Tour04 Day 6 - Eureka to Garberville, CA

My ride today started with a bang. I rode 1.5 miles through Eureka - it was Sunday morning so the traffic wasn't bad - before I heard a tick,tick,tick sound from my rear wheel. I had pulled of the street and leaned over to check my rear wheel when it exploded in my face. Last night I must have trapped a bit of the tube under the tire bead. The tire held pressure - about 75 pounds - all night, so I mounted it this morning. I didn't check it carefully to make sure the tire was seated properly - I ALWAYS do that! - and I didn't notice any out of roundness as I rode, but several inches of tube blew the tire right off the rim. It was LOUD and the air blast hit me directly in my face. I walked my bike behind a nearby building and put in a spare tube. This time I checked to make sure the tire was properly seated!

101 is mostly freeway though increasingly high rolling hills

I rode on out of Eureka about 10 AM - I had gotten up at 6AM, ate the 'continental' breakfast offered by the motel, and worked for two hours on the day05 web page. Then I had to upload web page and ride report and get all my bike stuff back together to get ready for my day's ride. It was after 9 when I actually started riding. I stopped for a second breakfast at the Dennys in Fortuna. It was good and big enough that I didn't need lunch later. Then I cranked on down the freeway, only to discover that serious hills started a mile or so later. I really felt that breakfast as I climbed <grin>!

This climb has three lanes, but no shoulder and goes around a blind curve

Riding the freeway isn't scary except at exits and, in the case of 101 today, where the road climbs with no shoulder and limited visibility because of curves. After another 20 very hilly miles on the freeway, I was exhausted, so I left the freeway to take a break at the Redcrest Resort. When I finished my break, I chose to stay on 254 and enter Humbolt Redwoods State Park rather than get back on the freeway.

That changed my days ride from 'getting on down the road' to something akin to a religious experience. I had similarly strong reactions to old growth forests in Washington - Rockport State Park and Lewis and Clark State Park - where I camped on my first cross country tour in '96. This was even stronger because it lasted for 25 miles of riding with a few stops to just be in that place. A side note: Former president Reagan died yesterday. Once, in support of his supporters who wanted to cut down these forests, Reagan said "Once you've seen one redwood. you've seen 'em all." What a remarkably un-perceptive man!

My bike in the park

Looking straight up in the park

Redwoods and the Eel River - a hawk flew from the tree on the left

I stopped twice to snack and rest - I was still tired, even though I was also exhillarated - several times to take pictures, and once, across the road from the campsite, to contemplate camping in the Park. I really wanted to spend the night there, but I also wanted to keep riding. I did see a few other bicyclist in the park- more bicyclists than I've seen anywhere else on this tour.

Riding in cool serenity of the Park, the loudest noise I heard most of the time was the sound of my tires on the pavement. As I rode, I felt sorry for the people in cars and RVs because I knew they were cut off from the real experience of this place. I did hear bird song, although not a lot of it, and once, when I stopped to take a picture of the redwoods across the river, a hawk launched from a tree near me, circled over the river in front of me, circled again almost overhead, and then climbed in a thermal above the trees behind me. Wow.

My second snack stop, with my bike leaning agaist the roots of a fallen giant

101 and the Eel river after 254 ends

I rode 254 as far as I could - it ends at 101 south of Phillipsville - and stopped, after another good climb, at Garbersville. This is a neat little town with lots of services and a western, rather than Pacific coast, feel to it. I'm taking a, badly needed, rest day here before riding 25 very hilly miles on 101 to Legget. From Leggett, I head west over the costal range - the biggest climb of this part of my tour. I've been 'running on empty' for several days and my body needs to recharge before doing a lot of climbing with few (none, as far as I know) services for 50 miles.

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