Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 16: Eureka, CA to Garberville, CA

82 miles

It was a long mileage day and I decided not to SAG right out of the blocks so I could do the full day if possible. The early going was through morning fog and a slight drizzle. Eureka was a bit depressing in those conditions. Soon after, we traveled though coastal farmland and being in a cloud haze felt quite right. The first SAG stop was in Ferndale, a pleasant town with many well-preserved attractive buildings.

Farms continued to dot the landscape as well as obvious signs of the driving force of the economy of this area--the lumber industry.

Starting at Mile 40 we had 30 miles of gorgeous cycling along the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a portion of old Highway 101, with its 51,222 acres of redwood groves. It is considered to be the best display of redwoods in the entire 500 mile redwood belt. It was a pleasure to cycle for its incredible beauty and solitude and for its ease of effort as it was relatively flat.

Toward the end of the day I paralleled the Eel River for quite some distance.

I felt fairly strong even toward the end of the ride. Then, at Mile 77, real the hills began. I was determined not to get into the SAG wagon at the end of this wonderful day, and I did not. Of note, the 101 often does not have much of a shoulder, sometimes no shoulder at all. It is daunting to be on a bicycle when all manner of large vehicles are passing in tight curve situations. The drivers along the last hill section were particularly rude, often laying on their horns to let me know how annoying I was to them.

As I approached the hotel in Garberville there were two vagabond fellows hiking in the bike lane, soon to join a group of 20-30 hanging about in a ravine. Humboldt County is the epicenter of the California pot industry and the seasonal music festivals draw large crowds. Apparently these folks clear out as the weather cools.

I am completely exhausted--probably should have done less than 80--so will need to adjust my day tomorrow accordingly.

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