I tried to get an early start again today. In fact, I was on the road a little after 7 am. There was supposed to be rain at some point around midday. It was a cool, overcast start to my day as I left Crescent City. It wasn’t long before I had a very long climb through the Redwood National and State Park. I worked up a sweat climbing almost a thousand feet across 2 miles. I took off my jacket halfway up the climb because I was so hot. Then I had to put it back on to keep me warm during the downhill winds. It wasn’t long before I was rewarded with more views of the ocean.
Naturally, the next stop was about 20 miles away at a gas staion/convenience store in Klamath. I met a couple of men in their thirties who were slowly making their way south on their bikes. They were pretty loaded down with camping gear. They told me that they had sought shelter in a nearby hotel to escape the rain. They said that the manager on duty went crazy when he found out that they had brought their bikes inside their room. The manager was utterly irrational and threw them out back into the rain! On a brighter note, the couple I had seen on the road yesterday multiple times also made a stop here. Besides food, they had stopped to address some mechanical issues.
Just a few miles south, I turned off of 101 and rode along a scenic parkway that ran through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It was now approaching midday. The rain I had worried about had found me. Less than 3 miles into the 12-mile ride through the park, it started raining. It kept getting heavier and heavier. I couldn’t see through my glasses and I was getting very chilled. I did not have an extra layer underneath my light rain jacket/windbreaker. As an answer to a prayer, I found a little shelter at the base of one of the giant redwoods. I got into my panniers, took out the heavier rain jacket and another base later. I had to peel off the wet jacket and jersey so I could get the dry layer on. I put the damp jersey over it and finally the heavier, dry rainjacket. My feet were still wet and a little cold, but it was still a big improvement. I went back into the rain and rode as fast as I could. Fortunately most of it was now downhill. Just as I left the park, miles down the road, the sun started to break through and the rain was gone the rest of the day.
Just before I reached Orick, a crowd of people were gathered on the side of the road. They had stopped to look at elk grazing in a field. I struck up a conversation with a small group. They asked about my ride and route. I told them about my mission for mentoring, where I started, my ultimate goal, and some of the stops I had planned. They recognized the town of Ft. Bragg, where I will be in a couple of days. One lady offered to connect me with her son, who might have space for me. We’ll see what happens!
The ride to Trinidad, another 22 miles away brought the “usual” fantastic views of the ocean. When I had left Crescent City earlier, I thought I heard the barking of sea lions or seals. Now, high on a road overlooking a rocky island I heard the barking again! In this video, all I hear is the wind. But they were there! Honest!
At my snack stop in Trinidad, I met 2 other bikers who had started on Victoria Island, BC headed to Los Angeles. They had also caught rain today and were already trying to dry out some of their gear while they ate. We shared the scenic vistas as we left Trinidad. They passed me on the rough road as they headed for Arcata and I was going to Eureka. There was a nice bike trail that led me up to Arcata Bay. I rode some flat miles over cow pastures before finishing the day in Eureka. Then it was the usual clean me, clean the clothes, maintain the bike and get something to eat. In spite of the rain, it still feels great to travel long distances under your own power. With well timed shelter, interesting encounters with strangers, I wonder how much of this is my own power. You can see the ride summary here.
The Lone Rider