October 29, 2006
I wake in the cloudy, dim light and sit around the picnic table with Heather and Robert… having my breakfast of bagels, peanut butter, and honey.
“Peanut butter and honey… bears favorite food!” Robert says, as he grinds fresh coffee. Once he says he pulled onto a truckers’ weigh station, and his whole bicycle touring rig weighed 300 pounds total. He personally, definitely, cannot weigh over 200 pounds. That’s a lot of stuff to pull.
Neither of them are in any hurry to start, and I’m the first one to head out on the road. “I’ll probably never catch you,” he says, “So have a good ride!”
“You never know – I could break down or take a day off or something.” I give him my Adventure Cycling maps for San Francisco to San Diego, since I won’t be needing them.
I watch during the first miles as the mist slowly breaks over the mountain ridges, as has become par for the course lately. Redwoods on the hills dwarf the smaller trees that line the creeks and fields.
I drift through the small town of Orick, which seems to survive solely on burl carvings – sort of like ice sculptures, only out of timber. A whole plethora of unique wooden faces stare at me as I ride by. Most of the few buildings are posted “open,” but all is deadly quiet in the damp morning, with only an occasional dog’s bark or cutting saw to break the silence.
Easing out toward the coast, I ride through some soft lagoons, where large birds with long beaks glide above the marshes. There are some quaint little bed and breakfast places spread around near Trinidad, which seems to be an old town that’s shrunk since its heyday.
To the south I almost miss Trinidad Scenic Drive, which is marked “road closed,” and it is indeed closed to motor vehicles, because it’s in poor shape. It also happens to hold up to its name – as one of the most scenic stretches along the whole coast thus far.
Closing in on the relatively urban area of McKinleyville and Arcata, I meet a local cyclist out for a Sunday ride, whose name I forget. He invites me to ride along for a spell, and leads us through a flat, excellent, pastoral section on the outskirts of these towns. I elaborate to him on what it’s like to be riding for so long.
“Driving around in Seattle with Tracy, I was in the passenger seat, and every time she’d come up on a dip or pothole, my whole body would tense and brace itself. My butt would even lift a little off the seat, and the shock would never come! There’s a sign you’ve been riding your bike for a long time!”
We part ways, and I cross a long bridge into Eureka. Darkness descends swiftly on this gray, cloudy evening, and I check into the first cheap motel I see. There happens to be an Italian pizza parlor next door. Life is good.
View Larger Map
Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.