Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 8 for Mike, day 2 for Jim and I. We unanimously decide to leave from our motel in Arcata, rather than drive back to McKinleyville. As we did yesterday, Mike and I rode the first half of the day while Jim drove SAG. We wound our way through Arcata, then onto backroads to Eureka. There are very nice farm and grazing lands surrounded by forested hills in this area of northern California. A bit of climbing as well as the roads rolled up and down off of bluffs and small hills.

The next small town below Eureka is Ferndale, known for its beautiful Victorian homes. Leaving Ferndale we climbed up and down another bluff and then rode across about 10 miles of flat farmlands. Here we ran through a gauntlet of sprinklers that were watering the road as well as the crops. One in particular was a huge rainbird type sprinkler, mounted on a flatbed truck, that put out an enormous amount of water. I took care to time my passage to avoid it but if it had been hot, it could have been an enjoyable drenching.

Beyond this we were surprised by 3 steep but short hills. Then we descended into the hamlet of Rio Dell, where we planned to eat lunch. In Rio Dell, on a Sunday afternoon, the lunch choices consisted of either a biker bar or a deli manned by a single teenager. We were torn but went with the deli in the end.

After lunch Jim started riding and I drove SAG. As we were leaving Rio Dell we had a little mishap where one of the bike racks on the top of the car broke and my bike half fell off the car. Fortunately it happened before we got out on the road and the bike suffered minimal damage.

Mike and Jim now began the best part of today's ride-through the Avenue of the Giants. This is a scenic byway through several excellent groves of giant redwoods. It's a wonderful bike ride (and drive) about 35 miles long, with terrific views of the redwoods and rivers that wind through this area. About 25 miles into the Avenue we stopped to take the above picture at the Drive-Thru Tree.

For the final 20 miles Mike drove SAG and Jim and I rode on in to Garberville. We checked into our motel and then enjoyed a great cajun dinner.

At this point in the ride, we have 3 more days and we are 199 miles from San Francisco. Tomorrow is a shorter riding day but contains the two largest hills of the entire ride as we head back out to the coast. And another rider, Mark, is joining us tomorrow night, for the final two days.

I do want to thank all of you who are following our progress and are supporting us with blog entries and monetary contributions to the OHSU Cancer Institute. I read the entries every night. When the alarm goes off in the morning and I am tempted to sleep in, I think about them and they inspire me to get up and get back on the bike. I hope that other Gisters will read about what we are doing and will be moved to do something challenging, something different from their usual, for themselves or for others.

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