for the trip. This didn't allow enough time for the whole Milly at anything like a reasonable pace so we opted for a portion as will be described.

Day 1: Wednesday, June 4

I left Mill Valley on my loaded bicycle about 4:45 a.m. My intent was to get the 5:44 BART train from Embarcadero to Oakland 12th St., transfer and arrive in Richmond at 6:19 in plenty of time for the 6:37 Amtrak to Sacramento. Bonnie was getting the same BART at 24th and Mission. Unfortunately, the access from the north to the east sidewalk on the Golden Gate Bridge had been recently rerouted and I got lost in the dark resulting in enough delay that I missed the 5:44 train. Bonnie and I made contact by cel phone so she knew I was on the way, and the following train was supposed to get me to Richmond with 3 minutes to get from the BART platform to the Amtrak platform. As it turned out, Amtrak was a bit behind and I met Bonnie on the platform with perhaps 5 minutes to spare.

We had breakfast burritos and yogurt from the cafe car on our way to Sacramento. We were able to start riding from the Amtrak station in Sacramento before 9:00 which was our goal to "beat the heat". We rode up the American River Bikeway (originally built by the Capitol City Wheelmen in 1896) to Folsom Lake, and as the weather was starting to get hot, we stopped at the snack bar at Beals Point for cold drinks. Then it was on to Auburn on Auburn-Folsom Road. We next stopped in Auburn for a nice lunch.

After lunch we headed up highway 49 towards Nevada City. By now it was really hot. We shortly came upon a Washington Mutual Bank and I wanted to stop and get some cash as they don't charge a fee for use of their ATMs. Well, we stopped and Bonnie headed immediately for the shade of the building and sat down. After a while, she said she was going inside to use the rest room to wet her face and jersey. When she came out, she felt much better. This turned into a 45 minute stop including a minor adjustment to Bonnie's rear derailleur.

We continued riding up highway 49. It was hot and we weren't going too fast. At one point there was a traffic backup, and in spite of our low speed, we were still going faster than the cars. This didn't last too long.

Around 5:30 p.m. we were still a bit short of Grass Valley. We stopped in a shady spot and I called Patrick on the cel phone to try to arrange dinner later that evening. While I was talking to Patrick, a guy named Steve who lives in Alta Sierra which we had passed a while back and was on his way to do some work on a rental property he owns in Nevada City stopped and came up and introduced himself as a fellow cyclist and asked where we were going, etc. After a bit of conversation, Steve offered to drive us to our friends Bobbie and Atwood's house outside Nevada City. We accepted and loaded our bikes into Steve's truck. When we saw how much climbing there was between Nevada City and Bobbie and Atwood's, we were doubly thankful for Steve's assistance. It turned out that we missed Brenda at Bobbie and Atwood's by less than half an hour. She had driven from her home near Lake Tahoe to Nevada City and then ridden around the area before going to wait for us. She was going to ride part way with us the next day and then return to her car and drive home, but she didn't like the traffic and lack of a shoulder on 49 north of Nevada City, and when we hadn't arrived by the time she expected us, she decided to go back home that evening.

As arranged earlier by phone, Patrick and Grace drove to where we were and we all went into Nevada City for a very nice dinner at a restaurant named Asia. They then drove us back before retiring to their B and B.

Daily totals:
  Mill Valley to Bart - 14 miles, 730 feet.
  Sacramento to Auburn - 51.3 miles, 2280 feet.
  Auburn to Pick up by Steve - 20.6 miles, 1700 feet.

Day 2: Thursday, June 5

Bonnie and I were supposed to meet Patrick and Grace at the bike shop in Nevada City at 10:00 a.m. when it opened. Patrick had left his helmet at home and was going to buy a new one before we started. It turned out we were late leaving Bobbie and Atwood's and we were still at breakfast at Ike's in Nevada City when Patrick called and said he was ready to go. Patrick and Grace picked us up at Ike's and we loaded everything into and on the van and drove up 49, Moonshine Rd, Marysville Rd and Oregon Hill Rd to Challenge. This was the route we would have ridden had we started early, but as it was we went to the store in Challenge, and Grace left with the van and we started riding on our own at about 12:30 p.m.

We rode up Quincy-La Porte Rd which is a big climb punctuated by a lot of short downhills. It was very hot even though we started at over 2500 feet and quickly got over 3000 feet on our way to La Porte at 5000 feet. I began to look forward to the short downhills even though it meant that much more climbing as at least I could cool off however briefly. Bonnie and Patrick were climbing faster than I was and shortly before La Porte, they offered to take some of my load. I suggested we just go to La Porte and get something to eat and work it out there.

La Porte has the only services on the road between Challenge and Quincy. There was a hotel with restaurant, a store with deli counter and a bar/cafe. After checking everything, we opted for sandwiches and drinks at the store. We hung out there for a while and by the time we were ready to go, it must have been after 5:00. The sun was getting lower and there was more shade and it seemed quite a bit cooler. Bonnie took some tools and spare parts from me and Patrick took the tent I was carrying for Bonnie and me. This helped even up Bonnie and me, although Patrick was still faster. We still had over 1500 net feet to the summit above Onion Valley, but then it was a fabulous downhill to the middle fork of the Feather River and just a bit of climbing and more down and flat to Quincy. In the section between La Porte and Onion Valley, Bonnie saw a bear cross the road ahead of her and we all saw a rattlesnake crossing the road. I stopped and made sure the snake got across OK although there was very little traffic in this section. We finally approached Quincy about 8:30 p.m. and stopped at a surprisingly good Chinese restaurant for dinner. After dinner we put on what little lighting we had and rode carefully back at most a half mile to a motel we'd passed and got a suite with 4 beds and a kitchen for $74 including tax.

Daily totals:
  Bobbie and Atwood's to Nevada City - 7.7 miles, mostly downhill.
  Challenge to Quincy - 54.6 miles, 7000 feet.

Day 3: Friday, June 6

We had breakfast at Mi Casita and then went to the natural foods store in Quincy and got some fruit and other snack items. We then rode up highway 89 and stopped in Greeneville for lunch which turned out to be just ice cream cones and water, but that was enough. We took highway 147 around the east side of Lake Almanor stopping at a picnic area to go down to the lake and swim. The swim was really nice, but by the time we got back to our bikes and got them back to the road, we were hot again. We then continued on 147, A13 and 36 to Chester where we got another motel with two sleeping rooms and three beds. We walked to a Mexican restaurant at the west end of town for dinner.

Daily totals:
  Quincy to Chester - 51.7 miles, 3180 feet.

Day 4: Saturday, June 7

We had tried to contact Lassen Park information a couple of times yesterday to see if we could get through Lassen on our bikes even though the road was still closed. We were unable to make direct contact with a person at the park so we decided that given the doubtful possibility of the road actually being passable, we would go around to the east.

On our way out of town, we stopped for breakfast at the Kopper Kettle (I think that was the name and spelling). It turned out they were short at least one waitperson and the service was really slow. Also, we all ordered things with pancakes included and no one told us, but the pancakes were huge. They were thick and so big they extended over the edges of the plates. So when we finally got the food, it was way more than we had anticipated.

While we were waiting for our food, two couples came in together wearing cycling clothes. Bonnie and I went to their table to talk and to inquire about a possible alternate route on forest road 10. They were from Chico and had a summer place in Chester and did mostly short day rides in the area. They weren't familiar with forest road 10 and suggested we try the fire station on our way out of town for information. We did stop at the fire station, but the one person on duty wasn't familiar with the roads we were considering either so we decided to go with our original plan which was 36, Mooney Rd and 44 to join 89 at Old Station. This turned out to be very pleasant. It was all paved and much of Mooney Rd was new pavement. The final descent down 44 to Old Station was very nice with spectacular views of snow covered Mt. Lassen.

We stopped at Old Station for lunch. The older couple and their son that ran the motel/cafe there were friendly and the food was good. By then we had decided to go to Burney for the night and the father suggested that if we could go on dirt, we take Mountain View Rd which saves a few miles and a climb. He told us very accurately where to turn, and we took that route which was a nice way into Burney.

Before turning on Mountain View Rd, we stopped somewhere along 89 at a campground with access to Hat Creek and waded in the creek. The water here was quite a bit colder than Lake Almanor, but it was still nice to cool off and clean up a bit.

In Burney, we again found a motel with a two room unit with three beds and use of the swimming pool at the sister motel next door. We had a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant a block or two away.

Daily totals:
  Chester to Burney - 85.1 miles, 2590 feet.

Day 5: Sunday, June 8

We took advantage of the motel's included breakfast to eat our fill of bagels, spreads and juice before heading north out of Burney on Black Ranch Rd. The road starts out paved and when the pavement continued beyond the entrance to Black Ranch, I had hopes of it being paved all the way to 89, but the pavement soon ended and we continued on the mostly hard packed dirt and gravel. Here we had the only cycling "incident" of the trip. Bonnie got into some good looking but actually soft sand and her front wheel wallowed and she fell. Fortunately, by this time she had slowed considerably, and other than a minor scraped elbow, there was no damage to her or the bike.

Just before reaching 89, we came to a paved road and decided to continue off 89 on the back road (Clarks Creek Rd ?) to the west side of Burney Falls and Lake Britton. With the aid of Patrick's GPS, we found a trail that connected to the Burney Falls loop trail. We left our bikes and walked the loop trail around the falls which were quite interesting. There is a large volume of water, some of which flows over the falls and some of which comes out of the rock face from between different geologic layers. Apparently all the water comes from springs in the area and a mile or so above the falls.

We returned to our bikes and continued across the dam and around Lake Britton to highway 89 and up to Bartle where we had lunch at a roadside cafe/bar. Highway 89 in this area is not the most comfortable road to ride. It mostly has no shoulders and the traffic was moderately heavy at times. At one point before we reached Bartle a motor home towing a car was trying to pass Bonnie and realized at the last second that there wasn't going to be enough room to get around and back before encountering the oncoming traffic so the driver hit the brakes and came screeching up behind Bonnie just managing to slow enough not to hit her. Needless to say, Bonnie was shaken by this experience. Fortunately, this behavior on the part of motorists was the rare exception.

After lunch we took the opportunity to leave 89 for a bit by looping south on the unpaved but quiet Tate Creek Rd. (N.B. As of June 2004, this road is called McCloud River Loop Road and is paved.) And of course when we saw the spur road to the swimming hole on the McCloud River, we took that too. The water was cold, but a brief swim felt good anyway and we continued on, soon reaching the town of McCloud. Here we found an ice cream shop with good ice cream and surly help. I asked for a double scoop of something on a sugar cone, and all the while the woman was making it, she was telling me how that much ice cream on that little cone was going to fall off. I wanted to tell her "not if she made it right" but settled for saying I'd be careful that it didn't. Then as we were eating our ice cream outside at what was now just a minute past closing time, a man came up to the store with his young daughter who wanted an ice cream and they wouldn't serve him because they were closed.

After McCloud, it was a climb on 89 up to Snowman's Hill Summit and then a very nice descent down to I-5 where we got on a side road to Dunsmuir. In Dunsmuir, we went to the Travelodge where the proprietor seemed to be trying to talk us out of the only suite he had telling us there was only one bathroom and no air conditioner in the second room, but we took it anyway. Both Patrick and Bonnie went across the street to a small grocery store and came back with some food for tomorrow's lunch and some beer. We went to dinner at Cafe Maddalena, a very nice restaurant that Bonnie knew about.

Daily totals:
  Burney to Dunsmuir - 73.1 miles, 4460 feet.

Day 6: Monday, June 9

We got up and got some of the pastry included with the motel and then stopped at the grocery store again to get more sports drinks and lunch food and then made our way a couple of blocks to a restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast we rode out of town and down I-5 to Castella where we started the hardest leg of the trip. This took us through a portion of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on Castle Creek Rd, Ramshorn-Mumbo Creek Rd and Ramshorn Rd (collectively known as forest road 25). The first 10 or so miles were paved but climbed steadily and sometimes steeply. It was hot and not very shaded and I walked one or two steep pitches in this section. About 3/4 of the way up this section, I stopped in the shade of a tree for a break and I looked down and found a $100 bill. This is without doubt the most valuable thing I've ever found on the road. I added it to the trip treasury and continued on.

The pavement ended shortly before the top, but the dirt was hard and smooth and no problem at all. Shortly we were all resting at the summit. The road down was not as smooth as the initial dirt section, but it was pretty good except for the occasional rocky spot where water had crossed the road. I think Patrick rode through all these places, but Bonnie and I stopped and straddle walked or walked through. Near the bottom, we stopped again and ate some of the tortillas, muffins, fruit, cheese and peanut butter we had brought for lunch and relaxed a bit before starting again.

Soon after lunch we crossed Mumbo Creek and began the climb up Ramshorn Rd. The surface here was rougher and rockier, but it was ridable although for me at least riding required a continuous effort from which I needed a break so I would occasionally walk a pitch just to be doing something different. The climbing was hot and we were unable to ride fast enough to get away from the bugs circling in front of our faces. Occasionally, a breeze would blow them away, but they would soon return. We went on like this for some time and eventually gained the summit.

Once over the summit, the road descended rather steeply in sections for several miles to highway 3. Most of this was rideable, but Bonnie and I again walked here and there for safety. I think Patrick rode the entire way. We regrouped at highway 3, 30 miles and over 8 hours from I-5. As we were starting again, Patrick noticed he was missing one of two hitch pins that secure the BOB to the special rear quick release. We looked around and couldn't find it so I fashioned a replacement from a spare spoke, and we continued to Coffee Creek.

We went to the store there and were told all the restaurants in the area were closed on Monday so we got some microwave food and drinks and ice cream and ate some of it at a picnic table outside. Bonnie spotted some blue cheese for sale in the store and suggested we get some lettuce, etc. and the cheese and make a salad. We thought that was a good idea so we got the cheese and a head of romaine and some tomatoes to go with avocado and tomato that we still had from our lunch supplies, and the woman who ran the store let Bonnie use the food prep area in back of the closed deli counter to make the salad, and we ate that too.

The woman at the store also told us that there were cabins for rent by the night at Enright Gulch which was a couple of miles down highway 3. She telephoned the proprietor (Gary) who wasn't there, but left a message that we were coming. She also said there would be no problem, and if he wasn't there when we got there, we should just pick a cabin and go in.

It turned out to be a short but steep climb on a gravel road from the highway up to the cabins. The mosquitos were the thickest we'd seen, and I got several bites before I got my repellent on. When we got there, Gary still wasn't there, but there was a note on the office door with a phone number to call so Patrick called and he said he had a couple of rooms and could put in a roll away, and he would be back in about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile we looked at the rooms and a cabin and decided the rooms were really small and we wanted a cabin. When Gary got there, we told him we wanted a cabin and he said they weren't fully made up yet, but he could make one up, and since we weren't going to be cooking big meals, etc. he'd let us have it for the night for the motel rate ($55.00 + $2.75 tax).

Daily totals:
  Dunsmuir to Coffee Creek - 42.7 miles, 5370 feet.
  Coffee Creek to Enright Gulch - 3.5 miles

Day 7: Tuesday, June 10

We got up and toasted the rest of our muffins and had muffins and peanut butter for our morning snack, cleaned up the dishes and rode the five or so miles down to Trinity Center to the Sasquatch Cafe for a real breakfast.

The ride from Trinity Center to Weaverville was fairly uneventful except for some reason, Patrick got much less climb for this section on both his GPS (which I think gets climb from it's built-in supplemental barometric altimeter) and his Suunto than I got on my Suunto. The only reason I can think of for this is that I may have had a shorter sample period and thus accumulated more on the short ups and downs. This appeared to be the only significant discrepancy between us on the whole trip.

In Weaverville, we went to the bike shop which Patrick remembered from a previous visit. We asked the proprietor if he had any energy gels like Gu or Clif Shot, and he thought we meant Clif Bars. He said he tried carrying them once and the kids who work in the shop ate them all. He said something about not getting too much new stuff out in the sticks. Later, he came out to look at our bikes and it turned out that the S&S couplers on Bonnie's bike were the first of those he'd seen. He referred us to the Ace hardware to get the hitch pins for Patrick's BOB, and Patrick was able to get a couple there as spares. The one I rigged from a spoke was left on for the rest of the trip.

We then went back to the center of town and got some lunch at a restaurant right at the top of the T intersection of 3 with 299. After lunch, we continued on 3/299 to Douglas City where 3 goes west to Hayfork.

Patrick found an ATM in Hayfork and we then found a small store where we got ice cream cones. There was a motel a few miles back and a hotel right in town with a restaurant next door. We checked the hotel and no one was there, but there was a number to call so we went to the restaurant to get dinner and hopefully contact the hotel people from there. We ate a nice dinner and asked the waitress about a phone to call the hotel. She said that a woman in the kitchen also worked at the hotel and they would call. She came back and said the hotel proprietor would meet us at the hotel in 10 minutes. We paid for our dinners and went back to the hotel and were just starting to discuss riding back to the other motel when the hotel woman arrived. She rented us 3 rooms with private baths for $30 each plus tax and let us take our bicycles up to the rooms.

Daily totals:
  Enright Gulch to Weaverville - 37 miles, 4510 feet.
  Weaverville to Hayfork - 31.7 miles, 3260 feet.

Day 8: Wednesday, June 11

In the morning we met for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. at the restaurant next door to the hotel and then visited the small store at the west end of town where we had gotten ice cream the day before. I got some Gatorade and bought the previous day's Chronicle so I could check out Farley and Dilbert. We then headed out on 3 which turns south to join 36 which we took towards Mad River.

On the climb up from the south fork of the Trinity River, I felt excessive play between my right shoe and the pedal so I stopped and sure enough, the cleat was loose. I tightened it, but soon realized it was not positioned correctly so I stopped again and adjusted it. By this time, Bonnie and Patrick were well ahead of me, but they waited at South Fork Summit.

The summit is going over South Fork Mountain which is said to be the longest continuous mountain ridge in North America. It divides the south fork of the Trinity River from the Mad River. From the summit, it is a pleasant downhill to the town of Mad River. The store in Mad River is closed, but there is trailer set up as a hamburger stand which seems to do a good business. We got our lunch there and ate at one of a few picnic tables set up alongside the trailer.

After lunch, we backtracked about a mile on highway 36 before heading southeast on Mad River Road. Except for one short, steeper pitch at the Ruth Lake dam, this road climbs gradually along the river and then rolls along the lake. We stopped at Journey's End Resort which is on the road by Ruth Lake Marina. There is a store there and a small motel and some cabins. There is also a restaurant which was closed at the time but would open for dinner. We were told here that the road we planned to take from Zenia to Alderpoint had some construction going on but that we could get through.

We got some drinks at the store and then continued to the town of Ruth. Here there is a store, bar and campground. We got some ice cream and drinks at the store and some tortillas and cheese and a few other things for dinner/breakfast since we were planning to go a little further and camp and there were no more services for quite a distance. We were told here that we could camp at Boy Scout Cove which was about five miles down the southwest side of the lake on Ruth-Zenia Rd in the direction we were going.

Boy Scout Cove was somewhat primitive with no potable water, a very dirty porta-potty and a somewhat cleaner concrete-block outhouse without a door. The sign said camping was $9, but there were no fee envelopes so we just figured we'd pay when someone came around. We found a very pleasant campsite close to the lake with a table and good tent sites and proceeded to go for a swim.

There was just a group of three fisherman and a family group and us at the campground so it wasn't crowded. Another couple came later, but I don't think they stayed. We had tortillas, cheese and peanut butter and I think some veggies and some salmon jerky and beef jerky for dinner, walked around a bit and retired to our tents.

Daily totals:
  Hayfork to Ruth Lake (Boy Scout Cove) - 61.9 miles, 4970 feet.

Day 9: Thursday, June 12

In the morning we ate more tortillas and peanut butter and started riding. No one ever came to collect the camping fee so our night was free. We continued on Ruth-Zenia Rd, climbing the Mad River Ridge and descending to Zenia. The climb used to be unpaved, but it was recently paved and in good condition. We had been told that the store in Zenia was closed, and this was correct. The only activity in town was at the post office.

I was short of water when we left Ruth Lake so we stopped on the climb where a stream crossed under the road, and I pumped a few liters of water, and we all took some so we now had plenty to get to Alderpoint.

Here we wanted to continue on Alderpoint Bluff Rd direct to Alderpoint rather than taking the longer detour through Kettenpom which also had more climbing. There were detour signs and a sign saying "road closures 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday", but we had been told we could get through, and the plural "closures" seemed to imply they were intermittent so we continued in our preferred direction.

We descended a bit and came to the first construction area. A woman told us we would have to go back. At this point we really didn't want to backtrack up hill and the construction was just a short dirt section with one compacting machine being run back and forth. We said we'd be happy to walk through, and the woman checked with the boss who was running the compactor, and he said we could proceed. They told us there was a more involved construction site a little further on and that we should be careful and be sure to walk and not go until all the equipment operators saw us. We walked through the first site and soon got to the next place.

Here there was an excavating machine digging dirt out of the area of the roadway and loading it into trucks. We were contemplating a way to walk through when one of the workers came up to us and said we couldn't go through. We explained the boss up above had said we could walk through, and he said there were federal inspectors on the site and they couldn't let us go with equipment working, etc. It was by now after 11:30 and we suggested that perhaps we could go when they broke for lunch. The worker went back and brought the inspector who tried to discourage us, but we repeated that the detour would be a problem for us and the boss above had said we could go. The inspector didn't want to OK it because he was afraid if any delays resulted, the contractor could blame him. Anyway, he finally drove up to the upper site and talked to the boss and came back and said we could go when they broke for lunch which by then would be in less than 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, we had spoken to a couple of county public works guys who were leaving to go back to their office. It turns out that this was a slide repair using federal emergency relief funds. Thus the federal inspector. Isn't bureaucracy wonderful.

At noon on the dot they stopped for lunch and we walked our bikes through the area. The workers even helped us get our bikes up the short soft climb where the excavator had been digging. We were then able to continue without further incident down to the Eel river and up a short, steep climb to Alderpoint where we got lunch at the store/deli.

After lunch, we continued on Alderpoint Rd up a 2500 foot, hot, sweaty climb for about 9 miles to the junction with Bell Springs Rd although it did cool considerably near the top. Our plan was to continue south along the ridge on Bell Springs Rd to highway 101 and then to Laytonville. This was about 28 miles - 20 of which were dirt - to 101 and another 12 to Laytonville. By now it was about 4:30 and it was just a 9 mile downhill on Alderpoint Rd to Garberville so we changed our plan and went to Garberville.

We checked in to the Best Western in Garberville which had a pool and a hot tub and a wine and cheese tasting. We took advantage of all of this before going to dinner and then to a movie. We saw "Laurel Canyon" which was an interesting film with a highly ambiguous ending.

Daily totals:
  Ruth Lake to Garberville - 49.3 miles, 5640 feet.

Day 10: Friday, June 13

The motel had a laundromat so we put together a load of laundry and got it going while we made a few trips to the breakfast room for melon, muffins, etc. which we ate along with some avocado and tomato that we still had.

After eating and collecting our laundry, we started riding south on 101 which is a freeway at this point. We soon stopped on the shoulder around Benbow, and I saw a golf ball in a grassy area next to the shoulder. I see golf balls a lot on rides, and even though I play golf, I usually don't pick them up. Something about a golf ball on a freeway intrigued me this time so I picked it up, and then I saw another and picked it up too. Then I looked across the freeway and saw the small course that they clearly came from. I guess people who hit across the freeway don't want to challenge the traffic to try to find their golf balls.

We looked at a map and decided to leave the freeway and ride on highway 271 and maybe get something to eat in Piercy. Although the exit sign for 271 mentioned Piercy, we never saw anything there, and we just continued down 271 until we had to return to 101. Shortly thereafter, we came to a slide repair work zone on 101 with traffic control. We were told by the flagger that bicyclists weren't allowed to ride through, and we'd have to go in the pilot vehicle.

The pilot vehicle was a pick up truck and somehow we managed to get all three bikes and Patrick's BOB into the back and shut the gate and then all squeeze into the front of the truck with the driver. We drove through the construction area and unloaded ourselves and the bikes and trailer at the other end and waited for the rest of the southbound traffic to pass before continuing on what was now a shoulderless two lane highway, at least for a short distance.

We soon reached the area just north of Legget and stopped at the small store/deli across from the entrance to Standish Hickey and got some lunch. We then headed south on 101 for a mile or so and then took highway 1 to the coast.

This section of highway 1 has been recently repaved and has a very good surface. It climbs fairly gradually from about 900 feet to the summit at 1900 feet and then descends to almost sea level for a while before climbing again about 600 feet and finally descending to the coast.

Now back on older but still good pavement, we rode down to Westport and stopped at the store there for a couple of rounds of snacks. From here we made it to Cleone before stopping again and then picking up the "back way" bike route into Fort Bragg.

We stopped again almost immediately as Patrick had lost one of his cleat screws. I looked in my spare screws collection and didn't have any proper cleat screws, but I did have a button head screw that worked as a temporary fix.

We rode into Fort Bragg and stopped at one motel, but the room they had wasn't too appealing (we'd been spoiled in Garberville) so we said we'd look further. Next we saw a bike shop that was closed but still had people inside. We stopped and they let us in and replaced the screws for Patrick's cleat for no charge. They recommended the Super 8 so we rode there and inquired, but they could only accommodate us in two rooms that would have been significantly more than the first place we saw so we rode back, checking a couple of other places on the way but finally checking in at the first place we'd seen.

There was a really nice restaurant right by the motel, and we had a good dinner there.

Daily totals:
  Garberville to Fort Bragg - 70.8 miles, 5390 feet.

Day 11: Saturday, June 14

We had decided to go to the same restaurant for breakfast, but when we got there at 8:00 when it was supposed to open, they told us they were short handed that morning and wouldn't open for a half hour. Patrick was ready to go so he went off to get a cup of coffee somewhere and Bonnie and I went back to the room to finish loading our bikes and bring them down.

When we returned with our bikes, Patrick was talking with a group of people in front of the restaurant. It turned out they all lived in Mendocino and had just done their Saturday morning ride to Fort Bragg. Sometimes they go to Elk, but this day the tide was out in the morning so there would be lots of abalone divers out early on the highway between Mendocino and Elk so this was a Fort Bragg day. They ride every Saturday morning and one person drives the van into which they had just finished loading their bikes, and then they have breakfast and drive back.

By now the restaurant was opening so we all went in and shared a big table and had breakfast and talked about cycling and touring and rides we'd done.

After breakfast, we said goodbye to our new friends and began riding. Within a few blocks I spotted my last find of the trip in an intersection - a 10 mm combination wrench. I picked it up and we continued to Mendocino.

At Mendocino, we separated. Bonnie and Patrick rode to Orr Hot Springs where they met Bonnie's friend Emily who had driven up from the city. They stayed there, and the next day Bonnie and Emily drove back to the city and Patrick rode to Cloverdale where Grace met him and they drove home.

Meanwhile, I continued riding south on highway 1. I stopped at the combination grocery and hardware store in Manchester and got a sandwich and Gatorade and ate on the curb. By this time I had a ripping tailwind as I continued down highway 1 to Stewart's Point. I stopped at the store there and got a couple of sandwiches for my dinner.

I had planned to stop at the county park at Stillwater Cove where they have a hiker/biker site and free showers. This is roughly half way from Fort Bragg to Mill Valley. When I got to Stillwater Cove, it was about 4:30 and I still had a ripping tailwind so I thought "why stop now and waste all this daylight and ride in the morning before the wind comes up", and I continued on. I did stop at both the Timber Cove Lodge and the Fort Ross Lodge just to see what they had, but it was Saturday and neither place had any rooms left under $135 to $140. I also checked the River's End in Jenner, but they were full. My next stop was Wright's Beach campground, but it was full and had no hiker/biker area so I continued to Bodega Dunes where I got a spot in the hiker/biker area for $2.00 including a free shower.

I put up my tent for the second time on the trip, took a shower, ate my sandwiches and talked a bit with the only other resident of the hiker/ biker area, a young man from the Boston area who was touring down the coast.

Daily totals:
  Fort Bragg to Bodega Dunes - 108.5 miles, 7440 feet.

Day 12: Sunday, June 15

I thought I might ride a way south with the young man and show him some of the local secrets, but when I got up at 6:15, he was already leaving. In spite of having just two Clif bars for breakfast, I wasn't packed and ready to ride for another 45 minutes.

I left Bodega Dunes and rode to Valley Ford and got a Gatorade at the store. From there I went down Valley Ford-Franklin School Rd, Whitaker Bluff Rd, Middle Rd and Dillon Beach Rd. I skipped stopping in Tomales as I was now counting the miles to a slice of pizza at the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station. Unfortunately, I got there around 10:30 and the pizza wasn't going to be out for an hour.

I saw many cyclists on this day, but except for Dave who runs the bike rental next to the Bovine, I didn't see anyone I knew. Had I known that Bob Hallet's King's Ridge ride was this day, I could have detoured to Freestone and hung out until people showed up, but I didn't know.

I settled for a chili-cheddar cheese scone at the Bovine and rode on to Nicasio where I got another Gatorade and then on to Mill Valley getting home about 1:45.

It was a fabulous tour, but I was glad to be home.

Daily totals:
  Bodega Dunes to Mill Valley - 65.2 miles, 4140 feet.

Technical Information

Trip totals:
  12 days, 828.7 cycling miles, 62,660 feet of climb.

Daily average:
  69 miles, 5222 feet.

Hardest day on paper:
  Fort Bragg to Bodega Dunes - 108.5 miles, 7440 feet.

Actual hardest day:
  Dunsmuir to Enright Gulch - 46.2 miles, 5370 feet.


Bilenky touring bike with Continental Top Touring 2000 700x32 tires and rear panniers.
Ritchey unsuspended mountain bike with 26x1.75 tires and BOB Yak trailer, Suunto Advizor altimeter and Garmin eTrex Vista GPS.
REI touring bike with Avocet Cross-K 700x35 tires and front and rear panniers and Suunto Altimax altimeter.

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