Tag: Fortuna

Day 12: Hello I must be going

After a 35 mile ride to Fortuna (felt odd going north) I’m back at Eel River Brewing Company for a lunch stop. Counting Crows’ Long December is playing, which is one of those perfectly melancholy tunes for the last real riding day of my tour. The weather is back to normal, which means a stiff wind from the north… You know, the tailwind I was supposed to have the whole way down. Oh well.

I have some errands in Eureka, including swinging by Henderson Bikes to lay claim to a bike box to ship the Goblin back to the home of yesterday’s pine cone contest winner, Mr. Kevin Mooney.* After that it’s to the KOA to pay an absurd amount for a loud, highway side campsite. After paying five bucks a night to sleep in the redwoods, this seems balancing but at the same time utterly unfair.

Upside is I just saw the brewpub cat I first met at last year’s Climate Ride… Balancing, but good.






Day 9: Lessons in time-space management

One thing I’ve learned is to plan contingencies for the unexpected: bad weather, mechanical delays, injuries… You just need to have time to cover for them.

On the morning of Day 9, I realized I had zero margin for error to get to San Francisco, including a crazy 40 mile early morning ride the day of my flight back. It’s possible… I could have pushed, but I also knew that south of the redwoods (about 60 miles from Eureka), cell phones stop working for hundreds of miles, wifi is barely there, and my ability to juggle any one of a tour’s possible delays became near impossible.

So, I made the tough decision to pull the chord on the original plan… I’ll now slow way down and tour the Avenue of the Giants and Redwood State Park for a few days, then bike north to Eureka to ship the Goblin back to Portland, and then rent a car to drive to SF. I am doing this all Tuesday so I can get a chance to lift a glass with some Bay Area friends.

I look at my map and realize this has been an amazing adventure, and in some ways getting the chance to slow down and savor a 60 mile area for a few days is downright luxurious. It’s all just a little different than planned, but that’s life.

MJ is pushing on. With no deadlines of his own, he is still planning on heading to the Mexican border with family and friend stops in San Francisco and the L.A. area. It’s been a great trip and I know it’ll be odd to finish things without the mysterious one… but we’ll cycle together again.

A few highlights:

– MJ got his second flat within 2 days. This reinforced the wisdom of my decision… he’s had 2 flats in 3500 miles on this trip and they’ve clustered here. The road detritus in CA includes the sharp wires from radial tires, and they get through our Schwalbe Marathon tires that can stand up to nearly everything else.

– While flat repairs took place, I picked wild blackberries. I haven’t done that since I was a kid and it felt oddly centering. I might be doing more of that this weekend.

– Our campground is amongst enormous sequoias along the famed Avenue of the giants. It’s home for a few days… Not bad!

MJ Tip of the Day
F*ck it, we’ll do it live!





Day 8: We kick some ass, MJ gets a flat and we dine with the viola player from Titanic

The dawn of day 8 smelled like the smoldering campfire from the night before. Roosevelt Elk slumbered in the meadow next to our tent town of cycle tourists in this remote corner of California. But as with every morning, it was time to move on.

MJ and I set out to hit another 70+ mile day to go beyond what “the book” suggested was the right stop… A KOA in Eureka. Yeah, not going to happen. Instead we decided to take advantage of the relatively tame afternoon portion and push to a campground in Fortuna that we’ve both stayed at… Him on last year’s PDX-SFO tour, me on the Climate RIde.

There’s a brew pub around the corner. No mystery here on why we chose this now.

A cool start, a chocolate milk and some rolling hills of some note got us through the morning. After deciding the book’s scenic route wawasting valuable beer time, we decided to stick with 101 north of Eureka and jammed into town ahead of schedule. A brief break by the side of the rode invited conversation with several passing bikers, including Keith, a SoCal tourist with impeccable and efficient gear. We were 20 miles away, so we pushed on.

Well, I did. MJ… mr. “I never get a flat and I never get rained on” got his first on-tour flat after 16 kajillion* miles. Meanwhile I am dropping the hammer (bike term) in my highest gear, breaking land speed records like a Lance on HGH. Only later do I notice the twin texts from MJ stating he had a flat, and that he had fixed said flat and was on the way. Great support team, eh?

After dropping out of warp 11 and gliding into camp, Keith rolled up as I was checking in. Through a quirk of private RV park math ($22 + $22 +$22 = $33 if three bikers share a tent site rather than share a tent site separately… Seems like string theory or quantum something whatsit to me) we figure Keith would hang with MJ and I. MJ came rolling in about 15 minutes later after getting to warp 76.

Back to Keith:

– plays viola in movies you have absolutely heard of… Titanic, Avatar, etc.

– went to the Eastman School of Music for a grad degree, which makes him an honorary Rochestarian in my mind (despite not knowing Nick Tahou’s – he gets a demerit for that).

– put up with our craziness while eating with us at the brewpub (and incidentally, paid for the whole thing, which was way too kind)

– has never seen The Wire and got an earful on why that needs to change

Eel River Brewery was aces again, but has the least hoppy IPA I have ever had. No complaints, just saying.

Shorter day tomorrow… We need to exorcise a bad day on this portion of MJs route last year. Day after we exorcise mine. Screw you Leggett!

MJ Tip of The Day:
You should always save your most 80s looking shorts for laundry day. Then embrace the look.


*more than a thousand, less than a babillion

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