Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Southern California

After Big Sur the topography really flattened out and the miles seemed to pass with ease. Southern California is an area with so much contrast: ridiculously wealthy areas like Santa Monica and Orange County vs. the homeless people at Venice Beach a few miles down the road, lovely surf beaches and loads of parks next to huge power stations or oil refineries. It was certainly an interesting area to ride through.
Katy, Kristian and I parted ways at Ventura. They were heading over to Phoenix, Arizona for Christmas. It had been a real treat to ride with two such lovely people and I was going to miss their company and Katy’s cooking. I was a bit nervous of cycling thought LA and had planned on getting public transport but it turned out not to be that bad and was actually a very interesting experience!
Santa Monica was underwhelming and the mainly Hollywood based sightseeing did not interest me at all. I spent nearly one week in San Diego and a lot of that time was spent cleaning, organising and packing my bike and gear and spending quite a while arranging freighting of everything. I felt very relieved and free when it had been picked up and all I have left is carry on oohh the freedom!!!!
I have spent my last night in the US at a bar by the beach drinking a few pints of good American beer (yes it does exist!!!), eating seafood tacos and thinking that the next time I have a pint it will be with Ella and Phil in London. Cheers!!!

Really enjoying some forzen yoghurt during a break at San Luis Obispo.

Enjoying the sunset on our last night camping together at Gaviota State Beach.

Empty beach and lonely volleyball nets at Santa Monica.

The murky, smoggy and grey Los Angeles megalopolis I had just biked through.

A typical Southern California scene: lovely water, some surfers, a flash house or two and a big power station.

The USA-Mexican border
(or as close as you can get from where I was unless you are crossing)

My bike enjoying being unloaded and finally at the border!! [you can have a break now little bike]

I also enjoyed finally getting there but not the actual place.

Big Sur

Hmmmm where to begin....................Big Sur is AWESOME and I LOVED it!!!! Gorgeous coastline, a cliffside road, lots of wildlife, sexy bridges and loads of sunshine.

It is definitely in my Top 5 favourite places I have been! This is probably shown in the large number of photos in this post. However, a lot of them do not have descriptions. This is because they are just enjoyable to look at. So look at them and enjoy it!!!

I have a feeling the Oregon coast would have be similar if it had not been raining all the time. Cuss you rain!!!

mmmmmm pretty rocks

Cyclists on the road to the Big Sur campground

A warm and happy group of cyclists (taken by a nice road worker when we had to stop at one of the bridges)

ooooooo nice coastline AND and sexy bridge


Coastal view from our camping spot at Kirk Creek

Hi Kristian!!! [waves]

The journey southwards continues. This was a rare oppurtunity to get all the road signs we have been staring at for the past 2 months in one photo!.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

San Francisco to Monterey

After 3 days chilling in San Francisco it was time to get back on the road and get the last haul to San Diego underway. The cycling posse had decreased to myself, Katy and Kristian.

The weather had really got warmer during the day but was still cold at night. We found this out one night when we slept out in the open and woke in the morning with frost on our sleeping bags and belongings.

My cyling attire changed to suit the weather and I discovered the joy of zooming downhill with my hi-vis vest undone so that is flapped behind me kind of like a cape (note to self: buy cycling cape).

The coast line was beautiful, the beer cold and delicious and riding through some of the upmarket areas around Monterey a big eye opener (man some people have a lot of money!!!).

Sunset and beer at Pescadero Beach

More lighthouses.......this time at Pigeon Point

Santa Cruz boardwalk and fun park

Carmel Mission

Pretty ceramics and nice doors at the Carmel Mission

Sunday, 18 December 2011

San Francisco

I was very excited to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head into San Francisco to spend three days with my friend mia from kindy and college. At the moment we average about 7-10 years between seeing each other, so it was time for a catch up!!

Had a lovely time staying at Mia and Josh's home in the Mission area of the city. Spent a lot of my time cycling around the city just looking at stuff. Unfortunately I did not spend much of that time taking photos - sorry about that. San Francisco is a really beautiful city and if you could see the pictures I have in my head you would agree with me.

  • meeting Josh and hanging out at the Judkins house with them and their crazy cats
  • audio tour of Alcatraz
  • eating lots of ice cream because it was hot!!
  • cycling through Golden Gate Park, Presidio, Mission area, Haight-Ashbury area and along the waterfront
Kite surfers and the Golden Gate Bridge

All of the above area from my visit to Alcatraz

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

California Highway 1: Leggett to San Francisco

At Leggett Steve and I turned back towards the coast and headed over the highest point on the bike route (a pretty lame 2000 feet). It was nice to be back beside the ocean again. It has been my constant companion since I began my ride south and I had missed it in the few days we were in the Redwoods.

After one last day of rain, that flooded the campsite at Westport beach and lead to us sleeping on picnic tables, the sun shone all the way to San Francisco. In Westport two more cyclists (that I had briefly meet in Oregon) joined us on the journey south. It was a real treat to ride with people but that also comes with other problems.

A few mornings were spent riding through the fog that shroudes the west coast in warmer weather but in general it was sunny and I had ample opporutnity to work on my awesome tan lines!!

  • All you can eat pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner at the Westport Beach KOA and the awesome camp hosts who looked after us.
  • Huge pancake breakfast, hot tub and more lovely camp hosts who adopted and overfed us.
  • Sunshine!!!
  • The road from Stewarts Point to Bodega Bay. It was awesome riding on this road etched into the cliff high above the Pacific Ocean in the blazing sunshine.
  • Riding around Tomales Bay into Point Reyes Station.

    Bad ass cycle touring graffiti, Leggett Hill.

    Hungry cyclists enjoying their Thanksgiving feast

    Water - Check.......Gas - Check........Whiskey - CHECK.........Got all the essentials phew!!

    All-you-can-eat Pancake breakfast round one at Manchester Beach KOA. Pens are for drawing on the table cloth inbetween plates of food.

    Kristian, Me, Katy and Steve. Point Arena Lighthouse.

    The posse before leaving Samuel P. Taylor State Park and heading to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Sign north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Still 778 miles to Mexico.....aaarrggghhh!!

    Had to carry the bikes down and then up another flight of stairs to get to the correct side of the bridge. And yes mine was the heaviest!

    North of the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh fog.......oh how unusual!

    Crossing the bridge. Heck yes I was as excited as I look!!!!! eeeeee it was awesome!

      Monday, 12 December 2011

      California: Redwood Highway

      I left Oregon in the sunshine (finally!!) and past through the customs at the border (checking for evil fruit and vege!). The route took me along Highway 101 (which was often a freeway) and also through scenic side roads like the Avenue of the Giants. One day of sunshine did not make up for the huge amount of rain through the redwoods and discomfort of riding on the freeway. However, the big trees were awesome, I had someone to ride with and the rain always stops eventually.

      Redwood Highway (California Border to Leggett)

      Entering the Redwoods

      A lone fisherman enjoying the sunday sunshine at Big Lagoon, Humbolt Lagoons State Park.

      Two sides of Big Lagoon, Humbolt Lagoons State Park.

      Replica lighthouse, Trinidad.

      Sunset in Eureka.

      A bike, a cyclist and a really big tree.

      Steve riding along The Avenue of the Giants.