We wrapped up the Oregon portion of the ride today, with a ride marked by a long flat stretch with a big climb at the end. We’re ready for our rest day tomorrow.
Our exit in the morning was somewhat delayed. We had ordered breakfast for delivery from the resort restaurant the night before, expecting it to arrive soon after opening at 8. When 9:00 rolled around with no food, and us otherwise ready to go, Anne hiked down to see what was up.
What the staff didn’t know last night was that they couldn’t do deliveries until after 10. Evidently they tried to call Anne’s cell, but we had no signal (like we told them last night). So they made the food while Anne waited, and we ate in the cabin. In the end, we got rolling around 10, as usual. The delay meant the heavy fog had lifted, so it’s not all bad.
The morning had a short climb before entering Brookings proper. We grabbed food for lunch, dropped off some postcards, and were on our way to California.
The state border had the typical welcome signs. I thought it was a nice touch that the second sign in California was the “speed enforced by aircraft” sign. I always imagine speeders getting strafed by the national guard.
Shortly thereafter was the always welcoming agriculture inspection checkpoint. There was a sign for bikes that lead to a stop sign with no person, and a dirt path somewhere off to the side. We didn’t know what we were supposed to do, so rolled on. Nobody yelled at us, so I guess we were okay.
Once past all the pleasantries, we got off 101 in favor of smaller roads. We rode along farms and small towns. We tried to find a place to eat in Smith River, but failed. We ended up picnicing in the grass at a public boat launch south of town.
It’s amazing how quickly it really felt like California. Flat farmlands, with hills in the background. There was even a woman taking her dog for a walk in a dog stroller.
After rolling through Fort Dick, Lake Earl and a prison, we went around Crescent City, returning to the coast. This was flatland, but with interesting waves and sea stacks. We could hear a large group of seals barking on one of them.
We prepared ourselves for the big climb to come. At the end of a long ride, the last day before a rest day, I was already pretty tired. When the climb into the redwoods started, I had a hard time. Anne was pulling more and more ahead of me. I was getting enough air, and my legs were performing, but I was just tired. We stopped at a pullout, and I had some water, food, and just kind of a reset. We switched trailers, so Ruth could help me up the hill.
When we started again, I was in a better place. Ruth provided power for quite a while, easing the load a bit.
The forest was already different from the ones in Oregon and Washington. The redwoods are a lot bigger. The underbrush is more visible, rather than just being a wall.
There were sections of the climb where large parts of the bedrock had eroded away, leaving big chunks of road completely gone. They were cordoned off, with lane closures and everything. One was down to a single lane, with a stoplight to direct traffic.
After finally making it to the top, the descent started with some stretches of bonus climbing. Anne was worried about making it to the motel before the office closed, but the only thing to do was keep riding.
When I saw a brake check stop, I knew it was going to get good. The 6% downgrade next two miles sign confirmed it. We came roaring down through the trees, when it suddenly got bright. We were along the coast again, with spectacular views of the cliffs ahead. Then the signage upgraded to 7% next two miles, for even more fun. Out of the forest, we could see further and brake less.
The downhill left us just a few miles from the motel. We rode past the Trees of Mystery (TREES OF MYSTERY!!!), featuring giant Paul Bunyan statues for some reason, and advertised on billboards for the last couple days.
We got to the motel/convenience store/cafe at 6:56, just before closing at 7. Anne went inside, and they helped her check in and get enough microwavable food for dinner (the kitchen had closed at 6:30).
Ruth was upset we weren’t eating at a restaurant, so Anne turned one of Ruth’s games around. Mommy pretended to be the waitress as we played Restaurant. It worked.
As we were eating at the table outside our cabin, we met a stranded motorist with an awesome vintage teardrop trailer. His car broke down in the unmanned gas station next door, and he needed help getting in touch with AAA. None of the businesses have anyone in them, and the payphone has been ripped out. Our phones also lack signal, so all we could offer was some company. He found some help, but three hours later he was still waiting for the truck, but was in touch with AAA again. Evidentially they couldn’t find him, but it’s not like 101 is obscure. He’s made contact with the night manager here, so he’ll be alright.
Tomorrow is a rest day. There’s not much immediately here, but we might walk down the highway to the TREES OF MYSTERY and see if it entertains the kids. Or if I get kicked out for booming TREES OF MYSTERY too many times.