I apologize for not posting this a lot sooner (like during my trip) but here it is finally. I feel even worse since this isn’t a post of the rest of my trip but I’ll get those to you guys as soon as possible. Also, I bested my camera and found a port for the memory card so all the photos are uploaded on Facebook here and here.
So I left off when I was still in Eureka at Scott’s and Alice”s house taking a night off from camping as they had given me a place to stay.
Day 11, Eureka, Rest day
I woke up the next morning intending to continue on the road but not really in the spirit to get on my bike. It was then, as I was packing up that Scott offered to have me for another night. I didn’t have to think about it for too long before accepting his offer and taking the first rest day of my trip. And am I glad I took it.
I hadn’t realized how worked up I had been from simply biking and making sure I was getting to where I needed before dark. Any stress that I’d had up until that point seemed to go away by just sitting around and really just taking a break for a day. Scott also took me around town in the morning, showing me to the craziest bagel shop I’d ever been to and giving me a ride to the local food cooperative. He also helped out with some suggestions about food that I gladly took as up until that point, my meals at camp grounds had consisted of pasta, peanut butter, and… wait no, it was only those two. So, his experience backpacking really helped me in picking out some food that would keep during my trip and still be delicious. During this time, I was also able to work on my bike a bit and assess some problems that I had been putting off until then. Later that night, Scott and Alice took me to see Willow, a cheesy 80’s fantasy movie that had me smiling the whole time. Afterwards, they took me out to dinner. Yeah, this was the coolest rest day I could have asked for. Thanks Scott and Alice for being awesome hosts.
Day 12, Eureka – Humbolt Redwoods State Park, 50 miles
Before I headed out this day, I went over my route with Scott and made a quick adjustment that would skip over a few difficult hills but take me through Humbolt Redwoods State Park. It took me away from the coast and through the forest. I was pretty okay with the trade off.
It was a great ride with almost no rain. I was able to get to the campground around 4 pm with plenty of time to set up camp and have dinner. This was also the night I found out about MIT. So yeah, it was a pretty good way to start back on the road. An older couple also invited me to their campfire. It was cool to actually talk to someone at a campground as I was usually alone at campsites since it really wasn’t vacation season. They used to be kayak travelers (I dont know the technical term but its like bike touring, but in kayaks).
Day 13, Humbolt Redwoods State Park – Westport Union Beach State Park, 65 miles
The next morning was pretty uneventful but half and hour after I got on the bike it just started to pour. All I could do was hunker down and just pedal. I didn’t take too many pictures during this time except for this one because it lifted my spirits a bit.
As you can see, my mind was kind of wandering at this point. About half-way through my ride, I came to a town called Leggit. I stopped at a gas station, bought a Snickers for morale and confirmed my directions with the guy at the counter (he gave me a free muffin too). This was the point at which I turned off of the 101 onto Highway 1. It was kind of weird to think about how far I’d made it so far and that I’d be taking this road all the way to the end of my trip. I made the turn off onto Highway 1 and started on an 8 mile ascent that took more than an hour (still in the rain of course). That Snickers and muffin didn’t last long. This climb was followed by an even longer decent which on a less rainy day would have been fun but was terrifying on the slick roads. The cable tension for my brakes slowly got looser and looser the farther downhill I got. My hands were cramping up by the time I started going uphill again. I continued doing a few shorter ascents and descents, all through foresty switchbacks that gave me know indication of how far I had gone or how far I had to go until finally…
I was so excited to see the coast again, and the camp ground I was staying at was only three more miles down the coast. It was pretty much right on a cliff that overlooked the ocean.
I had my usual pasta and peanut butter and went to bed before it started raining again.
Day 14, Westport Union State Beach -Manchester State Park, 58 miles
The next morning, I woke up to find that it wasn’t raining but the clouds still looked threatening enough to get me moving on the road as soon as possible. Within the first mile of my ride, I met my second bike tourist. He was a younger guy from France heading in the direction that I had just came from. He had taken 6 months off his life to ride around the world and was currently on his way to Vancouver to catch a plane to his next destination. Not long after that, I saw a group of at least 6 other bike tourists heading towards me. I slowed down and stopped but they didn’t. Oh well.
It was a very sunny ride and took me through the very touristy town of Fort Bragg. I pretty much had rolling hills the whole way without too many crazy ascents or descents.
I made it to Manchester State Park without incident and made an awesome dinner from the stuff Scott had told me to get in Eureka.
Day 15, Manchester State Park – Bodega Bay, 70 miles
I was thinking about it and I think this was my hardest day, which is strange as it didn’t rain that much and the terrain wasn’t anything I could handle. Before I get to why it was so tough, here’s some more pretty pictures.
Alright, I think is was just a combination of the rain teasing me by stopping whenever I put my rain gear on and starting up as soon as I took it off, the constant up and down switch backs along the coast, the corners that made it hard for cars to see me, and the fact that I rode until 2 o’clock before realizing I didn’t have any food to make lunch with. All these little things just kind of added up and just hit me mentally and made it a frustrating day. As far as that not having lunch thing went, I kept on riding thinking that the next town would be just around the next corner. Around 4 pm, I couldn’t take the hunger, got off on the side of the road and had ate what was left of my peanut butter and followed it up a few squeezes from my bottle of honey. This held me off until I was able to pick up a sandwich in the small city of Jenner. While I was there I got a call from MIT telling me of some deadline I had to remember. Without thinking about it, I asked the woman on the line what day of the week it currently was. I think she thought that it was a little strange that someone not know what day of the week it was. Anyways, I arrived in Bodega Bay a little while after.
Day 16, Bodega Bay – San Rafael, 53 miles
So the day before, when I got into the campground at Bodega Bay, the park ranger saw that I was traveling by bike and mentioned that there was a huge storm moving in the next day (what would be today). He advised that I not try to bike through but I figured that it couldn’t be worse than the weather I’d already been through. To make sure I missed the majority of it, I woke up super early (6:00ish am, that’s super early when you’re running on bike touring time). I broke camp and went to a convenience store for a bagel and muffin so I wouldn’t have to make breakfast. At this point it was 7ish am and as soon as I stepped out of the convenience store to start my days ride, the rain started to come down. By the time I got my rain gear on, it was pouring with one of the strongest headwinds I’d had (I’d later learn that there had been a small tornado nearby… you know whatever). Fortunately, I was in a much better place mentally than the day before. Since it was raining, I really didn’t want to stop and pretty much just pushed through the rolling hills and the roads covered with fallen branches. There were also very few cars on the road because of the storm.
By the time I made it to Olema, a town within 20 miles of San Rafael, I was pretty high on the fact that I had just biked thirty miles in torrential rain and wind and feeling pretty awesome about it. It made me feel even better when the people who I asked directions from thought I was crazy. The last twenty miles into San Rafael weren’t too bad (relatively of course) and were even better since I found this bike path that kept me off the main road for most of the ways.
I got a little lost in Fairfax county but eventually made it to the home of Steve and Darcy. At their house, Steve had every single tool that you could need for a bike and I was able to make some adjustments to my brakes that were greatly needed. I had an awesome time with Steve and Darcy really just talking about bikes and touring. Steve had been involved with cycling for 20+ plus years so he had a lot to say about them. I also got my butt kicked in Scrabble before going to bed.
Alright, that’s it for now I’m going to get more up as soon as we get back from the Tour of the Gila.