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The Lost Coast

2014/12/01
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!
LostCoast1

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.
LostCoast2

The closed Post Office in Honeydew.

LostCoast3

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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