Day 12 2021 – Land of the Giants

We got off to a late start today. It was going to be a short day, so it was all good. You can see the ride stats here.

Ron had dropped his Garmin GPS and the screen was no longer working. He worked on finding a replacement and I worked on finding a way to avoid camping for the final nights leading to San Francisco. Together, we worked out a solution. We would get his replacement just north of San Francisco and we would continue to avoid the campgrounds at night.

Today we started to see the effects of the drought and forest fires. Katie, our Warm Showers host, had told us about the smoke we might encounter. Today we got our first taste and it got worse as the day went along. These scenes are from the bridge over the Eel River leaving Rio Dell.

After a few miles we were back on Highway 101 on our way to the Avenue of the Giants. We stopped at a view point just outside the entrance. As Ron pointed out, as you looked at the tree line above the river, you could see how the Avenue of the Giants was defined as the taller line of trees amongst the forest.

The darker row of tall trees define the Avenue of the Giants.

Soon after we were in The Avenue of the Giants. My GPS was having difficulty finding a signal because the canopy was so thick. It is amazing to be surrounded by such tall trees in a place with so few people.

We stopped at one of the oldest trees known as Immortal Tree. It was not the largest tree we saw as you can see from these pictures. But it was supposedly one of the oldest. You can see from the statistics that is 14.5 feet wide.

There are a half dozen small towns along the Avenue of the Giants. Many of them have an elevation that is higher than their population, but neither goes over 3 digits.

In Myers Flat we got lunch at a small grocery/deli. We met an 8th grader named Braden. We had a very thoughtful conversation about his goals and plans for his future. I found him to be very level headed. He missed playing in some basketball games because his grades were not up to standards. He was determined to improve them. When we caught up with him he was selling snacks to the tourists. He gave me a peak at the day’s revenues. A real entrepreneur. He was going to use the money to by some new basketball shoes.

He was also aware of how quickly his high school years would pass by. Right now he’d like to join the Marines when he finishes High School. We wished each other the best as we parted. He got a small tip from me, and I had my hope for the future restored.

The smoke continued to get worse as the ride went along. Leaving the Avenue of the Giants we made our way back to Highway 101.

We had a long, hard climb to reach Garbersville. We dumped our bags at the hotel, got a shower and headed out for dinner. Google may have shown 20 establishments, but only about 5 were open. Many victims to Covid. We had a good Mexican dinner with a beer or 2.

We needed this easy day in preparation for tomorrow’s longer miles and higher climbs.

Garbersville is known as the marijuana capital of the US. I’m writing this at a table just outside my room. I need to go back inside to get some fresh air away from the smokers.

The Not So Lone Rider

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