Biking Our Way Through California

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Only a few days since our rest on the Klamath river, but we’ve already trekked nearly 170 miles south through California. The mileage sign for San Francisco continues to tick down as we bike along, and it’s just below 200 to our finish line! Though we are excited to arrive and explore the city, we’re making the most of our time in the beautiful redwoods.

 

Within twenty miles of our resting spot in Crescent City our group crossed into the Redwood State Forest. We met a fellow bicyclist from Ireland halfway up our 1200 foot climb, and Stan and Ben enjoyed talking to a cross country motorcyclist when we relaxed at the bottom of the hill.  Here we took many pictures of the group with a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean and sandy beach in the background. Later, our grocery stop included Liz and Maud making friends with a beautiful (and friendly!) Cuban Doberman outside the store.  At the end of our journey for the day we stopped at Big Tree, an enormous redwood close to the shooting location for Star Wars. Our campsite at Elk Creek also boasted an incredible nature trail that we all walked through, with Dylan in the lead pointing out all the facts he had learned about the trees.

 

Our next two days took us through more amazing forest and farmland scenery, as well as encounters with incredible people. Though we experienced four flat tires in one day, we ran into Bruce, another bicyclist making his way south—albeit on a single speed mountain bike! He helped us fix a flat and a few spokes and rode along with us for a few miles, providing some great company.  Our KOA campsite that evening included free mini golf and a nice fire pit which Max, Ben, and Dylan decided to utilize to make “hobo packs” (a Wilderness Ventures ‘ classic) for dinner—a tasty foil wrapped package of meat, broccoli, and potatoes.

 

With that dinner still full in our stomachs, we made our way into Humboldt Redwoods State Park the next morning.  This day included a fantastic side road through California farmland, where Liz and Maud made a few stops for some wild blackberries and pictures of the fog rolling over the mountains. At the top of an epic hill in this countryside, we found ourselves near a farm where Andoni, Liz, and Maud enjoyed feeding a friendly horse.  Off the country lane, we started the first part of our ride on the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic alternate to route 101. This road is home to some seriously large redwoods, such as the Grandfather and Immortal tree, both over 1000 years old.

 

Continuing through the coniferous giants, we traveled another 50 miles to Standish Hickey State Park.  We were lucky to pass by a “drive-thru” tree, which, in our case became a bike-thru (the pictures will explain it all!).   Here, Liz and Dylan found their way up a secret staircase in a tree house, while Andoni figured out how to fix his panniers with one of his useful multi-tools. Out of the forest, our ride followed along 101 again, where we passed by the Bigfoot Legend and Confusion Hill. It was a hot journey, but the incredible swimming hole at Standish Hickey made it all worthwhile. Once it cooled off last night we also enjoyed some local music across the street, where our own Max got on stage with the band to play bass. From his beat boxing and whistling during the rides, we knew Max had rhythm, but seeing him on stage we can only imagine him as a successful musician someday! This is certainly a great spot for our rest day, and we have plans to enjoy more of the river, a free yoga class today, and a campfire this evening!