June 14, 2010 GMT
Californian Coast

Point Reyes is a peninsular just north of San Francisco, it covers a large area of green hills and valleys inland as well as coastal cliffs and beaches.

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San Francisco Shrouded In Mist From Muir Beach

Point Reyes was the epicentre of the 1906 earthquake which killed an estimated 5000 people and destroyed most of San Francisco. This earthquake was estimated at 7.8. Since then there has been a 6.9 earthquake in 1989 and a 6.0 in 2004. Most of the 1906 damage was caused by a huge fire started by the earthquake.

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Fence Moved 16ft In 45 Seconds During the 1906 Earthquake

A section of the San Andreas fault that was the epicentre of the 1906 earthquake is marked out by a line of blue posts. A reconstruction shows where, in 45 seconds a 16 foot gap appeared in a fence during the earthquake. Feeling lucky I straddled the fault line with a foot planted firmly on the Pacific tectonic plate and the other on the North American plate, amazingly the earth missed the opportunity of my foolishness and failed to move.

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Looking Down On The Mist At Point Reyes Lighthouse

There was a fair bit of fog and light rain interspersed with some brighter weather which is typical for the area. The coastal fog created interesting views as it drifted in and out especially from heights where it was possible to look down on the clouds, a bit like being in an aeroplane. It could be damp and foggy on the coast and on higher ground up on the hills but warm and sunny in the valleys a mile or so away.

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Point Reyes Lighthouse

I returned to San Francisco for the day from Point Reyes to see if my bike mirror had turned up at the post office. It hadn’t. After having a look round the DeYoung museum in Golden Gate Park I decided to see if the BMW dealer had the mirror in stock. I thought it unlikely as I had the one being posted to me in San Francisco on backorder for three months in Montana, however I was able to pick one up and the bike now has two mirrors again. Having bought this mirror no doubt the one currently lost in the San Francisco postal system will turn up leaving me with a spare to get rid of.

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Tomales Elk Reserve in the north of Point Reyes was a wonderful place to walk in early June with fields full of Spring flowers. As I got closer to Tomales Point the footpath was overgrown with head high flowering shrubs. There was plenty of elk but the fog prevented me from seeing the ocean views.

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Flowers On Tamales Point Trail

Drake Estero (Estuary) is named after Sir Francis Drake or Captain Drake as he was known then as Elizabeth I didn’t knight him until 1581. He is credited with being the first European to have sighted and mapped Point Reyes. His ship, the Golden Hinde was beached here to carry out repairs whilst making the first English circumnavigation of the world in 1579. The whole circumnavigation, the main purpose of which was piratical took three years which looks likely to be quicker than mine and I‘m not stopping to plunder any gold enroute. Unfortunately he had sailed straight by the as yet ‘undiscovered’ San Francisco Bay leaving it to be ‘discovered’ by the Spaniard Jose Ortega many years later in 1769. I suspect the Oholone Native Americans had actually discovered it centuries earlier.

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Drake Estero

Returning from Drake Estero a bobcat was walking up the footpath towards me, when it caught sight of me it darted into the bushes and a second later a deer, startled by the bobcat leapt out of the bushes, cleared the footpath and disappeared on the opposite side of the footpath. A short while later I saw a snake sunning itself on the footpath.

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Snake Blocking My Progress

The day I planned to leave Point Reyes was foggy so I stayed an extra day as I hoped to see the coastal scenery whilst riding north up highway one. The following day was clear at Point Reyes but it was foggy again once I left the peninsular. Between Point Reyes and Mendocino apart from a couple of brief hazy glimpses through the fog the only indication that I was on the coast was the pretty blue colour on the left side of my GPS screen.

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Mendocino, California

I spent a couple of damp, foggy nights camping amongst large Redwood trees at Mendocino which is a nice small town with a number of arts and crafts shops and studios. It also has a number of new age hippies who seemed to be living on the beach and making a bit of cash selling homemade jewellery.

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Camping Amongst The Redwoods

The weather finally cleared when I rode up to Petrolia where I missed last years Horizons Unlimited meeting as I had to change direction to meet the owner of the Montana cabin I stayed in over the winter. I will miss this years meeting at Petrolia as I have been invited to leave the country by the Department of Homeland Security. The road I took to Petrolia was narrow with tight turns and potholes with the occasional short section of dirt road thrown in for good measure. I had planned a route on a section of dirt road but it was closed when I got to it however the ‘paved’ road was challenging enough for me.

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River At Petrolia, California

My final stop in California was in a Giant Redwoods State Park camping again surrounded by enormous trees. I rode through the park on a rough, potholed dirt road made up of wet, greasy, slippery clay. I kept the speed low as quick direction changes around potholes and flooded sections got the tyres sliding and, not having health insurance I can’t afford to fall off.

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Bike Alongside A Giant Redwood

The impressive thing about the Giant Redwoods is that there are forests full of enormous trees rather than isolated large trees scattered through the forest. It must make a forester weep. All that prime lumber with a preservation order on it.

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Giant Redwoods

Posted by ianmoor@tiscali.co.uk at June 14, 2010 11:04 PM GMT

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