A hundred and fifty or so miles on paper turns out to be really quite different than reality when those miles are nearly all traveled along Highway 1. Stunning? Check. Worth doing at least once? Yes, probably. Relaxing? Not so much. Listen, this is a gorgeous drive to be sure, but it made for a long day and my shoulders were knotted by the time we converged with 101 in Leggett. Once upon a time, Richard and I biked this route, going south from Portland to home, so I figured I had a fairly accurate picture of every inch of the thing. That was a long time ago though, and we weren’t worried about hitting the brakes around corners going both uphill and downhill. Actually, I still can’t quite believe I did that. Every time we saw bicycle tourers, especially couples, I would remark, “I bet the woman is so mad at the guy right now.” Perhaps I am projecting.
It really was a lovely day though, despite my complaining. We stopped for lunch in Gualala and had to park in a funny way in the parking lot. We sat outside and watched carefully to make sure the car we semi blocked was able to get out. We saw the couple return and they were really checking Dory out. I sent Richard over to offer to help guide them or move Dory, but actually, all they were doing was checking out the Alto. He gave them a tour and four more people came over and I gave them a tour. I think that was the first time we’ve ever had a blind person tour Dory. He felt everything carefully as he went and remarked that she was extremely cool. That was awesome.
With about two hours left of twisting, rolling, road left to go, I decided I needed a break. So we pulled over at Westport-Union Landing State Beach. There are a couple of campgrounds way out on a cliffy point with amazing views, but today was insanely windy, so everyone looked like they were cold and getting fairly well sand blasted. Richard was nervous about even raising the roof in that wind, but I wanted a reflection shot of the ocean in Dory’s windows. There was a road running along the very edge of the cliff that had a huge chunk missing due to having plummeted into the ocean. Note to self: maybe not stay at that campground. Richard notes that there would be great solar there. So noted.
But, we plugged along and pretty soon the road turned inland. I do sort of remember biking this stretch and I can’t believe I hauled my ass over it. Even in a car it was grueling. Lots of 180 switchbacks and blind corners going either steeply up, or steeply down. I’ll say it right now: I was badass once upon a time. Now I can’t bike five miles without wondering where the nearest paramedics might be, but at least I am badass at backing a trailer. So that’s something.
Highway 1 merges with 101 at Leggett and becomes a whole different experience. It is completely manageable at that point and the tight turns are 30mph max instead of 15. Plus, it is mostly a divided highway so people can pass you without having to use turnouts. Even so, I was ready for stopping and dinner, in that order, by the time we got to Garbersville. In addition to finding a great bar & grill place, we had LTE service, so we could bask in internet connectivity once again. We are unabashedly addicted to connectivity. That was a great dinner.
We pulled in to the Giant Redwoods RV Park a little after 7 and got set up. And gave some more tours. We do give a lot of tours while traveling. It’s all part of the Alto experience. Tomorrow we get a “rest day”, in that we are staying in the same place for two nights and don’t have to hitch up.
Monday we got to kick back a little and Richard rode the Avenue of the Giants while I sagged. This is one spectacular stretch of road, especially the part between Myers Flat and the northernmost point. The redwoods are huge and go on and on. The visitors center near Weott has tons of pictures of what the area looked like during the 1964 flood and there are high water markers here and there showing depths at least thirty feet above the road. And the road is quite a bit higher than the river. That must have been some flood.
We returned to Dory in the afternoon and got ready for fajitas on the grill for dinner. We then saw Lissa and her kids pull in to the campground. They have a fancy new tow vehicle and have just installed a caravan mover so they are nicely set up. We had a fun dinner together and chatted afterwards before turning in for the night. We’re shooting for an early-ish departure to get to our next point along the route. Should be a pretty drive.
Total miles: 160.8, 5 hours 32 min, 14.3 mpg
Site 43, sites are assigned on arrival. The waterside sites are all tent sites and this one was fine. Water and electric hookups, very limited service and campground wifi is 100mb for free. That lasted for about 20 minutes of Facebook.