We had a long day ahead of us and had been intending to get out early. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen. We were too busy talking to Gerry and learning about the tor behind his house which local Native American legend says is the birthplace of the earth. Having seen the stars the night before, it was believable. The milky way in particular had been stunning. Alas, with 90 miles and a chunk of climbing ahead of us we couldn’t sit round and hear more stories and so said our goodbyes and rolled on out.

The ride to Eureka took us through Redwood State Park. The road before Crescent City had been tree-lined, but it was no preparation for what was to come. When you tell people you are going to California, everyone tells you that you need to see the redwoods, see Big Sur and go along US101/US1. I’ve been told that the oldest redwoods are inland, but if they are much taller than these ones it wouldn’t mean much. The trees were already ginormous, so bigger ones would have been lost on me. It’d be like having to ride 200 miles instead of 195, they’re both going to flatten you so you don’t notice the difference.

I tried taking pictures of the redwoods and failed. At first I thought that a combination of my camera, the epic size, the lighting and my lack of camera skills were to blame. Having looked at what Google Images throws up when you search for redwoods, I guess that they’re just not possible to capture. It’ll be like trying to capture the vastness of the Grand Canyon when I get there.

As the elevation profile at the bottom shows, the majority of the climbing was in the morning. It meant that when we got to Orick I was feeling more lethargic than I had for a long time during the ride. We went into the grocery store and worked out what to eat to get my blood sugar back up. I was incredibly tempted to buy a half-gallon of ice-cream, but some semblance of sense won out and a couple of packets of instant noodles and cups of sugary hot water later and I was ready to roll out again.

We had taken the detour through Prairie Creek in the morning and seen lots of redwoods so we decided to stick to 101 to get us to Eureka. It was less pretty, but my neck was a little sore from all the staring up at the tops of trees. C was also starting to feel a bit tired and unsure about the distance we had left to cover. I told her that we only had to focus on making it to Trinidad, the next town down the road. When we got there we could rest and see if she was good to keep riding. That’s what we did and after a 30 minute break she was good to roll on towards Arcata and although by Eureka she was exhausted she made it to our destination for the day.

I climbed the stairs, knocked on the door and met Victor who headed in to open the garage door. C was sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs, by the garage door, and when the door opened and Victor appeared she greeted him from her supine position. A couple of minutes of rest later and she got her second wind and was up and being social again.

We were Victor’s first guests on Couchsurfing, but you couldn’t tell. He was a fabulous host who made us feel at home and I was happy to be having our rest day at his. He’s currently working out what he wants to do and waiting to go back to college in January and so had free time to show us around the next day. We made plans for that while eating the Tater Tot Casserole he had prepared for us and talking to his friend Ben who is currently trying to get qualified to teach. They are behind a literacy programme in Lesotho and Ben has spent months there and his passion is obvious. I hope to stay in touch and when I get to Africa whenever it may be to go to Lesotho and see the effects of his work on the ground.

Riding down the coast

Why there are no pictures

Blustery downhill through the redwoods

I need to clean my camera lens

Ramble about mile markers