Saturday, July 9, 2011

day twenty five

June 4th
MacKerricher State Park to Manchester KOA
44 miles

Slept in til 7 this morning, knowing we were going to have breakfast in Fort Bragg, 5 miles down the road.  Lots of dew on gear, tent soaked.  Its hard to find anything that irritates me more than folding up a went tent on dirt.  Bad start to the day.  Finished breaking camp, hit the road around 8:30AM.

Took old abandoned road turned bike/walking trail, Haul Road, all the way into Fort Bragg.  Nice and quiet.  Made it to Fort Bragg and Chip started looking up restaurants on his phone.  Decided on Eggheads, right on the main drag through town.  Had a 15min or so wait, very busy since the holiday.  Finally got our table, definitely worth the wait.  French toast, potatoes and bacon - awesome.

Hit the road around 11, much later I would've liked.  Still foggy.  TONS of traffic on the way to Mendocino, almost no break in cars.  Zero shoulder in most areas.  Luckily all the traffic actually slowed the cars down about 10 mph.

Arrived in Mendocino to see hundreds of cars parked along the streets, all the way out onto HWY 1.  Decided to investigate.  Rode into town and found the whole main street closed for a 4th of July parade!  Hundreds and hundreds of people, very cool vibe, everyone laughing having a good time.  Fog had cleared by now and there was nothing but sunshine.  Awesome surprise, stuff like this is what its all about for me.  Ended up watching the whole parade.  (**Later learned that the 4th of July is the only day of the year in Mendocino in which its legal to drink in public)

Left Mendocino with everybody else, it seemed.  As we piled on the miles, traffic started to diminish, though.  Stopped in Albion for lunch, Mark and Chip got sandwiches, I was still pretty full from the huge breakfast I had earlier, so I snacked on a few bagels and fruit.

Lots of ups and downs on HWY 1, hardly any shoulder.  Endless scenic views, though.  Just outside Elk was GNARLY hill!  Over 20% grade in some spots.  It really was so steep it was funny.  Actually kind of fun tackling it, standing in lowest gear.

Decided to stay at KOA, just north of Manchester.  We had gotten a tip from another biker that they had a special $9 hiker/biker rate at this KOA.  State park right across the street didn't have showers, so we were glad to hear this and pay the extra $4.

Pulled into the KOA and found the hiker/biker area.  Shared the campsite with a German biker couple that Mark and Chip had met before.  Took longest shower of the trip - endless, free, hot water.  Did laundry, tried to use their wifi but couldn't connect.

Cold after dark.  Mark made dinner while I sat around the huge community fire pit.  German couple there too, Caren and Bernd, talked with them for a while.  Extremely friendly.  Bernd just received a degree in mechanical engineering.  Caren has spent a lot of time in the States and her English is excellent, almost no accent.  She is studying to be a primary school teacher.  They started in Victoria, B.C. and are ending their trip in San Francisco, then renting a car for 2 weeks to drive all over.  Will probably see them the next few days until San Fran, since they are doing about the same mileage as we are.  They also toured Vancouver Island, which I really want to do.

Mark finished dinner, POUNDS of pesto chicken pasta.  Fucking amazing, we ate every last bit of it.  Stuffed.  I did dishes, then Skittles for dessert around the fire.  We all chatted about our journeys so far and watched a guy almost burn down the camp kitchen.

In bed around 11:30PM, great day.  Long day tomorrow, around 60 hard miles to Bodega Bay.  Feeling very strong at this point, noticed today that the extra loads after the grocery stores don't bother me anymore.  Getting more and more excited the closer we get to San Francisco.

Fourth of July parade in Mendocino

You would have LOVED this parade, Carlon!

band on a trailer

on our way out of Mendocino, back on HWY 1

looking South.  Carlon, I think we took our picture here a few years ago

part of the hill out of Elk, picture doesn't do the steepness justice

on our way to Manchester

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