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.
- Training rides
- Pre-tour FAQ
- Post-tour FAQ
- Final prep
- Driving from Newark, CA to Eugene, OR
- Driving from Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC
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 to Nanaimo, BC
- Nanaimo to Sidney, BC
- Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA
- Anacortes to Port Hadlock, WA
- Rest day in Port Hadlock, WA
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.
- Port Hadlock to Hoodsport, WA
- Hoodsport to Aberdeen, WA
- Aberdeen to South Bend, WA
- South Bend, WA to Warrenton, OR
- Warrenton to Wheeler, OR
- Rest day in Wheeler, OR
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.
- Wheeler to Pacific City, OR
- Pacific City to Newport, OR
- Newport to Florence, OR
- Rest day in Florence, OR
The Oregon coast continued to impress, with beautiful bridges, sea stacks, coastal descents, and cheese factories.
- Florence to North Bend, OR
- North Bend to Port Orford, OR
- Port Orford to Brookings, OR
- Brookings, OR to Klamath, CA
- Rest day in Klamath, CA
We wrapped up Oregon with a difficult climb and amazing descent towards Klamath.
- Klamath to Trinidad, CA
- Trinidad to Ferndale, CA
- Ferndale to Miranda, CA
- Miranda to Leggett, CA
- Leggett to Fort Bragg, CA
- Rest day in Fort Bragg, CA
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.
- Fort Bragg to Point Arena, CA
- Point Arena to Fort Ross, CA
- Fort Ross to Tomales, CA
- Tomales to Corte Madera, CA
- Rest day in Corte Madera, CA
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.
- Corte Madera to Half Moon Bay, CA
- Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, CA
- Santa Cruz to Monterey, CA
- Monterey to Big Sur, CA
- Rest day in Big Sur, CA
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 Sur to Gorda Springs, CA
- Gorda Springs to Cambria, CA
- Cambria to Pismo Beach, CA
- Rest day in Pismo Beach, CA
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.
- Pismo Beach to Lompoc, CA
- Lompoc to Goleta, CA
- Goleta to Port Hueneme, CA
- Rest day in Port Hueneme, CA
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.
- Port Hueneme to Torrance, CA
- Torrance to San Clemente, CA
- San Clemente to La Jolla, CA
- La Jolla to Friendship Park, CA
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.
We took a post-ride rest day at the San Diego Zoo, then drove back home the next day.