Day 23 (2)

Camping right before Leggett was a good idea. The hill really wasn’t bad, and taking it in the shade instead of the heat of the day made it that much easier. I was kind of worn out for the cape right before hitting the coast, though, and I was dragging by the time I got to camp.

This sign was no joke:

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I did make it back to the coast today, I forgot that I’d been away from the pacific for a while there. It’s still pretty!

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And I think this was one of the cooler bridges I’ve seen in California so far, over the ten mile river:

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This was dinner:

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Yum, canned tuna! I stuffed a bunch of burritos with it and some couscous, cheese, and hot sauce. Once again I apologize to my camp mates for the smell.

Day 23- ready for Leggett

The whole tour I’ve been feeling a little nervous about Leggett. Here’s why-

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The highest elevation that I’ve reached so far was just over 900 feet in Oregon, and this one is around 1700. However, on further study, I noticed that where I camped last night was at nearly a thousand feet. This won’t be so bad!

I have been traveling in sync with some other bike tourers for the last few days, and two nights ago we had a good time talking around a picnic table, and three of them said they were continuing on the Standish Hickey park today. I really wanted to make it, but about four miles from the camp I had this happen:

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What?!? How? Why??

I couldn’t pull the chain out, but at least I had a pretty view.

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I absolutely could not tug the chain out, and I was starting to thing I’d have to break it. Fortunately I had been matching pace with a family coming down from Avenue of the Giants for a few miles, and they stopped to see if I needed help. They had ten people riding and grandpa John driving the truck behind to pick up anybody who ran into trouble. Fortunately for me, he was a mechanic and had some huge pliers in his truck, and was able to tug the chain out!

I made it into camp just as it was really getting dark enough to worry me, and a different batch of cyclists told me that my new friends were looking for me earlier, and went across the street for burgers. Of course I went over to join them, and got this awesome sausage:

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Beer flowed, and jolly times were had. Check out this growler holder- that’s how you tour!!

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In closing, South Park.

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Aiming for Fort Bragg tonight.

Day 22 (1)

I hit 900 miles by lunch today, that’s a cool number. A thousand will be cooler.

I’m stopped for lunch in a Chinese place in Garberville, and will need to stock up on some groceries for the next stretch.

Yesterday I saw some baby cows. They were pretty cute.

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The next picture isn’t too noteworthy, but I had to take it. I was climbing the gradual hill out of Ferndale when I got to a section that was suddenly far too steep, and I had to walk up for a few hundred feet. Anyway, this was the view:

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Soon after that I made it to Rio Dell, and a serious serious blackberry patch!

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A plant I don’t know was also there, and I thought it was kind of pretty:

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Continuing south through Scotia, I saw the most enormous lumber processing facility. Mind boggling, really.

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That’s a lot of dead trees!!

Not long after Scotia I made it to the famous Avenue of the Giants. If you have a chance, this is a cool place to see a lot of enormous old trees. Paradoxically, it was both a great and a terrible place to take pictures. It’s an explosion of light, and color, and texture, and lines, patterns- all kinds of things that can make amazing pictures, but it’s really darned hard to really give an appreciation of the scale of some of these trees. I tried with the Nikon, so you’ll see in the Flickr gallery. This is what it often looked like cycling through the place:

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And this is the kind of cool stuff to either side:

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Here’s a bridge over the Eel river:

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I think that’s for trains, I didn’t go over it. Here’s the Eel river:

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Before I left Eureka I went to the natural foods store, and one thing I picked up was a bag of energy bar nugget things from a bulk bin. They claimed two grams of protein per chunk, and decent nutrition per pound and per dollar. Also, vegan.

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Surprisingly edible.

In closing, I will leave you with some vines on a trunk. I’m trying to make it to Standish Hickey tonight.

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Day 21- waking up wet

That light mist turned into a steady drizzle, and I had another reminder of an old lesson. Must make sure that the tent fly isn’t touching the tent wall, and nothing is touching the tent wall during rain!

Most of my “important” stuff is dry, but I know my sleeping bag is going away damp. Will need to stop and air that out if I get any sun today. Also, will be more careful with the fly in the future.

Day 20 (3)

I think that when this is all done, I’ll wrap up the bike touring with a post of things I’ve learned on the tour.

One thing I learned tonight is that I was seriously unprepared to ride in real darkness. That’s ok- I planned on doing most of my riding during the day. However, the ten minutes it took me to ride into town at 6:30 turned into nearly an hour on the way back.

I sat having pizza, reading my book, enjoying a nice raspberry lambic, and I let it get dark. Not only did I let it get dark, I failed to notice the fine mist that was starting to fall. I only made it a few feet beyond the last street light before my glasses were completely opaque from the glare, shining my bike light more in my eyes than on the road.

I did the smart thing and walked most of the way back, but eventually when the road quality was really good I just took my glasses off and rode slowly, stopping often. I’m glad it wasn’t too cold or much rainier!

Oh, and Arcata is definitely a college town. If it wasn’t for the collection of scruffy colorful youngsters, then this would surely tip you off:

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Day 20 (2)

It was inevitable. Two things, I guess, were inevitable and they happened today.

First, I caught a hornet in my beard as I was riding down a hill. I quickly plucked it out with my left hand, and got a sting on my numb pinky.

Second, I had to stop at the KOA. I still don’t have a great nose for camping off the beaten path, and so i wasn’t confident about finding a good place outside Eureka. I rolled into Arcata at about 4:45, and it was going to be another 30 miles until the next marked campground. I guess it’s not terrible here, but it’s a strange notion of camping.

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Not really a natural area, most of the people staying here brought RVs. There are half a dozen spots for tents, and these little cabins that are just a bit bigger than a backyard shed.

I guess this place serves a purpose, providing a cheap place for families to stay on their way to more scenic destinations. There are things for kids to do, and it’s orderly.

However, it has been disappointing to see how many people are camping on really similar ways when they get to what should really be their destination. They pull their camper into a spot that’s barely separated from the next spot, they buy a bundle of wood, burn it while sitting around, and then go inside their portable house to watch TV. I guess that if people enjoy it then I’m not going to tell them how to spend a vacation, I just see it as an odd ritual that so many of us do, boiled down to the essentials. Non-permanent housing, access to insects and dirt, presence of burning wood.

It makes me appreciate how remote and isolated some of the spots I had the opportunity to camp in we’re when I was growing up.

Day 20 (1)

I would have posted last night, but apparently giant redwoods and elk interfere with cell reception.

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Yesterday I stopped by Trees of Mystery, where they had these giant concrete statues. I didn’t pay the $15 for their gondola ride, since it was kind of foggy and I wasn’t sure if that’s the kind of tourist attraction that I’d be into. Better to spend the money on delicious food, and keep finding my own views.

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I thought this was super cool, and got more pictures of it from more angles.

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Speaking of food- this smoked salmon was great!

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Found a log with several large banana slugs on it. Check them out!

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Saw this sign…

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Looked to the left…

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Yeah, that’s a big tree!!

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Here’s the Elk Meadow where I camped last night. Got some cool pictures there, but didn’t see any elk.

Here are some elk-

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I didn’t see them until this morning, along 101.

I stopped in Orick, and saw this- it’s just so different from what I’m used to in Oakland:

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Saw a beach with some good looking surf after that, but These signs suggested that this is not the place to go splashing around:

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Regardless, the fog was getting so bad that I almost decided to stop. This is about as bad as it for though:

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Now I’m well enough rested, and will try to get past Eureka for my next camp. Less than 300 miles to go!