Eureka is probably the largest city we’ve been in since leaving Seattle. It took several miles of riding and a variety of back roads to follow the Adventure Cycling Association map out of the city. It would have been easier to just ride on highway 101 through town, but it was very busy and didn’t have much shoulder. Times like that I’m glad for the ACA maps to guide us a different way. Once we got out of town we had to get back on the 101 because that’s about the only road heading south.
Thankfully the 101 had a wide shoulder and we also turned off onto a more quiet road after several miles. This quiet back road required a bit of climbing, but we both felt pretty good biking up the hill and we even had a nice little conversation about our trip and plans for traveling overseas. It’s pretty rare that we have a quiet enough road for a lengthy conversation like that, let alone the breath to spare when climbing up a hill! It made for a really nice morning.
The next highlight of the day came when we arrived in the quaint town of Ferndale. The main street is well maintained with attractive storefronts and some touristy shops. We ran into a local cyclist outside the grocery store who said he had done a bike tour through here a few years ago and liked it so much he moved here. I can’t say I blame him. While in town we stopped at the Ferndale Pie Company (big surprise, huh?) for sandwiches and dessert. I opted for a piece of apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Easily the 2nd best piece of pie of the trip so far. Caroline had a couple donuts because she’s not such a fan of fruit pie.
After that big lunch we rolled out of Ferndale enjoying the wide open views of farmland along the Eel River. Apparently farmland is so precious here that they built their cemeteries on the sides of hills. We also rode past a lot of pastures full of cows. And more cows. Oh, look, more cows. Seriously, we haven’t seen so many cows since the midwest. After all the flat terrain we had to climb some hills. Three hills that locals apparently call the “three sisters”. They were some of the steepest dang hills we’ve ridden since maybe Connecticut. On the third one we were just hoping there were in fact only three of these suckers to climb.
Camp for tonight is located in the Stafford RV Park. They have a big canvas tent we put our own little tent under. It’s supposed to rain tonight so we should still have a dry tent in the morning. However, the highlight of this RV park is this little cabin that the owner is building inside and on top of the stump of a big redwood tree. He was happy to show it off and it’s obvious he’s put some real work into it. Inside the stump is a small sitting room with an electric fireplace and a small table. Upstairs he’s built a small bedroom. Most of the furnishings he’s made out of pieces of redwood trees and it’s really a cool little house. You almost expect to see a hobbit sitting on the porch smoking a pipe. 🙂