Pacific Coast Bicycle Route Oregon and Northern California: Day 10
Departing camp took much longer than we were accustomed to on this morning, and we found ourselves getting some serious hunger pangs as we made our way into the town of Garberville for breakfast at another Yelp recommendation called Flavors Coffeehouse. Our appetites were satisfied by a gigantic mocha, a breakfast burrito, and some homemade pastries.
Spurred on by the promise of the Westport Hotel at days end, and the desire to reach the infamous Leggett Hill portion of our days riding before the full heat of the day, we moved along as quickly as possible, passing through a few small towns in various states of repair and disrepair on the old highway. The riverbed remained a constant until we hit the town of Leggett, the last call for touring cyclists before what is arguably the toughest section of road on the Pacific Coast Route. We filled up our bottles and bought an extra Powerade to carry with us, had a popsicle (it was getting very warm!), and a few chips.
We hit the climb in earnest mid-afternoon with the heat sit heavy on the tarmac and as we bounced from shadow to shadow, looking for tree-cover whenever we could find it, we settled into a rhythm for the long slog up. There aren’t any photos of this section because we got very focused, sometimes with the help of Franz Ferdinand’s ideal downbeats, and sometimes with just the sound of heavy breathing and the occasional grunting outbursts as we came upon steep section.
We stopped twice to reach the top of the climb, finished about 70 ounces of liquid, and sweating out at least that much. We came to the top dizzy with exertion and took a moment to recover before starting the descent. The downhill through the trees was exhilarating, sometimes too much for Johanna’s liking, but I was very comfortable with the gradual curves and mostly smooth roads.
I had read that this portion includes a second hill, which comes as a shock and can be pretty disheartening, and guess what: it was all that and more! This part was shorter, but very steep in sections, and after pushing through 77 miles the previous day and going over Leggett hill, we had little left in the tank. We crested again and enjoyed another brief reprieve as we descended, trying to catch a glimpse of the coast. The road flattened first, then the ocean breeze began to push against us, while at the same time urging us forward. We finally reached the coast and paused to enjoy a beautiful view on what was for us an uncharacteristically clear day by the ocean.
Exhausted, we rolled on along the coastline, passing rolling pastures and a state beach where we could see that some working setting up camp. Four miles out we spied the little town of Westport, but between us and it were a number of steep coastal rollers. We used the last bit of strength to push up the hills and into town where we came upon the charming Westport Hotel, a beacon of bright white siding and second-story balconies.
We found a note at the door saying to call the inn-keeper to be let in, and that our AT&T phone wouldn’t allow us to do so. We made the two block walk down to the local general store to call the inn-keeper and were quickly let in. The hotel is very attractive on its own, but to the eyes of touring cyclists it might as well have been The White House!
After settling in and washing our clothes in the sink one last time, we were provided with advice to get “the best pizza in the world” from the grocery store down the block. We enjoyed a very tasty dinner out on our balcony on our return with a glass of organic vino from Frey Vineyards and a beautiful sunset along the horizon.
Garmin 500 Data:
Distance: 52.22 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,154 feet
Avg Speed: 9.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 11.3 mph
Max Speed: 42.9 mph
Avg Temperature: 78.7F
Min Temperature: 60.8F
Max Temperature: 93.2F