This was truly a great day of cyclotouring, one that had everything: it began in an interesting town, wandered through scenic farmland and ended back in the Redwoods along the famous Avenue of the Giants. It was almost as short of a route as the previous days so I really milked it too, I did all the scenic routes and extra side rides mentioned in the guidebook.
Even though it was going to be a short day I hit the road earlier than ever. This was mainly because I was out of alcohol for my stove so I couldn’t make my usual breakfast coffee and oatmeal. It was gray and foggy and starting to mist as I left the KOA with a plan to hang out in Eureka at a coffeehouse. It was an easy ride into Eureka and once there I followed the guidebooks scenic route through the Old Town part of the city. This was at first old Victorian style houses but then it became the towns original downtown which was fully restored and packed with shops. On the edge of Old Town was Has Beans Coffee Roaster where I stopped and hung out for some time drinking coffee and eating a bagel and cinnamon roll. I also ended up talking to this guy about touring for quite some time, he was a long time cyclist wanting to start touring. I then walked around Old Town Eureka, visited the Eureka Books, the Old Town Art Gallery until it was about lunch time for which I went to the Lost Coast Brewery. I had their 8-Ball Stout, which was thick and malty, and their Double IPA which was good, hoppy but fairly well balanced by the alcohol.
The sun had burned away the fog by now and it was a bright clear day as I returned to the 101. The 101 was fine, pretty easy riding for he most part, but I took every opportunity offered to not ride on it. The first of these was a somewhat hilly route to the tiny town of Loleta, where I stopped at the Loleta Cheese Factory and sampled tons of cheese. All of it was Cheddar and Monterrey Jack based but with various additions. My favorites were their hickory smoked cheeses and I bought small bar of hickory smoked Monterrey Jack to have with dinner. Back on the road I encountered a fruit stand and got a pluot and a white nectarine for later. You can’t beat being able to pick up this fresh and locally produce foods. I was able to route right onto the second alternate route without returning to the 101, which ending up adding miles but was great riding through green farmland to the small town of Ferndale which is filled with seemingly out of place Victorian architecture. It’s main Street was the very definition of quaint all antique shops and candy makers. The most interesting part to me was the cemetery which was on this hill and terraced with masonry walls. Sort of reminded me of some of the cemeteries in Japan, though of course not nearly as dense.
Riding out of Ferndale was again across farmland but with a wicked tailwind. I made great tome until this series of three steep hills at the end. It was hot now to boot. Back on 101 for only a couple of miles before I pulled off at the next alternate route to the little town of Scotia. I got water and applied sunscreen here but passed on the recreational activities which were all logging oriented. This one was only off the 101 for a mile or two, and then it was the highway again. But this was the last stretch of the day here and it wasn’t long before I exited on the Avenue of the Giants.
The Avenue of the Giants is the most well known of the Redwood parks and it is again an amazing ride through these incredible trees. Not quite as impressive as the road along Prairie Creek but it was still a great way to cap the days riding. After about fifteen miles in the trees (stopping constantly for pics or to just gaze in awe) I made it to Burlington Campground where the Hike/Bike area wad small and packed. There was the biggest crowd I’d seen at a campground to date: the usual couple, a pair of German girls I’d last seen at Cape Lookout, a solo German girl, a pair of guys riding south to north who were also rock climbing as they went and several more I didn’t meet. A boisterous bunch who did various levels of ambitious cooking including making lasagna in a fire pit. I pitched my tent right in between two others and ate my cheese, fruit and crackers sharing with several others. I went for a short walk in the trees with the couple and then chatted for awhile with the south to north boys before retiring.
Miles ridden today: 64
Miles ridden so far: 865.71
A few pictures from this day can be found here