Day 5 – Fort Bragg to Bodega Bay – 09/25/2013

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Just north of Mendocino

I woke up before the alarm, went for a shower, and prepared myself to what would be the second to last day of my ride. Did a few calculations based on the road ahead and decided that I could probably make it to Jenner, some 95 miles down the road.

As soon as breakfast opened, I grabbed a couple of bananas, drank some orange juice, and left looking for a coffee place. A few minutes later, I saw a Starbucks on the left, got my latte and a couple of pastries, loaded my camelback with fresh water, and left Fort Bragg. What a great day to ride. Sunny, not to hot, not a cloud in the sky, and wind on my back. This is the kind of day every cyclist dreams of. And just like that I was riding the dream!

Rugged Coast past between Mendocino and Manchester
Rugged Coast past between Mendocino and Manchester

Cycled past Mendocino, and stopped for some food at Little River. Cool little place! There I chatted with a bakery delivery guy that was pretty impressed with my bike. My bike is a Specialized 29er mountain bike that was adapted to be a touring bike. I told him I was very pleased with my travel companion. Up to this point she had beed a well behaved, dependable, and easy to ride bicycle.

I resumed my ride, and a few miles ahead I met another fellow cyclist sitting by his touring bike on the side of the road. I stopped and asked if he needed any assistance. He was just on a food break. We started to chat and talked about where we were coming from and where we were planning to end the day.

Near Manchester
Near Manchester
Near Machester
Near Machester

It turns out that he was from Seattle, and worked as a mechanic for Gregg’s Cycle in Redmond. What a small world – I bought my bicycle from Gregg’s Cycle in Lynnwood. We rode a few miles together and John (the cyclist) needed to stop, I told him I would continue because I wanted to make it to my destination before sunset.

The miles passed with ease while I was taking in the scenery. Around Manchester my stomach was sending me messages – feed me, feed me, feed me real food. I did a quick survey of Manchester and there was only a supermarket which I did not care to stop for food. Checked my map and Point Arenas was right ahead.

As soon as I entered Point Arena I saw a packed Mexican place. I stopped, ordered some food, and drank a cold Jarritos. Use the opportunity to do a quick reality check on where I was and when I should be arriving in San Francisco. Judging by the distance too San Francisco and the elevation profile, I estimated that I should be arriving the next day between 1 PM and 2 PM. Emailed a couple of people in our SF office about my estimated arrival there.

The Coast near Stewarts Point
The Coast near Stewarts Point
The Coast near Stewarts Point
The Coast near Stewarts Point

Break was over, and soon I found myself back on my bicycle heading south. What a life! The landscape and the ocean views evolved with the ride. Very entertaining. I felt so good riding in the sunny weather. I was also enjoying the rolling hills more than I ever thought I would. As I progressed I found yet another cyclist. However, this guy did not look right. As I got closer I figured why. He was a free loader type, with a 10 dollar bike he got from a garage sale. I had the weirdest conversation with him. After a few minutes I grew really tired of him and I decide to drop him. And so I did.

Another turn after another climb.
Another turn after another climb.

I still had two big hills between me and my destination for the day. Besides being a hard climb, it was also towards the end of the day, after I had done about 87 miles. The climbs eventually came, and with them, a nice view for the road ahead. And, as usual, a nice down hill.

While I was taking care of what should have been my last hill for the day, I met yet another fellow cyclist. He was from Germany, and he was actively looking for a place to eat and sleep. We had a quick conversation, and he soon found the restaurant. I continued in search for a place to sleep only to find that most affordable places all taken.

Just north of Jenner.
Just north of Jenner.

I checked my map and decided that I could probably reach Bodega Bay, 11 miles away, just after sunset. It was either that or sleep in an overpriced place. With these facts in mind, I pushed on as fast I could and averaged about 15 miles per hour on the next 10 miles. I got to Bodega Bay in record time, and just before darkness set in.

Beautiful sunset just before I arrived at Bodega Bay
Beautiful sunset just before I arrived at Bodega Bay

Once again, my trusty iPhone helped me find a place reasonably priced to spend the night. I spent the night at a very charming place called the Bodega Bay Inn.

For dinner, I had to go a mile down and up a hill to a supermarket/deli.  There I got some grilled panini, chips and beer. Yes, beer! While eating my well earned dinner, I mentally prepared myself for my last last day riding. I also took look at the map and realized that San Francisco was a mere 67 miles away. A mixture of happiness and sadness dominated my feelings. And on that note I hit the pillows hard.

I had done 108 miles and climbed 7,408 feet. My moving time was 8 hours and 52 minutes and my total travel time was 11 hours and 54 minutes. I was happy to be there!

Total distance: 107.92 mi
Max elevation: 600 ft
Min elevation: 10 ft
Total climbing: 7894 ft
Total descent: -7900 ft
Total Time: 23:50:06

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