Day 44-45, Crescent City to Garberville, CA

The Eel River near Garberville

This is a two day ride report because I spent the last two nights in biker-hiker camp sites.Those sites are the two CA park hiker-biker sites that I was looking forward to staying in after my previous tour down this coast.In the last two days plus this morning, I've ridden over 180 miles and, more importantly, climbed about 13,000 feet. I stopped in Garberville, before noon, because my legs need a break! Oh, and most of the 180+ miles featured a headwind ;{ and unpleasantly cold weather. The scenery was great when I could see it, but some of the best scenery was invisible because of fog. Tomorrow's ride, down to Fort Bragg, is around 70 mile with 7000+ feet of climbing.

I had a flat tire yesterday on the Newton B Drury Parkway - due to a truck tire wire that I picked up on the shoulder of 101. While I was repairing it, the fellow I climbed out of Gold Hill with the day before yesterday caught up with me. We rode together for two days and camped at Patricks Point that night and on the Avenue of the Giants last night. He climbs a bit faster than I do - almost everyone I meet on this coast climbs faster than I do now ;-}, and I pushed too hard yesterday trying to keep up with him. My legs were not happy being pushed - and not getting as many breaks while I snacked - and gave out near Scotia yesterday. After a 20 minute rest, I was able to continue on at a slightly reduced pace and felt OK last night, but they gave out again today after clmbing two thousand feet this morning. Hopefully they will do better tomorrow. I definitely will be careful about pacing myself for a lot of climbing. There is about four miles of climbing in the remaining 225 miles to Olema where my friend picked me up in 2004.

Climbing out of the fog heading south from Crescent City.

Climbing out of Crescent City, I wasn't able to get any clear pictures until the fog started to break at about a thousand feet up. There was still a bit of climbing to do and the, several mile, down hill at 35 mph with some fog and heavy traffic on a bumpy, twisty, road wasn't a lot of fun either. California drivers are much more aggressive, and rude, than Oregon drivers. I remember the last time I came down that hill, I needed to stop at the very peaceful lagoon pond at the bottom of that hill to regain some composure. This time, I just rode on a mile or so to a Restaurant and had lunch ;-}.

The bridge with golden bears at both end
It goes over the Kalmath River

Then there is about 2 miles of climbing

And another mile of down and then up to the Parkway entrance

Cold winds from the south
Climbing up to the Parkway got rid of the wind - the redwoods block it

The entrance to Prairie Creek Redwoods Park

Newton B Drury Parkway has a great Elk viewing area at its south end

I rode through Kalmath and across the famous bridge over the Kalmath River which has golden bear statues at both ends.Then I climbed for two miles and, a mile later, turned onto the Newon B Drury Parkway for another, pretty steep, climb. As I entered the Prairie Creek Redwoods Park, my front tire started feeling soft.I walked my bike to a paved space off the road and tried to find the cause of the flat by inspecting the tire tread. I couldn't find anything so I had to take the front bags off, the take the front wheel off, and take the tube out.I found the short, rusty, piece of truck tire wire that caused the flat, but its end broke off when I tried to pull it out, so I had to dig the rest out with knife blade.Then I found the hole in the tube by pumping it up and listening and feeling for air flow - much easier to do on the Parkway than on a busy road like 101! I'd sanded the area around the puncture, put rubber cement on it, and was waiting for the rubber cement to dry when Ken, the rider I met yesterday climbing out of Brookings, rolled up.

He had very good timing since it was much easier for me to put the wheel and bags back on the bike while he held it. He joked about me owing him a cup of coffee and, later in that day, I bought him a meal and paid his fee for the hiker-biker site at Patrick's Point State Park. That was after I found out he was 'on a very limited budget.' Ken is a interesting, bright, and good person who, at 50, has never held a long term job. He lives in Santa Barbara where he sleeps in a parking garage and was heading back there - an almost ideal place to be homeless - after spending some time in Eugene.He was riding an old mountain bike which he paid $50 for. He'd put proper racks amd proper tires on it and had had excellent service, as a touring bike, out of it.

My camp at Patricks Point

Ken, waiting for me to take off some cold weather clothing near Eureka

Ken, riding ahead of me after 101 has turned inland and gotten into a dryer, warmer, climate

We climbed a little more and then had this incredible gentle down hill through big redwoods for the next six miles. Ken told me - I didn't remember it - about a great elk viewing are at the end of that downhill. He also spotted the elk when we got there. There were half a dozen males, all with impressive racks, browsing in a field. I switched to my bigger camera with a longer zoom when I started down this coast because I thought I might be able to get some picture of wildlife with it. That paid off today.

After we got back on 101, we rode to Orik and had some, substantially over priced, food. I'm getting used to paying 50% extra for food down here. Then we rode to Patricks and paid $5 a person for hiker-biker sites. Such a deal, but it would have been a lot better without the cold foggy weather. We could hear the surf from those sites, but couldn't see much over 100 feet. I was worried that my camping gear wasn't going to be warm enough, but the temperature didn't drop much during the night so, wearing just about everything I have with me an using two liners inside my lightweight sleeping bag, I was OK.

In the (early - Ken gets up at 5) morning, we rode on to Trinidad to get some coffee at a service station. That was a cold wet ride. I seem to have lost the pair of silk liner gloves I brought with me, so I have nothing but thin bicycling gloves. I was wearing most of the stuff I slept in, including two pairs of knee warmers, three pairs of socks, bike shorts, a thermal undershirt, shirt, windvest, and GoreTex jacket. By the time we got to Trinidad I was getting chilled. The coffee, and in my case, a breakfast burrito, helped to warm me up, but I didn't get really warm until 101 got away from the ocean much later in the day.

We cycled on, first to Arcata where Humbolt State is located, and then to Eureka where we got online at a Starbucks, got some supplies, and split a foot long sub. Then we head for the Avenue of The Giants in Redwood National Park. Before we got there we left the cold headwind and were cranking along quite rapidly. Too rapidly for me as it turned out.

When we did get to the Park, Ken went to a group camping area located where a hiker-biker site used to be and I went the main camping area. The main area is a bit of a zoo, but it has great showers. I hadn't been able to get a shower at Patrick's Point beause there were locked by the time I got to them and in the morning when we left ;-{. I found Kate - a nice young Canadian woman who I met at Patricks Point - already set up at the main camping area and had a nice visit with her which setting up my camp.

This morning, Ken showed up about 7:30 to see if I was ready to go, but I was still in the middle of packing so he rode on to get coffee in Garberville - 30 hilly miles away. I didn't get here till several hours later, so he had gone on. I needed a break - I hope just one short day is enough - and he didn't so we have parted company. We might meet again before I get to the end of this tour.

In The Avenue of the Giants

The Eel River in the Redwoods Park

My camp site in the redwoods

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