The first thing we realized after entering California, setting up camp in a state park and stepping into the shower, was that we were not going to get any hot water at all without a nice pile of quarters. Put the clothes back on, walk back to the hiker/biker site (which is usually located at the edge of the camping grounds) and scrounge around for quarters. We had one. No hot water with just one quarter. Luckily, there were two hipsters at the hiker/biker camp who were cycling down the coast on fixies and smelled like they weren’t terribly concerned about showering. They gladly traded their quarters for our dollars and off we went.
On another evening, we were told by old-timer cyclist, Michael, who has been up and down the coast as many times as he has white hairs in his long beard, that those who cycle the Lost Coast earn gold stars after their names. That was the last bit of encouragement we needed in order to brave the 8,000 feet of elevation gain (which, in this case, means another 8,000 feet of elevation loss) in 60 miles of pot-hole filled, low-traffic roads. We named the second climb, which was a mere 800 feet, the “surly bastard” since whoever built that road had a vendetta against switch backs and decided to build it straight up the wickedly steep hill. Manna’s front tire came off the ground climbing that hill, I was leaning so far forward over the handlebars that my hair was cleaning the fender. While we were not huffing and puffing our way up the climbs on our 80 pound bikes (bragging rights indeed!), we were marveling at the grandest of all coastal views. And now, two days later, we have placed those gold stars directly after our names.
We descended from the Lost Coast entering the Humboldt State Forest and underneath the Avenue of the Giants. I venture to say that a bicycle may very well be the best way to experience these redwoods – either that or wings.
The first hiker/biker site was closed and so we biked on. After dinner, we found that the second camp site was also closed and in the growing darkness, decided to ignore the signs (the lowered blockades do not prevent cycle entries) and set up camp in a large, deserted campground. No running water but we made our morning oatmeal using the juice of our blackberries. Camping at its finest.
No photos this time since the day is getting hotter by the minute.
And we are off.
Oh! Best snippet of conversation yet heard while slowly riding through another town: “Well, how do you think you’d feel if your son came running after you with an egg beater?”