Day 24 & 25: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Day 24 (2016-09-19): ~45 miles from Burlington Campground to Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area. Mix of US 101, Avenue if Giants, and parallel old highway.

Man, today was the first day I rode with contacts and it felt so damn good! It’s sunny and in the 70s. I’m cruising with shades on, cut-off T-shirt, no leg warmers, listening to Tom Petty. This is exactly what I wanted in a tour – it’s about time I got to ride and soak up the sun! Today 101 hasn’t been bad yet either, which I appreciate. We’re on and off for a while but the last 8 or so will be 101 with a bunch of climbing.

 

Sunshine. Warmth. No shirt. Shades. Now this is what I am talking about!

We just rolled into the Food Warehouse in Red way, and after learning out lesson in Eureka I am standing guard with the bikes while Lindsey is inside. It’s a dingy looking strip with a bunch if guys standing around looking for work, hitchhiking, or what have you. Better to play it safe. Sat and ate lunch on the side of the road and cleaned up the drivetrains a bit – first time since Newport, which was almost two weeks and 400-500 miles ago. Ah, what a relief. After lunch we climbed out of Redway and up to Garberville, then climbed out of Garberville on 101. It’s hot and the sun is glaring, but not so bad. Lindsey felt “like she was dying.” I started losing patience at this point, as we were moving very slow and it wasn’t ridiculously hot, but luckily the climb was short.

We expected a long climb today to cut the climb to Leggett in half, but the majority of it will be tomorrow. Thanks Adevnture Cycling for your less-than-helpful maps! Although it was not a major climbing day it was hot and there was little reprieve from the sun so we rewarded ourselves with a blackberry sundae and then sat around with Becca, our new touring friend, and chatted for a couple hours. Tonight’s menu was pizza in a cup – couscous with cheese, pepperoni, and sauce. Oh, and did I mention a 6-pack of beer? This is the part of touring I love!

 

Pizza in A Cup
Calories: 600-800, or more.
Time: Water boil + 5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (to taste)
  • Mozzarella cheese (string cheese for easy single-serving use)
  • Italian seasoning.

This is a very simple meal that, while failing to recreate the texture of pizza, at least comes fairly close on taste. The ingredients are simple and you can customize it however you want. Here we did pepperoni pizza using mozzarella sticks for the cheese and a “Near East” couscous mix (we saved the spice mix for another meal).

Directions: Bring water to boil. Add all ingredients and stir together. Let sit for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff couscous and enjoy.

 


 

Day 25 (2016-09-20): ~40 miles from Standish-Hickey to MacKerricher State Park in Cleone, CA. Highway 1.

 

Breakfast burrito. Need I say more? The Peg House is just across the street and has filled all our dessert/beer/breakfast needs. While the sausage & egg burrito was probably a 4 or 5 out of 10, if my best homemade were an 8/10, after so many days of muesli it gets the job done. After all, we cannot exactly make breakfast burritos with sweet potato on the road. Oh, how I miss cooking!

 

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One lackluster breakfast burrito on the backdrop of a tie-dye minivan. I’ll take it!

We dilly-dallied again and did not hit the road until 10:30 despite leaving the tent at 7:45 and eating a quick breakfast out. The Adventure Cycling maps are great for listing a lot of information and giving the route in one easy purchase but man they suck – we thought we hit the top when we arrived at Leggett, but if you look closely on the maps you see that Leggett is actually just before the climbing begins. No wonder it seemed too easy to be real – it was! ACA’s problem is their maps look like a freshman GIS student made them the night before their project was due. Labels are poor, color scheme is difficult to read, and some very important information (like where a giant climb starts) is left to approximation and guesswork. Nice job…

It was a legit (Leggett, get it?) climb with no shoulder. I’m not sure of the grade but I’d bet a lot of it was the 5-7℅ range with a few steeper sections. I did the whole thing from camp to top in under an hour, which was something like 8 miles? Didn’t quite keep track. It was pretty peaceful with the relatively low traffic and Lindsey and I agreed to do our own things, which meant I could ride at my own pace and not worry about losing her. I passed Becca too, and we all met before embarking on the descent.

 

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A steep, sharp switchback climbing out of Leggett. Camera’s never capture elevation well but believe me when I say we climbed!

The descent was fun with some steep, curvy sections that let me lean into the turns. They were blind turns though and the dappled sunlight made it risky to take them too fast. At one point I let a huge RV pass me on a flat section – mistake. A minute later we descended again and I had to keep stopping because I’d catch up to him on tight bends. I stopped in a little redwood grove to wait for Lindsey, and started lunch with some carrots and spicy humus. Yum!

I set up lunch here after the descent in the first reasonable place, as we agreed. After 45 minutes she hadn’t arrived. Great. She should not have been more than 10-15 minutes behind. Unless she had an issue or stopped before me somewhere. I flagged down a driver and asked if they had seen her – nope, they had not seen a single cyclist in the climb/descent. I started getting worried and stuffed my rear panniers behind a tree somewhere and looped back for about 4 miles to look for her. No luck. I thought she had stopped somewhere before me but once I hit the real climbing I decided to turn around – she would not have stopped to lunch on the main descent and if she was in trouble (and not on the road, assuming the drivers I asked didn’t miss her) then I would be better off getting to a town and asking for help. I put some music on, sent her a text in case I got service somewhere, and started pumping out the miles. I rode hard for about 10 miles until I finally hit the coast and had service enough to call her – she was in Westport, a town about 15 miles past where I stopped for lunch.

 

The tiny town of Westport was a welcome sight after losing Lindsey, doubling-back, then finding a secret steep climb after the long descent (Thanks for nothing Adventure Cycling maps!)

Man, I was pissed that she rode straight past me in a clearly marked picnic area and I had to stress about it and double-back. TIP TO PEOPLE RIDING TOGETHER: CARRY CHALK. If you get split up or decide to ride separately for a while the lead person can chalk the road to help the follow locate water, lunch stops, or anything else of importance.

The last piece of the ride was a rocky coastline along the 1 – California’s draught is obvious in the parched yellows and browns of the landscape. By the time I got to camp and showered I was over it, but I was definitely a bit out of it. The physical exertion and mental impact of going into emergency mode took a lot out of me.

Poor California, where did all the water go?

Dinner was simple: spaghetti with red sauce. We used angel hair as usual, since it cooks quickly and chopped up a pepper and string cheese to add a little extra. Topped it with some Italian seasoning and it was perfect. I’m not sure why we haven’t done pasta more – it us easy, cheap, extremely filling (1600 calories in the pasta alone), and doesn’t look and taste like a knock-off of something I would make at home.

We turned in pretty early after dinner – now that we are back on the coast it gets chilly at night. I got the leg rub I was promised after today’s stressful events and also returned the gesture. I spent some time looking at bike touring meals as I continue to think about my Bike Kitchen idea, then called it a night.

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