Leaving Southern Oregon, we hugged the coastline and took in more stunning views of the sea stacks, cliffs and the Pacific. We also passed over Oregon’s tallest bridge, Thomas Creek Bridge. At 345 feet tall, it was a bit hard to look down. It definitely gave me vertigo.
We were very excited to reach California although it seemed like right at the state line, our reliable tailwind had shifted into a headwind! Thankfully, it wasn’t as strong as what we enjoyed over the past couple of days. Whew!
The first town we reached in California was Smith River, which is known as the world’s largest supplier of Easter Lilies. You can see a crop growing in the background below. You can also see that the lilies have a light blue dusting, which I initially thought was a part of the plant. Wish someone had told me it was fertilizer before I tasted it… (just kidding).
Just before we reached Crescent City, about 20 miles south of Smith River, we passed by Pelican Bay Prison, one of the largest supermax prisons in America. Honestly, we almost missed it but then noticed the four very tall watch towers in the complex. It was weird to be freely biking by a prison that is known for their solitary confinement treatment. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the grounds.
Although Crescent City (pop. 7,600) is one of the larger towns on our trip, there’s not much to report about it. Just about every other house we passed was for sale and many storefronts were empty or boarded up. It wasn’t until afterwards that I learned that half of the population are incarcerated prisoners, since Pelican Bay is included in the Crescent City’s township. I don’t think that would have affected the city’s housing economy though. Maybe a lot of these empty residences were second homes? Another item to add to the “Things to research when you have internet” list…
Immediately leaving Crescent City, we approached a major climb of about 1,000 ft of elevation. However, the climb was our entrance to the Redwoods National and State Park and each pedal stroke was sweeten with views of old redwood trees. We felt like ants, maneuvering our way through the world. Everything was larger than life and you couldn’t help but look up and up and up.
We finished the day at the Elk Prairie Campground in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park — along with 25 other cyclists!! We knew there were going to see other touring cyclists along the way, but I never imagined this many!
The next couple of days will probably be high mileage days so that we can get to San Francisco by Thursday, August 1st (my original deadline of July 31st is looking very unlikely at this point). Thankfully, there is only one other major climb left in our travels and many campgrounds along the way.
Weather: Warmner morning than usual (only required a rain jacket not down and rain jacket as we have worn most days); hazy clouds and temp dropped to 55 by 6pm.
Riding Conditions: Mainly stayed on Rt. 101 into CA; no issues with pavement, traffic or shoulders
Campground: $5/person, hot showers ($1 for 10min); lots of bikers but hard to talk to everyone; bear and elk in area required use of bear food containers. Grade: A