Day 21: Harris Beach to Prairie Creek Redwoods

Another long day. A couple of km into Brookings. Then some internet in a cafe; spoke to Josh+mona which was nice. Then to the post office and the library for more work and to so Brendan could print his 7k sign.

Started cycling a couple of mins after 1pm. Was drizzling, a small headwind, but generally flat. We stopped at the Oregon/Cali state so I could get a photo, and it was close enough to the 7k mark so Brendan was happy to do that there too. Brendan was sure it was going to be drier just over the border…pah!

We’re of the opinion – though it is based solely on our one day’s worth of experience – that drivers in California are less friendly to bikes. We got honked at, and given the one-fingered salute, far more than had been usual thus far.

Got to Crescent City around 3.30pm. Lunch – another veggie burrito for me, with refried beans and rice on the side ($6.50 – so cheap for such a massive meal!), Jack In The Box for Brendan – then Safeway for food shopping.

We got back on the road for about 4.45pm, for the remaining 50 km. immediately post lunch we hit our big climb of the day – 340m worth of elevation gain, at around 6% (ie about 6km long). But we were in the redwoods, which are Massive trees — I couldn’t see the treeline, which I usually use to judge the length/shape of climbs, because they were so tall that we couldn’t see the top of them.

We passed a couple of false summits, reached the top, just started our descent, and then roadworks meant the traffic stopped in each direction, for about 5mins at a time, right next to a “7% descent for the next 2miles sign”. This was perfect for us, the lights went green, we waves everyone else through, went through as they were just changing back to amber, and so knew we had a clear run for the descent with no traffic behind us. And what a lovely descent! I’m increasingly learning to love hill climbing, purely for the descents they bring. This one wound us out toward the sea, giving us a view of the ocean from high enough up that the grey & blue quilt work of the sky was perfectly reflected in it.

We were on the 101 for another 30km after that, but it was mostly flat, following a river back inland. Good, easy chat all the way with Brendan; it’s nice having a rising buddy again, and so fat at least we don’t seem to be finding it difficult to converse, or to be okay with those quiet periods when we both just want to knuckle down and deal with the rain/wind/hills in our own space.

Then we turned off onto the “scenic parkway”, words which I’ve learnt mean “hilly”, and fair enough it was another longish climb, but not too steep and we managed to chat most of the way up. The road was pretty much empty, and this was a gentle (2-3%) for pretty much the whole of the 8km to the campsite, allowing us to freewheel and spend most of our time, necks craned skywards, shouting “ye gods they are big!”

We arrived at a point where the trees rolled back to show a large meadow – our campsite for the night – at about 8.15, so after sunset, but still some light. It was my first Cali state park, so a few lessons learnt – (1) yes, they have Hiker/Biker, despite what we’d heard too the contrary, (2) prices are pretty much the same as WA/OR at $5 a night, and (3) no, they don’t have free showers like in Oregon đŸ˜¦ (but at 50¢ for 5mins, it’s hardly terrible).

The days stats…

Odometer..1920 (should read 9.2km more, will fix later)
Distance…100.9 km Garmin only recorded 91.7km of it.
Time… 4hrs 52mins
Avg speed…20.5 kph
Climbed 975+200 (the missing section was on our biggest climb of the day)
Avg HR…115 bpm
Calories… 1549

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