If today was thought of like a sandwich the state parks would be the bread and 101 would be the meat. However to apply the analogy accurately the state parks would be like the best whole grain bread with Easy Cheese in the middle. Another small Redwood Park in about the middle of the days ride sort of spoils the whole analogy, perhaps it should be thought of as a Club Sandwich… Anyway the real signifier of this day would be the heat.
It was already sunny when I got up but the trees in the campground kept it cool enough that I put on socks and my legwarmers. The route began with 18 miles on the Avenue of the Giants which was again fantastic riding. The trees were beginning to give away to more open space and the Eel River was the dominant feature of this days riding. There are a few little communities along the Avenue of the Giants and in Myers Flat there was an organic coffee shop called the Daily Grind where I spent a bit of time drinking coffee and using the WiFi. Their coffee was good so I replenished my supply with their darkest roast. It was now plenty hot so I took off my warmer clothes and applied sunscreen.
The Avenue of the Giants came to and end all too soon and now I was back on the 101 and it was hot and treeless. Also hilly. I ground up these hills in the relentless sun which just saps your energy. The road narrowed and began to wind through valleys with little shoulder. I was rationing my water and I also had developed another slow leak in the rear tire (it’d been a while but this was unwelcome). Hot and thirsty I pulled over at a roadside attraction of tacky woodcarving called The Legend of Bigfoot where I was able to buy water. A bit further on was Richardson Grove State Park where I again pulled off and I changed the tire and reapplied the sunscreen. Back on the road which was quite narrow and winding through the woods (whose shade was a relief) there was an increase of these tourist traps. Realizing I hadn’t eaten much I pulled over at one of these for a sandwich.
From here it was shadeless hot rolling hills, for miles with only a short section off the 101. After a bridge crossing and a climb to the top of Confusion Hill the trees came back and I was so happy to see them. It was up and down for a bit and then after a climb I was at Standish-Hickey State Park around 3:30- an early arrival.
There was only a few other riders here at this point but after a shower (quite welcome), a trip to a nearby store for a beer (very welcome) and dinner (needed) the camp was again filled with tourons including a new fella from my old hometown of Bothell of all places. I took a walk down a very steep and dusty road to Eel River after dinner where it was nice and cool. At the river I sat on a rock and cooled my heels in the water and watched this snake swim around and under this rock, occasionally come up on to it to sun itself. As the sun went behind the hill I returned to camp and was shortly chased into my tent by the mozzies.
Miles ridden today: 47.1
Miles ridden to date: 912.84
A few pictures from this day can be found here