9/15/18 – Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz

58.4 Miles

2533 ft of Climbing

Didn’t get the best sleep, last night. The park ranger, where I stayed, warned of a raccoon’s nest in the huge tree next to where I set up my tent, and told us to lock everything up. As soon as all eight of us in the biker/hiker campsite turned the lights out, those raccoons were up and at it. They sounded like gremlins, making funny little alien critter sounds. I was concerned that they would try to chew their way into my tent, because there are cookie crumbs and trail mix morsels scattered throughout my gear, but they miraculously passed my by. This morning, I overheard one of the guys in the next campsite talking about how the raccoons chewed on his tent. Guess I’ve been living right.

  • I got off to an early start, today, and the route initially was very lightly graded, both up and downhill, but that changed as the day progressed. California seems to have more of a cycling culture than any of the other states I’ve been in. Being Saturday, there were a lot of serious cyclists on the road eating up the hills. Occasionally, I had someone to ride with and talk to, for a few minutes, which took my mind off of the hill climbing.
  • Below, can you see the ocean in the background, where the farmland ends? It amazed me that so much of the land I passed today is fertile farmland, right next to the ocean. During the morning, in the area I was riding, the ocean water was green. I thought about calling Karen Gray, my new marine biologist friend, to find out what causes this, but there was no phone service for almost the entire day.
  • My first stop for the day was Bean Hollow State Beach. I loved all the rock formations and tide pools surrounding this little peninsula. For the first time, I was seeing limestone in the cliffs and volcanic rock on the shoreline.Stopping at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, this sign informed me that I could have stayed in one of the old Coast Guard buildings, the previous night, as they are now a hostel. Wish I had known that. The lighthouse and a couple of the adjacent buildings are now a State Historic Park. What fascinated me most, about the lighthouse is that it was first lit in 1872, and it is still in operation today. And also, it has survived all the earthquakes in the area, which is amazing.These are some of the rocks, just in front of the lighthouse, that used to wreak havoc on boats at night.As I approached Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the kite surfers, on the beach side of the road, were putting on a show, reminding me of the kite surfers in training I watched in Bon Aire. Do you think I could learn to kite surf? Or is it too dangerous? Once again, I am thinking of going somewhere to take lessons.
  • Then just a little further down the road, I arrived in Santa Cruz, which is on the north end of Monterey Bay.This mural welcomed me to town, and within seconds, I was inside ordering a piece of super delicious pizza.My camping spot for the night was actually in a little town named Capitol–on Monterey Bay, a little south of Santa Cruz.Here’s my tent. You can’t see it, very well, but that is Monterey Bay behind the trees in the background.And this is my tent, in the bigger scheme of things, among the 12 cyclist tents in the campsite, last night. And there was no snoring problem. Just wanted to throw up a couple of other photos. I have passed several of these signs that display your speed below the speed limit. Usually, they are somewhere on a hill, where I am struggling to keep my bike upright, going 4.6 MPH, with the speed limit above the sign saying 40 MPH. This is the first time I have been able to take a hand off the handlebar to take a photo of my speed. And isn’t it impressive? There was a tailwind.And how about this for my next personalized license plate? What do you think?

    9/13 – 9/14 – San Francisco to Half Moon Bay

    38.4 Miles

    2978 ft of Climbing

    Where did that extra day go? It has been 14 days, since my last rest day in Astoria, and I though it was high time for my legs to take a break. So I gave myself an extra day at the Fort Mason Hostel, in San Francisco. Thursday, I slept in, ate the hostel’s hearty granola breakfast, caught up the four days I was behind on my blog, then cycled to Safeway, to resupply on a few items and pick up some deli dinner. Back at the hostel, a small feeding frenzy took place (an entire package of Lays Barbecue Potato Chips, two types of pasta salad, a bowl of chicken corn chowder, topped off with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk), before turning in for the night. A night sleeping in a hostel dorm, like the one I was in, can only be restful if you’ve had a complete lobotomy, have amazing earplugs or are exceedingly sleep deprived. There were 20 people sleeping in a dank bunkbed lined room, at least 1/4th of who were hearty snorers. We’re not talking symphonic snoring, here. It was non-stop, full on brass band snoring. I slept like a baby.

    I had programmed in a short day of riding, for Friday, so once I had reconstituted my cycling setup, I was off to see some sights. I started at Fort Mason, a US Army installation for over 100 years, and the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, during World War II and the Korean War. Now, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it is a huge grassy park with walking and cycling paths, historic buildings, and cool statues, Iike this one of former California Congressman Phillip Burton, who was instrumental in the creation of the Recreation Area.

    No trip to San Francisco is complete without a stop at the Palace of Fine Arts, which, in my humble opinion, is the most beautiful European influenced building in the US. Apparently,it’s also a popular spot for photo shoots.Down the road, crossed through the Presidio, where I once went for my National Guard annual training, staying in one of the two buildings below, which at the time were rickety barracks. The cannons and cannon balls are at the entrance to the fort, and the plaque marks the place where the General’s quarters for the post commander, General John Joseph Pershing, the World War I Commander of the Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front, once stood. It stood there until it burned down, killing his wife and three daughters, which is quite tragic, if you ask me.A couple of miles and a ridiculous hill climb away, was Golden Gate Park. I’ve been there several times, over the years.

    The oldest monument in the park, is the statue of President Garfield, who, I was reminded, was assassinated. The woman kneeling at the foot of the statue symbolizes the mourning of the country for his loss. The Conservatory of Flowers is adjacent to the President Garfield statue, and it is just plain pretty, so I had to stop and check out the gardens.Somehow, I have never before seen the National AIDS Memorial Grove, which was dedicated in 1995. It was a really quiet place, with multiple stops for contemplation. The Circle of Friends is pretty catchy–no doubt a source of donations to fund building the memorial.The park is so huge, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the western end, because I’d never before seen the Murphy Windmill, which was built in the early 1900s, to replace the water hauling wagons that used to manually move water through the park to keep things alive. The largest windmill of its type in the world, it used to pump up to 1.5 million gallons of water a day.Then across the road, at the west end of the park, are beaches that are also part of the Recreation Area.And this was the scene, as I now started cycling toward Half Moon Bay. Ocean on the right, and civilization on the left. And the road was nice and level, and my legs were enjoying a little holiday from grinding hill climbs.All the way down the coast, people were stopped at and enjoying the beaches. I paused to watch a bunch of surfers attempting to surf, and it reminded me of the amount of time and effort my dad used to put into trying to catch a fish. He put so much into learning techniques, making lures, getting his tackle together, finding the right spot, etc. Then, after all that, he would go out at just the right time of day and spend hours patiently waiting for a fish to come along, which usually did not happen. Very similar to these surfers waiting for waves and never really catching them.A coastal bike bath took me off Highway 1 for a few miles, then before I knew it, I was at my campground.

    Tents were set up at all the hiker/biker picnic tables, so I approached a gal, who appeared to be camping alone, to see if she would mind me camping nearby.

    After talking to her for just a couple of minutes, I knew she was Noor, a cyclist from the Netherlands, who I’ve heard about from Viktoria, Talan and Mary. Noor is on an 18 month sabbatical from her job as a tissue donor doctor, to do some bicycle traveling. She’s been on the road since May, and is cycling down to Patagonia. Now that’s ambition!

    After eating dinner, we watched a spectacular sunset unfold, together, then I headed out for my campground shower, while she turned in for the night.

    9/12/18 – Bodega Bay to San Francisco

    71.6 Miles

    3750 ft of Climbing

    Today is the day my friend Ed Craft was meeting up with me to ride into San Francisco. Last night, I didn’t sleep well, due to cold wind blasting my tent all night, but at the crack of dawn, I woke up and got moving, which is not my normal way. I had to be ready to go when Ed arrived.

    Okay, so I wasn’t ready–I confess. But we were headed out of Doran Park by 9:25, my earliest start of the trip. Living about an hour east of Sacramento, Ed had already been on the road for three hours, when he met up with me. It was so good to see him again and have someone to feel some of my pain with me.

    The route was curved and hilly from the get-go, but it had a good share of funky sight along the way. Passing through Valley Ford, even the US Post Office building was an artsy place, with a mural on its side.Where else do you find a Red Legged Frog Crossing?Here was the scenery, as we rode along Tomales Bay, toward Point Reyes Station, In Point Reyes Station, we ordered up delicious deli lunches from the grocery store, and ate on a curb, like a couple of bums. That’s still a word, right? A few times, today, Ed and I passed and were passed by a fellow from the UK named Talan, who I had heard about from Viktoria. He started cycling in Alaska on May 26th, and had cycled around Alaska, before riding south through Canada and the US, with his final destination being Bolivia.

    I had been telling Ed about some of the people I have met along on my ride, and how we keep bumping into each other, when low and behold, as I stopped to use a public restroom, one of them appeared out of the blue. It was Mary, a young Canadian gal who is a college student in Eugene, Oregon. She is one of the three cyclists I camped with at Harris Beach, back on September 5th. She had just ridden into the campground, having just gotten off a bus in Brookings, so she could begin her ride down the coast to meet up with friends in San Francisco, before starting her next semester of college in Eugene.

    Mary related to us, that I am a legend on the route. (Yeah, right.) She had met up with Crystal and Robert Rogers (the LDS couple I met over dinner at the Avenue Cafe in Miranda), and had also crossed paths with Viktoria. We had a few laughs over some of our follies, then parted ways again. I sure hope to see Mary again–somewhere, someday. While I was talking to Mary, Ed was busy taking a picture of this mural for me. Thanks, Ed. My granddaughters are going through a unicorn phase, right now, and will love it!A few miles outside of Point Reyes Station, we got off the highway to ride several miles on the Marin Trail bike path, as it followed Lagunitas Creek. We passed the site of a historic paper mill, then rode through Camp Taylor, a beautiful campground I would love to return to some day.

    The below photo depicts what I looked at for most of my 63 day ride across the US, last year–the back of Ed, as I tried to catch up with him.

    After descending from the climb into and past Woodacre, we were on a nice bike path that sped us through a series of cute little Marin County towns, starting with Fairfax, my favorite. It had the following mural that was the subject of the book, “Seeds of Peace: A Community Mural–Part Offering, Part Hope”. The people and symbols depicted in the mural are real people and symbols from the community.

    And then there was the Marin Museum of Bicycling, with its giant mountain bike out front. Unfortunately was closed, And I loved this modification to what is probably a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty. I think I could live in this town, if real estate was affordable, which I’m sure it’s not.Moving down the road, I once again was trying to catch up to Ed, but that ended when I spotted the Village Pedler–a hip looking bike shop that carried high end bikes. We stopped to get their mechanic extraordinaire, Dustin, to adjust my derailleur cable, and get rid of a ticking sound that had been driving me bonkers for a few days.

    After topping off my tires, we were back on the bike path again, and now climbing up an endlessly steep road that was winding through Corte Madera and into Sausalito. I never saw a town welcome sign, so the hotel sign below will have to do.

    Our first view of San Francisco appeared in Sausalito, then the climbing kicked in again and was relentless, as we approached the Golden Gate Bridge.The maps routed us to the east side of the bridge, which is for pedestrians only. To get to the west side, we either had to ride another mile or more, with more uphill (my legs had gone on strike), or push our bikes down ramps that were about 12 inches wide and as steep as a steep flight of stairs. Ed offered to roll my bike down the ramp–fully loaded–while I easily carried his super lite bike down. At the bottom of the stairs, we crossed under the bridge, and were now faced with getting my super heavy bike back up an identical flight of stairs. My hero, Ed, pushed that monster, minus the rear panniers, up the second ramp, then went back for his bike too. Thanks for bailing me out, Ed. I guess I really am a wimpy female after all.

    Let’s see, now, what would I have done if I had been riding without Ed? The answer is: I would have ridden that extra mile or so to get to the other side. Maneuvering that monster on those ramps is beyond my capabilities.The view from the center of the bridge.After making it to the other side, and one final photo opportunity with Ed, we hightailed it down the Bay Trail toward my hostel at Fort Mason. Ed had a ferry to catch, and the last ferry departure of the day was approaching. We said our goodbyes, and Ed sped off toward the ferry terminal, while I headed into my hostel to get ready for a dinner date with my friend Linda Knutson, who was making a two hour drive to meet up with me.Let’s just say that Linda and I had a blast together. She helped me get settled in the hostel, then took me to the Carbon Grill, where we had to cook our own dinner on a grill set into our table. It was a lot of work, keeping those veggies and that meat moving and turning on that grill, and keeping up with consuming them as they came off. At the end of the meal, we were both exhausted, stuffed out of our minds, and smelling like we’d been cooking over a campfire. In summary, this was yet another one of my favorite days on the ride. The cycling was tough, but the suffering was lessened by having Ed to ride with. It was so good to see him again and have a chance to catch up, a little, between all that panting and grunting. And I loved seeing Linda, and catching up on our lives and all the big and little things we have in common. I look forward to seeing both of them again, hopefully sooner than later.

    9/11/18 – Manchester to Bodega Bay

    71.8 Miles

    4491 ft of Climbing

    Let’s see, now. What went on today? I was so panicked over the distance and climbing projections for the day, that I really just had to focus on getting to the finish line in Bodega Bay. So I blew past a lot of scenic stops along the way, like the Point Arena Lighthouse. I would have stopped there, if it hadn’t required four additional miles of cycling.

    This lodge, with its Byzantine domes and intricate detail, looked like it was transplanted from Turkey, doesn’t it?After passing Gualala, I entered Sonoma County, and expected to see some wine country, but the scenery and terrain were more of what yesterday offered up: forests; high desert–kind of; and the ocean, with lots of rock formations and crashing waves. I passed through state, county and regional parks, and, of course, a few corny tourist traps.What stuck with me the most about this day? The roads. They were crazy, winding and curvy roads, often with no shoulder and a steep drop off to the right of the road. Any time there was a thrilling downhill, it was almost immediately followed by a punishing uphill. For a few seconds, I contemplated jumping on a plane in San Francisco, and throwing in the towel on Highway 1. But I’m not a quitter, and I knew about the coast roads when I started this insane ride.

    When I arrived at Bodega Bay, I stopped in town to eat dinner and make a couple of phone calls, before riding to my campground, which was a couple of miles outside of town. The wind was gusting nonstop, and it was really cold, as I set up camp in a huge hiker/biker campsite, with me the sole occupant. The site was all sand, and I wasn’t going to try staking my tent out in sand again, so I set up on concrete, in a huge barbecue circle, tying my tent fly to the benches and my bike. Somehow, the tent did not blow away, which amazed me. After watching the sun set over Bodega Bay, I splurged on a $3 coin operated hot shower, and went to bed. I have to get an early start, tomorrow morning, as my Southern Tier riding partner, Ed Craft is making a three-hour journey, with his super sleek new bike, to ride into San Francisco with me, so I need to be up by 7 AM, to be ready to go no later than 9 AM. I am really excited to see and cycle with Ed again!

    9/10/18 – Westport to Manchester

    56.4 Miles

    3586 ft of Climbing

    Sleep was impossible, last night. The wind was blowing like crazy–to the point that it was flattening our tents. My tent was about six inches from my face; and I was sliding downhill toward the ocean; and my stakes wouldn’t hold in the sand, so the tent fly was flapping all night long on all four sides; and it was so cold, I couldn’t get my hands and feet to warm up, and, and….. I woke up at 3:30 AM, then couldn’t fall asleep again until just before it was time to wake up. I hollered over to Karen to see how she had slept. She had had a ‘fitful’ night. We laughed.

    Once breakfast was eaten and our campsites were all neatly packed away, it was time for a walk on the beach. And this was not just any walk, for me. It was a walk with my own personal marine biologist to educate and entertain me.

    And what follows is some of what we may be eating in the future. The first two photos are sea palm. Yummy.

    I think this is cysto sera. It has beans in those pods on the right hand. Yummy.I took notes, and now I feel like I’m failing the test. Don’t flunk me, Karen. I think this is dulse. Yummy.And this is ????? I can’t remember. I did fail my test.

    We said goodbye to our private beach, and Karen hauled my panniers to the top of the hill into the park in her car, for which I am eternally grateful, and we said our goodbyes. I wish I was traveling with someone fun like Karen. We would be having a blast all day, every day.

    So the day went like this. I passed more scenic coastline–miles and miles and miles of it.

    The Ten Mile Beach Trail took me past all kinds of coastal habitats that are part of Mac Kerricher State Park: beaches, headlands, dunes, coves, wetlands, tide pools, forest, a freshwater lake, on one side of the trail. The other side of the trail was either more of the same or cool vacation rentals. The trail terminated at the cool mural covered restrooms below. They really know how to do it up, at some of these parks!

    As soon as I entered Fort Bragg, the town adjacent to the park, one of the first things I came to was…..Denny’s!!! Amazing luck, don’t you think? I had an incredible lunch, there, and left in a state of bliss. Fort Bragg was never a military fort, it was just named after a military man. But it was a decent little town. It had a Safeway store, so I was able to resupply my groceries and Gatorade, which is always nice.Above is the Historical Society building that caught my ye. Below, a mural. You know me and murals.Down the road was this piece of property for sale. If I bought it, would it really work for me?The scenery for the rest of the day was more ocean views, then a few miles down the road from Elk, the route turned inland toward a little town named Manchester–my destination for the night.

    I stayed in a KOA cabin, so I could do laundry, shower for as long as I wanted to (most campground showers are coin operated), and be guaranteed a good night of sleep. I loved my little cabin and the ‘Kamper Kitchen,’ that made it possible to cook without getting out my stove, and clean up in a sink with soap. Modern conveniences are such a treat!

    9/9/18 – Phillipsville to Westport

    61.2 Miles

    4642 ft of Climbing

    With a great night of rest, in a little cottage in the Redwoods, in the tiny little town of Phillipsville, under my belt, I loaded up steed and hit the road.

    About 11 miles down the route, I was passed by a speeding fire truck en route to a fire. Another mile down the road, as I approached Graberville, a Sheriff’s deputy was arriving to join the fire truck, then as I passed, more emergency vehicles arrived. A range fire had just started in the dry brush that lines the forest in that area. I didn’t have time to sit around and watch how it went down, but I didn’t hear any news on it, later, so they must have been able to control it.

    The scenery of the day was what we would call high desert, in Arizona, tourist attractions, and more Redwood trees.

    No, I didn’t stop at Confusion Hill to find out what is so ‘historically interesting,’ there. Just not that curious, and definitely not in need of more confusion than I already grapple with on a daily basis.

    And here is where things started to change. After a couple of ridiculous climbs, outside of Leggett, I descended out of the Redwoods and passed the terrain below, with trees blown permanently eastward. And then the road turned, and I was on Highway 1 following the coast. And I mean, right on the edge of a cliff following the coastline.It was Sunday, so there were a lot of people cruising in their hot cars, motorcyc;les, antique cars, etc. I’m pretty sure this Porche and Bugati were waiting for me to take my rightful place with my legendary vehicle. And this is where I met Joseph Silva, who volunteers a couple of days a week with the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana. After talking to him, I may get involved with the organization, when I get back home. They help veterans who served in the US Armed Forces as citizens of Mexico and other countries, but later were deported, because they never had time to complete the citizenship requirements and get their US citizenship. Many of them didn’t have time to work on it, because they were deployed to the Middle East doing grunt jobs. What a great cause!It’s always fun talking to folks along the way, but I had to get down the road to my campground, which, this evening, was going to be the Westport-Union Landing State Beach. As I pulled up, I noticed that not only were there no showers, but the toilets were composting toilets. No way. I draw the line at running water. So I peddled down the road to the next lodging I could find, which was the Westport Beach RV Park and Campground.

    And this is where I met my new friend Karen Gray, a marine biologist on an adventure of her own. She is headed up to Samoa, which is across the bridge I rode into Eureka on, two days ago. She’s going to help set up kelp and shellfish growing operations on the site of an abandoned pulp mill I rode by on the weird Google Maps reroute I took that day.

    We had both arrived just minutes after the staff left the check in office, for the day, and were reading about self check in, when we figured out that both of us were traveling alone. We agreed to split the cost of a campsite ($46) and camp on the beach together. And we’re talking about having the entire beach to ourselves. There are about 15 beach campsites, but we were the only ones there, which was awesome.

    We worked together to set up camp and cook dinner, then had an enjoyable evening of girl talk. Karen is an endurance athlete of another variety. An open water swimmer, she had clocked a 2-mile ocean swim that morning. And she’s a life coach, too, so I’m sure she was working her magic on me the entire time, and we were both being entertained by each other’s lives and the things we have in common. Hopefully, we’ll cross paths again, someday. Can you see our tents and my bike in the above photo? Once our campsite was all set up, the sun set on another lovely day.

    9/8/18 – Eureka to Phillipsville

    60.2 Miles

    1896 ft Climbing

    A good part of the day, today was in yet another Redwood Forest, and it did not disappoint.

    Leaving Eureka, the traffic was terrible. I have good tail lights, radar and a mirror, so at no time was I in danger, but riding in Saturday morning traffic, with no shoulder, will never be fun. Once I broke out of town, life improved immensely. I first rode along Humboldt Bay, then, after passing Lolita, followed the Eel River for the rest of the day.

    This is the river crossing into Del Rio, a cute little town, where I stopped to buy pink lemonade from a couple of six year old girls.

    Across the Eel River again, I stopped for lunch at the market in Scotia, which since the 1800s has been a lumber mill factory town, built by Pacific Lumber Company, which is now bankrupt. The lumber mill is massive–approximately a mile-long complex of sawmill buildings, log piles, cut lumber, etc., with more logs piled up on the hill on the other side of the road through town. Now owned by Humboldt Lumber Company, the sawmill is still active. The company built houses are all pretty much identical to each other, with a few different models for various pay levels of employees, and the legal process is currently underway to subdivide all the land with houses on it, so the people who live in them–employees and retirees of the mill–can actually own them. Wouldn’t that be great?

    Shortly after leaving Scotia, I I rolled into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and began cycling the 32-mile long Avenue of the Giants, the picturesque roadway through the park.

    Within the park is some privately owned land and a few little towns. These two trucks were parked in front of a little off-the-grid “compound” of people who live in tents and ancient camp trailers.

    Below is my favorite wood carving yet.

    Sorry. To you, the two pictures below may look the same, but to me, they are distinctly different. Don’t want to forget the treetops.

    My last shot at dinner was the restaurant in Miranda, a little resort community three miles from Phillipsville, where I planned to spend the night. I stopped at the Avenue Cafe, and was seated at a table by myself. The place was packed, so when a couple arrived and needed a place to sit, I offered them a couple of seats at my table. My dinner mates were a young LDS couple, Robert and Crystal Rogers, from Vacaville, CA. He is an Air Force C5 pilot, and she is about to graduate with a Business degree from BYU Idaho. Congratulations Crystal! I enjoyed talking with them, and hopefully our paths will cross again somewhere, someday.

    9/7/18 – Klamath to Eureka

    65.9 Miles

    2885 ft of Climbing

    My favorite day of the ride so far! I will explain. Got an excellent night of rest, last night–on the floor of the RV Park rec center. Had a real bathroom to use during the night, cooked my oatmeal and hot cocoa in a kitchen with running water, so no stove or dirty dishes to deal with; then got moving early. The last of luxury–kind of.

    As I was pulling out of the park, Rick, the owner, stopped me to tell me about the difficult climb at the beginning of my day. Thanks, Rick. Way to put a damper on my morning. (Not! I already knew about it.) He told me that it starts after the bridge leading out of town, and that there are bears on the bridge. What? I have no bear spray or whistle with me!

    Taking this photo of the Klamath River, I looked down to see a couple of seals sharing a fish that one of them had just caught. They were so cute! And they were good sharers too.

    Once across the river, I was in Redwoods State Park, surrounded by beauty. Did you know that Coast Redwoods used to grow many places in the northern hemisphere, but now, due to climate change, the only place in the world they grow is a 40-mile-wide swath of land that stretches from Southern Oregon to the south end of Monterey County, California. I’m riding in that swath of land.

    I just wanted to mention how polite the little critters are, in this forest. I set down my baggie of super delicious trail mix, to snap a photo, and forgot about it for about 10 minutes. When I went back for it, it was completely untouched.

    Ran into this herd of elk on the side of the road.And then, the fog set in. Bummer. That kind of cool mist would be a treat, in Arizona, but it really cuts into your ability to see the scenery, when you’re a tourist on two wheels.

    So I decided to take a break and try my first elk burger ever. It was delicious, but I’m not sure I could taste the meat over the onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheese it was slathered with.

    When the road took me back to the coastline, the mist cleared enough for more spectacular coastal scenery. You may have noticed that I never get tired of the rock formations.

    An obscure and rugged coastal road, led to an obscure coastal bike path. Somewhere, along the way, I met up with a couple named Will and Jennie, from Australia. They started their ride in Calgary, Canada, and are on a multi-month adventure that sounds amazing. Very inspirational!

    The bike path kept turning into gravel–steep gravel, so I found a spot to exit, and got on Highway 101, but in this part of the state, it is a limited access freeway, and at that time of day, the traffic was crazy. So I asked Google Maps for advice on how to get to my cheap motel for the night, and it routed me through about 10 miles of countryside, with happy herds of cattle and sheep, and one bison.

    Finally, I got to Eureka, and what a cool little town it is. There is a huge section of the downtown area that is nothing but well restored Victorian houses from yonder years.

    This house was built by a lumber baron, William Carsen, who also built the pink house across the street for his son. Why pink, Dad? Anyhow, the house is now a men’s club, with guards in navy blue suits posted to keep people off the property. I learned that when I tried to get a little closer to get a better photo. No police incident, thankfully.

    The downtown has a lot of public art and murals–two things I really really enjoy. There was also a festival of some sort going on, with food trucks, and you know how I love food trucks. So I beelined to my motel to clean up, so wouldn’t look and smell like a freak of nature

    There was a long check-in line at the motel, but I wasn’t going to miss the sunset.

    And when I got to the front of the line, the motel clerk was waiting for me. She pulled out–Da Da Da Daaaa–my new Garmin, an iPhone sent by Steve Moss, and a box of chocolate covered strawberries from ?????? (A secret admirer? Wait, only about 5 people even know my itinerary.)

    And that wasn’t the only surprise at the front desk. Viktoria Hetzel, a young Russian/German gal I met a few days ago, was staying at the same motel, and the motel staff put us in adjacent rooms. It was great to see her again! She’s a beast on her bike, routinely riding 100+ miles per day. She had taken 1.5 days off, since I last saw her.

    After I cleaned up, we headed downtown to check out that festival, but it was over. So we headed to a Co-op across the street from the motel, where Viktoria had already shopped for her dinner, and loaded up on deli food and chocolate milk. Then we headed back to the motel to share those strawberries, which were amazing!!!

    9/6/18 – Brookings to Klamath, California!!!

    52 Miles

    ??? ft Climbing (Google Maps has no clue)

    This morning, I got up early, like two of the three cyclists in the hiker/biker campsite, and was set to hit the road early. But this was one of those sites with the bike repair setup and bike stand, so I took some time to detail and lube my chain and drive train. Just as I was getting ready to pull out, the third camper, a young guy named Vincent, from Montreal, came over to inquire about what I had been doing. He has had the same bike for years; has been piling on WD-40; and has never cleaned his chain or had a shop do it for him. So we put his bike on the stand. His chain and gears looked like they were covered with thick tar. I pulled out my cleaning patches and chain cleaner/lube, and we got to work on his bike. What a mess!

    Just when I was ready to leave Vincent to finish the job, yet another cyclist pulled in–this one a John Denver look-alike with a classical guitar strapped across his back. He proceeded to tell Vincent that he wipes down and lubes his chain daily. Daily! Wow! I need to up my game on maintenance.

    Today’s route covered three types of terrain: countryside with ranches and farms, tree-lined roads, and roads that followed the ocean. Can’t beat that.

    The best part of my day was crossing over into California. I’m going to miss seeing all the recreational marijuana shops (Not!). When I was riding through Bandon, a couple of days ago, a couple of tourists who looked to be about my age, pulled over to ask me if I knew where they sell marijuana. I thought to myself that they must be on something to think I might even have the answer to that question.

    I’m going to miss Oregon. Hopefully, I will come back soon. What’s the plan, Dale?

    And what’s the first thing you come to when you’re heading south along the coast of California? Redwoods, and tourist attractions.

    Going off route to check out Smith River, which is supposedly the Lily Capital of the World, I saw a lot of fields, but no lilies.

    And just down the road from Smith River is the Pelican Bay State Prison. A lovely spot. I’m guessing the people who live in manufactured homes in all the nearby small towns work there.

    Passing through the town of Fort Dick, I saw no sign of a military installation. Just more manufactured homes.

    In Crescent City, the route took me by an animal rescue location with this beautiful mural. It turns out that the people on the mural are volunteers, their children or their grandchildren, and the dogs are all former rescue animals.

    In Crescent City the route went way off Highway 101 to follow the beach on the west and south side of town. I contemplated staying on the highway, but went with the longer route, which was a great decision. The beach was amazing, with rock formations, birds, cool beach houses, cool beach mansions, etc. I stopped over and over again, to take in the scenery, and believe me, an iPhone camera cannot do it justice.

    The Battery Point Lighthouse is just off the shore of Crescent City. Commissioned in 1856, it is only accessibly during low tide. The rest of the time, it is on an island, its configuration when I rode by.

    Did I mention that there were some heavy duty climbs on today’s route. I have no idea how long they were or what the grade was, but the longest was a real killer. I thought it was over when I reached this sign, but I was wrong.

    Eventually, the road leveled out, and a while later, this was the beginning of about six miles of steep downhill. I LOVE steep downhill. It’s my specialty.

    Then I rolled into this tourist attraction. Did you know that Paul Bunyan had a blue ox named Babe? I didn’t. Check out the chest hair on Paul Bunyan, and check out how big he is compared to itty bitty little me.

    On my way to my rest stop, for the night, I passed through the Yurok Indian Reservation and took in yet another breathtaking ocean sunset.

    My digs for the night are the floor of the rec room of an RV park that offered free laundry and wifi. It’s owned by a retired marine and his retired navy wife. So I get another holiday from setting up my tent, crawling around on the ground, and dealing with insects.

    9/5/18 – Port Orford to Brookings

    55 Miles

    3281 ft Climbing

    It was a great day in the saddle. After a good night’s rest in a motel, just as I pulled out on the road, I bumped into a fellow from Belgium named Gerth. Super friendly guy, but I left him in the dust as he consulted a local biker on an upcoming trail option I too was considering.

    If you remember my conversation, last night, with the man in the grocery store, he wasn’t kidding about the scenery on the route. More rock formations and pristine beaches with no people on them appeared almost immediately, as I rode down the route.

    About seven miles and some heavy duty climbing into my ride, I came to the campground I was scheduled to pitch my tent at last night. Boy am I glad I didn’t push myself to make it there. I would have been completely wiped out.

    More beautiful ocean scenery followed. Miles and miles of it.

    Then alas, I came to my own turf. A left turn onto Arizona Ranch Road, which led to Arizona Beach Motel. I thought about how warm it probably is in Arizona, right now, and how chilly it was right then, and briefly considered checking this out, but I’m not that big of a sucker. I wasn’t falling for it, so I kept riding.

    I did fall for the Prehistoric Garden–the part you don’t have to pay admission for. A gal from California, who I met a few miles back, pulled in just as I was getting set for a selfie, and up rides Gerth. He snapped the excellent photographic specimen below of me and Chris.

    I wish Chris was moving down the route at a faster pace. We have a lot in common–well kind off. We both wear white sun legs and have green panniers and bags on our bikes, and I think she is also riding down to San Diego. Unfortunately, she gets off her bike and pushes it up grades above 4%, which has to put a damper on progress, and she attempts to stay with Warm Showers hosts every night, which would really cramp my style.

    Gerth and I crossed paths a couple more times. We were moving at about the same pace, and both stopping to snap photos, but somehow I got ahead of him. After crossing over into Gold Beach, his destination for the night, I stopped for an early dinner, in hopes that I’d see him again. He pulled up just as I was getting ready to head down the road, and we exchanged blogs addresses. If I end up riding in Europe, next year, with Erwin and some of the cast from last Fall, I will definitely look him up. Super cool bridge leading to Gold Beach.

    From Gold Beach on, the air was foggy and misty, and it stayed that way for the rest of the day. It got to the point that I had to take my glasses off, because they were getting wet from the mist.

    Just after arriving Brookings, I pulled into a big hiker/biker site at Harris Beach State Park where I camped with three other cyclists who are riding to various destinations on the Pacific Coast Route. We’re all going different distances at different paces for different reasons, but we all crossed paths at this place and time, and enjoyed some time together chatting about our adventures.