The sun greeted us first thing in the morning at Salt Point State Park. Wait, the SUN? That's right folks, this was the first morning in memory that we woke up to sunshine instead of fog.
Riding that morning was slow. Savoring the last day of travel meant stopping and looking. Highway 1 follows a cliff ridge in this section, and as we scaled the hills we saw a view of the glittering Pacific that stretched out for miles.
We found a perfect hidden cove that let us accomplish one of Travis' goals of the trip: to finally swim in the Pacific. We parked our bikes on the wayside and made the trek down a steep cliff that ended in a beach that was out of sight of the cars passing by. The waves gently crashed on a sandy beach, and high rocky cliffsides closed around it like an embrace. And why just swim in the Pacific when you can skinny dip in the Pacific? Good question.
Our hilly journey continued until we reached our turnoff to bring us into the interior, the Russian River. The river met the sea at a slow, open mouth, and seals basked on the shore by the aquamarine water. We stopped for lunch at a cafe that screamed California Stereotype: the owner was a 40 year old surfer dude with long hair who hired beautiful 22 year women exclusively. A bossanova duo played live music outside, and right beside them customers were treating themselves to chair massages. Also, the food was great.
And then that was it. We said goodbye to the coast that has been our constant companion for the past five weeks, always at our right side as we traveled south. We turned east and traveled into the interior of Sonoma County.
Somehow, planners of long ago had the foresight to place thousands of acres of the county in wildlife preserves and agriculture conservation, so instead of battling through homogenous suburban developments we passed through rolling hills dotted with dairy cows or carpets of vineyards. We enjoyed the novelty of biking on flat land, gently pushed by a tailwind of Ocean's Breath. Even fully loaded I can now keep a speed of 18 mph. Not bad, little legs.
Even though I was expecting it, 68 miles rolled by and the end happened quickly. Signs of civilization became ever more present, and then we rolled into Petaluma city limits. We navigated the busy streets on bike lands (of course) and before I knew it we were knocking on Aunt Mary's door and sitting down to a lasagne dinner. Travis' aunt and her family welcomed us into their home, and I ate as much homemade food as I could stuff, and then took a real hot shower. It was my first nice shower since Oregon.
Final numbers: 1553 miles over 34 days of riding.