Monday, June 24, 2019

Day 23 - Burlington - Leggett

Distance - 47 miles
Hills - too many to count
Heat - off the charts (only 28 degrees, so if you divide by 348/897 and muliply by 2.54674 you should get Fahrenheit, right?). Don't even get me started on miles and feet.

Today we wake up among Giants.
We peacefully set out among the trees. They are stunning and beautiful and we never want to leave. The temperature is perfect as we wind around the trees on a smooth paved road next to the Eel River. Its a perfect morning in the Avenue of the Giants! We roll along singing our own (horrible) indie folk song about staying and biking in the redwoods forever. It's hard to describe how big these trees really are. Not only are the trunks big enough to drive your car through, the are up to 370 feet in height! Looking up is dizzying!

Our first stop is Miranda, where we sit on the curb at the local grocery and stuff our faces with cereal, Greek yogurt, and watermelon! We've had limited grocery options the last few days and the break from greasy diner food is quite welcome. We get the watermelon thinking we'll either eat it all or leave behind what we can't. After all, today we start the ascent up the most famous hills on route. I, of course, forgot who I was biking with. Why would we leave half a watermelon behind when we have room to carry it? My husband is insane, and it's kind of awesome.
Not only does today have the most elevation we will do in a day, it's also hot and exposed once we leave the shelter of our giant friends. 
We cruise on and off the highway to ride through the small towns of Redway and Garberville. The side roads are quieter, and still have stunning river views. There are loads of people enjoying the river on this glorious sunny day. At times we wish we were off the bike and playing in the water too! 
We pick up lunch in Garberville so we can have a nice picnic in Richardson Grove State Park. Then its off the highway for another quiet side road. This one drops down near the river, and then turns into a slightly terrifying gravel (but maybe once paved?) hill. We survive the short hill, and are very thankful its pavement after!
We make it to our lunch stop and find a picnic table surrounded by redwoods right next to the river. We get our wish because there's a beach full of people playing in the river - and we get to join for a refreshing swim!! Okay, now we definitely aren't coming home. Where is home? Home is where the tent is!
We only have 15 miles of heat and hills left, so I guess we have to get back on our bikes.
Hill, heat, hill, heat, repeat! This is the start of the climb up the famous Leggett hill which we will finish tomorrow. We hit a road closed sign and have to take a minor detour - we're pretty sure it adds more hills. Yay hills! 

The hills we're riding through look a lot like home. The Eel river beside us is still a beautiful blue. We wish we were the kayakers paddling away down there.

We arrive at the campsite only to find out that it's cash only. Of course we've had cash every other time... But they've always taken card and we've perhaps gotten a little complacent. The store across the road won't give us cash back and theey tell us there's an atm 7 miles back up the road, so we bum $4 off a nice gentleman.

We set up camp and seek the river for another quick swim before dinner. The path to the swimming hole is steep switchbacks and stairs. LEG DAY. EVERY DAY. The swimming hole is wonderful, we may have stayed there indefinitely - but we need dinner!
We head across the road from the camp to the Peg House - whose slogan is an appropriate 'Never don't stop.' They have delicious burgers and live music! We feel quite spoiled sitting under an umbrella drinking our rootbeet floats. It turns out the nice gentlemen who lent us the money is the lead singer in the band! The Eclectic Coyote Band! We plan to donate to the cause in return for the favour :)

Tomorrow we start the day with a 5 mile uphill climb - wish us luck!

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