Reedsport, OR to Crescent City, CA, 159
The previous day, while "only" 206 miles, had been so slow and plagued
by Oregon vacation traffic that Tania requested an itinerary revision,
so this day got shortened from 240 miles to 159 and the remaining four
days got evened out to just over 200 miles each, with the result that
we were able to retain our original goal of staying on the coast roads
the entire 1366 miles from Puget Sound to El Segundo.
For anyone who does not think the Pacific Coast is characterized by
microclimates, this photo is should be sufficient demonstration. Let me
begin by reminding you that on this planet, at least in the middle
latitudes, weather comes from the West. On the North Pacific Coast the
weather condtions are also affected by the cold Humboldt Current, which
travels right down along the coast from Alaska to roughly Point
Conception, CA, and across which all weather must travel to get here.
result is a low, ocean-hugging "Marine Layer" of cold, moist air that
dominates the coastal climate but dissipates rapidly inland in daytime
as the sun heats the land. This photo shows the interaction as of late
morning. The marine layer, which, because it is summer, is less than
200 feet thick here (it can get up to 2000 feet thick), is moving
onshore driven by the northwesterly wind that comes out of the
Pacific High, and its mists are dissipating right in front of our eyes
here as they encounter the sun-warmed land and the fog
evaporates. The difference in temperature between where the fog is and
isn't is about 20 degrees.
Which means, among other things, that places like this picnic table,
where Tania and I stopped for some lunch of fruit and sandwiches, was
freezing cold, because here the Marine Layer is thicker and the mists
are flowing right up the land through the trees. We're about 200 feet
above the water here, and if not for the fog you'd see the beach right
in the middle of this photo. Tania and I ate at a picnic table like
Tania had every stitch of clothing on that she'd brought. In fact, we
had been wearing long underwear all day every day since leaving Omak,
WA, and we did not remove it until Santa Barbara, CA, four more days
south and only 100 miles from Los Angeles.
Later in the afternoon we were still in and out of fog. A little
sunlight managed to find this scenic turnout just north of Brookings
near the southern boundary of Oregon, but our remaining miles into
Crescent City were solid overcast and cold.
Not that we weren't glad to be back in California! I'd been
outside my home state for three months. Fact is, I still like
California better than any other state I visited, even with a $42B
budget deficit and Arnold The Governator.
Crescent City, CA to Fort Bragg, CA, 217
This was a day of traveling in and out of fog. In places where we were
in forest at the fog-sun transition, scenes like this occurred. It was
about 52 degrees when we left Crescent City . . .
. . . whereas in these photos, along the Redwood Highway that
runs through Redwood National Park parallel to US-101, it was over 100
degrees! Tania still had her outer jacket on (by maternal fiat), but I
was in a T-shirt.
Well, that didn't last. At the town of Leggett, California Highway 1,
aka Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) takes off to the SW heading to the
coast and then south along it. It is quite slow and twisty coming down
the mountains. Below, that canyon beyond my left shoulder is where CA-1
beach, and you can see there ain't much for it to hang onto.when it
We made it to Fort Bragg without incident, but the light was so poor
that photography really wasn't worth the effort. We had dinner there at
an unjustifiably upmarket establishment called the Mendo Bistro --
which, Tania told me to say, sucked. Food was so-so, portions were
"fashionably" small, price was stupid, and service was beyond the pale.
I very seldom stiff a wait-person -- maybe five times in my life -- but
this was one of them.
Fort Bragg, CA to Half Moon Bay, CA, 202
We started our day eight miles south in Mendocino at the polar opposite
of the Mendo Bistro -- Moody's Organic Coffee Bar. Lynn and I had
discovered this place during a trip up the coast in our 1965 Checker
wagon in Fall 2007, and Tania and I decided to see if it still existed.
Hungry for a "real" cup of coffee I ordered a medium-size dark brew
"redeye", i.e. with a shot of espresso. The barista responded
"Just one?" -- pause -- "It normally comes with three . . . " Oh YES
sir, please, THREE shots. What was I thinking?
The result was, I'm not kidding, "The Best Cup Of Coffee I've Ever
Had". I used to think the coffee at Urth Kaffe in Santa Monica was
unsurpassable, but I was very wrong.
Tania can now say "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt."
Good as the coffee made me feel, it did not dissipate the Marine Layer
blanketing the Mendocino coast.
After a couple hours the coffee had worked its way through our systems,
and we were looking for a legstretch and rest room when this turned up
in a small turnout. Given the remote location and rustic look I figured
it was a pit toilet. I opened the door and found . . .
. . . absolutely brand new gleaming fully plumbed fixtures fresh
out of the box. This is at least one place not affected by California's
This what the coast looked like as we approached Bodega Bay. We had all
our woolies on.
CA-1 runs inland of Tomales Bay, which is a 30-mile gash in the coast
right on top of (and caused by) the San Andreas Fault. This photo looks
south across it.
Half Moon Bay, CA to Morro Bay, CA, 213
By the itinerary this was to be our next-to-last day on the road, and
I have to admit we thought seriously about bailing and taking US-101 or
I-5 straight down to LA in one day. As many times as I've been down the
Big Sur coast, I know it ALWAYS takes twice as long and requires twice
as much driving effort as I think it should, and since we hadn't seen
much sun for the past 1000 miles I wondered what the Big Sur scenery
would really be like. However, for the reasons I already mentioned plus
the fact that if we bailed we'd miss being able to visit with the
lovely lady on my left in the photo below (Lynn's mother, Joanne
lives in Pacific Grove), we decided to continue per plan and
follow CA Highway 1.
And as it turned out, even though it was still cold, the sun was
shining! We were busy enough driving that we didn't take too many
pictures, but here are two we did take, just to prove we were there.
Morro Bay, CA to El Segundo, CA, 220
This was the last day of the trip, and Tania's and my last day on the
motorcycle together. As planned, we took CA Highway 1 from Morro Bay to
San Luis Obispo, from Arroyo Grande to Gaviota, and from Oxnard to El
Segundo, with just two short stretches of US-101 where it coincided
with CA-1. We took no pictures because there wasn't much to see that
we, and you, haven't all seen before. It was a perfect day and a
perfect completion to our trip.
As you may recall, my cousin Randy suggested I bookend this trp with a
sunrise picture at the northeastern extremity of my route, in Eastport,
ME, and a sunset photo at the southwestern extremity in El Segundo. I
got the sunrise picture on June 2nd as I was leaving Eastport). Here's
that photo, from Update
Here's El Segundo Beach on the evening of July 31st, 2009.
Overcast sky in both, sun invisible in both, cold in both . . .
What did I get out of all this? For one thing, the realization once
again that there is very little value in having done it except the
doing of it. In the end, I've got this website, some misty memories,
and thousands of dollars in credit card bills to show for this 100
days. The day-to-day doing of it is all there is. Actually I realized
that somewhere around North Dakota. So was it worth it?
YES. Absolutely. This trip sits in my memory as a deep happiness,
accomplishment, and completion.
One thing I've learned about myself over the years is I have to have is
connectedness with my physical world. I have to connect the dots.
Before this trip I'd already visited many of the places I visited on
this trip, but those places were not connected together in my
experience. I really dislike air travel for this reason. You get to a
new place, but you've no idea what lies between where you started and
where you ended up. The west coast and the east coast are totally
different. I've lived both places. I've visited Salt Lake City, Denver,
Boulder, the Colorado Rockies, Albuquerque, Corpus Christi, San
Antonio, Washington DC, northern Idaho, the Chesapeake Bay, Boston,
Fort Wayne, IN, Rochester, NY, Huntsville, AL, Lower Alabama, the
Florida Panhandle, west coast, and Keys, the waterways of Georgia, the
Carolinas, and Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, the
Southwestern deserts . . . but I hadn't experienced all the places in
between except in an air-conditioned car on a six-day trip in 1997, and
those in-between places are what connect the ends. I wanted to loop the
country, to tie all the edges together, to know those areas like I know
my home state . . . to add it all to my mental "backyard".
And that's been done. Now I can hold this entire country in my mind,
just like I already hold California. In fact, counting everywhere I've
been in my life, I now have direct first-hand experience of a
contiguous stretch of this planet that extends from Fairbanks, Alaska
to the Panama Canal to Georgetown, Exuma Cays, Bahamas. At one point in
my life, back in the mid-1990's, I asked myself what I wanted to do
most, having been granted one fairly short visit to this particular
piece of the cosmos. The answer that came up was "See it. See the
I know I haven't seen the
But it's a start.