Yahoo! We have successfully hit 1000 miles! Between San Fran and San Luis Obispo, we hit the sunny and surfy Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and the breathtaking coastline of Big Sur. Cradled between endless rolling hills and vast blue ocean, it’s been nothing short of remarkable. We’ve gotten to visit many friends from our Catalina Island community and see many dolphins and whales frolicking about in the sea, making these very sunny stops even brighter.
While there’s so much we could say about these places, we’re choosing to focus on a different aspect of our trip all together. Enjoy the many pictures below while reading about our attempt to reduce plastic waste while traveling.
You may or may not have read that on our quest to minimize the amount of plastic waste we’re producing, we’re carrying all of our plastic trash until we reach San Diego. If items can be recycled* or composted, we carry them until we can responsibly dispose of them.
*We’re recycling glass and metal but considering all plastic unrecyclable, as sadly the majority of plastic that we put in the recycling bin is never actually recycled.
Following are some examples of how we’ve been tackling this. Consider using these examples as tips for yourself when you go food shopping or get take out. It becomes pretty easy once you get into the habit of paying closer attention!
A significant chunk of our plastic waste comes from food packaging in stores. We’ve been trying to minimize plastic packaging in a variety of ways:
Shopping at food co-ops or natural food stores likely to have local products and bulk sections.
We search along our route what towns may have coops and plan accordingly. We only get as much food as we want to carry until the next planned co-op stop.
Try to only buy from the bulk section.
In normal times, stores let you use your own reusable containers for bulk items. Now, most stores require an attendant to help you bag bulk items and require you to use new bags. We try to use paper bags as much as possible for bulk items, sometimes swiped from the mushrooms in the produce aisle. If there’s no alternative, we weigh our options, and sometimes forgo a product or bite the bullet and use the plastic bag for all it’s worth, reusing it for future products as we go along.
Buy produce without packaging and don’t bag it!
It’s going to be washed later anyways! We simply carry produce until putting it straight into our bags when we get out of the store. If you’re someone who likes to bag your produce, consider reusable produce bag options.
Besides plastic waste here are some other ways we’ve tried to lower our carbon footprint while food shopping:
Buy local products when possible.
The less distance a product has had to travel, the lower transportation carbon footprint that product has.
Buy organic when possible.
Regardless of any health benefits it may have for us, fewer pesticides mean fewer harmful chemicals put into our waterways and environment, and less energy consumed in pesticide production.
Another large amount of our disposable, single use plastic comes from restaurant food packaging. We’re big food lovers and don’t want to miss out on everything so we’ve found some ways to get the best of both worlds... yummy food with plastic free packaging.
Before ordering out, ask what kind of container the food or drink will be served in, and whether there’s another option.
For example, Kate loves bubble tea, which is usually served in a plastic cup, but could be requested to be served in the paper cups usually used for hot beverages, but which can be composted.
Sometimes we just scope out what kind of containers restaurants are using via people’s online review photos, or just looking at what people are walking out with. There is even an app, which is small scale now but that will hopefully gain traction, that reviews restaurants based on the eco-friendliness of their to-go containers: https://app.gojybe.com/home. Check it out! Add reviews!
The easier, but questionable in these times, option is to simply dine in the restaurant.
Many restaurants still have reusable utensils and plates, which is great as long as we can be outside.
Have your fanny pack reusable utensils along with you at all times!!
You never know when there’s going to be an opportunity to eat, so being able to refuse plastic utensils has been very helpful.
A very specific reminder.. When ordering ice cream, always remember to get an edible container, aka a cone, as opposed to a cup. (Trust me, we’ll never make this mistake again)
We’ve definitely forgotten sometimes, or the message has been lost somewhere along the line, and the trash we’re carrying has a sadly substantial composition of quite a few plastic forks.
1000 miles down the road and we can proudly say we’ve only closely filled one gallon sized ziplock, mostly consisting of granola bar wrappers which we still haven’t found an alternative for.
With some persuasion from fellow biker friends met along the trail, we’re considering a future post about the ever so tasty, hearty, light weight, and close to plastic free meals we’ve been making while on the road.
The third leg of our journey has brought us from the Northern California oasis of Arcata through epic trees and breathtaking coastline to the bustling mecca of the San Francisco Bay Area where we’re spending a couple of days exploring. Our path has brought us not only some amazing views and a better understanding of the land, but we’ve felt ourselves getting stronger and still more comfortable on our trusty steeds, and have made even more friends along the way, and learned some good lessons.
This stretch of riding has been chock full of good friends, old and new. We were sad to leave great pals behind in Arcata after such blissful days of surfing and oyster eating and hot tubbing, but the good ol Highway 101 did not disappoint by bringing us straight to the renowned Avenue of the Giants as we reentered the Redwoods. We had both driven the Avenue in a car, but pedaling through it was a totally unique and magical experience. We spent a memorable first night back in the tent tucked in a hollow between a few of the Giants, on a bed of their tiny, needly leaves. An entire day was spent cycling the 30-some magical miles along this most amazing stretch of road, weaving along the Eel river, passing under and around the main highway 101 and completely surrounded by the tallest trees on earth. We wished it would never end.
But it did! We celebrated its completion and the beginning of the next journey with excellent pizza in the tiny town of Redway, CA, at The Lost Frenchman. Delicious!
Further fueled by veggie burgers from The Peg House with the apt slogan “Never Don’t Stop” we made the most daunting, but in the end not-as-terrible-as-anticipated climb up the infamous Leggett Hill, a 5-mile, 1,800ish ft hill at the branching-off point of the scenic Highway 1 from the now 4-lane, very freeway-ish Hwy 101. We both found that pain in the uphill was doubly rewarded with an ex-hill-erating downhill that seemed to go on forever. We didn’t push a pedal for miles! At the end of the downhill was the greatest reward of all for us ocean-lovers - the return to the shining sea!
According to our bike trip guide book, we had officially entered the central part of the California coast, and we could tell!
Cruising through the rest of Humboldt County was just gorgeous, as was perhaps our favorite stretch of coastline yet in Mendocino County. A magical mix of rugged rockiness, thick trees: coastal cypress and some kind of pine and even some scrubby oaks, a dearth of traffic, and some truly adorable tiny towns convinced us that this was our favorite thus far.
Eventually we entered Sonoma county, where it got hotter, drier, and traffic surged. Of course, we were entering a heat wave, proximity to the SF Bay Area, and the weekend - perfect conditions for flocks of weekend tourists and it was almost shocking to suddenly be surrounded by so many people. We made it through the morass of cars and remarkably speedy older cyclists zooming past us and to a lovely campsite at Samuel P Taylor State Park, away from the heat in the redwoods of Marin county, and away from the crowds of strangers but we were thrilled to find the hiker-biker site filled with many of the fellow biker friends we’d made along the way! All of those bikers were ending the next day in San Francisco, and the memorable night had a celebratory feeling. We ourselves were celebrating the halfway point! We felt really good, feeling motivated and excited to continue on our journey. The next day we got to ride down one of Kate’s favorite roads, Sir Francis Drake Blvd, all the way to San Rafael, where we met up and brunched with a friend of Alanna’s mom’s, before continuing on to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge!
We found the bridge simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying - high winds, fog, tourists on rental bikes wobbling around, cyclists speeding by, and the dizzying height of the bridge, but were lucky to be crossing on a day with pedestrians blocked from our path. We sped through the peninsula past a remarkable amount of tourists (I thought we were in a lockdown?) at Fisherman’s Wharf before boarding BART (also Kate’s favorite) and making it to our next rest stop in Berkeley at a house Kate used to live at.
We spent our “rest” days exploring and eating as much delicious city food as we could fit into our stomachs, and seeing friends old and new.
It was so interesting to be immersed once again in a very urban are with so much humanity, in contrast to our quiet days further north.
So much gratitude as always for the kind and generous souls in our lives and for the copious fuel for our bodies and minds.
200 miles later and we are now in California!
One week ago, we left Coos Bay for a 41 mile ride to Bandon, Oregon. We arrived to the adorable Bandon Wayside Motel and RV Park, where owners Dave and Nicole showed us our tent site and encouraged us to walk through old town. Our one and only stop in old town was Tonys Crab House where to her surprise, Alanna fell in love with pan fried oysters.
Our departure the following morning quickly guided us to Facerock Creamery where we couldn’t pass up a cheese panini, mac n cheese, and overflowing “kid” cones that were a little painful to finish, but delicious non the less. The days ride felt pretty smooth eventually hitting the cute town of Port Orford where everything was closed, even “Tasty Kates” bakery that we were very excited to find but sad we couldn’t experience. The coastline views were incredible, with Humbug Mountain (our final location) in the distance, towering monoliths lining the shore, and kelp beds as far as the eye could see! Little did we know this would be our last full day of sunshine all week. Thankfully we ventured to the beach from our campsite for some river dips, beach stretches, and a glowing sunset.
We rose the next morning ready for our longest ride yet, (and last full day in Oregon) 52 miles to Brookings! A stop in the “Prehistoric Gardens” where life sized dinosaurs filled the Old Growth Forest and we were on our way. A thick fog rolled reminding us fall has begun and covering all ocean views along the Scenic Corridor.
Our departure from Brookings was very eventful. On our way into the town to scope out Matties Pancake House, where we had read about potential 3 hour waits, Alanna got her first flat tire! It seemed meant to be as Kate rode ahead and put her name on the 45 minute waitlist. We fixed the tire and rode up just in time to be seated and eat the most glorious breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs and Swedish crepes. It seemed like a well deserved treat. With very full bellies we quickly reached the border. To our surprise the words “Ride on Renlo” were carved into the post just under the “Welcome to California” sign. After a moment of Alanna thinking Kate wrote it and Kate thinking Alanna wrote it, we discovered that our new bike buds on a similar tour had done it for us. A happy heart moment. An easy 29 miles and we arrived to Crescent City.
A very slow morning allowed us to drink coffee and eat breakfast while watching hundreds of seagulls, pelicans, and black oyster catchers splash around in the bay. Our ride began with a very large hill from the beach straight into the incredible Redwood forest. We even succumbed to the tourist trap of the Trees of Mystery and honestly enjoyed it thoroughly! The canopy bridge walkways were epic, as was the gondola ride to the top of the mountain. The very, very large trees all around were beautiful, though not unlike the many trees you don’t have to pay to see. Very few cars and many long windy downhills made it a very satisfying rest of our day’s ride. We arrived to our campsite in Klamath watching the fog roll into the valley alongside the Klamath River.
Waking up to smoke in the valley was a bit unnerving but feeling okay to ride we began the journey back into the Redwoods. A pedal through the “Tour Through Tree” to start the day off right and straight onto Newton Scenic Roadway. Another day with very few cars, fun windy roads, and many many very large trees. This may have been our favorite day of riding thus far. Near Trinidad, we found the Big Lagoon Campsite which was a magical little place with a treasure filled beach of driftwood, beautifully unique rocks, and very large waves breaking on shore.
Leaving Big Lagoon took us to more scenic backroads and big rocks. Very excited to see good Catalina Islands friends in Arcata, we packed up our very wet tent and got on the road. After reaching a total of 450 miles we’ve been resting and refueling with fellow ocean-loving ladies, Greta and Christina. Our rest days have been very full with fish tacos, 2 surf sessions, hot tub soaks, mashed potato cones, local ice cream and pie, farmers markets and co-ops, and the oyster tour of Kate’s dreams.
We are loving this journey so so much, pedaling through so much beauty, snacking every chance we get, seeing friends new and old, and living moment by moment. Thanks for trucking along with us!