Day 16 - Mill Creek State Park to Patricks Point State Park - July 1, 2014

Wild Rhododendrons - Del Norte Coast Redwoods

Today, Snelling woke earlier than I did and hit the road. I took my time getting out. The two-and-a-half mile climb out of the campground was slow, but enjoyable. I rode past the ranger office and turned south on 101. I pushed up a short incline, then relaxed through the downhill of the Del Norte Coast Redwoods. I immediately noticed the wild Pacific Rhododendron growing heavily in the understory of the forest. As a lover and collector of rhodies, I was enthusiastic about seeing them in this particular natural environment.

As I moved west, the cool fog chilled me down. I stopped, put on my fleece and continued down the slope to the beach. The entire coast was socked in with a thick fog. It was pleasant to watch it pour over hills, giving a different perspective on the shoreline. I cycled on and met Snelling at "The Trees of Mystery." The parking lot attraction showcased a large sculpture of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Babe. I considered stopping, but left that point of interest for another day. Our thoughts turned toward Klamath, six miles down the road.

When first entering Klamath, I spotted a restaurant that specialized in chicken. I preferred a breakfast joint, so we kept moving. Before the bridge leading out of town, I noticed a large yellow sign that read "Log Cabin Cafe." We immediately turned our handlebars in her direction. The cafe offered reasonably priced meals and had the World Cup on. After eating and charging our electronics, we cycled back onto 101 and moved south.

The highlight of the day came after turning onto Newton B. Drury Parkway. The road runs through the middle of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a part of Redwood National Park. The northern part was and uphill climb. It was worth it. As the road sloped downward, I entered a spiritual place - an ancient redwood forest. Quietly cycling through the untouched wood was, by far, the most peaceful part of the trip thus far. The road meandered at a perfect pitch. I coasted at a crawl for miles. The redwood forests alone are reason enough to take this journey. Losing track of time, I finally broke into an open prairie. Toward the southern end, I encountered a couple wild elk grazing on wet grass. I will return.

Cycling on, we moved through Orick, headed west and rolled into Redwood National Park Information Center. I was interested in some of the displays. We had a long lunch on the benches outside the center, then moved on to Patricks Point State Park.

Upon entering the park, I payed my five dollars and asked the ranger to make quarter change for a dollar. She understood my request and uttered a quick comment regarding the hot water. From a distance, I heard the slight "ting" of a warning bell. I moved on to the hiker-biker campsite, set out my sleeping gear, cooked a little dinner and walked to the showers.

Hitting the campsite and washing the road off has become an anticipated experience. I pressed four quarters into the machine and waited for the water to get hot. After about a minute, I realized that lukewarm was all I could expect from the facility. I hustled through the cleanup, using only five of the ten minutes allotted. I opened the door to the sunshine and greeted two older campers intent on cleaning up. They questioned me about the water. I told them it wasn't great. They smiled, and each entered their own stall. Needing to brush my teeth, I walked around the back side and entered the bathroom. It was then that I heard the moans - the woman began complaining to her husband through the wall about her experience with an audible shake to her voice. I quickly left the premises. They need a larger hot water tank at Patricks Point.

We cycled just over forty-five miles today.

Spotlight: Drying Wet Gear

After taking a shower in the evening, my towel and flip-flops are always soaked. I have found a simple solution. I hook the towel underneath the bungee cord that holds my sleeping bag to the rack. I thread my flip-flops to the outside of my pannier with the strap on top. By the time I reach camp, both are completely dry.

The Drying Rack

No comments:

Post a Comment