Leg; 710 miles / 1,143 km
Total; 4,501 miles / 7,244 km
After 5 days in Pacific City hiding from Typhoon Songda we felt well rested and confident the worst weather was behind us. How wrong we were! Over the next 710 miles / 15 days we had one dry day.
The rain was relentless. We cycled through the rain. We put our tent up in the rain. We went to shower in the rain, dried ourselves, and were drenched by the time we reached our tent. We took our tent down in the rain. Basically, it rained nonstop. All this, and we constantly heard about California’s 5 year drought! We didn’t believe a word of it until we reached San Francisco and the we hit the famous Californian sun. California dreaming!
Along the way we saw some incredible sites. The road largely hugs the coast and there are incredible rock structures all the way. We spotted a grey whale in Port Orford, who was rubbing itself on these rocks to shake off the barnacles that built up on its skin. We witnessed mating sea lions who made a disturbing grunt that could be heard hundreds of feet up from the ocean.
As well as the rain, we also had lots of climbing. The west coast is by far the hilliest section of our trip. While the Canadian Rockies has long, never ending climbs, the west coast is up and down all day long. Most days we gained over 3,000ft of elevation. And the Gualala day we surpassed 4,000ft. The elevation does bring stunning views though, and we’d highly recommend the route in drier times.
The best thing about this section was Highway 1. This is a perfectly smooth section of route that rewards you with fabulous views. We were told horror stories about the lack of barrier to the ocean, and no shoulder, but we had a great time and didn’t feel in danger. The Avenue of the Giants was another highlight. This is a 25 mile stretch of smooth Tarmac through a dense forest of Giant Redwoods. The size of these beasts is hard to appreciate until you’ve spent a day cycling through there!
When we got to San Francisco our friends Ross and Harriet were waiting for us and we enjoyed 3 days hanging out and bingeing! We would definitely recommend this stretch of road. We were told by many people that this level of rain is unusual in October, but we suggest cycling this in September. That way you avoid the hoards of RVs, and the rain!
Wildlife spots; grey whale, tree frog