Crescent City to Arcata – Sept 30th…
As expected this morning, we had to face not one but two big climbs almost at the start of the day. So we had the motel breakfast and hit the road fairly early to take on the the morning’s challenge from US 101 which in this part of the world is the “Redwood Highway”.
About 2 km south of our motel the first climb started and it was quite relentless until we reached the summit at almost 1300ft. I would say that this was at about 6% grade, which in itself is not too bad, but the constant rise produced a real sweatfest even though we had cool temperatures this morning. In fact, my odometer turned 1000 km at some point on that climb and I missed it (must have been the sweat in my eyes!). The road shoulders on this section varied from reasonable to nil, which made it difficult in some areas. Traffic was surprisingly busy even in the early morning so a keen eye in the mirror was necessary at all times.
But in due course the first climb ended and we went all the way back down to a lower altitude to ride a flatter road to Klamath where we would then begin the second big climb of the day. The first section of this climb was not bad and only went to 400 ft, then back down a little until our turn onto the Newton B. Drury Parkway – another suggested scenic route off 101. Scenic? Yes, but the climb continued here to about 800ft until we levelled out and then really enjoyed riding along the Redwood forested road for about 10 km on a slight downhill before we had to rejoin 101 and ride the short distance to the town of Orick.
Orick is basically a one horse town, but the only restaurant there, on old style diner, served up some great food for we three hungry cyclists! It was only noon when we got to Orick and we had already ridden about 60 km, but the consensus was to carry on to Arcata and grab a motel there for the night, especially as the north wind was picking up speed to provide a good tailwind. Sun shining, warm temperatures and bellies full, off we went again. I was a little ahead of the other two so I took another scenic route off 101 along Patricks Point Drive. This slowed me down somewhat, but it was a pretty route, with lots of curves and hills on a quiet country road – some good views too periodically. This road goes through the small community of Trinidad and continues on the Trinidad Scenic Drive road. Now this section was rough road, many stretches of one-lane road and no barriers to protect one from the steep sides of the adjacent cliffs which line the road in many places – bouncing over pot-holed roads took some concentration and took away from being able to enjoy the views. That plus many short stiff climbs made this short section quite challenging.
Eventually I rejoined 101 and thought that the other two must be a long way in front of me now if they hadn’t taken the same detour (and they hadn’t). 101 had become a freeway now and there was a massive tailwind blowing pushing me along the wide shoulder with very little effort. I looked in the distance and there was Scott! I caught up to him and he asked if I’d seen Bob? I explained about my detour and said that I had just rejoined the highway and seen no sign of Bob – but as we chatted, Bob could be seen riding towards us.
From there it was an easy ride to complete a 118km day and we were happy to find our motel in Arcata quickly and relax a bit.
More pics at… Sept 30th
More tomorrow (but might be camping without wife so will post asap),
AdamK & (Scenic Route! – I had to hang on for dear life!) Basil.
Arcata to Weott – Oct 1st…
Motel breakfast again and off on the road I went. I didn’t leave with Scott and Bob as we arranged to meet up for lunch at the small town of Scotia.
Immediately on leaving the motel and entering 101, I was on a freeway. But even though it was busy, I had a lot of space to ride on. I figured that I had joined the early morning commute to the city of Eureka, a few miles south of Arcata. The on and off ramps required some extra attention, but otherwise it was fast riding on smooth pavement. A little on the chilly side again, but clear skies with a promise of sun and warmer temperatures as the day progressed.
Just as I rode into the city, I saw a “Pacific Coast Bike Route” sign with directional arrow to take me away from the busy main drag that I was heading for. The bike route was well signed and took me along the industrial waterfront on quiet roads then led me back to 101. Back on the freeway, I just pedalled on enjoying the valley views.
After about a fast 60 km, I turned off 101 to the small town of Rio Dell and Scotia. Both towns are adjacent to each other with Scotia being the employment centre due to the very large sawmill there.
Rio Dell is a lovely small town and as I rode through, I noticed how clean and well kept everything looked.
In Scotia I contacted the guys, who were not far behind, and we met at the historic Scotia Inn and Pub for lunch. The inn is a step back in time, as it was built in 1925 and still retains its old world charm. The attached pub is the same, but the service was terrible and slow. Food was ok but the first attempt at a cup of tea was a lukewarm dismal failure. You’d think that a pseudo Irish pub’s staff would know how to make tea!
After lunch we rode a little longer on 101, until detouring off onto 254, the Avenue of the Giants. More giant Redwoods lined this whole route all the way to Weott where we would camp for the night. Actually, we’re about a mile south of Weott at the Burlington campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Being surrounded by many trees made the night darkness come even faster than usual, so I’m already in m tent writing this update. I’ll post this as soon I get wifi tomorrow.
Lots of other cyclists here in the hiker/biker area of the campground. We had to share our site with two other travellers. And the other hiker/biker sites are full too. Nice to chat with the others to learn where they are from, where they are going and where else they have bike-toured.
On the way to the campground riding along 254, in many sections we rode next to the Eel River – what’s left of it that is! This is real evidence of California’s serious drought conditions. We later learned from some locals that the river is at its lowest in 27 years!
Today turned out to be longer than we figured at 98 km, but not too many hills and kind winds helped.
More pics at… Oct 1st
AdamK & (Boy its dark here! And crowded! ) Basil
Weott to Leggett – Oct 2nd…
Today was a tough 82 km – doesn’t seem far, but a ton of climbing moderate hills in high heat took their toll on all of us. It was hovering between 85 and 90 degrees today and one section was miles of paving – just paved – so hot asphalt to ride over didn’t help our temperament. Not to mention the narrow lanes the paving crew had left for us to negotiate with all the other traffic on 101.
The day started somewhat better with us all breaking camp early with our headlamps on and waiting for some daylight and warmth from the sun (we got more than expected of the latter today!). So we had hopes for a breakfast in Myers Flat, a small town about 8km south of the campground, all we got was a grumpy guy in coffee shop and limited supplies in the small grocery there – the bananas were almost drinkable!
So we trudged on another 10 km to another small town – Miranda, where we were pleasantly subjected to a fantastic breakfast with really good service. Real oatmeal, well made has been an anomaly on this trip – most restaurants seem to want to serve a glorified lukewarm heated glob of oat flakes that they assume is oatmeal!
Lots of action at the campground last evening as more and more cyclists pulled in. There was even a couple with two boys – 8 and 10, who were touring too – the kids were riding their own bikes – amazing, but somewhat foolish we thought on some of the dangerous sections of roads that we had ridden and had to ride – hopefully their trip remains safe!
More evidence of the drought conditions here as we still followed the Eel River in many areas of today’s ride.
From our breakfast stop we continued on the Avenue of the Giants – Highway 254 – until we had to rejoin 101, so goodbye to the giant redwoods and hello traffic. We decided to take the detour route from Benbow, Highway 271, to avoid as much of the freeway as possible – actually, the freeway of 101 ended at Benbow as we were faced some narrow winding sections of highway whenever we could not detour on other routes.
Benbow seemed like a natural lunch stop too, with the map indicating food and lodging there. Well, good job that we only wanted food as the lodging component was very classy in an old Inn much nicer than even yesterday’s Scotia Inn. Can you say “Pricey?”
We felt somewhat out of place, but were made very welcome and we had an nice lunch on the terrace. If you are ever in this area, treat yourselves, you won’t be disappointed!
It was hard to leave that place, but the road beckoned. We did meet another cyclist there who was travelling with his wife to Central America, they had stayed as a local KOA campsite in the area and just has to treat themselves to one night at the Inn. The were from Kamloops and were taking nine months to dilly-dally down the coastal route of the USA to get to their destination.
After that pleasant interlude, the rest of the day was a slog of heat and hills and that aforementioned paving obstacle for us. We were really glad when we saw the end of 101 for us on this section and the Highway 1 sign to the coast came in view. Highway 1 will now be our main route to at least San Francisco. I will be glad to get back to the coast as I’ve seen enough redwood trees to last me a lifetime!
When we finally got to Leggett we were beat, and found out that the (only) accommodation we had booked was another 3 km south of the small (ghost) town itself. One last final steep hill to this place almost did me in and I was sure glad to get here finally. However, it is lovely little motel with basic amenities, but very clean and away from any traffic noise. Only wifi and no TV, but that’s ok, I’m too tired to watch anyway! The only food and restaurant were back down the hill 3km, but the owner offered us a shuttle service back and forth which was much appreciated. We were joined for dinner by another bike traveller staying at the motel – he was riding a recumbent all the way to South of LA – but taking 101 from here to visit relatives north of San Francisco – he’s ridden from Grant’s Pass, Oregon, 67 years young!
Anyway, tomorrow promises some major climbing for quite a few miles before we reach Westport, back on the Pacific Coast – an early morning climb up to 2000ft is necessary to achieve this (plus a few more lumps in the road). But we are going to hole up in Fort Bragg, all being well, for a much needed rest day before continuing on a push to San Francisco.
More pics at… Oct 2nd
AdamK & (A rest day? I’d forgotten what they were like!) Basil
Leggett to Fort Bragg – Oct 3rd…
A tough 80 km day got us safely to Fort Bragg. And tomorrow is a rest day – yeah!
A brief ride north on US 101 and a turn west from yesterday’s motel in South Leggett, got us back onto the start of Highway 1 again. Leggett is at about 1000 ft above sea level, well after starting my ride on Highway 1, I had to ride down to about 500 ft before starting the early morning workout to get to over 1800ft. Such a shame losing altitude when one just knows it all has to be re-attained! So it was a slow slog in cool temperatures on a very narrow road – not very busy in the early morning, but the inevitable logging trucks were still plying the route – Basil kept a sharp eye out for interlopers on our meagre space! No real rest on this climb, it was pretty well a constant grind to the top. I stopped at the top to put on some more clothes as I knew it would be a cold fast descent to the valley below.
And a fast descent it was on a narrow twisting road with multiple hairpins bends – at least no one tried to pass me on the way down!
Once down to about 150 ft, the valley road was easy riding and I was lulled onto a false sense of the day being an easy ride from there on. Silly me, the next hill was supposed to be at about 600 ft, but it ended up being over 800 ft and at a slightly higher grade than hill one earlier. So another slog up that one and a fast descent – but this time instead of the ending up in a valley, I was back to the spectacular coast once more – what a relief after a few days of riding in the Deadwood Forests – sorry I meant Redwood Forests 😉 One can only take so much of trees and more trees!
But even though I was back at the coast, there was still some good climbing to accomplish up and down the headlands of this rugged region. Views were marvellous even though some of the climbs were quite gruelling. Temperatures had changed dramatically while riding from Leggett over the hills, from warm to cool to bloody cold in places – I changed clothes about four times on that section. Once I reached the coast, the warmth was here to stay and so it did for the rest of the day – in the eighties! I rode that first section on my own as we once aging left the motel at different times. Scott caught up with me at the top of the second big climb and he waited there for Bob. I rode on and met up with them both at the small town of Westport for a snack and drink at the general store there. We were joined by some other Canadian cyclists there from Squamish, BC. No bags though? I asked where there luggage was and they told me that they have a van and tent trailer support vehicle – now that’s luxury! Westport is a very small town, rustic and cute though with excellent views over the ocean. I even saw a Whale there…
Well, Basil thought it was real!
Not long after leaving Westport, I saw a lot of emergency vehicles at a beach access far below me. I rode on and noticed a helicopter starting to land on the beach a little further south. As I reach a turnoff, there were some spectators there watching the chopper land on the beach. I looked over the railing and there were emergency personnel there around an overturned vehicle. Apparently, the woman driver drove off the cliff and she had two children as passengers with her. The outlook looked grim though as the distance that the car fell was substantial. Sad to see!
After a quick lunch stop, we continued on to our motel in Fort Bragg where a much needed rest will certainly be welcome for all of us.
So no report tommorrow, me and Basil are going to lounge around and do whatever?
More pics at… Oct 3rd
More on Sunday,
AdamK and (What relief to get off that bike) Basil