Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Thanksgiving Feast

For those of you who I talked with before Thanksgiving, there was little doubt from you I would find an appropriate Thanksgiving celebration. But I wasn't so convinced. There were few towns and few people in those towns as the coast and highway 101 has entered its offseason. About 3PM and 60 miles after Tomales I found myself in Gualala, tired and in need of some warmth.
Coastal biking is not easy. The road is a consistent hillside leading to the cliff that looks over the ocean. Then it turns inland down a steep slope that eventually turns shaped like a horseshoe and circles back up to another hillside and repeats the pattern over and over. The hillside is steep and slow and brightens as it faces the ocean and open skies. The horseshoe turns cold and dark and misty as the downward slope propels the bike faster toward the next rising hillside. It is repetitively breathtaking.

The landed flattened as I approched Gualala (pronounce Wallala) and I stopped at the first available open location. It was the Gualala Hotel. Inside were are few vacationers, a happy bartender and a open seat. I took it and ordered the local beer. I asked if the kitchen was open and the bartender let me know the Turkey was almost ready. They had only one meal and it was the perfect Thanksgiving feast.

From Gualala, I woke up the next morning with a Thanksgiving hangover. I can't decide if it was the stuffing or the wine. I'll never know.

From Gualala, I headed to Westport and through Fort Bragg. I enjoyed much of the same coastal scenery I had the last two days. But I knew after Westport I was heading inland to the Redwood forest. So I made several stops to soak in the setting and best implant the memory of these gorgeous days in my mind. California's northern coast is a guaranteed future cycling destination for me to return to.

I arrived at Westport just after dark to meet Otto and get a full nights rest in one of his 6 motel rooms. I would wake in the morning at 5:30 where Otto was already up making coffee. Otto has owned the Westport Inn since 1972 and it is his habit and pleasure to make coffee and invite his motel guests into his home for some of his homemade jam and cookies. It was a real treat to hear is story and meet such a pleasant man. Thanks Otto. I was off by 7AM.

I know by know that heading to the coast and leaving the coast means a climb is ahead of me. And I was right. After several thousand feet of ups and down (mostly ups), with switchbacks and virtually no traffic, I found myself at the entrance to the redwood forest in Leggett California.

1 comment:

Mom and Dad said...

So glad your back on line, we have missed the up dates. See you soon!