With only about 4 days left to get to San Francisco, I am a bit overwhelmed with a bit of sadness. Sadness not just because the trip is coming to an end but many of the places we visited today reminded me of a road trip I took with my sister and ex-girlfriend 7 years ago. Let me explain further.
Portlan requested to leave early so that he can ride alone into camp for the day so we obliged. He had rolled out close to 7am while we followed behind at 8am. Most of the other bicycle tourists were still getting ready to leave when we left. We continued south past Myers Flat and found the first familiar reminder. We saw a sign that offered the opportunity to drive through a redwood tree. Being the tourist that we were, Sang Hyun and I paid the fee and biked through it. It was a very silly thing but was one of thing I wanted to do on this trip. On our road trip, we did the same thing with a car except we didn’t remember if we paid at that time or not.
We continued to ride on the Avenue of the Giants for another 15 miles noticing the forest started to have fewer larger redwood trees. We eventually passed a section where the Eel River splits into a creek under the Avenue. I remembered that spot 7 years ago where we stopped and explored on foot that very creek. I kept on reminding Sang Hyun about it as well. I also remembered a section where we pulled over and took pictures next to the giant trees. Reminiscing and then rolling past these areas and knowing that I had to leave this location both from my memories and physically made me feel very sad. Sad because it was such a great memory but I digress.
We continued on our ride down through eclectic towns like Redway, Garberville, Benbow, and Piercy. We’ve seen enclave of various characters in each of these towns. Many folks looked like they have been on the road for many years. Others were definitely heavily medicated with marijuana. We veered on and off the 101 highway at places and kept things interesting. On our way through Piercy, we had to battle narrow roads with abundant traffic. Luckily we turned off the main road to give our nerves a break. We eventually left Piercy with just the 101 highway and plenty of uphills towards our camp site. Luckily the ascent was gradual so we had a good amount of riding to get to our elevation of close to 800 feet.
At camp we were so glad to see Portlan and recalled stories of our ride. Portlan had similar harrowing experience on the 101 but he did not make some of the turn-offs and stayed on the highway. We continued our conversation before Sang Hyun went across the street to buy food for dinner. Standish Hickey is a pretty big campsite but luckily for us, he hiker biker is right next to the bathroom and showers with a direct access to an electrical outlet. That’s where I recharged my camera batteries as well as the iPad. Later in the night, an excited Roberto, who is this amazing 18 year old kid traveling by himself from Indiana who was fresh off of the Lost Coast trail. He’s done so much on this ride. We were all in awe and happy for this young man to do something on his own like this.
The next day is going to require us to climb about 1200 feet in 2 miles to get to Leggitt which is at 2000 feet before we descend down the Pacific Coast Highway for the first time on this trip. It’s going to be a short mileage day with tough hills in the beginning. Wish us luck!