Bellingham to San Fran Road Trip (plus bikes)

We already had our flights back to Blighty out of Vancouver booked for June, but our premature departure from Colombia mucked up the schedule. We tried to pull the date forward and discovered that the nearest available alternative for our fare was from San Francisco! At first this seemed like a horrible inconvenience, but we quickly realised what we had to do! …….. Road trip!!!!!

We hired a rental car for a week and drove a thousand miles from Bellingham to San Francisco with the bikes strapped to a slightly rickety used bike rack we found at Value Village for $4. The road trip was a blessing in disguise, allowing us to slot in some fantastic riding in the California Redwoods, camping at Prairie Creek and King Range. We also met up with friends near Fairfax (home to the Marin County Mountain Biking Hall of Fame Museum) who gave us an expert tour of Point Reyes National Park. And so… the road trip turned out to be one of the highlights of our entire trip, and a perfect distraction from our quickly approaching return to UK soil.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-027.jpg

A family portrait was taken just before we set off on our bikes from Mexico to Colombia. Now it kept us company during the final leg of our journey.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-034.jpg

We had our first real encounter with the Redwoods at Prairie Creek where we setup camp and jumped on the bikes for an afternoon ride …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-039.jpg

Just a few miles from the campground, we met our old pal Pacifico at Gold Bluffs beach

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-040.jpg

… and did whatever the hell we wanted …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-041.jpg

… because there was no one else in sight!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-044.jpg

In fact, we didn’t see a single other person on the trails or beaches for the entire day!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-045.jpg

Even 2.4″ tyres lack fat for the sand…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-058.jpg

… making for slow riding on the beach.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-060.jpg

With sand in my cleats, I managed to go down like a newbie when I couldn’t get my foot out.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-061.jpg

Wow, I haven’t done that for a long time. Much laughing from Jenny ensued.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-064.jpg

Endless beauty in all directions

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-083.jpg

From the beach, we headed back into the forest…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-086.jpg

… over some streams …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-095.jpg

… until we came upon a herd of elk …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-101.jpg

… playing in the lovely NorCal sun …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-104.jpg

Does and calves grazed peacefully…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-107.jpg

… with only mild concern for our strange two-wheeled contraptions.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-110.jpg

Onwards to the Ossagon Trail…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-02-122.jpg

… for more massive trees!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-03-149.jpg

After a restful night at Prairie Creek, we drove onwards through the Avenue Of The Giants

Tour In Tune-2014-04-03-153.jpg

… stretching our legs at the rest stops!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-03-154.jpg

Indeed, these be giants.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-03-167.jpg

The Redwoods really need to be seen to be fully appreciated. The scale is massive.

King Range Conservation Area

A few hours down the coast we arrived at Tolkan campsite in King Range Conservation Area where we setup camp for the night. It’s a perfect starting point for the Paradise Royale loop, 15 miles of gorgeous singletrack over the King Range.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-173.jpg

Jenny decided she likes mountain biking… a lot!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-175.jpg

The Paradise Royale loop is gorgeous trail riding indeed, I’d say top 10 trail riding of all time for me… despite the cheesy name!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-177.jpg

Although there are some moderately technical sections and some slopestyle / freeride elements in sections, the entire loop is all rideable on a rigid bike… minus one or two stream crossings…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-179.jpg

… for example, this one …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-182.jpg

Of course, I waded across first to get the photo ops…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-183.jpg

… just before I leapt back into help Jenny before she was whisked away…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-185.jpg

Back on the trail, with a long switchback climb to the top…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-192.jpg

… still more switchbacks …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-193.jpg

…. nearing the top …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-208.jpg

… and finally some descending from the ridge …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-257.jpg

Stopping for a banana break…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-262.jpg

Last bit of climbing just before ‘Mad Queen’s Tango’ …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-04-264.jpg

Jenny celebrates the massive boost in her technical riding skills.

Fairfax, Forest Knolls and Point Reyes

From King Range, we drove down to meet friends in Forest Knolls / Fairfax and spent the next day exploring Point Reyes.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-281.jpg

Okay, it’s a long story… we were trying to simulate sunglasses…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-003.jpg

… for this group shot (photo by Khale Wallitner)

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-285.jpg

Our first stop at Point Reyes was Drake Beach, where Sir Francis allegedly landed his ship before getting on with some pillaging …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-293.jpg

We probably didn’t need that extra pot of coffee.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-294.jpg

Beautiful rock and sandstone features protrude from the sand

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-297.jpg

We found a perfect spot to chow down on our epic sandwiches…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-298.jpg

We all agreed Jenny’s was the best; the Reuben to end all Reubens, with locally made pastrami on Brickmaiden bread.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-301.jpg

Khale decided it was time to jump some gaps…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-316.jpg

… but not before he completed his daily levitation routine…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-320.jpg

… and then he jumped; I underestimated his vertical abilities and chopped off his uppers…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-321.jpg

… with a solid landing on the other side.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-327.jpg

The ravens watched over from above.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-340.jpg

The Great Beach (aka Point Reyes Beach) spans over 17 kilometers of undeveloped beach bliss…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-341.jpg

Khale and Katie hiding from the fierce wind…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-349.jpg

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-355.jpg

The Sea Lion Overlook is a steep trail with grave consequences…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-357.jpg

Many curious hunters

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-358.jpg

Richie spots some cheeky sea lions…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-359.jpg

It’s steeper than it looks!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-361.jpg

If you squint, you’ll see large group of elephant seals partying on the beach. They make some pretty bizarre noises!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-369.jpg

Yeah, I’m not so sure the relationship was as amicable as is illustrated here!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-371.jpg

Some friendly deer greeted us on our way out to the Chimney Rock lookout…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-378.jpg

… no time to hang around with that last bit of sun hitting the sandstone walls…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-379.jpg

Finally, we made it to the free lounge area…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-380.jpg

And Khale gave us levitation lessons…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-382.jpg

… you just need a bit of wind really…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-390.jpg

… time for another break.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-393.jpg

Thanks to Katie, we stayed warm with hot tea…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-395.jpg

…. big gusts of wind!!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-396.jpg

The sky went through many different colours and the sun continued to dip below the horizon…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-398.jpg

… so we tried to stay warm …

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-399.jpg

… whatever it took!

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-389.jpg

I tried to learn a few tips from Khale and Richie, who are both accomplished photographers.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-05-387.jpg

Here’s one of my amatuer shots of Chimney Rock compared with …

Tour In Tune-2010-11-13-001.jpg

… Khale’s shot from a 2010. His photos is seriously amazing! (photo courtesy of Khale Wallitner)

Tour In Tune-2014-04-06-001.jpg

Mr Lebowski is Dude’s Californian cousin. He has the meow of a grown man and head butts everything he holds dear.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-06-009.jpg

You have to earn the hammock at Khale & Katie’s…

Tour In Tune-2014-04-06-015.jpg

… but once you’re up there, it’s totally worth it.

Tour In Tune-2014-04-06-037.jpg

With the rental car returned, it was time to check in. We decided against the big boxes this time and opted for a simple wrap with some old used clear plastic and duct tape we found lying around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: