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We had 70 miles ahead of us, but were having a fun time hanging out with the others at the house. There was also the slight problem of getting back down the poorly paved and incredibly steep road. With a fully laden bike, some of those drops would have been crazy especially given all the potholes. Cici prepared huevos rancheros which we had not had since Worthington, MN. I wanted to look at the elevation profile of the route so asked Sam if they had internet. He said yes but I’d need patience, it turned out the only reasonably priced internet access they could get was using dialup. I used it and it reminded me of the early days of internet when I’d used it at my dad’s university and I’d leave things downloading for hours before trying to copy them to floppy disks. I can understand why he plays solitaire while he checks his e-mail!

We put our things in the back of Sam’s van again and he drove us to the bottom of the hill. I recorded a video trying to show the awful road and you can see it at the bottom. It’s a little windy but hopefully captures it OK.

The ride was generally uphill through more trees and the 101 seemed a lot less busy than it had further north near Eureka which was pleasing. The windy uphill roads meant that C was often out of sight as I tend to climb faster than she does. Near the top of one climb I slowed down to wait for a few minutes and when she hadn’t caught up turned around. I found her at the corner before fixing the first front puncture we have experienced on the trip. She has a pump in her bags so was able to sort it out all by herself so I used the opportunity to go for a short fun wander in the woods as, although we’ve been driving through them, we hadn’t actually got off our bikes to walk.

The grey skies were darkening and by the time we got to Laytonville, about 20-25 miles out of Willits, we pulled in at a gas station for our first break outside of the puncture stop. We got to eat some delicious sandwiches Shirley had packed for us. While we stood around, the rain hit so we put on our rain gear and headed out.

At first the rain was light, but it got heavier and I was getting concerned about whether I should be listening to my iPod. The decision was taken out of my hands as I got a low battery warning and it turned off. It’s time in the washing machine and tumble dryer seems to have not only killed the backlight, but also reduced the battery life. I’m probably going to have to buy a new one in the next few months.

Scott, our host for the night, lived up a steep hill off the main road so had told us to contact him before we arrived. We had let him know, so when we got near to the hill and we saw a truck flashing its headlights at us I knew to pull over. We packed our things in his truck and he drove us up to his place he pointed out the steep sections that he often rides up and how cars are often surprised to see him there. As it winds up we were glad to be in the car. He also told us about the manhunt that was going on for a man called Aaron Bassler, the largest in at least recent North Californian history. Having something like that going on in the area reinforced just how disconnected we are from the ‘real world’. We are so out of the loop when it comes to both global and local news which is slightly disconcerting. I definitely need to do a better job of checking the BBC News site after I check BBC Sport.

When we got to Scott’s place we met both his wife, Tume, and their child Ocean. Tume set and met the goal to go to 100 countries before she got to 30 and Scott is very well travelled too. She is from Mongolia and it was really interesting to hear their travel stories. They run a tour company, and Scott is in a band and makes videos. We spent the evening watching a couple of fascinating documentaries that he and Tume had made about Mongolia. By the time I went to sleep, I was thinking about how I would be changing my route to incorporate a trip up there too.

Driving downhill part 1 – windy

Driving donwhill part 2 – windy

Tree time

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