Day 21– June 5, 2015 – Friday
Today is the big day! The hill we’ve been planning for since we saw the elevation map spike quicker and sharper than a Klingon weapon. (every story needs a salute to Star Trek). I am up at 5:30 a.m. and wake Dad up at 5:55 a.m. He says “it’s so easy to want to get an early start until morning comes.”
We pack up and stop by the Peg House a little after 7 am. I buy Gatorade and a green shake to prepare for the huge hill ahead. We ride for about 30 minutes passing over a bridge and sometimes going downhill before we see the sign for Leggett. This isn’t fun downhill because I am focusing all my energy on the unknown hill ahead and I know that I’ll just have to pedal back up everything I’m cruising down now.
We turn right off Hwy 101 and onto Hwy 1. Goodbye 101, you’ve been our almost constant companion since Astoria, you will be missed!
Shortly after turning onto Hwy 1 around 7:33 am, we begin our incline. At 8:05 a.m. we stop and pull off our warm clothes. We definitely won’t need them anymore. It takes us about 1 ½ hours to get to the top. I think we are stopping a lot to rest, but we keep passing and being passed by the same people who were in our camp ground last night. They pass us taking a break then we catch up with or pass them when they stop, so we must not be doing too badly. This really surprises me, because we seem to be keeping up with all these young kids and I thought we were slow as molasses! Another thing that surprises me is how quickly we reach the top. At 8:54 a.m. I snap a few quick shots of us as we fly down the other side! I’m concentrating on the road so I’m hoping I get a good shot or two.
As we speed downhill, the wind makes my eyes tear up and tears run back toward my ears instead of down my face. The road is curvy and I’m keeping a close eye out for potholes or anything else that could spell disaster. Dad sometimes tries to warn me of road hazards, but ultimately has to trust that I’m paying attention and that God will keep us safe.
At 9:22 a.m. I take a picture of Dad and then we burst out of the thick trees and into a sunny open place.
Riding downhill is so much fun and so scary! We have to be ever vigilant, because of road hazards, crazy cars, bicycle malfunctions, rider error among a few things, but I can’t help laughing and smiling. Thank God no bugs are flying into my teeth! We take one last sharp corner that goes down then curves sharply back uphill. I take the corner a little too fast and a bit too wide when I see a car coming at me. He doesn’t see me until I speed around the sharp corner. I’m in my lane, but I still scare him, he slams on his brakes dramatically slowing. I’m scared and smiling! I can’t help it, I’ve gone all danger crazy and feel just a little bit more alive today. I don’t have much time to savor it though, because I’m in a high gear and we just hit a hill, so I start shifting down and when we get to the top we stop to take a break. It’s 10:25 a.m. and we are back by the Ocean! It feels like forever, since I’ve been this close to the sea!
I take a picture of us with part of the hill we just rode over behind us.
The other bicyclists are stopping here to take pictures too. I catch two of them in the background when I take a picture of Dad.
We ride along the ocean for a while, stopping for a break at 10:41 a.m., where Dad fiddles with his glasses and we eat. I take pictures of an Eagle flying above, my shoe and some flowers and some weeds and the ocean (the last mentioned is the featured image for this blog). We stop at 10:57 a.m. at a view-point with bathrooms. We take more pictures and enjoy the view, before riding on. We pass through Westport. At 12:08 p.m. we ride past some cool flowers. (Sorry, I’m not a horticulturist so “cool flowers” is all you get).
A little further down the road (12:20 p.m.) we stop at a view-point and chat with two guys. They say they are heading to San Francisco unassisted, but I don’t believe them. They have no packs or handlebar bags and actually I don’t even see tool kits on their bikes. After leaving them, I take lots of ocean and wave pictures, then we pass through another tree canopy.
We stop for construction at the end of the tree canopy, in the last of the shade.
The road becomes one lane for maybe ¼ of a mile, in direct sunlight and uphill, so I hope no one behind us is in a hurry! We get the go ahead and take off, but we don’t have any strength for hurrying, especially up hill in the sun! The cars pull away from us and disappear. Now Dad and I are alone on this curvy road, so I’m hoping the traffic coming the other way is still waiting for us. Fortunately, they are and soon we ride around a corner and see the waiting traffic. At 12:49 p.m. we stop at a sign for Cleone and Fort Bragg.
We are very tired and want lunch. The good news is the sign reads only 6 miles to Fort Bragg. Cleone is only 4 miles, but with a population of 618 according to our map, there’s not much hope for a Subway. We both decide we can make it 6 miles, really that’s not that far. So we think!
We ride what seems like forever! Finally we see a sign, but it says “Inglenook.” I’m confused because it’s not on our map and seems like it’s as big as some other towns that made it on the map, and that’s when the hills start. A series of about 20 hills, not tall enough to catch any speed riding down, but tall enough that I have to either shift my gears on everyone or stand up and pedal.. and they just keep coming! In a moment of sheer madness, I complain to anyone who will hear “I hate this town! I’m never coming here again!”
When Cleone does, finally, come, we take a right onto Ward Street and encounter probably the worst road of the whole trip. I’m bump bumping along when I pull the map out to see our next turn. It says to “ride straight into parking lot, ride across and onto 10 mile Beach Trail.” I’m hoping when we get to the “parking lot” it will be obvious because it isn’t clear from this point. We ride to the end and the directions are suddenly clear. It’s a parking lot for people visiting the beach. We ride across and turn left onto the Ten Mile Beach Trail at about 1:20 p.m.
The trail is not smooth, but our biggest obstacle right now is the wind. It’s howling! Oh and did I mention we are riding against it! I’m pretty sure you already assumed that, but I just want to be clear. It’s only been about 30 minutes since we were back at the Cleone/Fort Bragg sign, but we are worn out and hungry so now every minute seems eternal. I take pictures as I ride along the trail and complain that it’s too bumpy and should be better maintained, however, there are beautiful yellow, green and pink flowers that Dad remembers from his childhood, and the view is amazing!
We stop to take a break at 1:30 p.m. and see a deer in the field on the east side of the bike trail. We ride across a little sandy bridge onto some more sand (causing me to mentally picture hours of torturous riding in the sand), but shortly we pull onto a road/trail that while better than sand still looks like it leads to nowhere, and if it could get bumpier than the trail that was bumpier than the road, well, it does. It’s at this point that I rededicate my life to God because I’m pretty sure I’m going to die out here on this endless last 6 miles, when I see a man walking up ahead. This is a good sign, surely he wouldn’t be walking in the middle of nowhere. We must be close to town. As I pass I say “Are we close to town?” He says “Yes, it’s just up the road.” “Thanks!” I respond.
We ride a few more minutes and we still seem to be in the middle of nowhere, but I have the presence of mind to take a picture of Dad, just at the right moment, when he passes this windblown tree, that from my viewpoint, it looks like the branches are reaching to take his helmet off.
We come to this walking bridge with boards so smooth I consider it my favorite part of the town. We stop at a parking lot with bathrooms. When I come out of the bathroom Dad is talking to some Grandparents and two little girls about digging for Abalone, which Dad also remembers from when he was younger. We ask them if they know where a Subway is. They don’t because they are tourists. Ha! We stop at a Travelodge and the person tells Dad the Subway is all the way at the end of town in a mall past the McDonalds. We ride for so long that I am compelled to ask a lady walking down the street if there is a Subway coming up. She says “no.” I catch up with Dad and tell him. I am disappointed at thinking I’ll have to eat McDonalds, when we decide to check the mall anyway, but we can’t find the entrance. It’s surrounded by apartments. We ride around the block and ask a third person if there is a Subway and he says, “Yes, I’ll take you to it.” Hallelujah! At 2:23 pm, I snap a selfie smiling in front of Subway and by 3:36 pm, we are smiling for a blurry, but happy photo of us with our well worked for food!
After Subway we shop at the upscale market across the parking lot. It has a lot of food and wine, but I want fudge, which they only have in a huge pan, so I skip it. I call two RV Parks, and we decide to stay at the closest one. It also happens to be the least expensive. The Woodside RV Park & Campground. The guy working the desk is quite chatty and thinks space C2 will be too small for us, but it’s the closest to the bathrooms. After a long conversation, (including a cool story about how his 1971 class of 900 went on a 3 month bicycle trip in Europe for free because they sold so many pickles and cookies through the year), we decide to go look at C2 before we pay. It’s perfect for us. It even has a picnic table. It also had a tire wheel rim lying around, probably to burn stuff in, but we moved it aside and set up.
Here’s Dad relaxing in his tent, chatting with Mom on the phone.
Here’s what my tent looks like inside – Messy!
To finish the day, I go pay for the site, and have a little trouble getting the shower to work, it kept shooting my quarters back at me, but it all worked out. What a great day!
Bike Stats: Time: 5:30:57 Dist: 49.75 Ave: 9.5 Max: 36.7 Odo: 822
Day 22– June 6, 2015 – Saturday – Decided Rest Day
I walk up Dad at 7:15 am and at the same time call Marc, waking him up too. I am very grateful for Marc and Mom staying home and taking care of things so Dad and I can ride. Today they get to have some fun too, they are going to a library book sale in Okanogan, then stopping by Ivars to eat on the way to Marc’s Parents. They are actually coming to pick us up, but stopping at his Parent’s house will make the drive shorter for them tomorrow.
Dad and I decided if we can camp here again, we will, making today a rest day. We are outside a town with population 7,273, meaning more food options and obviously we like that. Like man of old we are following the food! Now I’d better go tweeze some hairs so I don’t actually look like a caveman when Marc sees me again.
2:43 pm – We are staying here again tonight. I meet a lady in the bathroom. We use the time to primp but mainly we gathered around the mirrors to charge our various gadgets. Instead of plugging in curling irons and hair dryers now I’m plugging in cell phones and iPods. The lady is really nice and it’s a pleasant chat.
After reading a “Mental Floss” magazine, and taking a nap, we head into town for Subway and to shop for snacks. The most exciting thing that happens is we see a classic car, but I suppose when you are riding a bicycle in traffic no excitement is a good thing.
We are riding back from Subway and the Market and turn onto a road that is signed “Coastal Highway” but it’s just a street, not the coastal detour we are looking for. Then we see a sign that says “Coastal Access” and take that road, but after riding a few minutes we don’t seem to be nearing any coast or views so we take a left down a street with huge eucalyptus trees around it. I can’t take a picture because I didn’t put my camera in my handle bar bag when I left the store, it’s still in my backpack and I can’t get it without stopping. It’s not like we are in a hurry, but I just don’t feel like stopping. Dad says he remembers seeing lots of trees like that in Southern California when he was young. We take another left on the main road and head back to the campground that we are now south of because of the detour.
Tomorrow our plan is to make it to Manchester Beach State Park, stopping to take a picture in front of the Murder She Wrote house in Mendocino. We are back on the coast again, so there is no telling what the weather will be like tomorrow morning. Our legs are tired and Dad’s butt hurts. It’s a good thing we are taking a rest day. I’m excited to see Marc again!
4:59 pm – Rest day continues, napping a bit, reading, listening to an audio book, wondering if this pen will run out (my original journal is on paper). Not hungry but wanting to snack because of boredom. We needed the rest day though. Tomorrow we go to… I told you already. Boredom results in tent selfies.
6:28 pm – It’s trying to mist as I am walking back from my shower. I’m hoping and praying tomorrow is a nice day. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat at the store, but now I want a salad, muffin and dried pineapple, which I looked for but couldn’t find in the dried fruit section earlier. I have an idea for a painting, which I write in my journal, then I sit on the picnic table and get shards of wood in the butt of my pants and my finger. Not good! The cell service here is spotty, it’s frustrating.
7:19 pm – After much discussion and me studying our map and atlas, we change our plans. Dad and I decide to go to Russian Gulch State Park tomorrow. It’s about 8.5 miles from here. We will spend the night there and wait for Marc and Mom to pick us up on Monday. It cuts our trip short, but then we can all four get our pics taken with the Murder She Wrote house (I know Mom wants to do that too) and we are nearer to Hwy 128 that connects to Hwy 101 sooner making our drive to Disneyland easier.
On rest days we spend a lot of time just lying in our tents. I tell Dad we could buy two pairs of dice & play together in our tents, but it would be based on the honor system, so I don’t know if he can play. We laughed. “Oh look, I keep getting all sixes!”
I call Marc and tell him our plan, so he will know where to pick us up, because the cell phone service is pretty bad here and I’m not sure if we will have any at the next park. Note to self: when I get home I need to find the lead in my Camelbak water bladder.
It’s kind of sad there is only one day left of the trip, but that’s okay. On to new adventures!
Bike Stats: Time: 27:38 Dist: 4.10 Ave: 8.9 Max: 17.7 Odo: 826