Day 17 – July 10th
RV park near Ferndale –> Humboldt Redwoods
The small hills of the first 10 miles were difficult, but after stopping for coffee and breakfast in a town called Del Rio, the day got much better. After breakfast we rode through the Avenue of Giants – a scenic road through redwood forests in Humboldt State Park. The Adventure Cycling Association has a great description for what we did this morning:
Cycling into a dense grove of redwoods is comparable to entering a hushed, natural cathedral. A bird’s song dies somewhere in the acoustical sponge of bark between the canopy a hundred feet above and the forest floor. The occasional shaft of sunlight is strained to reach the ferns and mosses of the forest floor. Such a place demands one’s attention and quiet.
It is definitely a magical experience.
We stopped to make peanut butter and jelly tortillas sandwiches sitting beneath a large redwood tree. We arrived at our campsite situated in the Humboldt Redwoods and this place was so cool, we decided to take a rest day the following day. We biked 4 miles to the nearest town to get beer and brought it to the Eel river a mile from our campsite. We sat in the river, drank beer, and enjoyed the river running against our legs while soaking up the surrounding redwood scenery. We made dinner and got in our sleeping bags looking forward to a bike-free day tomorrow.
Patricks Point State Park –> RV Park near Ferndale
Today was rough. We woke up and joked about checking into the Hampton Inn and watching TV all day, and didn’t end up leaving until later than usual. We stopped for coffee in the first 10 miles. It was a cute coffee shop with good food, however we waited a long time which only put us further behind.
The miles after the coffee shop included gravel bike paths that were difficult to pedal through, and a strong headwind as we passed rural farmland. We continued to press on and found that the route led us on a large shoulder of an expressway. The sound of cars passing by at 70 mph in addition to the headwind we continued to face made these few miles on the expressway extra difficult. Battling defeat we stopped at a Target to recoup and get snacks. We bought cereal and a gallon of milk and sat outside of Target and shoveled bowl after bowl of cereal into our mouths. People must have thought we were crazy, but it was worth it.
We had 20 miles to go when we left and the wind had not let up — it was probably blowing towards us at 15-20 mph at this point. We pushed through these rough 20 miles and finally arrived at a county RV park near Ferndale, CA. Setting up a tent in the terrible wind was more difficult than anticipated, but we managed to get it set and biked into town for pizza – the second best part of the day with the best part being getting in our sleeping bags.
Redwood National Park –> Patricks Point State Park
Today is what we refer to as ‘EPIC DAY’. Last night Doug said that this would be the day we would tell people about when they asked about the trip – he was right. We ‘got the earlybird worm’ and climbed 600 ft out of the campsite to reach the route. The descent from the top of the hill was amazing – we were going so fast through the redwoods with fog emerging through the tall trees. The fog increased during our descent which made Diane nervous about our visibility to traffic. Kari said it felt like a video game descending down the winding road in the fog. It felt magical to ride through the redwoods when the morning fog rolled through.
We saw a large Paul Bunyan statue and stopped at the gift shop and cafe next to the statue. After our second breakfast and multiple cups of coffee, we continued through the redwoods. The rest of the ride involved lots more climbing and redwoods. The last few miles before the campsite seemed particularly difficult with lots of steep uphills with a large climb at the very end.
We arrived at the campsite and after setting up tents retreated to the beach. We were delighted to find a seemingly private beach high above the water overlooking rock islands and a dramatic and beautiful coastline. It was so peaceful and quiet. We watched sea lions, birds, listened to the waves and took in all that surrounded us. Listening to guitar music played by Xochi, a fellow cyclist, we watched the sun slowly creep into the water and had an epic ending to an epic day.
Harris Beach State Park –> Redwood National Park
In the first 10 miles we crossed into California. We stopped at the ‘Welcome to California’ sign and took pictures and talked about how the ride through Oregon flew by — it seemed like we had just passed the ‘Welcome to Oregon’ sign and now we were in California.
California greeted us with flat, rural farmland. We could see the hills in the distance that we would reach later in the day. After 30 miles we approached Crescent City. Although it was cloudy, the ride along the coast in the western part of the town was beautiful. We stopped at the post office and picked up the package Diane and Kari’s Mom had sent – it had Diane’s passport and credit card, and she was thrilled to have an ID and a way to pay for things again. We bought food for the night and snacks for the next day and headed south – 10 miles to our campsite.
We began to climb up a steep, 1000 ft hill into the redwoods. The shoulder was pretty nonexistent and the traffic to our left as we panted up the windy road was concerning. But we reached the top and looked at the beautiful redwoods that now surrounded us. We were a few miles from our campsite and they appeared to be mostly downhill. Turning off the main road into Redwood National Park we began to fly down the steep hill we had just climbed. After a mile of downhill we reached the ranger station and paid for our campsite, and preceded another 1.5 miles downhill to the hiker biker site. We had descended 600 ft, and would have to climb back up to the road in the morning to get to the route.
We made dinner, drank beer, and discussed the next days ride – lots of climbing and lots of redwoods were ahead of us.
Humbug Mountain State Park –> Harris Beach State Park (near Brookings, OR)
We woke up and began our ride along the coast, although the coast could not be seen through the fog. We rode to Gold Beach, OR and stopped for coffee/breakfast at a local diner. They had a map with pins of all the places cyclist had visited from and the waitress was ecstatic to have a cyclist from Kentucky (where Doug is from). We were well warned of the “huge hill” we had to climb south of town, and continued on our bikes.
On the way up the hill we met another cyclist named Ruven from Germany. Ruven told us of all the various bike tours he has done in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and how he is on his way to South America. We were all impressed by his bike touring abilities, but a little taken aback by his manners after he insulted American culture and begged us to give him our food. We stopped for lunch at a lookout (although when we arrived the fog was too thick to see anything).
We continued after lunch and miles of ascending and descending later we arrive at a grocery store (a HUGE Fred Meyer with an overwhelming amount of food that we all wanted to inhale…) just outside of camp. We got food and got to camp and spent the hours before dinner at the beach. Sleeping bag time came promptly after sunset as we were all exhausted.
Sunset Beach –> Humbug Mountain State Park
We were the first to wake up and pack our bikes this morning. The beginning of the ride was on “seven devils road” and parts of it seemed a little sketchy, and also windy, hilly and rural. We stopped in a town called Bandon and got coffee and food at a busy coffee shop.
We saw the coast for a few miles outside of Bandon, and then snuck back into the rural, flat, and somewhat boring road. For lack of a better spot, we stopped for lunch and snacks on the side of the road about 12 miles from the campsite.
In the last 12 miles we aligned with the coast and began climbing and descending. When feeling exhausted towards the end of the day, seeing the beautiful coastal scenery gave us enough energy to arrive at camp. We were the first cyclists to arrive at camp, and made dinner, stretched our sore muscles and retreated to our sleeping bags early.
Rest Day at Sunset Bay
Happy Fourth of July! Today we took a rest day to celebrate America’s birthday. We woke up leisurely and biked 3 miles back to Charleston, OR to eat a large delicious breakfast and make phone calls (we had no phone service at our campsite). The rest of the day was spent exploring the beauty of Sunset Bay, drinking beer and eating good food. Around 7 o’clock in the evening, large groups of cyclists rode into the hiker biker site. It was one of the smallest sites we’ve stayed at, so the influx of people made the small site very crowded. There were tents everywhere you looked and it quickly turned into a pacific coast cyclist party.