Taking California from the bottom up - Part 2
After rain - the burning down of the trailer -
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today 21 miles, Total 4,229
We wake up to frost on the tent and sunshine on the horizon. A new day awaits us. What will today bring.
Breakfast on deck with Kathy and Mike.
Today brings Kathy and Mike on their bikes with breakfast. As the sun creeps higher in the sky, we enjoy the company of our new friends. While we have our breakfast of boiled eggs and bacon, with apple juice and cofffee, several people stop by to wish us well on our journey. Linn's bakery sends us off with a box of freshly made pastries. They will sure taste good on the road.
Hard to believe, but ready we are once more. Thanks for all your help Mike and Kathy!
We're back in the saddle. Now the Big Sur is waiting. Thanks Cambria. We will not forget you! Mike helps us find our way out of town and rides with us for several miles.
The coastline is beautiful. The road rolls gently like the waves. On our right we have the hills, with the deer running free and Hearst castle on top. The sun shines on our backs. It is good to be on the road again.
A herd of deer was grazing in the field until they heard us coming.
We're taking our first break at San Simeon. The girls run from tree to tree, checking which ones to climb. It is time for Mike to turn back around again and 'let us be together as a family' once more. We enjoy the time we are given together. Here we sit in this moment in time, absorbing the smells and the scenery. One moment at a time. It's good to be alive in this tiny blip we call life.
Like always before, the girls race to be back on the bike. 'It's my turn to be first!' 'No, it's mine.' ... A while back we set up a schedule. Every girl a day to be first, second and third. Robin is part of this action too of course. She climbs as fast as she can between the bars into her saddle.
Leaving San Simeon behind, we enter the wilderness. We'll find some stores along the way, but they'll be few and far between. Our panniers are full with food, our trailer has a new load of fruit. We're all set. Besides, our friends Kevin and Melissa are driving up from Encinitas to spend the weekend with us, so we'll be fine for sure.
As we're pedalling away we send out our last text message for a while. There will be no reception untill we reach the town of Big Sur. The last text goes out to Milton. He's driving a motorcycle from Miami to San Francisco. He's in this area now and is looking forward to getting together. So do we. We keep on pedalling until we meet him at the Elephant Seal beach. We haven't met before. We just connect via our website. A kindred spirit, on the road to see the world and see what opportunities and experiences lie around the next corner.
Milton is driving his motor cycle from Miami to San Francisco. He's connected with us via the website. His next journey will be from Los Angeles to the Panama Canal.
The seals are incredibly funny to look at. Especially when they bark at each other, or when you see them flip sand on their backs. But they sure do sleep a lot. It does look a little bit like a bunch of dead fish on the beach. Although very big and fat fish.
Robin is figuring out what the elephant seals are doing.
Jasmine is observing the elephant seals from up high.
We stay for a while, until Milton has to go on again. He's still going to San Francisco today. That is hard to comprehend for us. It'll easily take us another week or two. Travel safe Milton, have fun and joy wherever the road may lead you.
Cheyenne is thinking which song she'll play on her spare harmonica. The song book with the new harmonica didn't make it through the fire. Neither did Jasmine's flute.
Amarins and Robin enjoying the music. Picture by Jasmine.
The bicycle club of Cambria has told us of an off the road rogue camping spot. That is where we're going today. There is no official camp ground within our reach. We'll save that for tomorrow.
Arrival on the outskirts of the Big Sur.
We can really see the mountainous terrain ahead of us now. What a beautiful sight. Quite impressive too. We're not sure how we'll get across, but we know we will. Determination and the love of friends are on our side.
With little trouble we find our camping spot. A tiny trail takes us to under the trees. We carry the bicycle through across a little stream. It'll be fine tonight leaning against the bushes. The path to the camp spot is to windy and narrow to take it there.
Stomping around our hidden camp spot.
Cheyenne and Jasmine are marching down the path they created in the forest.
We set up camp while the sun is still high in the sky. The girls are clearing out a spot for our friends. With pinecones and branches they make the outlines of a path. They're having a ball.
The site works out well for us, but does not have a spot to park the car. When Kevin and Melissa arrive, we decide that Kai can camp with us tonight, while they find a motel in San Simeon. Cheyenne is delighted to have Kai camp with us. They're roaming the woods, making up all sorts of games. When the sun sets we're calling it a day. Time to settle down for another night.
Today 17 miles, Total 4,246
Cheyenne has slept well. Having a friend with her helps her process the loss of Mr Dog. They share stories together. Thanks for being there Kai.
The kids continue their games while Amarins and Bill pack up and carry everything to the road. We're going to take advantage of having a car available. We're going to load part of our stuff into the car. This way we can travel faster and have more time to spend together. Almost everything is at the road, but the tent, when we suddenly have a cloud covering. It comes up so quickly we don't realize it at first, until we feel the first drips. We quickly herd the kids together and cover them with a tarp. For the tent it's to late. It gets drenched. Yuck.
The tent is already packed up when it starts to rain. We quickly cover the kids with the tarp. What an excitement.
The rain is gone by the time Kevin and Melissa and little Mae arrive in the car. We pile in what we can fit. Ragged Point is two miles up the hill. Easily an hours ride if we're fully loaded. We decide to meet there for breakfast.
What a difference to be riding without the hundred pounds of gear. We're climbing the hill with little stops. One hill down... many more to come...
We've left some of our load in the car. It makes quite a difference. This way we can join them for breakfast at Ragged Point (instead of lunch...).
We can barely believe it, but we make it to Ragged Point in half an hour. We were cooking! It must have been the though of a good breakfast with friends that got us here so fast.
Cheyenne and Robin.
We take a seat on the terrace. View of the ocean, flowers of all sorts and colors blooming all around. We've arrived in a paradise. We have an abundant breakfast. With omelets, pancakes, bacon, orange juice, coffee and fruit. We are so thankful that we have taking the chance to be on this journey. To find out what life has in stock for us. To feel the struggles and the pain of loss. To feel the warmth and love of new found friends. There we camp along the road side, hidden under the trees. Here we sit, feasting like no kings and queens of eons past have done before. It's good to smell the roses.
Breakfast is served.
A moment in the Big Sur with friend Kai.
Robin on the edge of a cliff...
Mae is doing a little tap dance.
It's hard to break free, but the road awaits. Tally ho, everybody on! And off we are. We climb a mile, we descend a mile. We're riding a human power roller coaster. We're playing tag with Kevin and Melissa. They're taking pictures of us as we go.
Kevin is acting as tripod. Nice to have us all in one shot. Thanks Kevin.
Each curve we take displays a new mystic scenery. Whether it's a waterfall coming from above, or a wave hitting the rocks below. It's a beautiful ride.
Hidden around a corner we find a big waterfall. Another hundred feet up the road and it's hidden once more.
The sight from up high.
With the arrival of the afternoon, so do the clouds. Six miles before Plaskett Crampground we see a familiar car. Kevin has returned from setting up camp. The girls and Amarins hop in the car. Kevin takes Amarins' seat. The men will finish today, so Amarins can set up our wet tent to dry before the rain sets in. The kids will have more time to play together too.
Jasmine is checking out the clouds that are rolling in.
The rain doesn't start yet for several hours. We can see the clouds rolling in and make the mountain up north disappear. Amarins helps Melissa set up their tent, after setting up our tent. Together we have it up in no time. We're just in time putting our gear in the tent when the rain starts falling.
The kids get to see a movie in the car while Melissa gets the fire going. The firepit is located just under the branches of a big tree, keeping it just a little dry. The rain comes and goes, but it stays wet.
We huddle around the fire, while the billy is on, boiling water and the potatoes roast in the coals. It isn't long when the men join us.
Kai is sharing his coloring book with the girls.
The rain makes for a mucky messy camping experience. When the sun sets, the rain sets in for the night. Even under the tree we get soaked, so we call it a night.
Today 33 miles, Total 4,279
It's wet and damp, but dry from the sky. The kids pick up playing where they left off; coloring, skateboarding, enjoying the campfire. The bacon is sizzling on the grill, another billy is boiling. Breakfast is going, the bags are being packed up.
Kevin is fixing bacon above the campfire.
Robin is coloring.
Another day in the Big Sur awaits. Once more the gear is loaded in the car. Melissa and Kevin are going ahead of us to find a campground for the night. The park ranger tells us there will be one at Julia Pfeiffer, 26 miles up (and down) the road. It's a bit more then we did yesterday, but the day is still young, so we're taking it on.
The scenery is breathtaking. The road is much better then we had expected. The shoulder is inconsistent, but it's there when we need it to rest on. We're on the cliff side, so no worries about the drop offs. There are not many of those anyway. The area looks refreshed after the rain. The sky is blue and the sun is nudging us to go on.
Jasmine peeks around Bill to fill her sight with the beautiful scenery.
Robin is observing the canyon.
We try to follow the road with our eyes. Sometimes it disappears and we're left to guessing how we're going to go around the next cliff. It is good not to know what lies ahead exactly. If the road goes up, we'll work our way up. If it goes down, we'll enjoy the roll down. If it is steep, we push a little harder and rest a little more. If if is flat we let the pedals go round and round. The mystery of what lies ahead makes this journey what it is. The joy of the moment gives it it's value.
We've come from afar.
In Lucia we find a cute little store. A hot chocolate and home made cookies for the girls. We enjoy the sit down moment when the store lady comes out with more hot chocolate and a bag full of cookies and brownies for on the road. Thank you ma'am!
We keep following the curvy windy highway 1. One breath taking sight after another. From the Lucia lady we hear that Julia Pfeiffer Burns is for day use only, thus no camping. The next campground is Big Sur State Park, another ten miles after Julia Pfeiffer. A little later we get that confirmed from Kevin. They've been up and down the road to find us a place to camp and have come to the same conclusion. We decide to do what we did yesterday. They go up ahead, unload, Kevin comes back, Amarins and the girls go ahead. Today they cannot camp with us, they need to go back home. It's still a long drive.
Well, it is what it is. The scenery is still very enjoyable. And it is actually quite exciting to make it to the Big Sur State Park today.
Getting closer and closer.
Under the redwood canopy at Julia Pfeiffer. The wind blows straight in.
Looking down the cliff.
Bill holds the bike in a firm grip as Amarins takes pictures of the beautiful scenery.
It's extremely windy here at Julia Pfeiffer. We go a little further to find a spot to take a break. We pass a blind curve. We can't see what's behind, and we can't see what's ahead. These are intense moments. We're very thankful for the wide shoulder at this location.
What's around the bend in the road? There is no telling. We catch our breath before moving on.
We're fortunate to have a wide shoulder to rest on.
A little further is a pullout. We park the bike. Everybody off! We've gone 24 miles already and we can feel it.
A moment to rest.
Perfect timing. As we get ready to get back on, Kevin arrives. He's going to finish today with Bill. Amarins and the girls head for the park. The road to the park is very trying. It goes down a little, but then has a several miles long, incredibly steep climb, before cresting. When you get to the other side of the hill, the road goes down into a valley full of huge redwoods. A magnificent scenery. Totally unexpected. The campground is another mile through the woods.
The campground has showers and a laundry facility (quite necessary). Melissa picked us out a nice campground. When we get there we slowly start putting up the site. We left the tarp on the bike, not quite handy, so we'll have to wait for the men to arrive. The kids enjoying the time to play together. Of course riding the skate board. Even Robin and Mae are taking turns on the skate board. They like to sit or lay on it and roll themselves with their hands.
Amarins takes Robin and Mae for a ride to the front of the campground. We're on a quest for laundry detergent. As well as on the lookout for the daddies. It's been quite a while and they have not arrived yet. After a succesful quest, Amarins decides to check up the road a bit to see if the daddies can be located. After several miles we spot the big yellow bike at the crest of the hill. The men are taking a highly deserved break. The little girls jump into their arms.
As the men finish their break, Amarins leaves for the campground with the girls, the tarp and a message: Kevin and Melissa are going to stay another night! Yippee!
It's Melissa's turn to set the tent up by herself. With little help from Amarins she puts it up very sharp. Kai and Cheyenne are helping Amarins move our tent on top of the tarp. Thanks kids!
Another night camping with friends. Kai gets to sleep in our tent once more. After a while of chitter chatter, they quiet down and fall asleep. It's been another day of adventures.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Today 27 miles, Total 4,306
We cook up the last food for breakfast. Our gear goes back on the bike and in the trailer. Today we're on our own again, although not in spirit. It's hard to imagine how many lives we've touched by being on this journey. As well as how many lives have touched ours. We say we're self contained on this journey. But are we really. When it comes to carrying our gear, yes, mostly we are. When it comes to the pedalling, the action, the website updates, the pictures, yes we do all that. But could we really have done it without you? Your cheers, your support, a hot meal or a roof over our heads. You are an undismissable piece of this journey. Thanks for being on board.
Riding through the Big Sur forest.
Big Sur Girl.
It sure makes a difference, being loaded or not. We're thankful for the first couple of easy miles. It still goes up and down, but the grades are small. It's peaceful on the road. Not many cars yet. Daylight savings time has kicked in, giving us the feeling of a late start.
A final turn and we're out of the Big Sur valley. The landscape changes back to rolling hills and fields of grass. The Pacific is once more on our side.
Little wind results in a hazy coast line.
We're finally picking up some cell phone reception. It is time to make some calls. We have a place to stay in Monterey, but we need to let our hosts know. Our plan is to be there tomorrow. Today we set our goal on Carmel. Or if we can find a place to camp sooner, that'll be fine too. We're asking the universe for a place to stay and a hot meal.
Taking a break during this wind still morning.
A passerby tells us of a coffee shop seven miles up the road. That's a good place to aim for. It's a fine day to piece together.
Big Sur traversers.
After the initial gentle ride, the hills set back in. So does the wind. Each time we go around a corner it comes straight in. We pedal and pedal, we pass seven miles, but no place to sit down for a break. We climb an incredible hill. When we turn the corner we see the Bixby bridge in the distance. This bridge is famous, because it is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world. From up here it sure looks impressive. The bridge was build in 1932. That makes it even more incredible.
Looking at the Bixby bridge in the distance.
The ride down to the bridge is super fast. This is where our weight pitches in and helps out. Bill keeps his hands on the breaks though.
The wind has picked up. We're taking a break as out of the wind as possible.
A road side break will do just fine. Bill has to stay at the bike to keep it from blowing over. We have sandwiches, cheese, nuts and fruit. That will keep us going for a while. We've given up on the coffee shop. That must have been a mirage.
We're out of the Big Sur, but definitely not out of the hills! We finally arrive in 'civilization' after 21 miles. Now we'll find a place to eat. Bill is in for a piece of steak or a burger at least.
There are no shops in this part. Where do people eat here? Several more miles later we find a filling station. It's three more miles to a burger restaurant. Three more miles of hills. The hills are starting to bother us, because the chain is starting to slip. It looks like we've worn out another cassette...
But what is one to do. Sit still and go nowhere, or keep on chugging to get places. Of course we choose the latter. The power of taking action brings us to RG Burgers in Carmel. We park the bike. Although it's sunny, we choose to sit inside. With all the sweat on our backs we'd get cold outside. We've made the right choice by coming here. Bill gets his burger. The girls share a grilled cheese and french fries. Amarins shares with everyone.
We have a surprise new contact. Just before entering the Big Sur we got in touch with Bob and Heather. They'd like to meet us and put us up for the night. Now that we're in reception, we are certainly going to follow up on it. We let them know where we are, so we'll see them shortly.
As we're enjoying our meal, a conversation about the journey comes up with a couple from Salinas. We get ready to pay as we find out that they've alread done it for us. Thank you!
Back outdoors we meet Bob and Heather. They have arranged a hotel for us here in town. Tomorrow we're going to have breakfast together.
In front of the Carmel Mission Inn with Bob and Heather.
Today 6 miles, Total 4,312
A plush night in a real bed. So much appreciated. It's almost hard to get up and get ready for breakfast. Almost, but not quite. It's the daylight savings time that still throws us off. Eight o'clock comes around quickly.
Robin and Bob are coloring while we wait for breakfast.
Coloring and hot chocolate while the fire is going.
We enjoy spending time together. We're in no rush. Checkout time is noon and we're only going 6 miles or so. Thanks for being a part of the journey Heather and Bob!
Time doesn't stand still for anybody. Not for us either. There comes the time we have to get back and load up again. We're going across the mountain from Carmel to Monterey.
Devian Gilbert from Asana Cycles in Monterey is going to be our guide. He's taking us the best route. Little traffic, but still quite a hill to climb. We climb the hills as we usually do, stop and go. But this time it doesn't work so well. The chain is slipping over the rear cassette. When we start over, we have to pedal feather light to keep the chain from slipping some. It's a good thing we have Devian on our side. He grabs Jasmine's handle bars and helps us up the hills. That makes all the difference. Eventually we reach the top.
The girls love taking the bike path.
Cheyenne is on our tail.
Once over the top, it's downhill all the way. Well, untill the driveway. That is to steep to go up, so we just hop off and walk it the last 10 yards. As we enter we see the festive balloons and flags strung out to celebrate our arrival. We feel very welcome here in Monterey.
As soon as we arrive, the girls strip down. It has gotten quite warm already. They are ready for a couple of days of playing with Noah and Hannah.
The flags are out and the balloons are up. The Pedouins are in town!
Robin is teaching the guinnea pig to dance.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,312
The best part of staying someplace, is to stay. We enjoy being in a family house setting. Being surrounded by the normal day to day sounds. The sound of the coffee maker, the buzz of the mixer, the bleep of the oven to let us know the fresh made scones are ready. The chitter chatter of the kids. The constant whirlwind of them coming in and out. Robin riding around on Noah's little bike. The wonderful sounds of family life.
It is quiet for a long time upstairs... Now we know what the girls have been working on so long...
A ceiling full of drawings.
Jasmine swings Robin in the hammock.
Cheyenne is practising her cart wheel flip.
Cheyenne has learned how to finger knit.
In the afternoon the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a party starts. Signs need to be hung up, garden needs to be picked up, fire in the outside firepit just in case. Double check to see if there is enough food and beverages. Where are the plates, the napkins, a table cloth perhaps? It all works out to the T.
Delightful snacks; ready for the party.
All set, let the guest arrive. It becomes a nice mixture of bicycle club members and school parents. Lots of kids to play with. Interesting grown ups to talk with. And they are from all over. Several European countries are represented, as are several different states. We pull out the master map to show our route. We make connections for perhaps a future journey.
For this special occasion we have pulled out the charred master map. It really puts the trip in perspective.
What an afternoon.
Mel has promised Jasmine to bake cookies, something Jasmine doesn't forget. She's a true kitchen princess. Together they mix the dough together. Tomorrow it can go in the oven.
What a day. Thanks for putting it all together. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. And many thanks for your generosity.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,312
Today is a day full of activities. Cheyenne and Amarins are going to the Fisherman's Wharf to catch a whale watching boat. Robin, Jasmine and Bill are going to the Dennis the Menace playground with tonight's host Gwen. In the afternoon we're going to meet up in the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
But first we need to make and bake the cookies.
Shamrock cookies, fresh out of the oven.
At the Playground.
Jasmine and Robin go with Bill and Gwen to the Dennis the Menice playground.
Going down the curvy slide.
Robin is going fast.
Going down the washboard slide together.
Jasmine lets the goose check out her new sandals.
Robin on top of a roaring lion.
At the Fisherman's Wharf.
Amarins and Cheyenne are going whale watching. We've been invited by Marine Naturalist Kate Spencer.
We're ready to find some whales!
We saw two gray whales. But they don't just swim around to have their picture taken!
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Cheyenne points out a dragon sea horse.
To the delight of the girls, a wave comes over the window.
With Gwen and Dave in Salinas.
Time to decorate.
Robin and Hayley are playing with the little ponies.
The big kids enjoy a popcicle.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,312
The schedule has changed. Instead of leaving today, we're staying in the area one more day. It is just to pretty here.
We're enjoying another family day. Breakfast together. The kids doing artwork. Helping Gwen sow. Going to the local playground. And a buzz cut for Bill.
The girls are helping Gwen sow the holes in Cheyenne's horse towel.
Time for a haircut.
In the afternoon we make our way back (by car) to Monterey.
Robin is observing her creation.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Today 35 miles, Total 4,347
We had a delightful time in Monterey. But now we have to move on, San Francisco is calling. A final latte, a last bite of yummy pastries from the french bakery, another moment with new friends.
Breakfast from French bakery Parker-Lusseau in Montery.
Breakfast on the patio.
We're not leaving on our own. A group of riders from the Velo Club Monterey, as well as Jon and Melanie, with Noah and Hannah, are going to ride with us
The Velo Club of Monterey is riding with us today.
Once the last pictures are taken, we're off. The route takes us to the Monterey Bay, where we pick up a bicycle trail through the dunes. Little Hannah is the fastest of us all. Her legs keep spinning and spinning. What an energy. She zooms up the dunes until she's out of sight.
Taking a drink on top of the dunes, with Monterey in the background. Hannah has raced us all to the top. Hard for daddy Jon to catch up while pulling Noah in the trailer.
We're on our way to Marina, where we'll make a stop at the REI. We just want to personally say thank you for all the help we've received.
Store manager Brian of REI in Marina, has been fantastic helping us with anything from clothing to a new tent as well as a new tracker.
Once we leave the REI, the Velo Club riders continue their journey with Melanie. We continue further north. With the help of Dennis we find our way back to the bike paths. The path leads us to highway 1, where NBC from the Bay area catches up with us as we're taking a break at a taco stand.
Channel 11 from the San Francisco Bay area is doing a story on us before we arrive into town. Cheyenne is telling them the states we've been through. NBC11 doesn't put their videos online, so we don't have a copy available.
We take the frontage road along highway 1. We work our way northward, bypassing the highway until we can't any longer. The highway is so busy, there is no way to cross it. We have to ride the opposite shoulder for a little while, until we arrive in Moss landing. Here we go through town. At the end of town we have the same problem; busy traffic on the highway. Fortunately we find an opening that is just big enough for us to safely cross. Now we're going to be riding on the wide shoulder for a while.
Dennis has to turn back. He leaves us with detailed maps on how to get up the coast. They turn out very helpful and show us the road to take, so we can bypass the highway again.
Going down a farmroad. The road is a bit rougher, but without heavy traffic it is certainly much better.
We keep on pedalling, take several breaks. Once a couple stops to take a picture. A little while later they are back; with a sixpack of ice cold coke. Thank you!
Fields full of produce. Quite a patchwork over the hills.
A speedy lady rider comes our way on San Andreas road. It's Kathleen, our host for tonight.
We're finding our way into Aptos with the help of Kathleen.
Farmland makes place for hills. The hills take us to La Selva Beach. A good place to stop and get acquainted. Also a good spot to see some giant black dolphins in the water. Amarins and Cheyenne spot them quickly, as they're now quite the experts at spotting mammals in the water. The little snort spout gives them away, before we even see their bodies.
Robin is singing a song. Waving her hands.
With her bare feet on the handle bars.
From the beach, we climb back into the hills. We're quite relieved we finally make it to Aptos and to Kathleens home. We can pitch our new tent in the backyard. Tonight we have the opportunity to use the hottub of neighbour Mary. We'll most certainly accept that gesture.
Figuring out the new tent.
The tent is super tall.
Here it is, tent number 3. It even has cutesy windows in it.
The tent is quite easy to set up. It has a mixture of our first and second tents. When it's set up, we don't feel this tent is an improvement over the first two. It is extremely tall, has 40% of mesh, no doorflies and two cutesy windows that decrease privacy. Further it's more square then rectangle, which doesn't improve the space in the tent. It'll do for now. Tomorrow we'll talk to Brian, he can probably help us find a tent that suits us better.
While we were setting up camp, the girls were swinging on the tree swing. Kathleen has been fixing supper.
As the girls settle down for the night, we get ready to make use of the hottub. It's a great feeling to our muscles.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Today 33 miles, Total 4,380
Kathleen can't ride with us today, but no worries, 'cause Tony is here. Tony is a friend of Brian at REI. He's going to be our guide through Santa Cruz.
Kathleen, we'll have a fine meal waiting for you when you come and visit in Alaska!
We're going to stay on the north side of Santa Cruz. The road leads us through the little towns of Aptos and Soquel, then skirts the town of Santa Cruz. We take a break on King street where we meet Tony's girlfriend and their dog. Much to the delight of the girls.
The girls like to see Tony's dog do tricks.
Shortly after this break we're out of town and on our own again. We can ride the highway here. It will take us all the way along the coast to Daly city, south of San Francisco.
The coastal route is gorgeaous. Fields after fields ffull of wild flowers. Gentle rolling hills and lots of bike riders.
The California Golden Poppy.
We see a settlement up ahead. That must be Davenport. We were informed there is nothing there, but we are highly mistaken. A little restaurant and easily 30 cyclists and several motorcycles and cars. It's a happening place.
Taking a break in Davenport.
We sit outside as we enjoy the hustle and bustle of the goings on. The ocean rolls quietly in the distance. The bike and us have caused quite a stir though. Exaclty Bills domain. He loves the entertainment and talk it results in.
Kathleen catches up with us and we ride several miles together.
Troopers Robin, Jasmine and Bill.
Once more the scenery changes. We are riding at the foot of the cliffs. Big chain nets have been put up to keep the rocks from falling on the road. it's a good thing they're there; from time to time we can see the force of nature pushing against the fence.
Skirting the cliffs on the Cabrillo highway.
Once we leave the cliffs behind we're between the trees. It keeps the wind nicely at bay. We're looking for the Costanoa KOA campground, where we'll stay tonight. Jacob and Greta have arranged a spot for us. We'll meet them tonight at the campground for supper.
Or not. They are way faster then we are and they track us down four miles before the campground. There is a playground for the kids, hot showers and laundry facility. On the premises is even a restaurant where we can eat tonight. This sounds great.
The final miles are always the hardest and today is no different. Especially since the driveway leads up the hill. Once we are at the top and find our campsite, we know why. It provides a beautiful view of the ocean.
The girls new lovies from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Today 26 miles, Total 4,406
We load our gear and head for the restaurant... We're being treated on a complimentary breakfast, provided by the Costanoa KOA.
Breakfast with the compliments of the Costanoa KOA.
They have all our favorites, from hot chocolate, orange juice to coffee, from pancakes to bacon, to eggs and skillet fried potatoes, and not to forget the yoghurt and fresh fruit to tip it off. Delicious.
Robin lets neighbour Alexis braid her hair (quite a novelty), while Jasmine and Cheyenne play games with her sons.
We wave goodbye to the people we've met at the campground and head for the last stop before San Francisco; Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay today. San Francisco tomorrow!
We've been talking about the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco. Robin asks when we're going to see the bridge. They're so intune to where we're going. Especially Robin loves looking at the map. She has a little map, and several times she'll aske where we are and which road we're taking.
The Pigeon Point lighthouse has been in action since 1872 and is one of the tallest in the US.
Today we celebrate the Spring Equinox. It is officially spring! We can't really tell by the weather, it's quite chilly with a brisk wind.
Happy Spring Equinox! Enjoy your treat from the French bakery in Monterey!
We have no scheddule to keep, just a destination to get to. We stop as we please, wheteher it is a potty break, just for fun, or to grab a snack. The scenery is inviting. There is little traffic, making it an enjoyable riding day.
Taking a break alongside the road, across the San Gregorio State Park. Coming up next, a long and steep hill. So refuel before starting.
The map we received from Dennis has an elevation chart on it. We knew in advance of this climb, so we're taking advantage of the knowledge. Once rested we conquer the hill. To be rewarded by a magnificent view.
An extraordinary view from the top of the hill.
The downhill brings us within reach of Half Moon Bay. No more spectacular hills, just a spectacular view with a spectacular head wind.
What is there to say about a field of flowers...
We give our host Len a call as we enter the city limits. The campground is still a little further. He meets us halfway, on Kelly Avenue and we follow him to the camp site. His tent is up, a kitchen cabinet is set up with cooking supplies, a fire is going, chairs surrounding it. Len is prepared!
The girls see the beach. Definitely something we want to check out. They arrive with shoes, socks, long pants and jackets. All of theat soon comes off. There needs to be running, jumping, cart wheels and flips. Holes need to be dug, tunnels need to be build. This is a great beach to do it all.
Return from the beach, after spending an hour digging holes and building tunnels in the best sand ever.
For supper we go to a restaurant where everyone gets something they like. Jasmine and Cheyenne split the fish and chips. Cheyenne has become quite the fish eater too. Robin passes on the fish, but devours the french fries.
We're all pretty wooped when we get back to the campground. The wind has taken it's toll. Bill enjoys the fire with Len, as Amarins tucks in the girls and falls asleep...
Today 27 miles, Total 4,433
We can hear San Francisco calling! Or is it the sea gulls? Amarins gets up to find out and finds the sun glistening through the trees.
Mystic sunrise over Half Moon Bay.
Len is already up. Bill takes the girls to the rest rooms, as Amarins starts packing up the sleeping gear. The normal camping routine.
Host Len keeps the fire going, while boiling eggs, bacon and water for coffee. The table is set with fresh fruit, orange juice and nuts.
Len has checked out the route we're taking today. There are several steep hills, one very dangerous one, without shoulders. He offers his help to get us across Devils Slide. As the name says, this is the dangerous one. We still load up our trailer as usual. Amarins wants to try something with rearranging the gear in the trailer. In the hope it doesn't rub the wheel this time. At the bottom of Devils Slide we'll load everything in the car, until the other side in Pacifica.
Robin is bundled up, as the wind blows fiercely from the north, making the flag stand out straight in the background.
At the bottom of Devils Slide we find Len aiting for us already. We load everything we can in the car, thus the quicker we can make it past this part. One more breath and off we are.
We're gearing up for Devils Slide. The Kiewit construction crew is working on a tunnel, that will eventually cut off the Devils Slide area. For now, the tunnel is not yet ready.
The road narrows distinctly in the distance.
First section completed. So far there still is a shoulder to ride on and to take breaks on.
Devils Slide is a very narrow piece of road, without shoulders, without extra space. On top of that the incline is incredible steep. The dangerous part is maybe only a hundred yards long, but enough to be paying full attention to what the cars are doing. Do they see us or do they not. They see us, and we're safely making it to the top. With only once having to put the chain back on the rings. We're very thankful Len took it upon himself to check out the route and to offer his help.
We meet Len at the top of the hill, where the bridge to the tunnel has already been completed. We're not loading up yet. We'll do that in Pacifica. Len is following us down the winding road, until we're safely through. Thanks Len!
We stop at the Starbucks in the shopping center. As we take our break and get ready to load up, we meet Mike Sugarman from the CBS channel here in the Bay area.
Mike Sugarman of CBS channel 5 here in the San Francisco Bay area has done a great story on us. To see the clip, follow this link: to see the CBS5 video, then use search term "kentucky family bicycle alaska". It should come right up.
Jasmine enjoys an icecream, as Cheyenne catches a ride back with Jim.
From here Jim takes over. He's going to guide us across bicycle paths, to avoid the highway. The steepest hill of today we can not avoid though. It is longer and seems steeper then Devils Slide, but goes through a neighbourhood with little traffic.
From Sharp Park to Palmetto Avenue, from Palmetto Avenue onto Skyline. From Skyline, well, nowhere fast, this is the steepest hill.
The chain is slipping again. To much weight and to steep a climb.
Change of set up. We've attached the trailer to Jims bike. This should help us with the climb. Why didn't we think of it sooner?
Skyline drive, the road that keeps on climbing. Eventhough the weight is off, we still slip from time to time.
Cheyenne is keeping the spirits high.
And also to this hill comes an end. No matter how hard and frustrating the climbs sometimes are, there is always this big reward at the top. Whether it's the view are just the down hill ride. That's why we keep climbing, we keep going, it is so worth it.
We see the Golden Gate bridge! the girls almost jump off the bike with excitement.
After a Subway break, we ride the final miles by ourselves. It's downhill mostly, a result of that incredible climb. We arrive in the city limits and just catch the sign that says so. No big todo on this road.
Arrival in San Francisco!
As we're finding our way to the Golden Gate Park, a young man comes riding beside us. It's Derek, our host in town. Without a problem we find our way now and park in the garage. It fits perfectly.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,433
San Francisco here we come!
Derek is fixing coffee, blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast.
On our way to the tram station.
The girls are ready for the big city. But is the big city ready for the girls?...
Cheyenne and Jasmine walk confidently down the street. It's as if they've lived here all their lives.
Waiting for the tram to arrive.
Arrival at Powell station, where the cable car begins.
Arrival at Powell station. We're heading for the famous trolley or cable car.
Riding the trolley to the Fisherman's Wharf.
The girls on the trolley. Jasmine loves wearing her riding gloves, though she doesn't like to sit next to Robin. Cheyenne can see the joy in anything. Robin is just observing the goings on and is probably wondering what the todo is all about.
Amarins riding the outside of the trolley.
Trying to hold on to the trolley, while taking a picture of a kiss. Quite the accomplishment. But so is riding our bicycle across the country through 13 states, from ocean to ocean and then some.
Arrival at Fisherman's Wharf.
The Pedouins have arrived at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
All we want to do is have a meal and stroll the area.
We can see the Golden Gate bridge from the restaurant.
Lunch at Tarantino's restaurant at the Fisherman's wharf.
Each of the girls gets to choose their own lollypop.
This is enough for one day in San Francisco.
We have enjoyed the day very much. This is a city we would like to come back to some time to spend more time. Of course we have certainly been very fortunate with the gorgeous spring weather we've received today.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Today 29 miles, Total 4,462
Every day is a mile marker, but today is a very special one. Today we're going to cross the famous Golden Gate bridge! After a breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit, we're loading up and are ready to go. Estimated time of crossing the bridge: 10am PST.
Double check if we have everything. Everybody on! Let's walk it off the side walk. Good morning how are you this morning! A fellow biker greets us on the road. After telling him where we're going, he is going to join us across the bridge.
With the directions from Derek, we easily find our way through the Golden Gate park. We bypass a hill by taking 23th avenue instead of continuing on 25th. Eventually we run into Lincoln Boulevard. The final climb before the bridge.
Turn right to go to the Golden Gate bridge.
The climb up the hill is great. Little by little we see more and more of the Golden Gate bridge. Until it's suddenly right there.
Hey, how come it's so easy to get up the hill?... Tony is pushing us secretly. But you've been caught now!
Can't get enough of it.
With the help of Tony we find our way through the tunnel. We arrive at the beginning of the bridge early enough to take a break. We're not going until it's exaclty 10am. It keeps the tension up.
After the necessary potty breaks, a snack here and there, and a picture of Alcatraz, it is time to just do it.
And we're on!
Robin is absorbing it all.
The first tower.
Check out the video below!
We passed the first pillar without stopping.
Amarins on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Entering the center of the bridge.
Arrival at the center of the bridge.
You did it Bill! You're here and now.
The cables are incredibly thick.
A bridge we don't want to miss touching.
We're right there. We just don't compare to the bridge. Picture by Troy.
Finishing the final yards on the bridge. Picture by Troy.
We made it across the Golden Gate Bridge!
The Pedouins have made it across the Golden Gate Bridge!
Robin is testing all the buttons on the police motorcyle.
Cheyenne is taking a moment to enjoy her lollypop while overlooking Alcatraz and the bay.
We thank the police officers for their escort. It's been a pleasure riding with you. But to our surprise they are going to follow us all the way through Sausalito, just to make sure we make it through the traffic lights alright. Thanks!
We're following Suzan on the bike path towards San Rafael.
Troy has our tail.
From Sausalito we zigzag our way towards San Rafael. We have two riders of the Petaluma Wheelmen with us. Between all of us we make our way, with only one incident. As we're trying to figure out our route we don't have enough speed to make an uphill curve. Boom, there we go. Thank goodness for helmets and biking gloves!
We take several breaks. It's been an intense day. Eventually we show up exaclty where we want to be; at the Embassy Suites no less! Thanks Scott and Suzan!
Arrival at the Embassy Suites. Valet parking anywhere? Picture by Troy.
It's very pretty inside, with waterfalls and a fish pond(?). We tell the girls that there is no swimming pool, but that they get to swim with the fish. But they're not so easily fooled. Tonight they get to go swimming with Suzan, while Amarins and Bill celebrate the crossing of the bridge with Scott over a good meal.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Today 33 miles, Total 4,495
Bill takes Cheyenne and Jasmine for breakfast, while Amarins and Robin sleep in a little. When they get back they bring a coffee for mommy and a yoghurt for Robin. They're so thoughtful.
It's still early, we're not leaving till 9am. Amarins takes the time to enjoy breakfast over a news paper. By the time Scott, Suzan and Troy arrive, we're all ready to go. Scott helps Bill bring the bicycle outside. Suzan takes the girls for another round of breakfast. They love the elevators. One side is glass and they can see how high they're going. What an adventure.
It looks quite cloudy. But we don't think it's going to rain today. Still we load most of the gear in Suzans car. Somehow it doesn't make that big of a difference. With the knowledge of taking a long break in Petaluma, our bodies feel tired already. We've been pushing it pretty hard since... Malibu? Wow that's been a long time ago!
Always nice to be on a bicycle path.
Today's route is a bit easier to find. We're going inland through Novato towards the Cheese Factory, before heading north to Petaluma. This way we don't have to ride the shoulder of the highway.
Dark clouds up ahead. They don't stay this way. Soon we're goinng to be soaked. Let's seek shelter.
We're sheltered from the rain at the middle school in Novato. We have a nice conversation with the administration. Picture by Troy.
We head out when it looks dry, but too soon. Twice we pull over to hide under the tarp. This is not going to work. We rearrange the car and put the kids in the car. Then it's on again.
The girls arrive way before us at the Cheese Factory. They get to meet the other riders of the bicycle club. As well as our hosts for the week; Carolyn and Tom.
The girls are feeding the geese with Carolyn at the Chees Factory. Picture by Troy.
We have a picnic when we finally arrive. As we pull up the girls cheer with joy. Robin runs around shouting 'Pedouins Pedouins Pedouins'. A beautiful and wonderful sight.
The final part of the day we have the girls on the bike again. The weather is turning nicely. Still clouds, but no rain. We have one steep hill to climb, but it is a very short one. We easily make it to the top and get the most beautiful ride down. The views are stunning both left and right.
Another beautiful view.
The Petaluma Wheelmen are riding with us.
We roll down the hill all the way into town on D street, to the other side. We've covered 9 miles in an hour and 15 minutes. That's pretty good! We arrive at Pizzicato Pizza, where a warm Pedouin pizza awaits us!
We've received a heart felt welcome on our arrival to Petaluma. We look forward to spending time here to rest, to update the website, and to swim at the Club One.
Jasmine just got a very special treat!
A special Pedouin pizza! Only available at Pizzicato! We tasted it and it tastes good!
We need to get back to the other side of town to arrive at the home of Carolyn and Tom. Once we're there we can settle down for a while.
Friday and Saturday, March 26 + 27, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,495
Two days in Maloneyville.
The girls are having a blast with Mrs Maloney.
The result of a mask making morning.
Teatime at the secret fort.
Jasmine is carefully cutting the cabbage for the salad.
Joe receives a fresh picked bouquet of flowers. Mrs Carolyn and the girls have made them fresh this morning.
This is just a small selection of the activities they've been doing. It doesn't show the swimming or the singing lessons; as a true Kentuckian Mrs Malony is determined to teach the girls to sing "My Old Kentucky Home".
Bill works on the emails and talks to reporters, as Amarins works on the website once more.
Welcome to Bill's office. Bill is doing interviews with journalists from The Press Democrat and The Argus-courier.
Mr Maloney is also part of the action.
Jasmine enjoys being read to by Mr Maloney.
Sunday thru Tuesday, March 28 - 30, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,495
To Yosemite National Park.
Ready for Yosemite.
Arrival at Yosemite National Park.
The Merced river.
Robin is on strike. She has enough of all the picture taking. Our tent is in the background.
Cheyenne doesn't leave a rock unclimbed.
Ansel Adams' famous El Capitan.
At the foot of El Capitan.
Looking up at El Capitan.
The full moon rises over Half Dome.
At the foot of El Capitan.
The girls and daddy are eating home made (by Carolyn) apple pie at the foot of El Capitan. (Text by Cheyenne.)
We're all bundled up. It's in the mid 30s. Brrr.
Climbing to the face of El Capitan.
Cheyenne resting on the biggest rock she can find. (Text by Cheyenne.)
Robin and dad are having fun climbing the boulders. (Text by Cheyenne.)
All this climbing makes you hot.
At the face.
Touchdown on the face of El Capitan.
The Harrison girls.
Time for a picnic.
Working our way down.
Finding our way down.
Bill, Robin and Cheyenne are taking a break. Going down takes much more precision then going up.
With Cheyenne and Jasmine on the trail.
Cheyenne, Jasmine and Amarins are ready for another adventure.
They are hiking in a steady pace up the mountain.
A gorgeous view of Half Dome.
Riding from rain to sun shine to a late breakfast in Oakdale.
Cheyenne and Robin.
Jasmine loves the curls in her hair.
Back home in Maloneyville.
A lesson in artichoke eating in Maloneyville.
The girls are decorating the crazy cake.
Today 0 miles, Total 4,495
The craziest day sofar.
07:00am Getting up.
08:05am At Grant Elementary School in Petaluma.
Sharing our story with the children at Grant Elementary School in Petaluma.
The two young ladies have cut their hair. They are donating it to Locks Of Love. Great job girls! Cheyenne can tell you you'll get a nice thank you card. She donated her hair too!
General Manager Jen of Club One invites the girls to come swimming anytime.
09:00am Looking at maps with PapaJohn.
10:00am Meet the Bill Harrisons.
Pleased to meet you Bill Harrison and Bill Harrison and Bill Harrison...
Meet the additional family.
10:30am Amarins running errands with Susan; exchanging the tent etc.
12:00pm Petaluma Pete arrives to do a Kids video about our journey.
02:00pm With Jasmine to the post office for a passport application.
Getting ready for Canada...
03:10pm Amarins picked up by Jean for a massage at Quintessence in Petaluma. Oh yeah!
03:15pm The girls go swimming with Mrs Maloney.
03:30pm Arrival of Greg and Yuri; the Bike Monkeys.
The class of Yuri has been actively writing letters to the girls. Thanks class! Yuri is also a main contributor to the bicycle magazine Bike Monkey.
06:00pm Supper with the Pasta King.
The Pasta King has arrived!
Meet Art Ibleto, or Pasta King for short. He's been serving Italian cuisine for over 60 years. From senators to disaster victims, he serves them all. Sometimes 800 in one sitting! A truly amazing man.
Pasta with pesto, lasagna, polenta, meetballs and garlic bread. A delicous plate full.
Thanks Pasta King!
Today 30 miles, Total 4,525
We're packed up and ready to roll once more. It's hard after this week of excitement, pampering and so many experiences. Thank you for the warm hospitality Tom and Carolyn. Thank you for the friendship Scott and Susan. Thank you Petaluma, we won't forget about you.
Time to leave Petaluma. Tom helps us up the first hill.
We're heading for Safari West today, just east of Santa Rosa. We have several riders with us. They've either contacted us via our website to ride with us or they're part of the Petaluma Wheelmen. The route takes us paralel to highway 101 on Stony Point Road. Nice shoulders and relatively flat. It takes us by the Washoe House.
The Washoe House served as a stage coach station.
It's a beautiful day. We all enjoy the ride. The rest has done us well. Especially the massage has done Amarins wonders. "Hey Bill, you can touch my legs again!" We're rolling through the country side and before we know it we're in Santa Rosa. Time for a break.
We find a little shopping center. There is a Starbucks there. From experience we know they have some great oatmeal (thanks Eric!), a good snack. We meet a couple of police officers. The girls know exactly what to ask for: stickers! When they see all the police sitkcers on the bike, especially the one of the Golden Gate Bridge, they quickly round up some stickers. Robin is napping through it all, she'll be surprised when she opens her purse.
(The other) Bill knows a bicycle path that will take us out to Fulton road. It's a good thing Bill is with us. We definitely would have missed the turn.
On the trail with the Bills.
We're amazed at how quickly we arrive at the turn to Safari West. It's a bit out of our way, but certainly worth the extra miles for the extra excitement. Before we head up the road we stop at Big Boys Buns and Burgers at the Larksfield shopping center. Time to refuel. Owner George hangs out the window when we drive up. He's seen us in the news paper. Late lunch is on him! Thanks George! The girls get a tour of the facility. It's as if they've worked there forever.
Ice cream anyone?
We're enjoying our break, when Dianne and Alex from Safari West drive up. They're going to take our luggage up the road. The road is steep and windy and doesn't have a shoulder towards the end. Without our luggage we'll be faster and will reduce the time on the road tremendously. By 3pm we arrive on the premises under the applause of staff and visitors. Our tent is ready for us. It's more a house tent then anything. We bring our things inside and head for the jeep. It's time to go on a safari.
Up close encounter with a Masai giraffe.
Robin on safari!
We ride through 'steppes' filled with antelopes and giraffes. A close encounter with the rhinoceros' shows us they too need to go potty from time to time (and how!). A ride through a big mud puddle is an adventure by itself. We're out of luck spotting the zebra's, but see the wildebeast and water buffalo's in the distance.
We're so fortunate to be on this incredible journey full of adventures. It's become our lifestyle to be traveling and have plentiful experiences. It's good to stand still from time to time and count our blessings and realize how privileged we are to be on this journey. We took that leap of faith. We're taking the chances. We're enjoying the fruit of our labor.
The girls are enjoying the comfort of our tent-house.
After a small rest and a quick shower (yes, our tent has a shower too!), we head for the dining area. A welcome flyer puts the icing on the cake for our warm welcome. Supper is served in several stages. We start out with finger foods of several cheeses, crackers and fruit. Next comes the soup and the salad. The main course is your choice of potatoes, vegetables, mac 'n cheese, and different kinds of meat. Cream puffs with a strawberry syrup and some whipped cream tips it off. Wow. What a gourmet supper!
What a day! Thank you Safari West!
Today 0 miles, Total 4,525
Oh me, oh my. How horrible. It is misting and it is steadily turning into a heavy rain. What a wonderfully fortunate event! We're staying another day at Safari West!
The morning starts off with a tour behind the scenes. This means we get to feed the birds special treats. We're also going to have a tete-a-tete with the giraffes.
Early morning rise and shine for a special surprise.
Close encounter with a crane. The crane is after the special treat Jasmine holds in her hands.
Feeding the duiker. The duiker is a small antelope species.
Time for a snack!
Robins carrot dropped on Amarins' arm. Dozer finds it and picks it up with his tongue.
After this memorable early morning event, we slide in for breakfast. An abundance of choices makes it easy for each of us to find something to our liking. It's nice and warm inside, a good place to hang out on this rainy day. When breakfast is done and preparations have been made, it is time to help the easter bunny.
Helping the easter bunny.
Eggs, eggs, eggs.
Cheyenne put together a tiger egg.
From helping to coloring to playing in the rain with the other guests, the girls are having a blast and are thankful that the rain has provided us this extra day at the Safari park. In the evening we once more enjoy a gourmet supper. The girls join their new friends at their table and eat better then they would at our!
Suppertime with friends.
Weather looks up tomorrow. Hazy perhaps, but it looks like we're riding again!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Today 36 miles, Total 4,561
Our plans are similar to when we came up the road. We're going to leave our luggage at Safari West, until we're 'down below'. We generally go downhill and make it back to Larksfield in a mere 30 minutes. We load up at the fillingstation and say our goodbyes and heartfelt thanks to Dianne. Thanks for these unforgetable days!
Thank you Dianne for giving us a wonderful stay at Safari West!
A little drury and a bit cold, we need to make clothing adjustments within the first half mile. Robin wants her tights on after all. We know right where to stop. We find the rest room at Big Boys Buns and Burgers, get changed and are back on the road again. But not empty handed. As we pull out to go, George brings us a container with fresh soup. It's a bit hot now, but will be just right for a later break. Thanks again George!
We're staying nicely off the 101 highway. The Old Redwood highway takes us to Windsor, where Healdsburg Avenue takes us into Healdsburg. Several times we're pulled over for pictures, a chat or a donation. The stories in the Petaluma newspapers has reached a lot of people! In Healdsburg we plan on taking a break, but find nothing that catches our eye. We head for the northern part of town in hopes of finding something there.
Bill is putting the masterlink back in the drive chain.
We don't find what we're looking for, but find something else instead. Somehow the masterlink on the drive chain opened up and we're freewheeling. Bill quickly stops the bike. Fortunately we're able to find the links back. They're a bit warped but Bill can reuse them and connects the links back together.
We decide a picnic on the sidewalk is just as much fun. With the soup, fruit and other treats from the panniers, we're having quite a feast. As we sit there it allows Brad and Trinidad to catch up with us. They're going to ride with us to Geyserville.
It's a beautiful road we're on. Little traffic, gently rolling hills, an abundance of flowers all over.
A field of lupines.
Trinidad enjoys the ride in their Burley trailer and sings song after song. Robin is very excited to have a playmate her age. We stop in Geyserville where we have a pizza lunch break. The restaurant is pretty full, but the bar suits us just fine. Weaponed with crayons and paper, the girls go to town.
Lunch with Brad and Trinidad in Geyserville.
After lunch it is time for Brad and Trinidad to head back to Healdsburg. We continue our route north through the grape fields. From Geyserville Avenue into Asti Rd onto Cloverdale boulevard.
Trinidad decides she wants to share an orange after all. Thanks Trinidad!
We're playing tag with the rain. We're in the outskirts of Geyserville when we need to put on rain coats. The rain coats seems to warn off the clouds for a moment. As long as we can stay ahead we'll be fine.
Trying to stay ahead of the rain. It's breathing down our necks.
The initial sprinkles don't last. We're keeping it dry to Cloverdale where a welcome party awaits us. With the help of our new live tracker they knew exactly when we'd be arriving.
The Cloverdale welcoming committee!
We're staying in Cloverdale tonight, with Sher and Steve. Sher heard Bill on the KZST radio station on Friday, when he was doing an interview with Brent. She acted upon her feeling and invited us into their home. Thanks Sher! Now we're in the final miles to their home.
Steve and Sher await us at the beginning of their road. It's not to far anymore, but very steep! When we eventually reach the driveway, we know exactly what to do: push...
Robin helps us push the bike the last 100 feet up the drive way.
In the evening we join the entire family for an early Easter supper.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,561
A rainy day keeps us in Cloverdale. During the day we stay in the welcoming home of Sher and Steve. The evening takes us to the experience of Vintage Towers.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Today 18 miles, Total 4,579
Breakfast at Vintage Towers in Cloverdale.
At 9 sharp we settle ourselves around the breakfast table at Vintage Towers. We start off with coffee and juice. Soon a basket of fresh baked muffins joins us on the table. When they disappear, a yoghurt parfait with strawberries is presented. Layer after layer we fill up with the delicious goodies. To tip it off with a Dutch baby pancake...
Mary baked us a Dutch baby pancake. Don gets to serve us with the delicious treat.
Will it rain or shine? Perhaps even both? It's dry with a shine, then wet with a sprinkle.
After an authentic stay at Vintage Towers we're ready to dodge the rain and see if we can make it to Hopland.
When it looks like it's going to stay dry for a spell we head out. Only to pull over under the underpass to dress up for rain. California certainly doesn't have a drought anymore!
Once again the rain coats chase the rain away. We keep them on, just to be sure. We don't have to be on highway 101 yet. We're taking the River road into Geysers road. It takes us a bit out of the way, but is oh so much more fun to ride on. Less traffic, more energy to enjoy the scenery.
We find these giant pine cones alongside the road. You'd think they come from giant trees, but to the contrary. The trees are quite puny.
Geysers road eventually leads to the 101 in Mendocino county. A wide shoulder provides ample space for us to ride on.
All of us!
We're a couple of miles before Hopland when the sky breaks open. Not to show the sunshine, but to release all the cropped up rain. It isn't holding up anymore. We can see it coming and quickly pull out the tarp. Amarins covers the trailer and the girls. Bill will have to stand strong in the rain to keep the bicycle up.
Honk honk; who's there? It's Sher and Steve. We rode off this morning without a chance to say goodbye to Sher. She's decided to catch up with us. They stay with us, chatting with Bill, until the clouds break up after about half an hour. Then we're off again to Hopland. Destination Solar Living center.
Fleurtje the Iron Woman.
We park our bicycle, cover everything with the tarp and head for town. We enjoy a good lunch at the Bluebird Cafe. The rain has made us a bit chilly. It's nice to warm up a bit.
Plans change quickly. Bill has decided to stay in the straw bale house at the solar living center. The girls (this includes Amarins) are going back to Cloverdale to spend the night with Sher and Steve once more.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Today 17 miles, Total 4,596
At 8.30am we leave Cloverdale to cover the 15 miles to Hopland. What takes us over half a day on the bicycle, takes us less then half an hour by car. Bill is already waiting for us. He's slept well and has managed to stay dry in the half finished straw bale house. We load up. Now Sher can finally say her goodbyes. And so can we. Thanks Sher and Steve!
Little Stella got to go on the ride.
We follow the Old River Road. Through the vineyards, alongside the Russian river. It's sunny with a morning chill. No rain on the horizon today!
We're enjoying the ride tremendously. The road is windy, slightly hilly, but basically without traffic. There is little wind to speak of, allowing us plenty of chance to talk together (when we're not going uphill). The girls point out the flowers along the road side. Cheyenne has learned how to spell vineyard. We observe the vines that are already budding verses the ones that are still far from it. The temperature rises slowly but steadily. It's really got a warm feel to it.
A sunny break.
Robin points out the American flag. She spots them most of the time.
Ukiah is our bicycle riding destination for today, but not our final destination. We've been invited to spend the night at the Little River Inn, a mile south of Mendocino, on the Pacific Coast. To ride there on the bicycle would have taken to much time; with all the rain, we do feel the pinch of making it to Port Angeles in northern Washington state by the end of May.
As we enter the outskirts of Talmage, we see an interesting sign. A sign that leads to a further investigation by the Pedouins...
Entering the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
A little detour, but one we can't pass up. Peacocks roam the property, making their weird mewing sounds. There is a temple on the property that has 10 thousand buddhas inside. You'll have to go see for yourself (and count if you want), because pictures are not allowed to be taken.
From the temple we cross the freeway into Ukiah. We have arrangements to park the bicycle at the municipality. Bill drops the girls off at Applebees. A donated giftcard will assure a fine lunch.
We're finishing our lunch when Cally from the Little River Inn comes in. The girls immediately take to her. They're not afraid of strangers. Strange is their new normal. We meet new people every day. We still have quite a ride to do. By car this time. The girls are no longer used to riding the car. We're afraid that the squigly mountain roads will make them queezy, but we're in luck. They all survive the trip and are excited to see the ocean once more.
Amarins is enjoying the sights from the balcony of our room at the Little River Inn.
We settle into our beautiful room. The sliding glass doors provide a stunning view of the ocean. We're not enjoying it for long though... As the girls watch a movie, we're taking the opportunity to take a nap. It refreshes us for supper.
Waiter Jesse takes good care of the girls.
Once again we're treated to a gourmet supper. The girls enjoy fish and a whole lot of strawberries. Robin of course goes straight for the french fries. Bill chooses the salmon. Amarins goes for a brie appetizer, a salad, spaghetti, and last but not least a chocolate mouse dessert. One more bite and they'd have to widen the doors!
Today 25 miles, Total 4,621
Sleeping in? No way. We set the alarm so we can hit the road at 7am. We have a forest to explore. Thanks for letting us enjoy the pleasure of the Little River Inn! We'll be back to make that special delivery!
Just a small part of the Little River Inn. Cally's grandparents started the inn in 1939. The main house was build in the 1850s.
The road is even windier then the one Cally took on our way to the Little River Inn. We eat breakfast in the car; bananas, strawberries, granola bars. But we're not so sure it's a good idea. Apparently neither of us are steadfast with Cally at the wheel, driving the roads like an expert.
We are so happy to arrive at the entrance to the Montgomery Woods. Land ahoy! The fresh air does all of us well. After a quarter mile walk we arrive between the giants.
Its sheer size is hard to grasp. We believe this one is the tallest one in the bunch.
Tremendous beauty, just around the corner. Thanks for taking us here Cally!
Another sunny day when we arrive back in Ukiah. We're a little queezy still, but give it a view miles and we should be as good as new. We follow State street out of town. Once again we're in luck and can take the opportunity to stay off the freeway. Just before we enter the freeway we meet up with Tom and Colleen. They're going to set up a surprise for the girls a little ways up Willits hill.
Roadside lessons in geology with Tom and Colleen.
Robin and Cheyenne are holding a Western Fence Lizard.
Cheyenne observes a mustard plant up close with a spy glass.
Jasmine observes the structure of a strawberry.
Tom and Bill have a 'rocky' discussion.
Cheyenne is wrangling a garter snake.
Thanks Tom and Colleen for taking the time to share your knowledge with us and the girls!
Several miles after our geology class, we reach the Rattlesnake summit. The road was a very gradual climb with a wide shoulder to ride on most of the time. We keep on going and are looking forward to the downhill ride.
Winter is still lurching around the corner.
We grab a quick bite in Willits before going through the Gateway to the Redwoods.
Arrival in Willits; Gateway to the Redwoods.
Another mile and a half and we enter the Willits KOA. Like most KOA's this one is very kid oriented. A petting zoo, two playgrounds, a midget golf course, there is so much to do, we don't know where to start. Except of course with setting up camp.
Camp Pedouin. Home sweet home once more in our familiar tent.
The midget golf course is a hit. Our tent site is right next to it. It's just waiting for us to come over and play. At the camp store there are golf clubs for all sizes. We're having a blast and enjoy the course for almost two hours.
Robin is working hard to get the ball across the miniature golf course.
Cheyenne is going straight for the hole.
Jasmine encounters the rearing horse on the obstacle course.
With the setting sun, it's time to enjoy another night in our tent.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Today 27 miles, Total 4,648
It's hard to leave a fine campground like this, but the sun is shining and we're going to take advantage of it! First stop is in town to get us some breakfast. As we enter the restaurant, a news paper title catches our eye: "Kentucky to Alaska". Hey, that sounds familiar!
The morning paper catches our eye. "Kentucky to Alaska"; an eye catching title.
You can read the article here.
The road gently takes us further up in the hills. The scenery is breathtaking. Mountains covered with coniferous trees, as far as the eye can see. From afar it's hard to tell whether they're redwoods or not.
Into the redwoods.
We're dressed warm, but it isn't really necessary. Only on the down hill rolls it can get a bit nippy. It feels so good to have the sun on our backs. We've forgotten how good it feels. The further north we go, the more rain we expect. Thus even more reason to soak up the sun.
Robin checks out what mommy has to say.
The ride takes us slowly up towards Laytonville. A wide spot along the road provides a good spot for a break. A concrete slap in a field of grass will be our picnic table. The tall grass will be the playground. Jasmine finds the tiniest little white flower in it. Cheyenne enjoys jumping over it. Robin is observing it all to figure out her way in it.
Tiny white flowers grow with this water-lilly-like leave in the tall grass.
The girls enjoy running around in the tall grass.
As we're having our break several cars pull up. One couple is from Petaluma and are friends with Tom and Carolyn. Another couple lives a bit north of Laytonville and offers us their barn to sleep in. The universe works in mysteries ways. We'll never understand it, but we'll accept it in all its goodness and greatness.
Laytonville is still another eight miles. Anything under 10 is a piece of cake, no matter what the hills. There is no threat of rain. The sun provides us with warmth. We have a place to stay tonight. What more do we want. Life is good.
We're enjoying the sun to take a break at the Snack Bar in Laytonville. Thanks for the hospitality ladies!
Josh has been anticipating our arrival. We find the home of Rhonda and Kosta with ease. The barn we get to sleep in is not a building filled with straw. It's an actual apartment! A bed, a couch, a pull-out couch. More then enough room for all of us to sleep.
Enjoying the trampoline with Josh.
Cheyenne and Josh can't believe it! Uncle Ros and Jasmine just scored!
Bill is right at home in front of the wood stove in the work shop.
Thanks for inviting us into your home Kosta and Rhonda!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Today 20 miles, Total 4,668
We've been playing musical beds all night. Robin just loves to be right in the middle, or at least be with one of us. Evnthough it doesn't wake her up really, it sure does us.
We load the bike before we enter the house. We're having pancakes for breakfast. The girls are right at home. Dog Patch is quite a hit when she does some tricks for Kosta.
Dance Patch, dance!
We're enjoying the morning with the family. We don't have far to travel today. We'll be staying at the Drive Thru Tree, just 20 miles up the road in Leggett.
Rhonda has paint in the house, to the delight of the girls.
It's hard to peel ourselves away, but we manage to do so eventually. Thank you so much once more for your warm hospitality!
The rest in Petaluma, the relatively short days, it's all working wonders. The pedalling goes easy, whether uphill or down. The bike is doing well. We've gotten so used to its quirks they don't surprise us anymore.
Time for a break at a rest stop. A fresh loaf of cranberry-pecan bread from the Schat's bakery in Ukiah is a delicious treat.
The rest stop is at the perfect halfway point to Leggett. The girls climb the fence and enjoy the sun on their bodies.
Robin and Jasmine enjoy the break in the sun.
We've been on the shoulder of the highway sofar. We keep it until we see the turnoff to SR-271, the old highway. Off we go again. It gradually takes us down towards the river, but never quite there.
Robin checks out the woods.
Several miles before Leggett we pull over to chat with a resident. He has a clubhouse here and invites us to share the view and some strawberry ice cream. After the initial urge to go on passes, we decide to take another break. Why not. The day is still young and why would we want to pass up another unique experience.
The girls are checking out the clubhouse. The truck horns are the best part of it all. After bringing them up to pressure with an aircompressor, they all get a chance to honk the horns. The sounds echo through the valley. Robin quickly covers her ears.
Cheyenne and Jasmine inside the keyhole; cut from a huge log.
we're glad we stopped to get acquainted with Marshall. Thanks for the invitation!
We continue our path to arrive in the park of the Drive Thru Tree. We'd figured our trailer would stick out one side and the nose of the bike the other side, but no way. We totally disappear in the humongous tree.
In and out of the Chandelier tree.
Its sheer size cannot be grasped in a picture. It has to be seen with your own eyes. Dear Gays Mill Loop family, we wished you were here with us to share in the experience!
We don't have to ride much further. We're staying on the premises. Thanks John! And we're having supper delivered too!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Today 24 miles, Total 4,692
We're up earlier then we want to be. Rain is breathing down our necks once more and Bill is pushing us to get going. We make another stop at the drive thru tree. Then find our way back to the main road. We'll be following the 101 all the way north today.
The South Fork of the Eel river.
After days of sunshine it's almost strange to see the sky be hazy and cloudy. We can smell the rain. We'd anticipated quite some climbing, but actually seem to be going more downhill then up.
We're wooshing down the bridge. We're in a hurry. Rain is coming in.
We've covered 16 miles in two hours. That's like a record for us! At the Richardson grove we stop for a snack and a hot chocolate. Just what we need. It's gotten quite chilly again.
Cheyenne is bundled up in Bills jacket; as if we're expecting the next ice age. Who said California is warm?
Of course Jasmine and Robin are bundled up too.
We've been pushing hard to make it to Garberville. Several times it looked as if rain was upon us, once we felt some sprinkles. But we made it dry. Thanks Bill for pushing us to go on and get going.
We settle into a motel. It isn't long when the rains arrive and are here to stay for a while.
While it's still dry, Amarins goes shopping. We have a refrigerator in the room which is great. Milk, cheese, salami, peaches, cucumber, potatoe salad, orange juice and yoghurt. There is room for it all. This will help us through the rainy days.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,692
The weather forecast was right. Rain is here in Garberville.
What do you do if you have a rainy day off and are staying in a motel. We color, work on the website, study the math flash cards, read and watch an awful lot of tv.
We're taking advantage of a dry spell to go for a walk and do some shopping. At the check out we're actually recognized. No more incognito without our bike...
Billy and the kids are engrossed in a show about killer bees.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Today 0 miles, Total 4,692
Yes it's raining still. One more day in Garberville. The employers at the store are getting to know us well. We're only a short walk away. Not enough to get soaked.
How wet can you get...
Bill takes a walk to the post office and comes back with different sizes of boxes. It's time to ship some things home again. Every ounce, every pound counts.
Especially Cheyenne enjoys the overload of tv. The Wizards of Waverly Place are her favorite. We can agree somewhat. At least there are parents displayed in the show. This can not be said of so many other shows where kids run rampant and parents are not part of their lives.
The future is up to the girls, but we're thankful for the opportunity to share so much of their youth together.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Today 37 miles, Total 4,729
Still cloudy, but we're going to go for it regardless. We feel all rested. Today we're heading into the Avenue of the Giants.
We travel when the weather is cool and the clouds are heavy. The landscape is beautiful. We're anxious to get to through the redwoods without getting wet.
The girls are wearing raincoats, just in case. It's still 150 miles to Crescent City, but we're getting closer.
With some sprinkles, but no real rain we arrive between the giants. They are magnificent. Their sheer height, number and thickness. Stunning. The misty foggy day gives it an even more mysterious feeling.
Between the giants.
We stop in Miranda for some breakfast/lunch. As we sit there the high school students come in for their lunches. The girls are having a ball with them. And vice versa it seems.
Jasmine and Cheyenne are playing bubblegum with the high school students.
We're playing the weather a bit. We'd like to get to Myers Flat and start looking for a place to camp from there. The road is gently rolling, following the South fork of the Eel river.
The Eel river meanders its way through the redwood forest.
On we go past Myers Flat, to Weott. We're rolling along nicely. It looks like the sun is even coming out. That's nice.
Curve after curve, the giants are exposed. Riding on the bicycle is a great way to enjoy the groves. Especially with the sun shining through.
Just before Redcrest the road rises a couple of hundred feet above the river. We climb and climb, then the rain clouds burst open. We quickly pull out the tarp and cover up from the trailer to Robins spot. Jasmine gets to sit on Amarins' seat. Bill holds the bike and gets rained on.
Full blast rain after all. We quickly cover up with the tarp.
After 10 to 20 minutes the rain stops. We can continue on. We can't find a campground, most are still closed for the season. We pedal on until we reach Pepperwood. When we see someone standing outside on the porch we ask whether we can pitch our tent in the yard before the next rain comes. Yes we can.
Once we set up camp we quickly crawl in. It's mid afternoon. Lots of time to play card games, to wrestle and to enjoy being together.
Today 0 miles, Total 4,729
Another day off the road. We get to stay in the home of John and Marge. The rain comes and goes throughout the day.
Robin tells Ms Lois about the journey.
Cheyenne is building a tower. Jasmine tells her which way the tower is leaning.
As high as Cheyenne can reach.
On the trail between the giants. This is an even better way to feel the area.
In the evening we share supper with the family. Thanks John and Marge!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today 56 miles, Total 4,785
Another breakfast in the house. Yummy.
Who else but Jasmine is helping John in the kitchen.
We ride like the wind because we have a slight tailwind to our backs. It feels good to put in a ton of miles, for the first time, probably since the East Coast.
We stop in Fortuna at Marge's elementary school to share about our journey with her third grade class. We can't believe we cover the 17 miles to school within two hours.
We're visiting the Ambrosini Elementary School in Fortuna.
After sharing about the journey, it is time to play.
Robin found a couple of playmates.
We have a place to stay in Westhaven, twenty miles north of Eureka. Eureka or Arcata is our goal for today. When we arrive in Eureka by 1pm we decide to see how much further we can make it.
Portland, Oregon, is on the map! Oregon here we come!
The several breaks we take are very enjoyable. The weather is so good. The sun has warmed the pavement. It's nice to be warm again.
The girls enjoy the warmth of the pavement.
The final miles are uphill. It's sheer determination that takes us up into the woods of Westhaven. Once we get there the grils hop off the bike. Exploding with energy.
At Mario and Adrian's home is so much to explore. A treehouse, a cart to be pulled around in, dogs to play with and a redwood to climb.
Robin puts Mario to work.
Cheyenne climbs up the steps to the treehouse.
Jasmine takes it a little slower.
We admire the treehouse. The open roof is terrific.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Today 44 miles, Total 4,829
A morning to take it easy. Mario is going to pick us up tonight from Klamath, so we can leave most of our things here. Cheyenne has a tree to climb before we leave...
Cheyenne and Mario are going to climb a tree... A very tall tree.
Higher and higher...
The eagle has landed...
At 10am we're on the road again. Eventhough we don't have our normal weight to pull, we're working ourselves into sweat on the coastal hills.
Enjoying the ocean view.
We ride past a little red school house where a Roosevelt elk herd roams. They Roosevelt elk was almost extinct. They certainly are not now.
The biggest Roosevelt elk herd in the world roams here.
After a lunch break in Orick, we take the road through Prairie Creek. It's officially closed, but we're allowed to sneak past the gate and ride through the park. What an experience.
Robin between the mysterious mossy trees.
We have the road to ourselves. A little walk up the hill is very refreshing.
A sparkling white trilium for you Bob!
The climbing route is beautiful, but takes a lot.
The forlorn sound of a distant bird. A high shrilled whistle and the response of another. Sound we wouldn't have heard if cars were driving through the park.
We're out of the woods.
Now we get to enjoy the downhill ride for a bit. Terrific. A couple of miles out of the park we roll across the Klamath river.
Crossing the Klamath River.
Klamath is a town in Yurok territory. We get to park the bicycle at the Yurok Tribal Police. Tomorrow morning we'll pick up our ride from here again.
Today 22 miles, Total 4,851
After these two super days in mileage we're glad we're only going for a little ride today. Destination Crescent City. The final point in the sixth leg of our journey to Alaska.
We're up early. We still need to ride to Klamath. But not after Cheyenne has had her second chance to climb up to the platform high up in the tree.
In Klamath we say goodbye to Mario. It's drizzling just a bit, but we're hopeful the weather will provide a dry day. Dry or wet is now all part of the journey. How to deal with it is a work in progress.
Mario is holding the dog-without-a-name.
It's Saturday morning. There is little traffic on the road. The road takes us along some lagoons. From the Trees of Mystery into Del Norte Redwoods Park.
It's a rocky coast.
We're chugging up a six mile hill. Every time we come around the corner there is more hill to climb. The thought of getting to Crescent City pushes us on. We know that we're just a days ride from Oregon from there.
The girls on a rock.
We meet a cool state trooper on our way up who shares about his own ventures with his son. What an encouragement we are to him to live large.
Officer Depee of the Highway Patrol.
We gleefully coast down the mountain, chilled by the air over our sweaty bodies. Into the warm reception of Crescent City. We stop at the Fishermans Restaurant for a celebratory lunch.
Thanks for inviting us to lunch Fishermans Restaurant!
After this wonderful lunch (we're stuffed to the hilt) we have several more miles. We're on our way to the Village Camper Inn where we can camp tonight.
The sun sets over camp Pedouin.
With our arrival in Crescent City, the sixth leg of our journey is concluded!