After the discouraging winds during our previous day, and hoping to make big mileage all the way up to Manchester State Beach, we woke up at 515am and were on the road by 615am. The morning was cold and damp, but finally, there was no wind.
We cruised along, up and down the Sonoma County coastline; we simultaneously admired dairy farms and steep ocean bluffs. The nigh before we had met a southbound traveler who had warned of "the climb out of Jenner". We flew down a steep hill and into the town of Jenner (Population: 107, Elevation: 19ft).
As we climbed up a slow hill we got to admire a beautiful cove, river and beaches. Reaching the top I recorded a video (to be uploaded eventually) as Greg caught up. When Greg arrived he promptly disengaged his left cleat, and the slowly tipped and fell into a drainage ditch to his right. Next thing I knew Greg was staring up from the bottom of the ditch with his bike on top of him. A biker who had been following us up the hill was concerned, but luckily Greg was unhurt. This man was 2 to 3 times our age and assured us we'd have no issues reaching our nearly 70 mile goal as he sprinted off on his lightweight road bike.
As we descended down the next hill I saw this man already climbing a mountain covered in switchback roads. Despite how we'd felt after dinner climbing into Lagunitas, this was our first true fitness test. After a few breaks we reached the top. For the next dozen miles we climbed and descended (mostly climbing) along beautiful Pacific cliffs with southbound road shoulders hundreds of feet above ocean.
We continued on to Gualala as the winds began to build, finally reaching around 20mph by lunchtime.
(Random side note: in Sea Ranch, CA at the end of a mile climb uphill and upwind a man yelled at me in Spanish as he threw sand and gravel at my legs/bike. Not sure why he did it, but when he saw Greg he only yelled.)
At lunch we met a man who used to commute 67 miles daily. He said he did this on a bike trail and was amazed at the mileage and climbs we were accomplishing on California's Shoreline Highway. Later when we were eating he brought us a braided keychain that his daughter had made, saying it would bring us good luck and remind us of Gualala.
Having already passed the raved-above parks of Gualala and Salt Point, we were determined to make it the final 21 miles to Manchester. Our good luck charm did not diminish the winds unfortunately and we trudged through strong winds once again. The issues with headwinds is that they don't just slow you down on flat and inclined roads. But they also suck away your speed on well earned downhill sections, or threaten to blow you off the road/into traffic once a cross wind catches our heavy panniers. Heading down the steep descent into Point Arena which lay between two hills was particularly treacherous.
Nearing camp we grabbed food (a Lunchable, apple , sliced turkey, bread and brie). Once in camp we were rewarded with a lack of showers and a presence of pit-toilets. 69 miles down.