2016 West Coast Tour

From mid-May to early July 2016, my family took a bike tour down the west coast, starting in Vancouver and ending at the Mexican border.  I went, along with my wife, Anne, and children, Ruth (age 5) and Max (turned 2 on the trip). The kids rode in trailers. We stayed in hotels each night, but were otherwise unsupported.

Each night, I wrote about the experience of the day.

Many cuesheets

After a year of serious planning and months of training, it was finally time.  We drove to Vancouver over two days, and met up with Anne’s parents, who would be taking the van back south for us.

Vancouver skyline

Biking through downtown Vancouver was an amazing start to the trip. We took a ferry each day as we started to establish routines. Anne’s parents met us again in Port Hadlock for our first rest day.

Astoria–Megler Bridge

We quickly cut across Washington, making it to the coast in Abderdeen, then, crossing the four mile Astoria-Megler Bridge into Oregon. It drizzled and was overcast, but only hit one day of consistent rain.

Neskowin Scenic Drive

The Oregon coast continued to impress, with beautiful bridges, sea stacks, coastal descents, and cheese factories.

Rocky Point

We wrapped up Oregon with a difficult climb and amazing descent towards Klamath.

Highway 1

This segment brought us through the well-preserved Victorian neighborhoods of Ferndale and the redwoods of the Avenue of the Giants. We said goodbye to US 101 and hello to CA 1 on our climbiest scheduled day into Fort Bragg.

Gualala Point

CA 1 took us along the coast, including difficult but short dips inland around coves and river mouths. As we approached San Francisco, I felt like we were getting close to the end, even though it was still a long way to go. Ruth’s friend and his family came to visit us for the rest day.

Monterey group shot

Crossing the crowded Golden Gate Bridge was interesting, but it felt weird to be so close to home. We enjoyed the Devil’s Slide Trail north of Half Moon Bay and the strawberry fields south of Santa Cruz. Getting into Big Sur, the road got mountainous and scenic again.

Big Creek Bridge

More amazing mountainous roads, then suddenly flat upon entering San Luis Obispo county. Elephant seals and glimpses of Heart Castle led us to beach town Pismo Beach.

Streaming Eagles highway

We saw our last big climb (and descent) and the aftermath of the Sherpa Fire near Goleta. Then our first (and only) flat tire of the trip and a visit to the Seabees Museum in Port Hueneme.

Friendship Park

Riding through LA was easily the least pleasant part of the trip, between crowded beach paths and angry angry drivers on the PCH. San Diego was much nicer, along the waterfront and then through downtown, the harbor, and the naval base. We were both happy and sad to finish the ride at the Mexican border in Friendship Park. My parents and brother met us there and helped us disassemble back into the van.

San Diego Zoo Flamingos

We took a post-ride rest day at the San Diego Zoo, then drove back home the next day.