2 Weeks Down the California Coast (Pics)


Big Sir

At the beginning of the year, my friends Matt and Abbi asked if I’d like to join them for a 10 day bike tour down the California coast.

They wanted to fly out to San Francisco and then bike down the coastline, staying at campsites along highway 1 until they reached Los Angeles.

I wasn’t ready to commit to the trip at the time (there were a few roadblocks related to work and money), but a few weeks before they were set to leave, we were discussing the trip and I figured that I could (and should) join them.

I wasn’t ready to do the full trip with just my bike, but I thought following the same route in my 4Runner would be just as fun.

Their plan was to ride about 50 miles a day from campsite to campsite, which is 6 hours on a bike but only one hour in a car.

I figured I could work remotely out of coffee shops during the day while they rode to the next site, and then make the drive myself and catch up with them after work. And that’s what I did.

It was an incredible trip full of scenic views, tasty food, and cozy campsites. It wasn’t quite a vacation because the pace was nearly non-stop and I only took a few days off for the drives there and back (so really, no days off). But since I love traveling and camping, I enjoyed it as much or more than a more traditional vacation.

Bikes on the 4Runner After installed a tow hitch and picking up some used bike racks from Craigslist, I was able to fit all 3 of our bikes on my 4Runner. Total cost for the setup: About $300.

Fort Worth to San Fancisco (September 7-10)

Fort Worth to San Francisco

I did the initial drive from Fort Worth to San Francisco in 4 days (Friday-Monday), stopping in Alamogordo, Phoenix, and Los Angeles before meeting up with Matt and Abbi in San Francisco.

Austin, Rachel, and Mr. Willoughby in Phoenix Stopped in Phoenix to hang with Austin, Rachel, and Mr. Willoughby. They introduced me to a delishious vegan Thai food place called Loving Hut. If you find yoursef in Phoenix, check it out.

There is not much to see between Fort Worth and Los Angeles, and LA to SF was a much longer drive than I was expecting. By the time I got to San Francisco Monday night, I was pretty sick of being in the car.

Getting into San Francisco after 3 days of driving San Francisco. I hope I get to live in the Outer Sunset district at some point.

San Francisco to Los Angeles: September 10-17

Bike Trip Tuesday morning, September 10, 2019. The start of the bike tour. Excited but unsure of what to expect.

Matt and Abbi, first morning. Matt and Abbi started their ride while I worked out of the Airbnb until lunch time.

Bike Trip After lunch, I drove down to Cupertino on the way out of San Francisco to say hi to my buddy Steve and see the visitor center for the new Apple Campus. It was impressive, to say the least. I spent a little too much buying a couple Apple t-shirts (but hey, you can’t buy them anywhere else).

Bike Trip First night camping in Half Moon Bay, just outside San Francisco.

Bike Trip Monterey. Wednesday, September 12.

Bike Trip Cannery Row, Monterey

Bike Trip

Biking Big Sur: Friday-Sunday, September 13-15

Friday night we stayed at a very remote off-the-grid spot Matt & Abbi found on Hipcamp. This spot was very close to Big Sur though, so the views were incredible.

Bike Trip

Bike Trip The land owners had carved out a trail that went from the campground to a beach overlook, which is where I got these beautiful sunset pictures.

Biking Around Big Sur Saturday morning I drove ahead about 40 miles and then rode back north to meet up with Matt and Abbi.

Biking Rules While I didn’t get to bike as much of the trip as I would have liked, I still got in a 20 mile bike ride Saturday and a 52 mile ride Sunday (a new personal distance record).

Bike Trip

The Rest of the Trip

Fishing Randomly found a fishing pier while exploring Pismo Beach near San Luis Obispo. I spotted three generations of fishermen and discretely took this photo.

Camping Rules We had a great time camping.

Camping RulesMatt likes to cut up veggies and potatoes and roast them in tin foil packages over the fire for dinner.

Bike TripSince I brought my big cooler and a small kitchen/cooking setup in the 4Runner, we also enjoyed plenty of beer and wine along with fresh fruits and vegetables and other snacks.

Sycamore Canyon Campground Last night camping, Sycamore Canyon Campground in Pt. Mugu State Park just outside Malibu.

Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

Beach and Sunset Awesomeness Just being silly on the beach.

Heading Home After spending a couple nights recovering in Los Angeles, Matt and Abbi caught a flight and I started the two day drive back to Texas.

Total miles covered in 17 days: 3932.

Next year, I wanna try biking the whole way down the coast.

Aaron Dowd

September 29, 2019