Cycling Adventure Day 17 & 18

Day 17 – June 1, 2015 – Monday

I wake up at 6:38 am. I slept great, but Dad said he woke up at midnight when the alarm clock went off. He hit snooze the first time, but the second time he couldn’t get it to shut off so he unplugged it. After he told me this I said “Really? I didn’t even wake up.” He said “I know!!” I’m telling you wearing ear buds at night definitely has some great advantages.

Today there is a 70% chance of rain, however, its clear sky out, warmer than yesterday when we checked in and there is no wind! I’m hoping the weatherman was wrong! We ride to the office and get two small bagels with cream cheese and two banana’s each for breakfast. While we are packing to leave, two people pull up in a car and while the lady goes inside the kid tells us they are heading to Disneyland too.

We ride to Walgreens, which doesn’t open for 30 minutes, but a worker drives up and points us to 101. We shortcut through the parking lot taking a more “direct to 101” road, and after zig-zagging through town we stop at a store to get some water. Dad is talking to a local when I come out and Dad says “He says we can take a bus to Klamath for $1.50 each and skip the climb that’s coming up.” The elevation profile on our map says that between Crescent City and Klamath there is a hill that goes from 0 to 1500 feet above sea level. I am shocked! “Dad, we can’t take a bus! We are on a ride!” Dad said “Okay.” I say “Take a bus, what a wimp.” The local says that it will take us 6 hours to get to the top. We pack up and start riding out-of-town, when I begin to think, “Dad is having a harder time with the ride than I am, because I prepared much more, maybe we should take a bus.” I ask him, “Do you want to take a bus? We can take a bus if you need to.” He says “nope.”

We get just out-of-town and can see the hill nearing. There is beautiful sandy beach to our right and a sculpture gallery that looks a bit like a junk yard to our left. We stop and eat a bagel and a banana to get some energy for the upcoming hill.

sculptures

 

girl in front of sculpture yard

We finish breakfast and start riding, but as soon as we start up the hill we stop again to take off our hats and warm clothes. I am a little alarmed at the lack of road side to ride on. Also our legs are so tired from all the previous days riding that we shift into our lowest gears right away. It’s clear that this is going to be a “shift down, grind it out” hill.

The thing about riding long distance is that my legs don’t feel sore at all. When I start pedaling, it’s the same every day. There might be a few initial “warm-up” minutes needed, but it’s really pretty easy. That is until, an incline. I don’t know what the exact incline percentage is for me, I imagine it’s different for everyone, depending on their physical fitness, but when I hit that amount of “up” I lose all speed and settle into a specific pattern that is, well, mine. It’s a rut as individual as fingerprints.

We grind it out for about 15 to 20 minutes and pull into this huge view-point. A guy in a car turns in and paces my speed for a few seconds as I am looking down pedaling. Finally, I look over at him and he says “I’ve done this hill and the traffic and the scary narrow lanes. You are wearing the right clothes for it though.” I say “Yeah.” We chat a bit more and he pulls his car over. I keep riding to the end of the pull out and stop beside Dad who is waiting for me.

bicyclists in front of redwood national forest sign

We stop every 20 minutes or so, because stopping to rest dad’s butt is a better option than him standing while riding his bike (like most bikers do to rest their butts) because of his bad knee.

man beside redwood tree

I try to get some pictures that show the scale of how big the redwoods are. Their massive size and how old they are always amazes me.

redwood trees

We stop for a break and eat a banana at about 9:40 am. I toss my banana peel into the weeds and it gets stuck on a tree. I say “Oh look, Dad, it’s a banana tree!”

banana peel in tree

We ride down the other side and take a picture of Dad pointing at the elevation of the hill we just climbed on the map! It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the top and 30 minutes to get down, according to my photo’s time stamps.

bikers pointing to map

The hill we just climbed is behind us in the above picture. Looking at the steep arch on the elevation map (It’s the first bump on the picture below), the real hill doesn’t seem that impressive! It’s surprisingly hard to match the experience of riding the hill with what seems like the little hill I am now looking back at.

elevation map

It didn’t take us the 6 hours the guy said it would. I am actually surprised how fast and easy it was. Don’t misunderstand, it was a “grind it out” hill, but the traffic and narrow edges were the worst parts of the hill, not the climb.

We are now out of the trees and have a beach view again. It is misting rain. We ride past the Trees of Mystery, and both agree we should come back this way in the car on the way home. Paul Bunyan and his blue ox sneak out from the trees and photo bomb our selfie.

bikers in front of Trees of Mystery

We ride through some cool trees that overhang the road. I take a selfie while riding, trying to photograph the experience. I’m oddly fascinated by trees that form canopies I can ride under. It feels like I’m riding in a big fort. Who wouldn’t love that?

girl in trees

The rain is changing from a mist into a real rain! We are quite wet when we pull into the gas station in Klamath. It’s on tribal land and has slot machines. We eat and get ready to go, but it’s raining harder. Some people come in and try their luck on the slot machines while some happy and loud music plays each time they push the buttons. We decide to wait around a bit and see if the rain will stop. It doesn’t. Finally, we decide to put on more clothes and ride in the rain. There is not much camping around here, but I want to get to a hotel anyway. I don’t want to sleep in wet clothes and we are very wet. We ride for an hour and a half then stop and take a picture of us soaked completely!

bikers in rain

It is cold and wet and we are a little confused about the directions, but do manage to get onto Newton B Drury Pkwy. Apparently the map is extra hard to read when my brain is preoccupied with how wet I am. My bike feels heavier and my tires stick to the road. We turned up a hill and pass two guys doing road maintenance. We stop and talk to the 2nd guy to ask about the upcoming State Park and camping. We start to take off again and dad looks back to say something to the guy and his tire slips on the wet road and he falls. I can’t get my foot unclipped and so I fall over too! I catch myself with my left leg so I don’t go to the ground but my bike falls over. I’m not hurt and Dad is okay too, but he’s a little frustrated at falling again. The guy in the tractor just watches us fall, since there’s nothing he can do. It’s been a pretty miserable ride today.

A kid catches up with us on his bicycle and we ask him about a camp ground. He looks at his map (the same map I have) and says “it should be a few miles up the road.” I ask, “Are you staying there?” He says “No, I’m trying for Arcata.” He speeds off, he is moving so much faster than we are! He is young and skinny though, and carrying less stuff. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it).

We have been going uphill about 1000 feet since Klamath, but now we are heading downhill. We pass a camp ground and decide since Orick is only 5 miles past the camp ground that we will try for it. Downhill sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it, however, it’s very cold and wet and the faster air movement and raindrops hitting our faces is, let’s just say, not my favorite. We are also riding under a canopy of redwood trees. I know I like canopies, but now it’s a cold, wet fort. Dad is really chatty, talking about how we could get hypothermia. Finally I say “Dad we are fine, just ride!” So he speeds up.

We pass a whole bunch of people and parked cars on the road side. Some of them are getting out backpacks like they are going hiking. This is the worst hiking day ever! Dad and I both express our amazement that all these people would be out on a day like this. We are passing like 20 cars in what seems to be the middle of the forest on a horrible cold rainy day. Why are they here?

The water and sand from the road are collecting all over my shoes, legs and bike. My shoes which have vents in them for air flow are now holding puddles of water under my frozen toes. The air flow and rain are cooling me even though I am pedaling at a speed that would normally be heating me up.

We finally ride into Orick. The town looks deserted. We stop at the store. There is a guy sitting outside looking at his phone, eating chips and drinking beer. He offers us a beer and chips and we say “no thanks” but let him google the local hotels for us. I can see the Palm Motel and Café from right here, but it doesn’t look open. The guy says it is, so we thank him and ride across the road to check in.

It’s $80 a night! Yikes! We have to get off the road though and it seems like this is the only hotel in town.

wet dirty bikers

We rinse off our bikes in a hose. This hotel is very old, smells a little like cats and is sort of oddly situated, but I am so thankful for a place to get dry! We are in room #7. We unpack everything and lay our bikes and packs outside under the awning to dry. My packs apparently aren’t waterproof and all my stuff is wet, including my magazines. I am so thankful I keep my journal and the extra maps in a plastic bag. They are the only things dry!

The hotel is more like an apartment with two separate rooms and a kitchen, however, we take showers and Dad gets a burger, salad and piece of fudge from the restaurant next door, which we share for dinner.

I have to do laundry again, even though I just washed everything yesterday! While I’m walking back and forth to the laundry, a van of workers pulls in and stays in the building across from us. Eventually, we bring in all our gear and bikes for the night. We hang some of our gloves and shoes in front of the heater hoping they will dry.

Bike Stats: Time: 4:20:52      Dist: 41.0     Ave: 9.4     Max: 38.2     Odo: 623

Day 18 – June 2, 2015 – Tuesday

After waiting for the fog to lift, we picked up supplies at the Orick Market and are on the road now. Dad’s speedometer isn’t working today, so later he will get a battery to see if that’s the problem. It’s about 9:20 am. We ride over a bridge and I am surprised to see there is more town, but not much more. Right out-of-town there are some really mossy trees. It’s the type of thing that happens naturally in nature, and makes me want to write a children’s story.

mossy trees

At 9:30 am we stop at the Redwood Creek Picnic Area. It’s an ancient Yurok village site. We are participating in a ritual older than the village itself. We use the bathrooms. (although they probably used huts or rocks or something).

girl and boy biker

We continue along the coast, passing some beach area that reminds me of a road trip I took with a girlfriend in ’98. She and I parked along the side of the road and camped on the beach with a whole bunch of other campers. There were tents and I remember a huge rock to the left of us, just like this beach, but today there are signs that say “no camping.” I’m wondering if this was the place and they don’t want people camping here anymore. Kill Joys!

girl on beach

We ride past the Stone Lagoon and as we are passing the Big Lagoon we see elk to the left of us on the other side of the hwy and in a field. I zoom my camera in as best I can to take a picture because Dad says He want’s evidence of the first elk we’ve seen. We’ve seen lots of signs that read “ELK”, but these are the first actual elk we’ve seen.

elk in field

We were beginning to wonder if they were just signs “they” felt like wasting money on, like the Tsunami Zone warning signs we keep seeing. I think we’ve entered and exited 100 Tsunami zones in the last 18 days.

We exit Hwy 101 onto Patrick’s Point Drive and start seeing a lot of bicyclists! In fact, there are so many that it takes a while to find a suitable place for me to go to the bathroom. This road is horribly rough! Dad keeps losing his flashing light off the back of his bike. He hits a bump and his light falls into the middle of the road and into pieces and we have to stop and pick them all up. One bicyclist tells us of a place in the next town, Trinidad, where all the bicyclists stop, but I know we won’t stop there so I quickly forget the name. Dad doesn’t like to eat in restaurants and the last thing I want to do is stop and talk with a whole bunch of strangers.

We stop at Murphy’s Market and Deli in Trinidad at about noon and eat on a picnic table outside the store. Up till now the fog has been so low that we haven’t been able to see the ocean at all. A biker a while back told us this road has the most beautiful views in California, but the fog has blocked any views and the roads are so horrible that it’s left me with a unimpressed impression of Patrick’s Point Drive.

At 12:45 pm we finish lunch. The fog has lifted, and what do you know? Beautiful views!

ocean view

I’m enjoying the ride and taking pictures of the view now, but also navigating over horrible roads that are very narrow, but mostly traffic free. I keep wondering if we are going the right way. We see a cement building that looks like a bathroom so we stop. Turns out both doors are locked. An Australian accented guy sun-bathing next to his hippy van says that this bathroom is locked, but he thinks there are some bathrooms a few miles up the road.

biker on narrow road

The road is part paved and part dirt with huge potholes and is so narrow it looks like someone’s driveway. We are taking our time though, so it’s not so bad. This is a beautiful area. We see a couple of paddle boarders down in the water (they are very small in the picture below).

ocean view

We ride a little farther and see some guys preparing to go surfing. We ask them if this road connects to Hwy 101. To my relief, they say “Yeah, we think so, just follow the road.”

We’ve been on this road for a while and it’s so beautiful, but I have this extreme aversion to back tracking, and this irrational fear that continually lingers in the back of my mind, of going miles out of our way on a dead-end road! When I think of it, it really is an irrational fear because if we do go down the wrong road, we just have to ride our bikes back and that’s what our goal is, to ride our bikes. I guess it’s just the feeling of wasting my time that I don’t like, which seems also irrational since my main goal is to achieve mileage. What can I say, maybe it’s just a character flaw.

We connect back with Hwy 101 at 1:15 pm and by 1:30 are stopping at a bathroom at the beginning of the Hammond Coastal Trail. The trail starts out paved, turns to gravel, then suddenly the path looks like it ends and I am riding on dirt. Up ahead I see the trail turns into a very steep, narrow, gravel hill and if that isn’t enough, there is a lady on horseback coming down the trail! I’m hoping she has control of her animal because I can’t stop. My feet are clipped in, my tires spinning on the gravel, it’s very steep so I’m working my butt off, and the sun is shining directly on me making me thirsty, but, of course, I don’t dare take my hands off the handlebars to get drink! My heart is pounding! The lady stops the horse to let me pass. I say “thank you and sorry.” When I get to the top of the steep hill, I am glad to see it levels off. I have about one minute to catch my breath, when I see a man standing playing an electric guitar (with no amplifier). He’s playing and singing on a corner and I’d like to take a picture, but the trail veers left again and it’s up another steep gravel hill. Ugg, I hope it’s not very long. When I finally get to the top and catch up with Dad, I say “That was hard. I hate riding on gravel.” Dad is still catching his breath and says, “Yeah, I almost puked!”

In front of us, a lady is walking two dogs and we stop to talk with her. Dad stops to talk with everyone! She commends us on our ride and we chat a bit. The Hammond Trail continues. We ride on bumpy roads, go over a bridge, pass some cows, and get off the trail onto regular roads a couple of times, until the trail comes to it’s indistinct end.

We decide to take the Hwy through Arcata to cut back on the detail map reading. It’s pretty flat and we are cruising along at 12 mph, when another biker passes us. We seem to get passed a lot!

When we pull into Eureka and stop at Target so Dad can buy a new speedometer. We lean our bikes against the building and Dad goes in to shop. There are no benches so I sit on the ground to study the map. I call the KOA and they are 4 miles back. I remember seeing the sign coming into town actually. The next camping is 25 miles ahead. Dad comes back out and I ask him if he has 25 more miles in him. He laughs.

We ride to the Clarion. It’s the first hotel we see, because that’s how we roll! The front of the hotel is not where we would expect, so we ride around the building and eventually find the front door. We check in and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Two fully packed bicycles and riders in an elevator is always fun, especially because you always have to load or unload backwards once, no matter which way you enter. The room is really nice. I take pictures as usual, but Dad says I can’t show anyone these pictures of they will think we really slacked.

I ask the front desk about restaurants that deliver. As usual, because we picked the first hotel we saw, we are on the outskirts of town with fewer options. I use the hotel computers to look online. It’s the first time I’ve been on a computer in 18 days. No good food options.

Dad has been working on his bike and replacing his speedometer, so we decide to walk to the Chinese place next door. Dad tries to use Mom’s credit card to buy dinner but since neither of us are Mom and they ask for ID, I get to buy dinner tonight. I talk to Marc on the phone while I wait for our order. Dad walks over to the Target to get something for his bike. When we get back to the room, we eat too much while watching part of Dawn of the Apes on TV.

Our bathroom light stops working, so we call maintenance, but the girl knows less about electrical than dad does. They get the light to come back on, so we leave it on until we go to sleep for the night.

Bike Stats: Time: 4:26.28      Dist: 45.38     Ave: 10.2     Max: 35.0     Odo: 668

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