Tag Archives: Family Cycling

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 21: Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo State Park

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

Day 21: Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo State Park

We woke in the gopher site at 6:00 AM to a blaring car alarm followed by the horns of a passing freight train. With tracks running less than 50 feet from the campsite, we were woken several times during the night by trains. The car alarm topped off a bad night’s sleep and we figured we might as well just get up and start the day.

As we ate breakfast and drank coffee in the shade at a picnic table next to the gopher site, I checked the maps again and determined our next campsite, Leo Carrillo State Beach, was a little over 47 miles away. With stops, we average about 10 miles and hour, so I figured 47 miles would take us about 5 hours. Since it was so early, we had the luxury of a slow roll out. We said goodbye to Henry and Danielle before they packed up and left, they were headed to town for breakfast. They planned to camp at Leo Carrillo too so we knew we’d see them again.

Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo

We eventually packed up and got on the road. And after a brief stop in town for second breakfast  and coffee, we started pedaling toward our destination. The bike route meandered through town and eventually joined busy Hwy 1. It was Sunday, in the middle of a heat wave and by the time we got rolling, beach traffic was hopping: lots of cars and large trucks towing RVs and not a lot of space for bikes on the shoulder. Continue reading

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Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19: Lompoc to El Capitan State Beach

Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

el capitan to carpinteria

We met another friendly bike tourist in the El Capitan State Beach hiker/biker site. The five of us shared the giant hiker/biker site with its beautiful ocean view. As we’ve noted in a previous post about last year’s Pacific Coast tour, bike tourists who meet on the road often have little pet names for their fellow two-wheeled travelers. We named the friendly guy we met in El Capitan,  “Mr. California”. When we inquired about his hometown, he replied “California”. He went on to list the real estate he owned up and down the California coast including houses in Ventura, Del Mar, San Francisco, Sonoma County and a couple other places. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19: Lompoc to El Capitan State Beach

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike tour , Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

Day 19: Lompoc to El Capitan State Beach

We woke up in the Lompoc city park, took care of our usual morning routine of coffee and breakfast. As Tim made the coffee, I wandered over to the camp host’s site and asked if we could charge our electronics in the vacant RV site next to the hiker/biker. He said, no problem. So we plugged in all of the devices and continued breakfast and taking down our camp.

While we were packing up, the park ranger drove into the campground to collect the fee envelopes from the self pay box. To our surprise, he came over to the hiker/biker and gave Henry and Danielle a refund. They had been used to paying per person in CA State Parks. Naturally, they paid $10 for their site, $5 per person. But at the Lompoc city park, the camping fee was $5 per site, not per person! And he graciously explained they paid too much and gave them $5 back.

River Park in Lompoc

Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour, Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

previous post: San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

Leaving San Luis Obisbo Hotel

We woke the next morning rested, clean, smelling good and ready to tackle the day. A little rest, some pool time, leg massages and mega doses of ibuprofen  had done Tim’s knees some good.  He was still reluctant and a bit worried about his knees and wasn’t sure they were going to take him 400 more miles to the border but he was willing to keep plugging along.

A couple of months before we left on the trip Tim changed his saddle on the tandem. The more miles he pedaled, the more Tim deduced that the position change from his saddle swap might be contributing to his sore knees. He considered asking a friend to break into our garage, remove his Selle Atomica saddle from another bike and mail it to a future stop.  He figured that would be too much hassle for all parties involved and decided to just manage the pain instead. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 15, 16 and 17 San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

Previous post: Big Sur to San Simeon

Day 15: San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

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We woke up in the hiker/biker site and most of the riders who had arrived late the evening before had already left. Early risers get the worm and get to ride the Hwy in a dense fog. We learned that one of the riders in the late arriving group had to catch a train in San Luis Obisbo so they had a valid reason for getting up and out of camp so early.

san simeon to san luis obisbo

We enjoyed our usual leisurely morning routine with coffee, hot chocolate and oatmeal for the kids while we waited for the fog to clear. We weren’t interested in riding the highway in dense fog. Good call! The fog cleared and we were on the road by mid-morning. Destination: a hotel in San Luis. I couldn’t wait for a real bed, a shower and some laundry! Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 14 and 15: Big Sur to San Simeon

Pacific Coast Bike Tour previous post: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Day 14: Big Sur to Plasket Creek

After a day of R&R at Big Sur campground, everyone was ready to tackle the day. Our daughter was feeling better, Tim thought his knee could handle a short day and we were ready to get back on the road. Our Big Sur hiker/biker campsite campmate, Jay Dancing Bear, gave us the scoop on the next stretch of the coast. Jay reported that the sparsely populated and rugged coastal area would be the best part of our tour. He’d been traveling this area for more than 20 years and had some strong opinions about the set of campgrounds, beaches and services.

big sur to san simeon

Jay Dancing Bear suggested we take the next section of the tour slow and to relish the tranquility of the remaining section of Big Sur. He scouted our Adventure Cycling maps and told us where he would camp if he was us. We appreciated the inside tips and settled on Plasket Creek campground, a forest service campground 33 miles south. Our friends, whom we traveled with last summer on the northern portion of the Pacific Coast stayed at Kirk Creek campground when they passed though Big Sur last year. They reported it was beautiful but had no potable water. They left the campsite thirsty and dehydrated and suggested we aim for Plasket Creek instead.

Foot Bridge at Pfeiffer Big Sur

A little tip about grocery stores in the Big Sur area: they are scarce and expensive along this stretch of coastline! We stocked up on groceries at the small store three miles from the Big Sur campground, still more expensive than a splurge at Whole Foods, but still cheaper than grocery options further down the road. Continue reading

Get Kids to Talk: The Modern Equivalent of Trapping Them in the Car

Parenting fact: one-on-one time with kids is where all of the good dialogue happens.

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville from The Hartford Guy on Flickr

When I was in high school, my dad was well aware of this fact. I think that’s why he’d bribe me with rides to school in his 1978 Cadillac DeVille (or “the boat” as we called it in the family). Even today I can still hear the “thunk” of the automatic door locks engaging as dad backed this giant, baby-blue, swank sedan out of the driveway.

That “thunk” nearly always triggered teenage-cheek-flush and upper-lip-sweat as I realized I was trapped in the car with dad. On the surface it was a luxury ride, but in reality I was merely being held for uninterrupted questioning.

My 15-year-old brain swirled with thoughts of outsmarting him:

“Crap, it’s just dad and me, no one else to distract him or run interference, he can talk about anything he wants. I can’t escape, I have to answer his questions. Maybe if I just look out the window and feign boredom, he won’t try to talk to me.”

But my sweaty, flushed flight response of my lizard brain knew better.

He always asked questions. So many questions. And I eventually had to answer. Continue reading

Lies we Tell our Children (or how to get kids to go bike touring)

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 1

When Tim and I recount family bike adventures to friends and strangers, a typical response is, “What do the kids think”? “Do they like bike touring?”

If we were being completely honest, we’d reply, “of course not”. You’ll soon ascertain that we have a slight problem with stretching the truth.

We get kids on board and excited about these trips by over-emphasizing the potential highlights and skipping the parts we know the kids won’t like.

And sometimes we tell all out lies. Continue reading

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 23-25, San Rafael, CA to Oakland, CA (including the Golden Gate!)

Day 23: Rest Day in San Rafael

We spent the day resting. Hanging out with our friends, relaxing on the couch and napping. The kids enjoyed their time with friends. It sure is nice to spend time someone other than your sibling after traveling for three weeks.
Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23


Miles: 10 miles
Climbing: not sure
Route: local roads
High: Good Friends, Good Food
Low: I can’t think of one
Sleep: Friends house in San Rafael

Day 24: San Rafael to Oakland via the Golden Gate Bridge

We packed up the next morning and started pedaling toward the Golden Gate. I had made plans to meet my sister, and her two daughters near the Golden Gate so they could ride the bridge with us. Of course, we got lost in Marin and the ride took longer than we had planned. We finally made it to the bridge and my sister and my nieces were cheering for us. We were elated and just a bit misty eyed! As we rode up, the 9-year-old said, “Mom, I’m really proud of myself.” I agreed, I’m proud too.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Lots of photo opportunities in the viewing area at the Golden Gate. We lingered for a while and snapped lots of photos!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

The cousins at the Golden Gate.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Our trip was officially over. 22 days, 947 miles! Tim and our daughter both said they were ready to keep going, they wanted to continue down the Coast. But we had to get back to Seattle and didn’t have time. We vowed to finish the Pacific Coast another time!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Miles: 20 miles
Climbing: not sure
Route: Local roads and Bart
High: Crossing the Golden Gate
Low: Getting on the wrong Bart Train
Sleep: sisters house in Oakland

We spent two days with my sister and her family. More napping. More relaxing. More hanging out with family. We were all exhausted and the parents didn’t have energy for tourist activities. The kids were disappointed that we didn’t spend more time in San Francisco. We vowed to spend more time being tourists next time!

We also reserved a rental car and Tim disassembled the bikes so they would fit on the trunk rack we borrowed from my sister to transport the bikes.

wide load: rental Impala racked up with both tandems for drive home

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Looks cumbersome but the bikes don’t stick out beyond the mirrors. We drove late into the night since we had to return our one-way rental car in the morning. Thirteen hours later, we were back in Seattle.

Here’s a link to our Flickr photo stream from the trip.

 – Anne

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 19-22, MacKerricher State Park to San Rafael, CA

Day 19 MacKerricher State Park to Manchester

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19
After checking out the tide pools and watching the seals lounge around on the beach through binoculars, we packed up and left MacKerricher State Park. Satiated by breakfast in Ft. Bragg and with enough groceries to get us through the day, we pedaled out-of-town toward Manchester.

The route through Mendocino along Hwy 1 is absolutely beautiful. This stretch was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Amazing coastal vistas, perfect weather and curvy windy roads that keep logging trucks away. Most of the traffic was traveling at relatively slow speeds and the lack of shoulder didn’t bother us too much. The series of hairpin turns meant fun downhills, but also lots of climbing. The boy and I developed a pretty good rhythm. When we’d see the sign indicating a hairpin turn, he’d yell, “Tuck and Pedal!!” and we’d pedal vigorously hoping to keep momentum going into the climb that always followed.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19

We originally planned to camp at Manchester State Park, but upon arrival, we learned that they had no potable water and no showers. Desperately needing a shower, we opted for our favorite KKKKOA chain. I annoyed the kids and Tim for the rest of the evening emphasizing my K’s as we cooked dinner in the KKKamper KKKitchen and listened to bad KKKaroke entertainment from other KKKampers. During the night we heard doves cooing above our tent and woke in the morning to a tent covered in dove KKKrap. That was the icing on the KKKake. We cleaned it off as best we could and quickly packed up and pedaled out of there.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20
Our “neighbors” at the KOA had an amazing amount of stuff including numerous dogs and cats in a fenced off pen and a full size gas BBQ!

Miles: 45.6 miles
Climbing: 4279 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 1
High: Beautiful ride through Mendocino Coast
Low: Manchester KOA
Sleep: Manchester KOA

Day 20: Manchester to Bodega Bay

Leaving the KOA
We spent another day pedaling the Mendocino and Sonoma Coasts. Sonoma Coast is amazingly beautiful: rugged, sparsely populated, and beautiful vistas with perfect weather for bike touring. We pedaled up more climbs and descents and honed our tucking and pedaling skills.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

We enjoyed the ocean views all day.

The Sonoma Coast is beautiful

We ran into “The Surfboard Dudes” after lunch and rode with them for a while. They looked like they were suffering quite a bit towing surfboards up those climbs.
The surfboard crew

We also encountered lots of cows grazing behind fences and where there were no fences, cows sometimes wandered in the road. The boy loved it, we talked about cows for hours.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

We ended up naming this big climb “Cow Hill”, and when we reached the summit, the boy wanted his photo taken with one of his bovine friends.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

The distinctive architecture along the Sonoma Coast made the ride interesting too. We looked forward to spotting cool houses in the hills.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

After 71 miles of climbing and sun, we were beat. We arrived at the campground at dusk and decided to take a rest day in Bodega Bay the following day.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Miles: 71.6 miles
Climbing: 6870 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 1
High: Cow hill! Cows owned the roads, not the cars
Low: Nasty food at a convenience store 10 miles from Bodega Bay
Sleep: Bodega Dunes State Park

Day 21: Rest Day in Bodega Bay

IMAG0333
Not much to report on our rest day, other than actual rest. And reading, and eating. After our experience in Gold Beach, I couldn’t convince anyone to go to the beach with me, so we just stayed in our sandy campsite.

Bodega Dunes campground is low-key. The hiker biker campsite is pretty big and easily swallowed up the five groups who wandered in throughout the day. This campground also has free showers. Bonus for stinky bike tourists!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Later in the afternoon the “Tandem Family” showed up in the campground. We were so happy to see them. All eight of us went into town for dinner that evening for some fish and chips.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Miles: 5 or so
Climbing: minimal
Route: back roads into town
High: Rest and seeing the “Tandem Family” again!
Low: Can’t think of one
Sleep: Bodega Dunes Campground

Day 22: Bodega Bay to San Rafael

The last day of riding, we’re almost to San Francisco. This day was all about food and pedaling. We stopped to stuff our faces with delicious lunch at the Valley Ford Market. A perfect place to get eat lunch, the store was incredible. As we were getting ready to start pedaling again “The Tandem Family” showed up! We chatted a bit and we were off. This was the last we’d see of them on the trip. We were ending our trip in San Francisco and they were continuing on to San Luis Obisbo, South of Big Sur. We’d catch up with them in Seattle when we all returned.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

Tim had heard of  Hog Island Oyster Farm from his sister who is a water quality specialist and food scientist at the University of Washington. Naturally he wanted to stop in and eat some oysters. I was being a grumple pants and really didn’t want to stop, I was anxious to keep pedaling and ensure we arrived in San Rafael by sunset. But I’m so glad we stayed, what a beautiful setting. I wished we could have spent more time eating oysters (and sampling wine) on the beautiful patio. Another time, no wine for us if we want to make it to San Rafael by sunset!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

When we pulled up, we saw some familiar bikes and noticed “The Cookbook Couple” sharing oysters in the sun too!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

Tim and our daughter shared a dozen oysters.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

With bellies full of oysters, we got back on the bikes and continued to ride South.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

My good friend, Steph, whom I’ve known since first grade drove out to Lagunitas on the outskirts of Marin to greet us as we emerged from our ride through Samuel P Taylor State Park.  We were so happy ( and a bit emotional) to see them and share our excitement of finishing the tour. Steph dropped her husband, Jim, with his bike and he escorted us through Marin to their house in San Rafael. Along the way, we met several people on bikes who rode with us a few blocks at a time and quizzed us about our tour. Friendly bike people in Marin!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

The ride into San Rafael was beautiful!

Jim escorted us the last 15 miles

Miles: 55.6 miles
Climbing: 3937 ft of climbing
High: Hog Island Oysters
Low: mom spent some time in the grumpy seat
Sleep: Friends house in San Rafael

 – Anne