A new gem: Shelter Cove (410 miles)

I spent a fair amount of time milling around town before getting on the road. The breakfast at the inn was really good and with the heavy fog in the area I was tempted to stay in town longer than I should have. I knew it was going to be a longer day but somehow I was lured into thinking the freeway miles would go fast.

I had the opportunity to ring the bell house the night before as part of the Fourth of July celebrations. The bell house is underneath the lighthouse. With the thick fog this morning the fog horn was actually useful! All the grandeur of the harbor and the boats moored at sea were cloaked in fog.

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I’ve lived in California 12 years and it still amazes me how cold the coast is during the summer. Here we are at the 4th of July and it’s not even 60 degrees. The day stayed cool well past 8am but the weather baffles me.

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I didn’t get on the road in earnest until about 10:30 am, well beyond what I had wanted to but well, the mellow pace was nice.  The ride down out of Trinidad was an easy coast on US-101 through Humblodt County.  I thought I’d get as far north as Del Norte but alas, not for this trip.  The fog was well entrenched until just south of Fortuna where the highway begins to make its way inland.  Denny during the 2010 T. H. E. Moto ride mentioned Shelter Cove after we’d finished the Lost Coast.  I’d earmarked it for a ride at some point.  We got a survey of it during the 2011 ride and well, it was worth going back.  The road into town is a 25 mile crazy steep and twisty ride but the pavement is pretty good.  I went back to the lighthouse on this trip and was lucky that the coast was sunny!  The coast was awesome and unspoiled!

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What I didn’t expect is how seasonal this place was in nature.  It was nearing 1pm and I was getting pretty hungry. There were 3-4 restaurants that were in town.  Only one was open and a coffee shop at that!  It was just at the north end of town and the only thing open other than the general store 6 miles away up the tight crazy road back.  CoffeeLunch was going to have to do.  Note to self, come back on Saturday or Sunday.

The owners of the coffee shop were quite cool.  They were a husband and wife duo living in town.  The wife recognized my pump right off the bat as she was a type one as well.  We chatted war stories for a few minutes.  By default I got the ham (steak) with cheddar on a croissant.  Whether I was hungry or it was good, I was satisfied!
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Random Coffee Shop at the north end of Shelter Cove  (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating NR I was the only one inside, so plenty of seating.  That being said, there are only three tables.
Atmosphere A- I had a nice ocean view out on the patio.  Doesn’t get much better than that.
Wait Staff A- Super friendly and engages with the customer base.
Food B- Good for what it was.  There was a cookie there that is now not pictured.  It was good!
Value C- As expected to be a bit pricy, but this area isn’t exactly on the beaten path.  You pay for privacy.
Overall B+ I’m glad I stopped and more than happy it was the only game in town.

I did some riding around the cove trying to find some high lookouts and didn’t see much.  It wasn’t until 3ish that I turned south for home so it was going to be a long day.  I was 300 some miles from home and it was 3pm.  It’s going to be a ride, gas, repeat to get home at a decent hour.  I’d decided to take the coast highway as it was brutally hot inland even if it was going to be longer.

CA-1 to CA-128 is a really nice compromise of speed and beauty.  You feel the coolness of the ocean, a bit of the deep redwoods, rolling hills, and tight twisties over 90 mile stretch before hitting US-101 for the haul home.  I decided to stop in Boonville at a pizza joint suggested by the GPS.  My maps inside the GPS must be getting old as time changed my pizza into a burrito.  I was the only one inside the restaurant and I realized why.

Alicia’s Mexican Restaurant (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating NR I was the only patron, so there was no wait.
Atmosphere D+ The restaurant was very bare.  Functional, but not inviting.
Wait Staff C No complaints, but no compliments either.
Food B- I missed having pollo asado, but the food was good. Portions are massive though.
Value B Priced right.  Seems to be on target for what you get.
Overall C Looking at the reviews and my experience, I would have stopped at Libby’s in Philo vs coming here again.

After dinner as I was packing up, Chris, one of the locals came to say hello.  I do find that I love these moments on trips.  He wanted to know where I was coming from, how fast the bike was, tell me about his glory days.  It’s often fun to hear people’s stories and bench race a bit.  Now that it was nearing 7pm, I had to jet south.  CA-128 continued to be good to me until about 10 miles from US-101.  This section of the roadway was exceptionally twisty and I got stuck behind a truck towing a portable bathroom.  Ugh that thing was wreched.  I would have pulled over and waited 10 minutes but I wanted to get home.  The driver refused to let me pas nor pull over.  Talk about the shitz. Yuck!

The rest of the ride was all freeway.  I hit the Golden Gate Bridge about 9pm and was looking for a break.  The Conzelman road project closed the nice photo spots, so I had to go around the back side of the hills.  The fog was thick and visibility was about zero.  I was hoping to see something up top.  Low and behold, the mountain was higher than the fog, so I got a nice view of the bridge!

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You could hear the fog horns blowing in the distance and the wind was picking up as well.  The bike also got the last of the sun for the day.

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Riding over the bridge was quite the adventure.  The wind and fog was swirling in full force as well as the drone of the fog horns in the background.  I’d not had such an exiting bridge crossing in many many (s)miles!

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