Cycling Day 35 – Gualala to Jenner
We left Gualala State Park this morning having had the raccoons and camp next to us keep us awake a little bit throughout the night. There was a bit of a trek to get back out to he main road then we set off for Fort Ross Historic State Park, our intended destination for the evening. We’d already taken note that there wasn’t much in terms of grocery stores or restaurants between us and Fort Ross, so we stopped for an early lunch at Sea Ranch Lodge. After a very nice but somewhat expensive lunch we continued on what seemed likely to be a fairly uneventful day.
When we eventually reached Fort Ross, we unfortunately found out that the campsite was closed for the season (we heard rumours afterwards that this was due to the state fiscal crisis) and that we would therefore have to keep going. We didn’t foresee much of a problem with this, as we would take a bit of tomorrows long ride away and balance it up to today’s shorter one. The following ride was awesome – we didn’t realise the views we’d be afforded as we climbed over the coastal headlands towards Jenner would be so great. At the top we decided to take a bit of video footage which always makes us take a few less photos. The cliff was quite steep here and in many cases didn’t have a barrier – if we’d ridden on the side of the road we would have been only a foot or so from a hundred and fifty metre drop off to the rocks below. I didn’t really fancy this so I pretty much just hogged the middle of the road, making traffic cross to the other side to pass me. I actually thought this section of the road was much more dangerous than the section south of Leggett that everyone had warned us about. I guess we did make it worse by doing it in the late afternoon although this also provided us with a beautiful sunlit view over the ocean as we went along.
After going back down the other side we found ourselves in Jenner where we assumed we would be able to find a hotel. One of the problems with cycle touring is that we often forget what day of the week it is, let alone the date is and what the significance of that in the USA might be. As it happened, we were looking for accommodation on the Californian coast on the Saturday of he Labor Day Weekend, which basically made it a little hopeless. We were given a tip by one guy to look at a trail camp (meaning no water taps and primitive vault toilets only) near the mouth of the Russian River, which would be ideal for the start of our journey the next day. We went to try this after loading up on several litres of water and found the campsite full, but by this stage we were running out of daylight so we just pitched our tents behind a tree near some of the toilets and away from the main campsites.
While this solution didn’t smell the best, it did give us somewhere to stay after a day which turned out to be much longer than we were expecting. It reminded me a little of rocking up at a music festival quite late on the Friday night and realising that all the premium campsite locations were taken. In any case we couldn’t smell it much inside the tent so we turned in early ready to get up for a long ride into the Napa valley tomorrow.