Editor’s Note: Justin Field, UD Class of 2011, embarked on a TSD-sponsored bike-ride across America to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank of Delaware. This is a wrapup of his story which read his last entry, click here.
After leaving Lake Tahoe, I just had a few climbs left. While crossing the border into California, I climbed back out of the mountains that surround the Lake and rode through Truckee, Ca.
The Sierra Nevadas were much like the Colorado Rockies, with snow still on the top of the mountains. Outside of Truckee, I crossed Donner Pass, of the Donner Party fame.
After this final climb, the downhill stretch to the Pacific began. I rode down through the pine forests, enjoying the high speeds and great views.
I stayed in Grass Valley, CA and then Sacramento. Outside of Sacramento, I went over a small range, past Lake Berryessa, a large reservoir.
Afterwards I entered Napa Valley, riding past the famous vineyards and wineries in the area.
In a 95 mile day, I made it to Healdsburg, a town north of Santa Rosa, where my Aunt and Uncle have a house.
Once here, I only had forty miles left till the Pacific Ocean. The next day, I relaxed, until I went to the airport to pick up my dad. In 1975, he and his friend Blue flew to San Francisco to bike across the country back to Delaware.
They headed up the California Coast to Oregon and cut west, following a more Northerly route back to Delaware. Thirty six years later, he was going to ride with me on the final day of my trip as I reached the Pacific.
The next day we set out, following the Russian River valley, stopping for a wine tasting in an area world-renowned for its Pinot grape. Further along, we rode through a Redwood forest and stopped for lunch in Guerneville, Ca.
As we finally got close to the coast, the “marine layer” started appearing. Along the coast, there is usually a layer of dense fog, depending on the weather conditions. As we climbed the hill to get across to the beach, we were enshrouded in mist. It was eerie riding through it, and we could see the rough surf down the cliffs below.
We rode Route 101, the two lane highway that follows the coast, briefly retracing the route my Dad had began his cross country trip on.
At about 4:30PM on July 23rd–after 3,500 miles–I reached the Pacific Ocean at Goat Rock State Beach.
I was greeted by my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin with a bottle of Champagne and a beautiful rugged and misty Pacific beach. After a long journey filled with amazing locations and people, and a fair share of challenges, I had made it to the other side.
Finishing the ritual started in Rehoboth Beach, I dipped my tire, this time the front one, in the water.
The rest of the trip was spent exploring the California Coast with family, riding across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco a few days later.
On July 25, my trip officially ended as I stepped off the plane at the Philly airport, greeted by my family. It was a trip that was well worth the challenge, and I will never forget what I saw and learned along the way.