Pacific Brewery Binge
There are more than 20 worthy breweries between San Francisco and Portland. Your mission: Find a driver and hit as many as possible. Start out at the Marin Brewing Company (marinbrewing.com), in Larkspur, California, for a medium-bodied Mt. Tam Pale Ale. Thirty miles up the coast, in Petaluma, a cold Sirius Ale from the Lagunitas Brewing Company (lagunitas.com) is the ideal lubricant for canine schadenfreudethe World's Ugliest Dog contest takes place here in late June. Three hours to the north, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (sierranevada.com) makes one of the world's best pale ales, and its concert stage consistently hosts alt-country A-listers such as Gillian Welch. After cutting through Mendocino National Forest's dirt roads for chilly surf and the Lost Coast Brewery's crisp Great White beer (lostcoast.com) in Eureka, head for Portland. Try not to get a stiff neckthe westward views of sea lions and Pacific surf are spectacular. Miles : 810 Days : 4 Theme Song: "Hands on the Wheel," Willie Nelson
Packing: Keep your stuffbins, stoves, bags, boxesin cubes, such as Mountainsmith's zip-top cubes (mountainsmith.com), whenever possible. Bikes and fishing rods go in last. Truck stops: Are for truckers (and those desperate times when you need a WHY RATION PASSION? I'M A LOVE MACHINE! hat). Traveling with pets: Bring valerian root. It smells terrible, but tests performed by editors show it puts a barking dog to sleep. Gas mileage: To conserve energy, keep to freeways, accelerate slowly, and limit braking by staying two car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. On the highway, windows up with A/C on is more efficient than windows down with no A/C. Radio: Stick with your iPod radio converteror Pioneer's new iPod-and-satellite-radio-compatible stereos (pioneerelectronics.com)until Clear Channel updates its classic-rock playlist. (Note to Clear Channel: Songs from the seventies aren't classic anymore. They're oldies.) Maps: Google Maps is great, if you can get Google; for back roads, don't forget paper.