My tour of Northern California starts in less than a week. I will be riding from Eureka to Oakland along Pacific Coast Route. It will take me through Redwood forests, right along the coast, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco, and finish with a ferry ride to Oakland. I will be flying to Eureka and meeting my bike there which I will ship separately. Then I will return home with my bike on an Amtrak train to southern California.
Of course, I have a picture of all my gear, organized and ready to go! I have been doing my usual over planning that I do for these trips. Doing research and organizing is my way of dealing with the excitement and anticipation that comes before each trip, but sometimes I go to far. By that I mean that I can get a little pre ride burnout due to all the planning and the ride itself seems a little anticlimactic. But that is just an illusion. As soon as I start the ride I realize that all the preparation in the world is no substitute for the actual experience, and over preparing takes nothing away from the ride.
I also prepare a lot because I am a working stiff. I get a few weeks of vacation a year and I need to optimize it for family trips, romantic trips, emergencies, etc. So my bike tours are not done in what I call “nomadic” or “vagabond” mode. By nomadic I mean the kind of tour were you have a general idea of where you are going and how long it will take, but not a strict schedule. I look forward to the time when I can take a month or two and wander around the country. But for now I want to get the most I can out of one week. So I have identified all the sights I might want to see. I have my route and campsite or hotel picked out for each day. And I have made all the reservations I might need, all ahead of time.
This year’s trip has encountered some adversity already. I had originally planned the trip for the dates of May 17-27. That was the week before Memorial Day and give me a holiday to use instead of using a day of vacation. But, ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. Those original dates should have been well past the end of the rainy season along the route. As those dates were coming near I was watching the long term weather forecast just in case. Over planning, remember? And this year some late season rain hit Northern California. It was not a major storm, but I would have ridden most of the week in conditions ranging from drizzle to heavy rain.
So I was faced with a decision. I could take a little extra rain gear and go, or I could reschedule. My decision to delay the trip ultimately came down to the nomadic vs. limited time format. With only one week to ride, I wanted to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Were I in nomadic mode I would have taken a week of rain in stride as part of the bigger adventure. Plus, I also came down with a nasty infection the day I would have left. I spent a few days running a fever and taking antibiotics. So the decision to delay turned out to be a good one.
I have changed my gear around a little since my trip last year. I decided to allow myself to carry a little extra weight and I got a 2 person tent instead of a 1 person as well as a few other luxuries. Among them is a GoPro camera, and I plan to take some videos of my travels. I am pretty excited about adding them to my blog. And just like last year, I plan to make blog entry for each day of the trip. I will post them at some point after the ride is over. My blogs will include my routes, recommendations and other information. I hope other riders find it all useful and entertaining. Time will tell!