Day 134: Avenue of the Giants

43.1 miles

Stafford RV Park morning

Morning in the campground

There was rain overnight and we woke up to a misty morning in our tent under the tent. We bought yogurt last night at the market in Scotia before getting to the campground, so we enjoyed yogurt and granola for breakfast this morning. Being dry made for easy work breaking camp and we hit the road around 10am.

We started for a brief stretch on US101 before exiting the highway for the Avenue of the Giants. We spent most of the day on this scenic route through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, weaving in and out of groves of the giant, majestic, spectacular redwood trees. Really, I think this has been my favorite part of biking this year. Did I mention they are amazing? The trees are just huge, even the young ones. The idea of a 500 or 1000 or even 1200 year old tree is incredible. It’s quite awe-inspiring to me. The Avenue of the Giants roughly follows the Eel River upstream and we crossed it a few times during the day. The Eel is a broad, gravel-lined river and is prone to destructive floods that have wiped out some small towns along the river, and yet the trees remain.

Alan and fallen redwood

Alan and fallen redwood

Caroline and fallen redwood tree

Caroline and fallen redwood tree

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

Young cyclists doing pushups

Young cyclists doing pushups

A few miles in on the Avenue of the Giants, we caught up with a small group of tourists from Bellingham, Washington. The six of them are on their way to Baja, Mexico. One of them had a birthday today, so they all dropped down and banged out 25 pushups for the birthday boy. They are worried about being cyclists with little T.rex arms. Oh, to be young! We said so-long and headed on down the road through the trees.

Finally, the Avenue came to an end, and we had to get back out on the freeway. It was late in the afternoon, and I was worried about the traffic picking up. For the most part it was fine, we did a few pull-outs to let semis go by, but I managed to do the few miles to the next exit in a fairly calm manner. The final two miles of the day were a hilly climb through the towns of Redway and Garberville. We stopped in Redway, which was mobbed with people, despite its tiny size. From the looks of them, a lot of young homeless people. Garberville similarly had some unsavory smelling people hanging out too. The town has a nice main street and we decided to chance a stay overnight at the Sherwood Forest Motel. Alan asked the woman at the desk about all the people in town, since we thought there might be a music festival or something going on, but she said ‘it’s Humboldt County, it’s the weed’. I guess they are pretty lax about it here, even though marijuana isn’t legal here in California except for medical use. We settled into our motel room, and headed next door to get some dinner from a deli called Calico’s. With daylight gone, all the transients in town seemed to have settled down somewhere for the night, and all was quiet on the main street of Garberville.

Cool clouds

California sky near the end of our ride today

While we were biking today, I got a phone call that went to voicemail (I didn’t answer it because I was huffing and puffing up a hill). When I listened to the message tonight, I heard that I’ve been invited to Fort Lewis College in Colorado for an in-person interview! Alan and I have been talking out travel strategies to make it so I can get to Durango for the interview in November. For now we’ll keep pushing on to the Bay Area, and work out details as we go.

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