Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Monday, June 09, 2008
Our campsite last night was quite international. Besides Audrey from Quebec and the 4 people from Austria, another couple of guys from England arrived fairly late. There was only one American in the hiker/biker site besides us, he was from San Francisco and was doing a whirlwind tour from Portland back to San Fran in just a couple of weeks. We had some breakfast at our favorite new restaurant across the street from the campsite, including 2 more brownies like the ones we had last night. The restaurant is called the Peg House, which we thought was named after the owner, but she told us it was because the entire house was held together with wooden pegs - no nails, screws or other metal fasteners. Truly an amazing place; not to be missed if you're in the area.
Today was about redwoods. We started off on 101, a fairly busy road but wider than Hwy. 1. There were already some touristy redwood places popping up along the road - the World Famous Tree House, the Living Chimney Tree, etc. - and there were lots of places offering wood carvings, the most common subjects of which were bears, Native American Indian chiefs, sea captains, and other odd characters. Many of them were quite good. We also started seeing logging trucks again, this time with redwoods; we've heard that we'll be seeing a lot more of them as we continue north. We took a little detour off 101 for a bit onto Rt. 271 which was very scenic and a lot calmer than 101. We went up a hill and for a while were overlooking 101, as well as the sparkling Eel River, which snaked alongside us pretty much all day. We rejoined 101 after a few miles and "officially" entered Redwoods Country. We saw a Road Narrows sign (roads seem to only narrow, they never say they widen) and soon realized that it had shrunk to squeeze between large redwood trees on either side of it - pretty amazing for a major road like 101. The road did widen again later and went up some pretty steep hills. At least, they seemed steep - we seemed to still be pretty tired out from the hill into Leggett yesterday. We stopped to rest midway up one hill and a guy on a bike soon came up alongside us. He was touring too, and seemed to do it frequently - he was familiar with a lot of the places we'd been and were planning on going. He said his name was Adrian and we had a very nice time talking with him; he had quite an upbeat attitude and clearly loved biking around the country. He went off ahead of us but left us feeling much cheerier than before we stopped - another "bike angel" showing up just when we needed one.
We stopped in Garberville for lunch and chatted with a motorcyclist from the area. He told us a lot about the Columbia River Gorge and other places and was quite interesting. We set off again - by now it was quite warm and the wind was still pretty calm, like yesterday. After the next hill, we were feeling quite wiped out. We came to the turnoff for the Avenue of the Giants (Redwoods, that is). which we had been looking forward to for some while. According to the information sign, this road covers 32 miles of redwood forest, over 53,000 acres, 17,000 of which are ancient trees, some of which live as long as 2,000 years. They are also the world's tallest trees, reaching heights of 360 feet. At first, it didn't seem very different from 101, except that the traffic was a bit lighter and there were no trucks. The heat was still oppressive and we were ready to call it a day. Then we started getting into the redwood groves - it was nice and shady, much cooler, and of course beautiful to look at. The trees were nothing short of majestic. and like being in an immense cathedral, they inspired one to silence.
Most of the rest of the day's ride was fairly easy and downhill overall. We went in and out of the groves, kept getting peeks of the Eel River from time to time, and eventually arrived at Myers Flat and found our campground. This was a private campground, not a state park and had 2 things we haven't seen in a campground for some time - free showers and a laundromat (not free). We don't have cell phone access, but we do have electricity and wi-fi, so no excuses about the website. We arrived around 4 pm, set up the tent, showered and went to the one restaurant in town for dinner - delicious food, amazingly enough - and then did laundry and worked on the website. We had a short day - 43.5 miles - which we did in 4-1/2 hours of bike time. Tomorrow's a longer day but we'll end in a motel again and the day after will be a rest day - hooray!