Published: September 21st 2010September 20th 2010
Monday 20th September.
After a review of our last few weeks and some good advice we've decided to slow the pace down. Infact we've slowed it down that much that we've stopped. We're having a couple of days off in Gualala, a lovely village on the Pacific Coast 120 miles north of San Francisco. We're staying at the "Seacliff on the bluff" hotel which has stunning views overlooking the Pacific, a spa bath, giant sized bed (with white sheets), champagne in the fridge and a fire in the bedroom... Bliss... I don't want to leave.
Roll back one week...
I was devestated when David told me the hub on his bike needed fixed and that, after contacting Rohloff the manufacturer, the only way of doing this was by being in San Fransisco week commencing 27th September. Nightmare! I'd planned on being a few hundred miles south by then!
The man in the bike shop was going to an international bike show in Las Vegas from 20th - 26th and nobody else could fix the problem. We were due to arrive in San Francisco around 22nd until 25th at the latest.
After avoiding Davids questions for a few days
as to how we could get around the problem I finally had to face the fact that we'd have to take it easy and forget about clocking up the miles. We had to be in San Fran week commencing 27th no matter what.
It was at the KOA (Kampground of America) campsite in Manchester Beach on Saturday that we agreed to start taking things easy, staying in hotels when we needed to and slow the pace down abit. I also think my mini breakdown had something to do with it.
As we had a few days extra to get to San Fran we decided that night that the following day (Sunday) we'd only cycle 20 miles and stay in a place called Gualala. "Things aren't that bad" David kept saying. "We've had thick fog and clouds most of the time but at least it hasn't poured down with rain". True....
As we left the kitchen area of the campground the heavens opened.
It rained continously throughout the night and when we woke up the next morning the groundsheet of the tent had puddles floating around in it. We packed up and headed off, the rain getting heavier with
every turn of the pedal.
Luckily (for David), Gualala was nothing like Orick. In fact it was the total opposite. Looking like two drowned rats we checked into our hotel, rung our clothes out, changed and went for a wander.
We walked towards a building dated 1903 and mosied on in. It was a pub! Not wanting to be rude we stopped and a had a couple of beers. I was drinking a local Organic Eel River Pale Ale which was fruity and very dry. David opted for the Sierra Nevada Ale which was lighter in colour (lager colour) and not so dry. Both were excellent and we talked about staying in Gualala for another few nights!
What we have noticed, much to our surprise, is the amount of organic and locally produced food available
in even the smallest grocery store. And even the smallest stores have numerous blends of coffee beans for you to choose from and grind yourself. The fruit and veg counters look fabulous and everything's so fresh. There's tonnes of micro brewed pale ales available (see photos) and the staff are always willing to help.
As we've been cycling down the coast
we've been on the lookout for things that might work back in the U.K.
So far there's been bikini clad girls serving espresso from highway booths and free refills on your coffee.
One might work better than the other but not quite what we're looking for.
However, we stopped at a grocery store in Mendicino and seen this poster. "That's it" we both said.. "The next big thing"...... "CUDDLE PARTIES"..
When we get back home we're going to ask Reg, the quiz master at our local, to add this night to the list of things he already organises. Sunday - Quiz Night, Monday - Darts Night, Tuesday - Poker Night, Wednesday - Book Club Night, Thursday - Open Mic Night, "Friday - CUDDLE NIGHT. For the people of North Shields to get to know one another better".....
You're all invited.....
I'm still finding the local lingo hard to grasp.. On one occassion we were cycling along the shoreline and I noticed a man staring into the long grass opposite. I slowed down and as I approached him he said "look, there's 5 ox"..
"What, 5 ox? I don't think I've seen an ox before".
"Yeah, over there.
"Right there. 5 of 'em"
"David, look there's 5 ox over there"
"There. The man said"
"I know. I think he's loosing it"
"No man. Look. 5 ox over there"
Hmmm.. Strange... It took us about 5 miles to realise what he was actually saying was "5 hawks over there". Oh well, I'll get to see an ox one day!
There are more photos below