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The Lost Coast

This was originally written in an email to Jim (kind of like a cousin-in law), hence the unusual wording. My bike ride was lovely. I had planned on riding the Lost Coast (Mattole Rd) and then heading south once I got back to the Hwy 101 area. Day 1 started with a 7 mile climb of ~1,700 ft out of Ferndale. I then dropped quickly to nearly sea level and back up and over another 900 ft climb. They were both steep with the second one steeper than the first. I was then riding against a headwind along the water. After a few miles, the route headed up and inland again. This is around where I spoke to a motorcyclist, one of the two people with whom I spoke on my entire trip. We chatted about the road and campgrounds. This is also where I ate some of my one-pound cheese burrito (hold everything but the cheese) and trail mix (I had to settle for Trader Joe’s as I ate all the unsweetened chocolate mix from your house while we were driving away). The one town I rode through is called Petrolia. It had a combo store/post office that was closed for the holiday. My campground was about 7 miles further down the road. I decided to turn in early. I arrived around 3:30 and was probably in bed by 7:30. The campground had great hot showers and I’m pretty sure I shared mine with some leeches. In a panic, I quickly got dressed, put on my long underwear all twisted, and ripped a hole in it. Thanks Jim. I don’t think I would have been so worried about slimy black things inching their way to me if you hadn’t told us about the leech in your swimming pool!

Along the coast for a bit.

I had the campground to myself that night. Despite going to bed early, I slept in late. Part of that was due to waking up really cold a few times in the night because my sleeping pad kept deflating. That happened the second night too. It’s just as well; I’m happy to not be using it anymore and don’t have plans to patch it again. That sleeping pad was noisy. I call it the potato chip because it’s as loud as a crinkling bag of potato chips. So, no more potato chip. The next day began with about 7 miles of gentle rolling uphill to a town called Honeydew. Its combo store/post office was closed due to Thanksgiving as well. But, the porch was in the sun and I had more cheese burrito and trail mix while I soaked in the rays. Leaving Honeydew, I climbed back up and over the coastal range. This was 8.5 miles ascending, the first 5 or so were super steep and the last 3 leveled out quite a bit. By super steep, I mean riding at a 3 mph pace for about 2 hours. Leveling out means speeding up to 5 mph. The climb was about 2,500 ft. Descending was exciting and steep for about 7-ish miles. The road then turned to a gentle slope near some large redwood groves in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I intersected the Avenue of the Giants route after going under Hwy 101 and camped about 3 miles to the south.

The closed Post Office in Honeydew.


Topping out on a 2,500-foot climb.

I had plans to ride further south, loosely following Hwy 101 but there was lots of rain in the forecast and I had already spent two cold nights with the potato chip and had a hole in my long underwear. So, I had Kristen pick me up in the morning and we loaded all of my now soaking wet gear into the car and headed home. All in all, I climbed (and descended) 8,500+ feet on some terribly bumpy country roads and had a lovely time.
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