An educated guess: Redwood trees, due to their size, emit more oxygen than a typical tree, like an evergreen. Kinda makes sense, right? I came to this highly scientific conclusion based on how good Dad and I felt this morning. Maybe it was the extra oxygen, or maybe we were finally getting into “bike touring” shape, but we felt grrrrreat!
From sleeping among the giants, we continued to ride on the Avenue of the Giants. Traffic was light and the road conditions were solid, so Dad and I spent most of the morning riding side by side. We rode along the south fork of the Eel River, which we found hard pressed to even call a river. It was probably a foot deep, at best. But we knew it had to be ripping other times during the year because it had a naturally wide base. It wasn’t until we reached a flood meter painted on a bridge that we confirmed our theory.
At this point, we rejoined Rt. 101 and started to pass by some of the cheesier tourist traps, such as “Confusion Hill”, “Legend of Bigfoot” and the “Famous One-Log House”. Although extremely corny, they are good photo-ops, don’t cha think?. (Note: there is no picture of Confusion Hill because it was a mile off the road, and what could be so confusing about it anyways?)
We finally reached Rt. 1, the main road we’ll be on for the rest of our trip, and were greeted by Leggett Hill. We knew it was coming because some cyclists at camp two nights ago spoke with fear about this four-mile, seven percent grade ‘monster’ and our maps warned of an “arduous” 28 miles between Leggett and Westport. Honestly though, it wasn’t that bad. Especially since there was a 14-mile downhill after the summit. Not only was it 14 miles of no peddling but it was a fun – twisty-turny, lean left and right, smile on your face – downhill. Since we were going just as fast as most cars, about 25-30mph, we could ride in the middle of lane without trouble. And to make the hill even sweeter, we were reunited with the Pacific.
As you can tell by the pictures, it did drop about 20 degrees by the time we reached the coast. There was fog and lots of farmland on this part of the coast line. It was hard to tell if this was California or Scotland!
We had about 20 more miles to go to camp, and thought that after the ‘arduous’ leg, it would be a easy ride into Fort Bragg. Hah! I actually thought this part was harder as it was steeper, shorter climbs that just kept coming. The trend on the coast road seems to be that if you stay along the water, you will climb up and down with the cliffs for awhile, then descend sharply away from the water, make a big, sharp curve at the bottom, and then climb sharply back up to the coastal cliffs. This type of riding is very different from the long, constant climbs my dad and I are used to and as we’ve learned, it seems to use different muscle groups as well.
Not taking into account these short climbs, we had to sprint the last ten miles to camp to avoid biking (once again) in the dark. However, I couldn’t resist taking this picture of what was shaping up to be a truly spectacular west coast sunset.
Miles: 99.9 (really)
Weather: Not a cloud in the sky. Warm (reached 80 degrees – !!) in the afternoon; dropped to 55-60 degrees once we reached the shore around 5pm
Riding Conditions: Great throughout the Avenue of the Giants; Rt. 1 barely had a shoulder making it a little treacherous when biking up Leggett Hill (with RVs and trucks passing by)
Campground: Russian Gulch State Park; $5/person ($1.25 for 10min hot shower); 1/4 mile steep downhill from camp entrance to hiker/biker site = fun wake-up call (uphill first thing tomorrow morning, ugh); Grade: B+