|Miles travelled: ||80 (347 total) ||Average speed: ||12.6 MPH |
|Time on bike: ||6:25 ||Top speed: ||43.6 MPH |
Wow, what a day. Where do I begin? Let’s start with the beginning.
I woke up about 5am to go to the bathroom. As I sat in the stall, there was a gentleman in the stall next to me. I heard some growling from over there… hmm. Then there was some barking – he was in there with his little foo-foo dog. He popped up in my stall and was basically an uncontrollable maniac while the guy tried to do his business. Man am I glad I don’t have to deal with a pet on the trip, especially one I have to bring into the bathroom with me. I headed back to my hammock and fell back asleep, waking up again at 8am. I was moving fairly slow, took some time to cook up some oatmeal, reorganize my bags, and secure my kickstand with some electrical tape… didn’t get rolling until about 10:30am.
my USB solar charger powering my keychain GPS unit while soaking up the sun
As I rode I noticed two cyclists up ahead, one loaded to the gills (more so than I), the other on a road bike. I stopped to see if everything was okay. The one with the touring bike looked an awful lot like Fred Flintstone (in body shape anyway), except with more of a beer belly. He immediately started talking about his creaky back wheel. Probably the hub, though one time he had a spoke blah blah that was a little off tension and he thought it was the rim bent but blah blah he brought it to the bike shop blah and the guy readjusted all the spokes blah and… this guy was a total jabberjaw. Spoke an awful lot like Fred Flintstone too. I stood there while he rattled off all the noises his bike made, the whole time thinking “did it ever occur to this guy that the weight might be a problem?” That poor bike… I hope the Hulk bike knows it could be much worse right now.
Having my ears worn off was worth it though, as the bikers were parked next to a virtual pot of gold I didn’t even notice when I first pulled up – a Cycle America refueling station! A big jug of water and two tubs of Gatorade mix – hell yeah! The road rider said to help myself, and I did that, loading a scoop of blue Gatorade probably meant for several gallons of water into my water bottle. Any more powder and I would have had to chew it. Much better than the electrolyte tabs I’d been using.
don’t tell nobody!
Got to Gold Beach and helped myself to a burger referred to as C.H.B. on the menu at the Port Hole Cafe. Basically it was a burger with ham on it. I ate it and the potato salad in about 30 seconds, and felt like I could eat two more. I am a machine.
Afterwards I parked in the cafe next door and had a fantastic rocky road mocha as I did my computer stuff. I normally don’t have caffeine, but I want to get something when I’m at the cafes while I use their WiFi, and mochas are so tasty… I can bend the rules for this trip I suppose.
I made it out of Gold Beach at 3:30pm. I knew I had somewhere around 50 miles ahead of me if I was going for the redwoods or Crescent City, and would be pushing it as far as daylight is concerned. Time to get moving.
Right out of Gold Beach is the big hill I’d heard about more than a few times. Slow but steady, watching the road 10 feet ahead… made it through. The downhill was quite a ride (see Most Exciting Moment below :) and was followed by more ups and downs. Lots of scenery on the way, had to stop a couple of times, but the clock was looming and I had to keep moving.
When I made it to Brookings I saw the Harris Beach campsite and started to pull in to check it out, but before reaching the camp I turned right back around and continued down 101. I realized that if I didn’t make it to Jedediah Smith tonight, I wouldn’t be staying there during this trip. 30-ish miles would be way too short for the next day’s miles… nope, it was either hit it now or bust. Staying there was part of my original vacation plan and I didn’t want to pass it up. I rode on.
I stopped at a KFC/Taco Bell hybrid to pick up some food. The lady at the counter said the roads between Brookings and the redwoods were relatively flat, much flatter than what I just rode in on. This turned out to be true,but it may as well have been all uphill with all the headwinds I encountered. I was struggling and the miles were wearing on me. This was turning into a long day, and I had to keep moving as the sun was setting fast.
Making it into California was a boost for me, but I was busy digesting the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices and I’d already ridden over 60 miles at this point. Just have to keep going, as my shadow grew longer and the sun dropped closer and closer to the horizon. I reached the Highway 197 turnoff and was about midway down the road when the sun set. Boy am I glad I upgraded the lights on my bike before I left, I needed them tonight.
Finally I made it to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, darkness in full display. The entry booth was unmanned, so I grabbed a pamphlet to figure out where the hiker/biker area was… and it wasn’t listed. No sign of it whatsoever. I started riding around the dark camp, asking people if they knew where it was. This day would just not end! Finally after 15+ minutes of riding around aimlessly, I came across the campground host who pointed me in the right direction (way on the other side of camp).
I rode over to the hiker/biker spots and discovered that I was the only one there, so I had my pick. I scoped out each in the dark to see where I’d be able to hang my hammock. Even in darkness I could tell these were pretty sweet spots, each with a stone fireplace, firepit, picnic table, and plenty of space… a steal for $3. There were only a couple of options (if there are trees they tend to be huge) so I went with the best one with a couple of younglings (relatively speaking) and started to setup. Here my brilliant plan to keep my headlamp packed in my hammock ended up getting me – I had to lash up my hammock with my spare bike light in my mouth in order to see. Once I had the hammock up I could get into it and get my light out, which made the rest of the preparations a lot easier.
I unloaded all of my panniers into the bear box, had a snack of my Sun chips and the deer jerky I picked up day one, and rode my much lighter bike over to the other side of camp where the shower is. The showers here run off of quarters, of which I had a roll that I’d picked up for this specific purpose (well, and to do laundry too). By the time I was in bed it was 11pm and I was beat, fast asleep moments later.
Most Exciting Moment
That would definitely have to go to the downhill run off of Cape Sebastian. Yesterday I broke the 40mph barrier, and earlier today I made it up to 42mph, which I’d assumed would be my high for the day… I was wrong. Both times previously I was pedaling pretty good to get up there; this time as I barreled down the hill, watching the road for debris, I looked down at my speedometer and I was up to 40 without pedaling at all. I made it up past 43 when a gust of crosswind and some rough shoulder started to throw my bike into a wobble. I rode it out while I gently braked and managed to keep myself out of the Roadkill Report for the day. My legs were shaking at the end of that one.
I think 43.6mph will probably end up being the max for my trip :)
- two rats, one without a head
- an eagle (not sure what kind, didn’t stop to check)
- a creature that looked like a glove turned inside out. I spotted it on one side of a bridge. On the other side I found another glove, this one burned. I wonder what transpired between them? Then about a mile later I found a green glove on the side of the road – a love triangle perhaps?
- a raccoon
- a raven
- a small black bird (perhaps a blackbird)
- a snake