Something about careening out onto the coast, yesterday afternoon, into a blast of sunshine and surfer breeze, really made me feel like I needed to do some spring cleaning. I had an overwhelming urge for a haircut. After a glorious sleep at the Living Light Inn we were packed and ready to set off at the crack of 10. Aran on the heavier of the two machines went on ahead with Gillian Welch strapped to his handlebars (at least here music was on an mp3 player he found on the side of the road, run over but still working). I promptly set off to find a barber.
I cruised both downtown blocks of Fort Bragg before finding a little barbershop on the other side of the tracks. The one man show was run by a great guy who had worked his whole life in the local mill until it shut down. Now in his late sixties, he had been cutting hair for the last 10 years. When I poked my head in and asked if he took credit card he simply grinned and said: “What do you think?” I ran off to get some cash.
After removing six months of hair I sped off in chase of Aran down the coast through beautiful Mendocino feeling like a new man. I was quickly halted many times by amazing photo stops and amazing vistas.
Just by chance I stopped to shed some clothing to find myself five feet from a memorial to a fallen cyclist. This woke me up to the risk we all take as riding alongside multi ton monsters. Note to self: Keep yer head up.
I found Aran several hours later passed out at the top of the hardest climb of the day surrounded by assorted empty packages that once contained calories. We flew off in search of Gualala.
We arrived after a few more stops to adjust Captain crunch. This is the name we have given the Alfine 11spd internal hub on the longer bike as he seems to get cranky from time to time and need a little rest and a cuddle. Not sure what is causing the captain to not work from time to time but it seems that spinning around 3 times, singing Johny Cash backwards in harmony and spitting over our left shoulder is the right fix. At least this time.
Linda greeted us at he front desk of the Gualala Country Inn. What a host! She promptly set about explaining exactly what was available in town, including closing times, food recommendations, suggested riding routes. All this was backed up immediately with maps, menus of all the local restaurants and a couple of keys to a super clean and comfy room complete with fireplace.
We got a nice ride plan sent from Scott Nicol of Ibis for tomorrow as we set off for lunch at Tom Ritchey’s.