Brookings, OR → Klamath, CA
Net Elevation gain: 76 ft. (121 ft. to 197 ft.)
Average Speed: 10.4 mph
Top Speed: 37.4 mph
Time spent biking: 5 hours 6 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: 8 hours 20 minutes
Miles biked today: 52.9
Total for trip: 4029.3 miles
Last night, when we were speaking with Wim, we talked about how we never get early starts. He said he rarely does either, and that he's just made peace with that. Well, we're trying to. You might think that after the off-day yesterday we'd get a nice early start today, but if you did you'd be wrong. We got up early-ish, but Jenny hadn't slept well, so after breakfast of fruit on yogurt and some other snacks, after we each took a nice hot shower that helped us to relax, and after Jenny did most of the packing, we finally got going at 10:10. In fact, we were the last bicyclists out of the campsites. We did the right thing not to stress about it, but we really would like to start earlier.
Before we even passed through Brookings, we saw two bikers paused by the side of the road for different things, so we really weren't so far “behind” as we might have thought. We got off of Route 101 for a while onto quieter roads, following the directions of the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) map. We had to get back on for a short stretch to cross the bridge over the Smith River … and into CALIFORNIA! Our last state!
We were really excited, and of course stopped at the welcome sign for a few pictures. Also stopped there was Bruce, a motorcyclist traveling on his own from Illinois. It was nice to chat with such a kind fellow traveler, and after we took a few pictures for him, he took a few pictures for us. Some motorcycles might be annoyingly loud on our ears, but we've liked most of the riders we've met.
They waved us through the Agricultrual Inspection checkpoint half a mile later, and that was it. California until we fly home. We savored the feeling of that for a while. We missed a turn for a quieter road that would have given us a view of the ocean, but we didn't mind riding Route 101 at that point because the road was nice, and we got back off it when the next ACA directions crossed over Route 101.
The sides of the road were mostly unexciting, but some fields were clearly growing something different than we'd seen before. When we stopped for a snack a nice woman explained that they were Easter lilies. Jenny had guessed they were lilies, but we didn't know this was the only place that Easter lilies grow. Neat.
Our snack didn't do too much to stave off our hunger, so in a few more miles when we came to a market in Fort Dick, we bought a small chocolate milk and some of that mango-peach-pineapple juice we like, then sat outside at their picnic tables and cooked up our much-anticipated lunch. Pesto is so good, and we ate it over the last of our egg noodles plus some of the rice pasta Brett's mom sent, Italian sausage, Jarlsberg cheese, and Brussels sprouts. We made a lot of food, but we ate it all up!
Jenny noticed a sign while we were cooking that mentioned they had wifi available, so we took out the computer and posted another entry to the blog we'd written the night before. That felt good. We also got to read a whole passel of funny and sweet comments people had left. Thank you! They put us in a really good mood.
Our next town was Crescent City, but before we got there something very exciting happened: we biked our 4000th mile of the trip!!! We have enjoyed hitting the other thousand-mile milestones, but this one was by far the sweetest, because we know it's our last and because it's a very big number now. We celebrated with a whole strawberry-rhubarb pie from a restaurant in Crescent City, which in retrospect was a poor decision, but a thing we've been talking about doing for a celebration all trip. We didn't eat the whole pie, thankfully.
It was very exciting to get a whole pie. It would have been even more exciting if it wasn't quite so sweet and tasted better. Oh well. Yay for 4000 miles biked!
Just south of Crescent City, now back on Route 101, we started climbing a significant hill. We knew it was coming, but it wasn't so bad. Well, it was hard work for sure, but we were climbing into another exciting area of our trip that we've been looking forward to since before we left: the Redwoods!!
Brett spotted his first Coastal Redwood tree not too far up the hill, and we both found it amazing to climb amongst the tall giants. The hill took us from sea level up to an elevation of about 1200 feet over a few miles, so this was a big climb. Wim passed us, but it was fun to keep him in sight for a little while before we stopped to take pictures and a breather.
What can we say about the redwoods that would convey how we felt under them? It's hard. We've heard so much about them, and Jenny had seen them before at some point in her travels, but we experienced them together today. They are so straight, so tall, but once surrounded by a grove of them and their massive trunks we felt both calmly enchanted and also excited.
From the top of the climb, it was an amazing descent back to sea level. The views to our right (west) of the ocean from such a height were a bit dizzying. When we got all the way down, we got our first glimpse of California beach, and it was nice. Pretty similar to Oregon, but nice.
Today was the first day on the coast that the wind wasn't pushing us along. We had a headwind on and off today. It wasn't windy under the great redwoods, but along the coast both in the morning and the early evening it was. Still, in the morning we rode pretty fast, and in the evening after the climb and descent we made decent time.
There are lots of different RV parks around Klamath, and we weren't sure which one to stay at. We even considered trying to make it up the next hill before we stopped, but then thought better of it. After a bit of asking and meeting up with Wim at a convenience store, all three of us split the cost of the next RV park we came to. It wasn't cheap, but probably nothing in this area is. At least it was reasonable when it was split, and we were glad to help Wim out in that regard as he'd already gone there and found it too expensive for one person.
It was pretty cold this evening. In fact, it was very chilly in the shade of the redwoods, too, especially going downhill. Jenny found it too cold to stay out, and dove in the tent. Brett cooked up some dinner from what supplies we had, and we munched on some potato chips as well. We had ramen noodles to use up, the rest of the pesto, a few leftover sprouts (ironic that Wim is from Brussels!), and some cheese. Brett also made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat while cleaning up.
Jenny worked on the computer in the tent while Brett slowly packed up for the night and chatted with Wim. Sometimes Jenny would comment from the tent, or Brett would go and ask her something. Most noteworthy from the conversation was Wim's question and our answer to it. He asked, “Have you had any 'miserable' days?” Brett considered a minute and then answered, “There were definitely parts of some days that were miserable, but no, we haven't had any days that were 'miserable'.” Wim felt the same for his trip, but mentioned that he'd run into a couple two weeks into a year-long tour and they told him they'd already had a few miserable days. Interesting comparison.
This campground had something that we didn't like. They have a fish cleaning station that they let the bears have access to. There is a family of three bears that come by about three times a day according to someone there, really predictably. We think this is not such a bright idea, because sooner or later something bad will happen when you are essentially feeding the bears. We didn't make the effort to go try to see the bear(s) before we brushed our teeth and went to sleep.