“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”
The last few days have been extremely diverse, both the camping and the riding, which goes to show that not everyday on the bike is by any means the same. I spent one of the best days this trip cycling through the “Avenue of the Giants,” a small road that took a thirty mile trip through the redwoods. It was cool (there was lots of shade), there was a beautiful river to swim and bathe in, and it was a very easy ride with almost no traffic. The next day though was completely different. The small road once again joined up with the busy freeway, and the day turned into a nightmarish Californian sauna. Since the road had veered away from the coast it was over 95f, and I spent the day climbing hills, without shade, beside a steady stream of impatient drivers. Sounds like hell right? Well it was, but near the end of the last climb of the day I remember thinking to myself that there was still no where else I would rather be. Fortunately that was the end of highway 101 for me, and the rest of my trip will continue along the smaller and very hilly highway 01. Though there is no shoulder, it is not very busy (and the cars have been considerate so far), and it follows right beside the coast which means it is a good fifteen degrees cooler than it would be inland. The downside to this road are the hills. Instead of long climbs (which are fine since you get into a rhythm and hardly notice you just climbed over 1000 ft), highway 01 is a constant path of small steep rolling hills. These are extremely frustrating because there is no way to get into a rhythm, you are constantly changing gears, and even the downhills aren’t that fun since you have to use your breaks (there are lots of very sharpe curves). Now, instead of the hundred degree day I experience a few days ago, I’m sitting in a sweatshirt outside a cafe on a cloudy sixty degree day. The weather here is about as crazy as I am!
There is a guide book that many people follow, and therefore do the same mileage and stay at the same campgrounds together every night. Though I have no interest following a guide book, I have met up with a group of about eight bikers (in separate groups of two and three) who stay together every night, and have joined them for a few nights at hiker/biker spots. It is a very different experience than free camping or staying with people along the way, and each camping style comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. These biker sites are a great way to meet fellow travelers because there are so many who stay at the certain spots listed in the book. Two of the nights I stayed at these sites there were 20-25 of us bikers all together! Though it is fun, it is also overwhelming, so I decided to stay on my own somewhere else for a night as well. The biggest benefit of staying alone is how much sleep you can get. Last night I slept over twelve hours, boy does that feel great! Today I have decided to only do about thirty miles in order to spend the afternoon on the beach (which will require a down jacket and pants today), so I had better get started.