41.9 mi / 10.0 mph / 2854 ft. climbing
Home: Home: Samuel P. Taylor State Park hiker/biker
The clear skies from the previous day stayed open all night, and into the morning. We were up early for one of our biggest days of riding, and could actually feel a sunrise for the first time in forever. On top of that, it was 55 degrees, so we both were wearing shorts when we rolled out at 9am. A few weeks ago during the chills and then the rains, it had depressingly felt like we’d never “catch up” with the weather going south to be able to make such a bold wardrobe choice, so it was really re-energizing to be able to do it before next summer.
For some reason there is no coast road south of Bodega Bay (I guess they blew the budget on the engineering for yesterday’s section?), so Highway 1 turns inland for a stretch. Into the bright green grass-covered pastoral hills of farm country, giving California another chance to show off its staggering diversity of beauty. The tiny crossroads town of Valley Ford then felt entirely like a midwest farm town, except in Iowa, the old bank building across from the general store probably does not currently house a surf shop like it does in Valley Ford!
After Valley Ford, Highway 1 made a right turn south, and the already-light traffic dropped to nearly zero, for some really relaxing, road-to-ourselves, ultimate-bike-touring riding. Until we had to get back over the hill, to bring us back down into the super cute town of Tomales, and not quite the ocean, but the oddly straight, long, and narrow Tomales Bay, beneath which lies the San Andreas fault.
When we reached the grocery in Point Reyes Station, Rett’s right hip was barely operating when she got off the bike to walk. We’d already done as much climbing as any day on the trip, and still had one more big hill to go. A woman passing by stops and says “you guys are amazing! you’re doing great!” Sometimes just a quick word like that from a stranger can make the pain burn a bit less. After finishing up at the store, we see her outside again and talk some more, her empathy and positivity both obvious and infectious, and learn that she shares her birthday with Rett’s mom. Thus Rett and Lorena are both convinced that Rett’s mom was pulling strings to bring Lorena with support and encouragement to us in that moment, and it sure sounds like a nice idea to me too.
We had that one more big hill to once again bring us inland, and it was hot with the sun on our backs! But then we dropped along Lagunitas Creek, and suddenly were surrounded by dark, cool, redwood forest once again. Such a dramatic difference it makes being inside the trees vs. out in the open sun. And it made me feel dumb that I’d bought a Coke to go with dinner and hauled it up the hill, when I had a whole creek of cold Lagunitas flowing right next to the hiker/biker site at Samuel P. Taylor!
I never got around to filling a bottle from the beer creek (or even learning if it’s running with IPA or Little Sumpin’ this season) because we got happily distracted talking with our fellow biker already at the site. Raven is a solo, retired, long-term, slow-traveler like us who we had so much in common with in bike-touring style and philosophy (even down to carrying the exact same Microsoft Surface tablet!), and it was great to spend the evening talking into the (7:30pm) dark.