September 20 - From Fort Bragg to Gualala
DESCRIPTION: Mileage: 63 miles. Terrain: Coastal rollers. Highlights: This is one of the most scenic stretches along the California coast. We hugged the coastal headlands all day, except for a short section near the Point Arena Lighthouse.
OVERNIGHT: Surf Motel, Gualala (707.884.3571) and Gualala Country Inn (707.884.4343)
Today was a lovely morning of cycling through Mendocino headlands, with tourist shopping and lighthouse viewing. By early afternoon, however, we were assaulted by ferocious 35 - 40 mph headwinds being sucked in by the rising heat over the inland valleys. It was a beautiful but challenging day!
Above: We left our motel in Fort Bragg and biked a short 12 miles to Mendocino. We approached the headlands of Mendocino from Caspar Beach. In town, we stopped in a local bakery and espresso bar for refueling, then spent an hour or so walking around town looking at the sights.
Above: As we rode out of Mendocino, we got a glorious view of the village from the opposite headland.
Above: Unfortunately, the marvelous view above was blocked by ugly power lines. Dave offered to hop up on the post and shoot the picture of Mendocino over the power lines. His roommate for this trip, Steve, looks on.
Above: Joan, a mortgage banker, conducted a little business on her cell phone at the top of a hill, where she finally got her first good cellular connection.
Above: An old cemetery taken over by wild Naked Ladies.
Above: This is typical of the majority of roads today. We cycled close to the coast, with rocky ocean headlands on one side and golden grasslands on the other. There were many cattle ranches, a few sheep farms, and one farmer who raised miniature horses. The wooden fence in this picture is found throughout Mendocino County.
Above: At a viewpoint, we gathered for a group photo. From left to right: Harold, Bob, Dave, Barbara, Steve, and Gary. Note that we are all in fair-weather clothing. The day was perfect weatherwise; the cool ocean breezes cancelled out the heat wave, which was already beginning to ease.
Above: Bob, Harold, and Barbara took a side trip to the Point Arena lighthouse. They climbed to the top and got a private tour of the working lighthouse with its gigantic Fresnel lens.
Above: By the time we got to the lighthouse, it was about 2 p.m. and the heat over the inland areas caused the winds to kick up to 35 - 40 mph gusts. This is a picture of the headlands near the lighthouse; see the veil off the top of the waves!
Above: Notice the grass bent over sharply because of the strong winds.
RIDE STATISTICS: Today the group rode 63 - 68 miles. The altitude gain was 3400 feet, all of which was short up-and-down riding adjusted to the natural terrain. Two the the hills were 14 percent grade, and had some of us out of the saddle or walking our bikes! The problem of the day was the strong headwinds which came up fairly suddenly in midafternoon. Not only did they slow forward speed by 10+ mph, but they raised havoc with control on those bikes with aero wheels (like Barbara's Campagnolo Shamals).