Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
Finally left Fort Bragg headed for Point Arena. A few miles down the road, came across only the second long-distance cyclist I've encountered since leaving SeaTac. Franklin:
Franklin had left Bellingham, WA a while back and was headed for Vallejo, CA. I gathered that he'd lead a fairly hardscrabble life––he'd worked as a long-haul trucker and had also served in the Merchant Marines––but had recently found (or was found by) Christianity and was on a journey to "see what the Lord provides." He'd spent a few years as a kid in Vallejo, so was going back. I was amazed (aghast?) with the crudeness of his set-up: A worn out Trek mountain bike, no helmet, no lights, blue jeans and leather military boots, a huge backpack on his back and a smaller one hanging on the handlebars, a bunch of stuff in a big trash bag, and a one-liter Gatorade bottle to carry water. Wow. Nice guy, though, so we rode and talked for a while. He was riding pretty slowly so I eventually left him.
The weather today was a dense, wet fog that, when riding, makes everything facing forward heavy and damp within 10 minutes. Too warm to put on rain gear, though. Temperature in the mid-50's.
Fog is visible in the background of this photo of one of the myriad B&Bs/Inns along this stretch of California coast:
I stopped here for coffee and found out the owner had grown up in Seattle and knew it well. She invited me to browse around the grounds which included multiple accommodations buildings, a garden, a garden store/greenhouse and restaurant, all situated at the top of cliffs overlooking the ocean. This was one of those places that advertises Wedding/Honeymoon/Romantic Getaway Specials. All very "shi-shi."
Passed through Point Arena without stopping after finding it a bit dilapidated and devoid of adequate accomodations. Decided I'd look for a spot to camp south of Point Arena, not realizing that it's almost all residences and private property. (Although, it appeared that 90% of the residences, many of them very nice, were vacant––likely wealthy San Franciscans' "summer homes." I considered stealth camping on one of these properties but decided against it because you never know if the homeowner is going to come rolling in at 11 PM to find a bicyclist camping uninvited in their yard.)
By 5:15 PM I hadn't found anything suitable and it was pitch dark. I'd ridden over 60 miles since leaving Fort Bragg, I was wet from fog and sweat, and I came across another "Surf Motel," this one in Gualala. I caved. It sure beats pitching camp in the dark.