Caspar to Anchor Bay/Gualala: 53.4 miles and 4,370 feet

Today was to be a moderate day of riding with 45 miles and 2,800 feet of climbing. We did not find an open camp spot on a Friday night in Anchor Bay, a popular weekend destination for abalone divers. I found a very interesting off the grid house made of dirt on Airbnb. I contacted the owner to let him know we were cyclists and asked if that would be ok. No problem was the response just up a hill with a few climbs to the house. That was our expectation so we enjoyed an extended stops in Mendocino, Elk, and an impromptu cyclists gathering In Manchester.

The riding today is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway 1 in California. It was not an easy ride by no means. It included several long climb some  very steep leg killers late in the day. There were classic rollers which are steep and banking and a blast to ride. The best part of this part of the ride is the varied coastline. There were sheltered coves, two long estuaries, steep rugged unprotected cliffs exposed to the pounding waves, beautiful long sandy wind swept beaches, and surprisingly a large farming areas with cows and sheep more reminiscent of the Oregon coast.

In Manchester with only 4 miles to our destination we lingered and met three north bound riders. The wind during the summer months blows southward so all north bounders face headwinds the entire length of the coast. These are hardy riders and I’m not sure why they choose to ride north. One French woman solo rider choose to ride north because flying into San Francisco was the least expensive entry point for her. Though she was not a cyclist her plan was to turn east at some point in Oregon and ride across the U.S. The other riders were experienced cyclists from Wales who have been riding in New Zealand and Australia since Oct 2016. They made there way to San Francisco to sightsee and will ride across the U.S. They were clearly enjoying their trip and had plans for a bottle of wine while hot tubing at a KOA nearby Manchester.

Nearing Anchor Bay we found the left hand turn on Iverson road to the Airbnb. Eastbound roads we have ridden from the coast are steep. Coleman Valley road in Bodega Bay is one of the classic steep roads with sustained 13% grade. Fort Ross road will make you cry get off your bike and walk as you curse for a lower gear. Iverson road started innocent enough to the point that I yelled bring it on this is nothing. Erika rolled here eyes at my bravado sensing that I had awakened the mountain gods who just made the road longer and steeper. Iverson road continued to climb and get steeper with each plateau. The road would not stop and a few times we got off our bikes and walked as the road turned ever steeper. 2 hour, 8 miles, and 1,500 feet later we reached the house completely spent on the verge of tears. Never trust a non cyclist to describe the level of difficulty of a climb. 

In the end the suffering was worth it! The off the grid Huckleberry cob house was down a bumpy dirt road. It was a quiet setting and from the distance you could see the Pacific Ocean and hear the seal lions barking. There was a large main house another small room house occupied by another guest, and an outdoor kitchen, shower and outhouse. If you ever need a quiet place to relax to get away from it all, I would recommend driving to the Cobb house.

No food in the panniers check raid by raccoon check
Mendocino on a warm sunny day is sticky…sticky as in difficult to peel yourself from it’s charm and back on the bike
There were some short rollers on this part of highway 1 but most were quarter to half mile climbs. Looks can be deceiving!
Beautiful views like this all day long!

  1. We were going 17 until I took out my camera
    People of Elk have a sense of humor
    French woman in white is riding across the U.S. with the goal of paying no money. She camps or uses Coach Surfing, and Warm Showers for accommodations. She will work for food or dumpster dives in grocery store garbage cans for food.
    The magnificent 7! 4 from U.S., 1 from France, and 2 from Wales via the U. K. and Scotland
    Erika enjoying the comfortable bed and quiet at the Huckleberry cob house
    Morning light capturing the color of the bottles embedded in the cob
    Inside was very comfortable and the thick walls added a sound barrier which made the room very quiet
    This is the stove which provides heat for the room. Erika read about the cob house heater system and it seems complex to build but if done correctly will provide ample heat in the winter
    The main house where the owner lives

2 thoughts on “Caspar to Anchor Bay/Gualala: 53.4 miles and 4,370 feet

  1. Mary Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing . It looks so beautiful. I rode some of those hills with Planet Ultra and they were steep .
    You guys are living the dream.


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