Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sept 17 (Day 260) - Decision time, lots of miles, California towhee for 551

Yesterday I laid out a number of options for today. The essential decision I had to make was either to head south down the coast on Highway 1 or stick to Highway 101 and the more interior areas. Looking at the weather and the rides along each route, I opted for the inland route. The inland route is at least a day shorter, and the rides are generally easier (minus today's). There is also a big storm out on the coast right now, and the very strong south winds would have made riding incredibly difficult. I rationalized the decision as follows. Yes, the storm could push something good (i.e. pelagic) towards shore, but I know I will have 1-2 days in hand taking the inland route. If I spent 3-4 days on the coast and didn't add anything unusual, that would be a big waste of time. I'll take the guarantee of extra time over the small chance of a rarity. Now I can use that extra day to look for Black Rail and Pacific golden-plover in the North Bay region (where I will arrive tomorrow). North Bay birders - if you're around this weekend and have any leads on these birds please let me know! 

89 VERY difficult miles today. 
Definitely in top 10 toughest rides of year.

Ukiah arrival

With the decision to stay inland made, I today rode the incredibly challenging 89 miles from our campsite last night to Ukiah, CA. This route included more than a 5,500 feet of climbing, and there was a south headwind all day (albeit not as strong as one the coast). I was completely beat by the end of it when I pulled into the Best Western Plus Orchard Inn. The hot tub was certainly a welcomed site for my aching legs! This ride sets me up nicely for 2 shorter days to reach Petaluma where I plan to look for Pacific golden-plover and Black rail. With the time I have saved staying inland, I can afford to push several days into these birds. The next few days should be exciting as I search for the these birds! Tomorrow is going to be very wet around here, so I am not exactly sure how I am going to handle it yet.

I must be really, really tired, I forgot to mention that I added California towhee along the road today for year bird #551. I am just going to shut it down for the night. My brain and my body both feel like mashed potatoes at the moment. 

Lastly Sonia had a fun idea today. If there are particular questions that you have for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments section of the blog or email them to me at Sonia will help me make a video with the answers to these questions, and we will post this video on the blog in the next few days!


  1. I have a question. I'm not sure if you already posted about this, but I'm curious about the overall structure of each of your days. When are you waking up? How much time do you spend getting ready and waking up before you head out birding or biking? How many hours are you writing, logisticalizing, relaxing every afternoon/evening?

    I'm just curious about all the non-birding, non-riding parts of your typical day.

  2. What have been the most surprising aspects of your adventure thus far?

  3. How do you fit the bike helmet over your hair?!

  4. Do you regret any tactical decisions (birdwise), i.e. leaving the Texas Coast maybe a little too early?

  5. I've also wondered whether you regret leaving the UTC too early - Dave