Day 46, Garberville to Fort Bragg, CA

A flagged tree on the California coast near Westport
This shows a lot of wind blowing from the north when this tree has been growing

After a, sorely needed, rest day and a half, I rode from Garberville - where it is warm and sunny! - to Fort Bragg - where it is cold and cloudy! The best thing I can say about the climate in Fort Bragg is that the wind wasn't blowing much today and that really helped. The last time I did this same ride, the wind was my friend and the climate at Fort Bragg was pleasant. Today, I climbed Legget hill, and that was the last time I was warm till I stopped for late lunch-early supper in Fort Bragg.

My most important purchase today
Inexpensive gloves that will keep my hands warm!
I'm tired of cold hands.

Speaking of Legget hill, Legget is dead. The only thing left in business there is a poor excuse for a gas station. It was good that I had a great breakfast at the Eel Cafe in Garberville at about 7 AM. I was looking forward to an early lunch at the restaurant at Legget, but it has been closed for while. So has the market. As always, I was carrying enough food and water to do the entire day without services, so this wasn't a big deal for me, although I was sorely disappointed that I didn't get a proper lunch. If you are riding this way, you can stop at a market-service area about a mile before highway 1 starts and a mile after the State Park with hiker/biker sites on 101.

On 101 south of Garberville

The Eel River

Richardson Grove State Park
Like a mini Avenue of the Giants with heavy truck traffic
Be careful!

Most of the climbing and narrow road/narrow shoulder/mega RV traffic was in this section
Not fun

I didn't enjoy riding from Gardnerville to Legget in 2004 and it was worse today. The ride covers a beautiful 25 miles, with a lot of climbing - nearly 3000 feet. New pavement made the ride better today than it was in 2004, but increased traffic, especially monster RV traffic made it worse, even with the new pavement.

The biggest problem is that it isn't all freeway, but, if it was it wouldn't be as beautiful to ride ;-{. On the freeway sections, I had a decent shoulder and the traffic fit the road. On the non freeway sections, really just old 101 that had been repaved, the trucks and big RVs were really too big for the road. They were 'advised' not to use it, but they weren't given any alternative, so they used it. It had narrow to non existent shoulders, lots of sharp curves, heavy traffic, and folks who shouldn't have been driving big RVs. A dangerous mix.

The sign for Hwy 1 on 101

Climbing the first hill
Steep alternating with less steep sections

Nearing the bottom of the Long downhill
It was cold and damp

Climbing the final hill - steep and consistent but only 2/3rds as much climbing as the first hill

After my disappointment in Legget, I rode down amd crossed the Eel River for the last time and then climbed a hundred feet of so before finding a good place to eat and rest. I had not taken a real rest and eat stop since Garberville, and I needed one before the climb. While I was eating - banana, bagel, and nutella - I was passed by a strange pair of riders. They passed me as I was putting clothing away and I heard them - grunting - as they rode, very slowly, by me on nice road bikes. It looked like one guy as helping the other ride Legget and a third guy - I saw him a couple of time later in the ride, was videoing them. I hope the video guy 'sped up' the climb video since, from my perspective, the guy being helped should have done a lot more training, and lost some weight, before doing that ride ;-}.

It was a long climb on tired legs, but no harder than climbing out of Crescent City. It had steep parts, but they seemed to alternate with less steep parts so I was in my 16" gear less time than I was in my 18 or 20" gears. I was taking it easy, although I was going maybe 30% fater than the guy being videoed, and the climb wasn't a big deal.

What was a big pain, was the 2000 foot descent. In 2004 I wrote: "Getting down the other side was pure pleasure. There were a few places where I had to pedal and one section that was definitely uphill, but the overall experience was a nice ride with lots of twisty bits and some sharp corners. When I got down to about 200 feet, I stopped for a pleasant, and peaceful - there was very little traffic - break sitting beside a redwood and listening to bird song while I snacked." In 2010 it was fun riding but very chilly and that uphill section was the only time I wasn't too cold. Part of this was my fault - I should have known to put on ALL my upper body clothing instead of just my wind vest and arm warmers. I should have dressed for a winter descent.I even saw folks down at the bottom, heading north, who were dressed for winter cycling.

After the chilly descent, I was looking forward to the steeper climb over the last big hill. It didn't disappoint me. I got warmed up pretty well on that climb ;-}, which was steeper, although still sub 10%, and stayed steeper. With over a mile of climbing on my legs before I started it, I needed to use my 16" gear for almost all of it.

Looking back at the coast near Westport
Hwy 1 comes down, roughly in the center of this image
from that hill whose top is covered by clouds

Interesting clouds 'reflected' in water
This image shows how dark the land, sea, and sky were

Pretty image showing flowers and those same clouds/water a little earlier
The exposure - I focused and set exposure on the foliage beneath the flowers
makes this image look lighter than it was

Coming down to the coast was, as I expected, cold ;-}. There was no wind. The last time I was here there was a 25 mph wind from the north. It was a nicer place without the wind even with the cool temps. As I was riding to Fort Bragg, I passed a nice house with a big wind sock in its front yard. I thought :Why would anyone put a big windsock in front of their house?" Then I remembered where I was...

I knew there was a Dennys near the north end of Fort Bragg because I'd enjoyed eating there in 2004. Since it was about 8 hours, with a LOT of climbing, since I had eaten a meal, I stopped at that Dennys. Because it was such a great deal, especially compared to what I had been paying recently, I had a grand slam breakfast at 3:30 PM ;-}. I noticed Makela's Boots Saddlery & Repairs behind the Dennys and, after checking into a nearby motel, I walked over there and bought some Grip-Fast thermal lined work gloves. At least my hands will not be cold any more on this trip. I wish I had had enough sense to buy those gloves in Oregon!

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