We were both done with rain, fog, mist…moisture in general.
This morning, fueled up with a fantastic breakfast at our place in Mendocino, we climbed our way out of the coastal mist and into one of the most spectacular stretches of road on our fourteen day adventure. We left Hwy 1 and continued onto 128, a winding road squeezed between the giant redwoods and layers upon layers of lush ferns.
This stretch of road takes the cake as the most scenic we’ve had on this trip. Hands down.
The trees squeeze in on the road so much that you can see where the wayward drivers skimmed bark clear off a few giant redwoods.
I’ve driven this road before, but it is a completely different experience on a bike, human powered. Between the sporadic cars on the road, the forest is eerily silent and the only thing you can hear is the hum of your pedal strokes and the dripping of moisture falling through the forest canopy.
Passing through the redwoods, we rolled by lots of great wineries in the Anderson Valley…it took some strong willpower not to stop and taste. Navarro, Philo, Boonville…it would have been a good day of wine tasting, but we had miles to put behind us!
After lunch in Boonville, we continued rolling into the Alexander Valley and noticed we had surprisingly climbed a fair bit – about 2,500ft already. The small rollers were deceiving but the elevation started to add up over the first 40 miles.
The climbs would get steeper and the views would get even better as we kept hugging our white line up the hills. We did a fair amount of holding our line again today, with more aggressive drivers than cycling-friendly ones. The lack of shoulders, even on lovely brand new roads, was a little discouraging, but we pedal what we have available to us.
We had some nice, leg-burning steep climbs – even more seering after eleven straight days of riding. The descents, however, were epic. Only better if we had completely dry conditions, (some spotty showers made the roads slick and questionable) the steep serpentine twists tempted us to NASCAR the corners and hammer the straights. In short, we earned our downs today and we enjoyed every mile of them.
Cruising through Cloverdale we found a car wash, gave our poor, cylcocross-looking road bikes a quick rinse and continued along the wineries and vineyards into Geyserville. This is beautiful country.
Also, there is some fantastic food and wine to enjoy in Geyserville – seek it out and you’ll be coming back for more.
77 miles, around 4,800ft today.
Two more days and we’ll be in Lodi!