A few days ago while working on my laptop in a motel bed I developed a stiff neck from sitting up against the headboard. What I wouldn’t give for a nice ergonomic desk chair some days. My neck was still stiff this morning so I was a little slow getting out the door. It felt a little better once on the bike, but I still couldn’t turn it to the left as easily as usual. Thankfully we’ve both got good mirrors on the left side of our handlebars.
The coast south of Fort Bragg continued to be very scenic. We were usually riding above cliffs along the coast. The water near the cliffs was frequently dotted with black rocks that were in the process of being slowly worn away by the constant waves. In some places the guardrail for the road was just a few feet from the edge of the cliff and we could almost look straight down at the waves crashing below.
The problem with biking along the coast is that it’s rather hilly. There were many times when the road would turn briefly inland where a creek meets the coast. The road would go steeply downhill, winding through several sharp turns before one last sharp right turn back towards the coastline. That’s usually when the worst of the climbing would begin. As the road climbed back up to the cliffs above the ocean it was usually very steep and a struggle to bike up. Thankfully these hills were relatively short, but there were a lot of them. See the elevation profile to the right to get an idea of today’s hills. One consolation was that the wind was blowing pretty strongly out of the northwest, which meant we had a partial tailwind for most of the day.
After a lunch stop in Albion, highway 128 split off from highway 1 and thankfully the traffic quieted down a bit. We had a few more steep downs and ups before reaching the Manchester Beach KOA Kampground (they like to spell everything with a “K” at KOA kampgrounds). I was delighted to hear they have a hot tub and pool. The nice thing about bike touring as a couple is the division of labor. As Caroline showered I put up the tent, then she laid out our sleeping pads and sleeping bags while I went for a soak in the hot tub. The soak did help loosen up my neck a bit, but only temporarily. I was wishing there was a cheap motel nearby so I didn’t have to sleep on the ground. One good thing is that my leather saddle is breaking in and it hasn’t given me any saddle sores in several days. Yippee!