NorCal Tour 2010

Discussion in 'The Roadie Hangout' started by MTBMaven, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. MTBMaven

    MTBMaven This is Shangri La

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    The following is from my first blog post for my upcoming northern California bike tour starting this Saturday. You can follow the trip via the blog for those interested, http://mtbmaven.vox.com.

    As many know I am an avid cyclist, both on and off road. Over the past few years my riding has migrated from weekend warrior to more endurance oriented. I enjoy really long days on the bike (sometimes 14 hours at a time) with lots of elevation gain. Since childhood I have also been an avid backpacker; starting in the Boy Scouts and continuing today with mountaineering trips in the Sierra with friends.

    For years I have been interested in the idea of combining these two passions by doing a fully self supported bicycle tour. I have read Barbara Savage's Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure and Colin Angus's Beyond the Horizon: The First Human-Powered Expedition to Circle the Globe. These books laid the foundation for this interest. This summer all the stars fell into alignment. A long time group of riding buddies were all interested in doing a tour this summer and my personal schedule freed up for one week in August. The group includes Nick Fizette, Mike Miller, Scott Miller (no relationship), and Mat Birnbaum.

    We contemplated a few different routes: San Francisco to Los Angeles, Portland to Crescent City, and Crescent City to San Francisco. The Portland to Crescent City was the preferred route but the logistics and costs eliminated this route. The San Francisco to LA route was the cheapest and easiest to plan but the route was not as interesting and was more crowded. We landed on the Crescent City (CA/OR border basically) to San Francisco route.

    Our route will basically follow a combination of the Adventure Cycling Association Pacific Coast Route Section 3 and Bicycling The Pacific Coast . I mapped out the routes on RideWithGPS a while back, see link for routes. The routes have changes a bit but might still be interesting to look at.

    We will depart Pasadena on Friday, August 6, 2010 and drive to Crescent City in my vehicle with all our gear and four bikes on a four bike Sportworks hitch rack. Mat will be meeting us in Crescent City. We begin our approximately 460 mile, 9 day tour on Saturday, August 7 and arrive in San Francisco on Sunday, August 15. My awesome parents are turning the trip into a little vacation for themselves by shuttling my vehicle from Crescent City to San Francisco over the following week. All the stars have aligned for this trip.

    The non-biker readers might want to stop reading here.

    The Bike and Gear:
    For this trip I will be using my everyday, do everything, bike. I ride a custom, steel, DeSalvo, which was handmade in Ashland, OR in 2008 by Mike DeSalvo. The bike has brazons for front and rear racks. Unfortunately I did not have the bike built around long reach or canti brakes and did not have fender brazons added. Foolish on my part but I am working round it. The bike was designed to be comfortable for all day rides and as a "sport tourer."

    The drivetrain is all Shimano Ultegra with a compact crank and the new SRAM Apex 11x32 cassette. I use (and love) a Selle An-Atomica leather saddle, which was handmade in Wisconsin. I installed an aero bar for the trip, not for the aero advantages necessarily but more for the additional riding position. I will not be using my Garmin Edge GPS unit on the trip, which usually accompanies me on every bike ride. The battery life is about 6-7 hours these days and I just do not want to deal with charging the thing every day.

    I will be using my normal Look Keo pedals and riding shoes rather than switching to a mountain pedal and shoe. My bike fit is very sensitive to change and I do not want to do a ride of this length and have bio-mechanical issues. This will make walking a bit more difficult but it will be worth the trade off. I will keep a pair of sandals handy if we need to walk more than a few minutes.

    The bike is normally set up with a lightweight wheelset suited to my normal riding style. I use a Reynolds Alta Race wheelset with a 38mm deep rim with 20 radial spokes in front and 24 radial non-driveside and two cross driveside spokes. These wheels have been great but are way to delicate for the trip. I purchased a very budget conscious Shimano 105 based wheelset with a 38mm deep rim with 32 straight gauge spokes and brass nipples. The wheels are heavier for sure but will provide an extra level of security while on the trip. Lastly I will be rolling with 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000 tires.

    For racks I will be using a Tubus Tara front rack and a Bagman rear rack. The Bagman attaches to my saddle rails and supports a bag that attaches to my saddle. For panniers I will be using a pair of Ortlieb Front Roller Classics, in front obviously. I will also be using a Carradace Nelson Longflap saddlebag. This is a ducted cotton bag handmade in England. Finally I will be using an Acron Boxy Rando Bag attached to the bike with a Velo Orange Decaleur. The Acorn bag is handmade in Gardena, CA by a husband and wife company.

    In the front panniers I will carry small volume/high weight items: pot, stove, fuel, clothes, food, water purification, and various other items. In the saddlebag I will carry large volume/low weight items: sleeping bag, sleeping pad, extra silnylon tarp. Attached to the outside of the saddlebag is my tent. For most a tent is not a lightweight item, for me it is a 23 oz silnylon Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo with carbon fiber pole (handmade in Beaverton, OR). See full pack list for more details (Opens a PDF)

    For riding entertainment I have my helmet wired with headphones and an iPod Shuffle 4th Gen. I use a product called Slipstream, which position the headphones in the direction of my ears so I can hear the music without the headphones in my ears. I am a big fan of audiobooks while riding. I have lined up a nice collection of four audiobooks for the trip:
    Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert Reich
    Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie Chang
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (back up book in case I don't enjoy one of the earlier books)

    I will be updating my blog with my Motorola Cliq phone with Android OS by sending emails to my Vox account. My hope is this will minimize my need for long amounts of time on the internet with the phone.

    For photography I will be taking my DSLR Cannon 40D with Tamron 17x55 lens. I would prefer to take my much smaller and lighter Cannon S90 but my wife needs the camera while I am away. The three pound camera will ride in my Arcon handlebar bag for easy access.
     
  2. dirtmistress

    dirtmistress AKA Roadiemistress

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    Four audio books huh? I guess with the crew you're going with, you should take that many.
    I wouldn't want to talk to them either! :wave:
    Be safe!!
     
  3. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    Placeholder
     

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  4. dirtmistress

    dirtmistress AKA Roadiemistress

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    Seriously looking forward to it!
     
  5. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    Trinidad
     

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  6. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    "Wait Up!"
     

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  7. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    Mattole Road, Humboldt County
     

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  8. SDstumpy

    SDstumpy New Member

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    Sweet fellas! Glad you all made it back safely. Looking forward to more pics and narrative!
     
  9. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    Thanks man. Yeah, glad to be back safe too.
     

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  10. Pain Freak

    Pain Freak Dead or Alive

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    [​IMG]I'll do my report in segments as I'm at lunch right now and won't have enough time to go into detail.
    Good Ol Slappy was our paperazzi with over 1300 pictures taken (he dropped his camera I don't know how many times but it worked the whole trip).
    I only managed to get just over 200 as I ran out of battery pack.
    You'll notice most of the pics we are bundled up as it was quite cool up there. (low 50's for the most part). I was the only one to have done this route before but between a mix of CRS (age related) and doing 3 times the amount of mileage I had a hard time recalling what was ahead. STJunkie was our primary route finder although MTBMaven knew the route just as well. We ended up riding sometimes together and sometimes in smaller groups and sometimes solo. All was very fun.

    Getting started, our driver

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    Almost there. We took the 5 up and then cut over on the 199 or the 299, I don't recall but here's a shot of a lake we drove by...

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    Good Ol Slappy had recently got a Garmin phone and to me this was woth it's weight in gold. We had an accident up ahead and traffic was stopped with no movement in sight (SERIOUSLY). Well Nick pulled out the phone and had us driving on the shoulder until a big rig stopped us but we finally made it by and took some country roads and made it around. Saving us hours of time.

    Lets do this!!!

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    Getting started we decided to ride up to the OR border which someone said was 12 miles away.Huh? It turned out to be 21.5 miles away and we went out hot and not so heavy. We left out panniers in the truck and went out very fast. Got back and stopped at Starbucks for a coffee and some supplies...

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    Dam roadies. But look at that paceline!

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    Slackers
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    Yeah, I think this is the way???

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    Some skinny kid wanted to tag along...

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    Hey guys this ain't a race, wait up!

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    Aww, nevermind....

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    One of my favorite signs!

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    The climbing started right away but we didn't care. The heavy bikes kind of keeps you in check and nobody wants to pedal that hard. Plus the scenery is so great you want to drink it all in.

    Down to the coast.....

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    It's a tour thing, we call it "Beer in a bag". Loaded up with ice the boys had a nice cold one later on.

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    Kind of green up there....

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    Yes, the freeway and it was a very enjoyable ride...

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    Coming into Arcata/Eureka area. By this time the group was spreading out as some went faster and some went slower. We ended up hoteling it here and it was nice to get warm for a while but I think we all would of liked to have done a camping night just the same. Waiting for the guys....

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    Hotel
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    Nice digs...

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    On the road again

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    I'll post up more later as I got to get back to work...
     
  11. dstepper

    dstepper Over the hill

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    I am still waiting for my picture of Gualala Hotel Bar..:steppie:
     
  12. Pain Freak

    Pain Freak Dead or Alive

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    I believe Scott was the one who took them.
     
  13. MTBMaven

    MTBMaven This is Shangri La

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    Nice work on the write up Mike! I will add some photos in time. Now that I am back and have had a day to reflect on the trip I have some initial observations on the experience. By the last 3-4 days of the 9 day trip I began to feel like I had dropped out of mainstream society. For the most part we were disconnected from the rest of the world. No news, very little cell reception, very little access to the internet. No real responsibilities other than riding eating, camping, and more riding. I felt like a bit of a vagabond. It was a very freeing simplistic existence. The more remote the area the more enjoyment. I really would like to get back on my bike and get back out there for at least another few weeks but another month would be great.

    Thanks to Nick, Mike, Scott, and Mat for sharing this adventure. I hope to do something like this again soon.
     
  14. dstepper

    dstepper Over the hill

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    Figures I can always rely on Scott.
     
  15. dstepper

    dstepper Over the hill

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    Yep I lived on that section of coast for 9 years. Would still be there if I was able to make a living out there.
     
  16. MTBMaven

    MTBMaven This is Shangri La

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    Scott took some. I had breakfast there one morning. It was great I ordered the pancakes and the breakfast potatoes, to which the waitress responded after I ordered the potatoes "you want those with the pancakes?" Large quantities of food were consumed to be sure.
     
  17. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    A feeling shared by all for sure. Burner had a nice example of it on Day 6 or 7. We had stopped by a tourist spot for full breakfast in Bodega Bay. Upon first bite, he unleashed a large belch as if we were hanging out at camp. It took us awhile to realize that we were actually slumming with "normal" people.
     
  18. Good_ol'_slappy

    Good_ol'_slappy aka SB

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    Aww, how sweet. :) But he was the only one tasked with The Special Assignment.
     
  19. Pain Freak

    Pain Freak Dead or Alive

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    Back to business.....

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    If you look real hard you can count at least 8 Elk lying down. This was a highlight for me because last time I seen them many times and took pictures but when I tried to show them they were to well camouflaged.

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    These blackberries are all along the route for hundreds of miles. I can't count how many times I just stopped and ate some.

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    Burner had this great jersey that said "Fizzy yellow beer is for wussies."

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    Yes, it got cold. Why some parts of southern Cal was baking we were praying for heat...

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    Scotty's buddy. Dog even did a trampoline jump for us.....

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    Spectator

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    Freekin roadies

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    To fast for the camera

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    Ferndale, the group made a split here for a day. Some (Nick & Brian) went to do the Lost Coast and the rest of us did the easier "Avenue of the Giants" route. Having done both I much prefer the Giants but both are worth riding.

    Homes in Ferndale

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    Library
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    Downtown

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    This building was built in 1819

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    Matts buddy

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    I got to hate these guys. Some were very courteous and gave us lots of room, where others I believe were trying to see how close to us they could get without hitting us.

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    I was wondering if there were any bike riders in there....

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    Matt would start barking at these guys and started a stampede, it was very funny to see them take off running.
     
  20. Pain Freak

    Pain Freak Dead or Alive

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    Matt would start barking and it would start a stampede. It was very funny to see these guys take off as fast as they could...

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    Eel River

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    For Dell

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    They told me both of these are still operational. I think Steppie used to drive one.

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    You act like that bike is heavy?

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    Huge lumber mill

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    What the hell is that?

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    Scale BFT (Big Freekin Trees) Scott sure looks small.

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    All the groves are dedicated to someone in this area.

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    Are you guys coming?

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    I guess they don't like hippies here...

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    I took this picture last time I was here so I decided to do it again 2010

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    Kind of funny I am wearing the same shirt 2007

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    Leaving Ave of the Giants

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    Worse place of the whole trip. These folks don't like people and have no business owning a store, it's in a little town called Myers Flat...

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