Thursday, June 20, 2019

Day 19 - Brookings to Mill Creek

Distance - 42 miles

Yesterday I promised you a story.
Today we ventured into the unknown. All we know of the California portion of the ride is
A) we will have to pay for showers again (which means it's back to wet wipes and towels like real campers)
B) it has amazing redwoods
C) there are lots of hills, including the biggest climbs on route
We woke up to glorious sunshine and a perfectly low tide for exploring the many tide pools just a short walk from our tent door. We saw loads of sea anemonies and sea stars and little fishies. We had our final free showers and charged everything we could. For some reason, the phone won't turn on. It just keeps trying to cycle on and going blank. We figure we'll leave it for a bit and it will eventually sort itself out.
In Brookings we find Mattie's Pancake House (luckily, since now we're without our best friend Google Maps). Here we are treated to some massive delicious breakfast platters before reluctantly departing Oregon.
In California we find happy cows. Lots and lots of happy cows. Today is one of the 60 mile days we split into two shorter days. We think we're in for a short flat riding day, but we may have read the guidebook a little wrong. After 27 miles of uneventful flat farm riding we enter Crescent City. We need to find a bike shop because my gears are slipping, my shifter is loose, and my front tire has quite a wobble. Chris wants to ride straight through town but I force him to take the scenic ocean route.
If we thought we knew wind before today, Crescent City proved us wrong. The first gust of wind  took me across a full lane of traffic before I could correct it. Thankfully we had a tailwind for the most part.

On the way there I see a sign for the airport and wonder if I can just get a flight home from here.
The small bike shop is busy, but says if we can wait an hour he'll take a look. We kill time at a nearby diner, and drown our sorrows in icecream floats and banana splits (but they ran out of bananas, so sad).
Back in the bike shop we find that my tire (not rim) could use a replacement, but he doesn't have the right size tire. My chain is so stretched that it doesn't even fit his tool - he has a cassette that would work but he sold his last ten speed chain yesterday.
Nothing so bad I can't ride, so he recommends just limping along the next 70 miles to Arcata and getting everything replaced there.
We blindly set sight for town and find a Safeway with some WiFi. We try the phone again without luck - so opt for the tablet instead. We find the bike shop, which we conveniently would have passed the first time if I had just listened to Chris. It's also 1.3 miles directly into the wind.
Then we're off to Walmart to get groceries and another cell phone. We like Google Maps a lot. And knowing where we are is helpful. Also, without these blog posts we will return with very little memory of this whirlwind tour. We can't even remember where we were this morning!
I sat outside of Walmart for an hour... Waiting. Reading. Reapplying sunscreen. Rereading our guidebook. It was hard to tell how much of a climb we would do before hitting camp for the night. The nice guy at the bike store indicated we would do the entire climb, and that the campsite we we're aiming for then basically dropped straight back down. But the guidebook says it's a flat 2.2 miles... Only one way to find out!
Chris eventually comes out with a new cheap phone - hooray!! But no groceries :(
I rewrite yesterday's blog while he gets groceries (we needed more than usual as the next couple of days are pretty bare). At 5:15 pm we leave Walmart after at least four hours of windy city torture.
With that all behind us, we actually have a pleasant, cool, and reasonably traffic free ride to camp which - you guessed it! - was another 1000' down after the full 2000' climb. We accidentally set up in the campsite beside the hiker biker camp (because today is just one of those days!). On the bright side we realized it on our own and didn't get kicked out!
We're in surprisingly good spirits once fed and in the right camp, after both admitting we were quite ready to call it quits today.
Now we're in the famous redwood forest, and this is only the beginning! There's also road signs for San Fran!! It's incredible how far we've come!

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