Day 18: ~ 35 miles from Brookings, OR to Mill Creek Campground in the Redwoods, CA
Long-ass morning. We did not leave camp until about 10:00, then went to the local library where I spent an hour and some preparing for California (maps, checking campgrounds, etc). By the time we finally hit the road it was noon…good thing we had a short day. Except not..
We hit a wicked headwind a few miles outside of Brookings and it followed us most of the way to our campsite. We crossed into California pretty uneventfully – the terrain had been getting steadily drier, so it wasn’t a huge change. We also got waved through the checkpoint (the check for produce and stuff), so not even that was exciting.
Oh, and did I mention it felt like rolling into Pennsylvania? Look at all the fields, cows, and old farmhouses!
California welcomed us with a gigantic jail not far from the state line and Crescent City full of huge roads, poor cycling infrastructure, and a lot of traffic. We knew California would be a lot less helpful to cyclists but man, this first day really made that apparent more than I expected!
South of the city we climbed for a few miles up 101 with little to no shoulder and a pretty steep grade. Thankfully, construction had the road down to one lane at spots, giving us a few places to ride to the right of the cones and allowing us to wait for traffic to pass then ride freely on the road while traffic was going through the one-lane area behind us in the opposite direction. It’s a good thing too – Lindsey was dying (her words, not mine) on the climb. When we finally made it to the false-summit we turned into the entrance for the Mill Creek campground, only to descend for 2.5 miles and lose most of the altitude we just gained! The upside? All this was in a redwood forest. They’re huge!