Day 22 - Gualala Point Regional Park to The Dunes: Sonoma Coast State Park - July 7, 2014

Sea Ranch Chapel

Having gone to sleep early the night before, I woke up around six-thirty. I packed up and was out of the campground by just after seven o'clock.

I few miles in, I passed by the Sea Ranch Chapel. I put my bike down on in the grass and checked it out. The architecture was quite unique. I took a picture and wished I had the opportunity to enter. Cycling further south, I came upon the Sea Ranch Lodge. I locked up the bike, slipped in and waited for Snelling to arrive. He did a short time later, and we enjoyed the breakfast. The view from the restaurant was amazing.

Russian Mill - Fort Ross

We moved south to Fort Ross. After taking a glance into the complex, I had to pedal in. I was first greeted by a recreation of the historic windmill that was, at one time, in use at the Russian settlement. I read the information on the placard. I didn't realize that Russia had an early settlement in California. I wanted to learn more. Snelling arrived and we moved on to the fort.

Hank - Fort Ross

When we wheeled our bicycles into the walled area, Hank Birnbaum, a historian employed by the California State Park service, greeted us. He mentioned that he would be giving a talk in a couple minutes. We were both interested in hearing what he had to say. Hank was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the fort. He took us inside the the storage building. Time and energy had been put into making it look authentic. The historic Russians had trapped sea otter to trade with China for exotic goods. In turn, they had traded the Chinese goods to the Spanish missions for food stuffs. After a while, the otter became greatly diminished and the settlement was costing much more than it was generating. The Russian government decided to no longer support their interest in California and the fort was sold. I found the visit to Fort Ross fascinating.

Cycling in the Clouds - North of Jenner

Having stayed at the fort for two hours, we needed to get moving. The stretch of highway was otherworldly. At times I felt like I was cycling in the clouds. We flew on to Jenner, purchased a few groceries for dinner from a local store and headed to "The Dunes" campsite on the Sonoma coast. When talking to the ranger, I found out that the showers were free and hot. This was the combination I had been looking for in California. Moving on to the hiker-biker site, I was surprised to see several other cyclists already there. Most were headed to San Francisco. While eating dinner at the picnic table, I told Snelling that I was going to join him in making San Francisco the final stop for this tour. It had been such a good trip, I didn't want the cycling to turn into a grind. Also, I missed my family. I'd planned on picking up the final seven hundred miles next summer. It would give me something to look forward to.

Snelling and I left most of our belongings a the camp and headed for Bodega Bay to see what it was like. We stopped in at a little restaurant and had a drink. Bodega Bay is where the Hitchcock film "The Birds" was filmed. I noticed another restaurant of the same name. 

After arriving back at the campsite, I took that anticipated shower and walked to my bivy sack. While taking off my flip-flops I heard what I thought was a fly buzzing around my feet. A few seconds later, I felt a sting. I had invaded the home of a small colony of yellowjackets, the underground variety. The single sting was all I received. Luckily, they were docile at night. It did take me some time to get to sleep. Those bees really pack a punch.

We cycled approximately forty-five miles today. 

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