Day 23– June 7, 2015 – Sunday
5:58 am – Fog surrounds the camp ground and my tent is covered with dew. Walking back from the bathroom, I take a minute to smell the air. I love the coast. Back in my tent a bird, that sounds like a duck, flies over and I hear its wings. When it flies close enough my tent shakes.
Today will be a fun and easy day, although I still feel sad the trip is ending. We will spend the night at Russian Gulch State Park and tomorrow Marc and Mom will pick us up around 11:00 a.m.
I am curious about my weight. I have gained a lot of muscle on the ride, but I would have liked to have lost more weight. I started the trip up around 208 and I wonder if I’ve made it under 200?
10:05 a.m. – Our plan is to pack up our gear, head north into Fort Bragg, eat at Subway, shop for food supplies, and then ride south.
While I’m packing up I use my teeth to pull the plug out of my inflatable pillow and I rip the plug right off the pillow! Man, I must be hungry!
We eat lunch around 10:45 a.m. We are already talking about our next bicycle trip. After Subway we ride across the parking lot to the Harvest Market. I buy a bran muffin, salad, “Running” magazine and a green rice shake that I’ve never had before. They didn’t have the green shake I wanted so I thought I’d try this for breakfast tomorrow.
Back at our bikes we are packing and getting ready to leave and a couple stops us. They ask us about our ride and we talk about Mendocino, the Murder She Wrote house, Carmel, Clint Eastwood and Doris Day.
By 11:34 a.m. we are on the road again. We pass Boise Road at 11;42 a.m. and I take a couple of pictures. It’s the road a little south of the camp ground that we rode on yesterday that had all the Eucalyptus trees that reminded Dad of his childhood. The ride is flat, easy, cold and foggy until we get about 4 miles south of Fort Bragg then suddenly, no clouds and it’s sunny! I take off all my warm layers.
At 12:01 p.m. we pass a dude sitting in the back of his truck waving at traffic. He has huge flags that basically say “Peace for everyone.” 11 minutes later I’m taking pictures of us in front of the Russian Gulch Sign. I had to yell at Dad to make the turn, because he almost rode right past it. “Dad weren’t you paying attention to the turn?” He said “Well, it was downhill with a large curb and I didn’t want to waste it.”
We ride up to an empty Ranger’s box. The sign says the park is full, but that doesn’t usually include the hiker/biker spots, however, before paying we decide to go find the hiker/biker area to make sure. A guy in a truck is at the Ranger’s box wondering about fishing, but obviously we don’t have any info to help him. People just visiting the park are supposed to pay $3.00 (I think that’s what the sign said).
We ride follow the signs straight, then curve downhill to the left then there is a steep, long (and I mean long) downhill! We ride under an overpass, I can’t believe how steep this hill is. It’s so steep, if I were on a bicycle ride I’d never stay here now that I know. “It’s a good thing Marc and Mom are picking us up, otherwise we would have to ride up this tomorrow!” Dad replies, “I know!”
At the hiker/biker area we see Ranger Savanna in a cart driving around. We tell her we need to pay but don’t want to bike back up that huge hill and she says she will come back and collect our money. (Thank God!)
The hiker/biker spot is a grassy area with lots of yellow flowers and about a million gopher holes, making it an ankle twisting minefield. “It’s okay if a human sprains (or worse) an ankle, but make sure not to kill the danger causing rodents.” says California. There are lots of flies, so I’m glad to put up my tent! It is also right next to some very, very dirty bathrooms.
At 12:43 p.m. I take pictures of us with our maps. We used 3 of our 5 Adventure Cycling maps. We didn’t get as far as we wanted to, but we did take it easy, enjoy the ride and have fun.
Another camper is in the hiker/biker area. A different ranger came and is talking with him. He called him Daniel. From what I can tell he is a vagrant, who lives at the park sometimes. Two German (I think) bikers come in next, a couple. A bit later in the evening another bicyclist comes in. He doesn’t look like it at first, but after he sets up and starts talking with Daniel, it is clear they have met before and he is also a vagrant.
7:50 p.m. Dad goes to take a shower. He comes back and says the showers are “sort of dirty.” Coming from my Dad, who spends his annual hunting vacation showering from a bucket, this means the showers are definitely dirty! This camp has the worst facilities I’ve ever seen, however, the rangers are nice.
As it becomes later, the two vagrants start talking more. It is sad and funny. Daniel will say something and the other guy will respond, but it is more like they are having three conversations, because they have a continual intermittent conversation with each other while also having conversations out loud with themselves. I think they both need medication, however, they both laughed a lot, and seemed harmless and almost happy. Daniel kept mentioning Jesus helping him. I will leave my extra food for them if I have a chance to do so discretely.
This camp has lots of kids and is quite loud. One of the kids is a screamer. Someone should spank the parents.
Bike Stats: Time: 53.54 Dist: 9.0 Ave: 10.0 Max: 21.2 Odo: 835
Day 24– June 8, 2015 – Monday
7:36 am – I ride my bike to the showers at the other end of the camp ground. They are nicer than the bathrooms right next to the hiker/biker spot, but still dirty and they don’t have any garbage receptacles. I have to put my empty shampoo bottle and razor into the tampon bin.
I meet a lady who has the small size LL Bean classic bathroom tote (I have a medium size one at home) and it looks perfect for my bike stuff. I think I’ll order one for my next trip.
I am able to tighten my pink bicycle shorts even more today. They are almost as small as they will go. Sweet!
I get back to my tent and try to relax. I keep looking out at all the cars passing by to see if it’s Marc and Mom. I’m so bored! Also it’s freezing! I pack up most of my stuff, so I’ll be mostly ready when they get here, then I go stand in the sun pacing back and forth for a while because it’s freezing! My hands are like ice cubes! Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Time crawls!
11:00 a.m. – Here they are! They drive up and I start packing up my tent. Dad hasn’t even started packing yet so Mom and Marc and I help him, meaning his stuff gets randomly tossed into his bags, which I know is going to cause problems finding things later, but He doesn’t seem to mind. Marc says jovially “Why aren’t you guys ready? I said I’d be here at 11:00!”
I never should have doubted.
We load up and take pictures of us together again.
TRIP END: We drive to Mendocino and take pictures in front of the Blair House. (Jessica Fletcher’s house in the 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote.) Then we mistakenly turn onto Hwy 128 towards Hwy 101. It’s so curvy it makes Dad and I feel sick. Dad more than me, because he is in the back seat. We eat at Subway (except Dad, he’s still sick) in Cloverdale. On the coast it was 65 degrees, in Cloverdale it’s 100 degrees!
We drive to Disneyland and walk around Downtown Disney the first evening after check-in. Then we spend one day in the California Park and one in Disneyland. A note here: If you have just spent 24 days riding a bike and not walking very much, then you go to Disneyland and walk for 8 hours a day, it’s probably going to make your calves REALLY tight!
I didn’t realize that when we bike, we barely walk at all. We ride to the showers, ride to the bathrooms, ride to the store, but we don’t walk that much. From riding all day, to sitting immobile in a car for several hours, to walking around Disneyland all day, might not be the best progression. It was really hard on Dad with his knee issues.
For me this trip has been wonderful! I trained for it, so, except a few spots, it wasn’t that physically demanding. I had the perfect formula to avoid butt rash, which can be a big problem when spending so much time in the saddle, I never experienced any the whole trip.
I didn’t measure myself well, so I’m not sure how many inches I lost, however, my bike shorts with the belt started as large as they could go and by day 24 were almost as small as they could go. So I assume I lost 2 inches minimum around the middle. Starting weight was about 208 lbs and (after Disneyland) I weighed 202.4. It was a disappointing weight loss, but it might have been more, except all the food I ate while traveling and in Disneyland, and I know I gained a lot of muscle from the appearance of my body, especially my legs.
Trip Stats: Elma, Washington to Russian Gulch State Park, California. 835 miles. 23 Riding days. Weight loss – approximately 5 lbs (and several inches). Zero flat tires for me, a couple for Dad. 3 bike falls for me, 1 for Dad. No injuries.
Two statements sum up the trip:
#1. To ride all day and speak to no one, is complete bliss.
#2. The moment I got off my bike, I started missing it!
Thanks for joining us on this adventure!