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!

Day 18 (2)

For whatever reason, I felt like bumming around today. That’s ok- I saw some really amazing nature last night, had my first campfire from driftwood. There were a couple of young guys in the adjoining site, and we shared some entertaining stories around the fire. They’d spent a lot longer on the road than I have- except they were living out of a car and backpacking a lot. Hearing their stories I felt lucky to have decent prospects for work when I’m done traveling. It’s been a good time, but I think I prefer having a steady job and a stationary place to live.

I spent most of the afternoon reading and having coffee after a delicious sandwich, and now I’m at the Florence Keller regional park about three miles north of Crescent City, and it’s not so bad. Enderts Beach was awesome, but I had a ranger give me a little trouble about a permit on the way in. It also lacked running water. I could have treated stream water, but I didnt know the source very well. Anyway, I paid my hiker biker fee to get a picnic table, spigot, and relatively easy access to the road.

It seems like data coverage may be better here than it was in Crescent City proper, so I will have another shot at uploading some pictures.

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This is the lighthouse- I didn’t see its name. Very pretty!

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A rock arch on Enderts Beach.

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Cool view from Enderts as I was gathering driftwood for my fire.

Now from today-

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This is where I’m camping tonight, and you can expect to see a picture of me juggling on that log in the Flickr gallery.

Day 18 (1)

Looks like I get an extra day in Crescent City!

I went to the post office and they told me that even if my mail got overnighted from San Leandro, it would take two days to get here. That means I need to go back to collect my mail on Saturday. That’s OK, I can rest and explore a little.

Here are some pictures from yesterday-

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This is how the fog started. So far it hasn’t descended to road level, but if it does then I’ll try not to ride in it.

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Two states and 700 miles done! Back to California!

There are more pictures, but the data connection here in town is seriously failing me.