I started this post on Sunday evening in my tent at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, pretty much exactly one week after I said goodbye to my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. It feels so far, so distant at this point, certainly longer than a week.
The first few days were filled with doubts, with (lower) body pains and the realization that going north from San Francisco might have been, well, a stupid idea. Riding into headwind can suck big time. So far, I probably had tailwind on two days, on the others it was mostly head or sidewind. No sense in complaining, I need to put my head down and “ride it out” until Florence in Oregon when I turn east and the wind is, allegedly, in my favor. Or so the many tourers I encountered coming from the north are telling me.
While the beginning was all about getting used to this lifestyle on the road and the daily grinding out of miles, I noticed a certain “getting used to” effect towards the end of the week. The legs aren’t hurting as much, packing and unpacking gets more and more efficient and sleeping in a tent less and less uncomfortable. This is encouraging.
The highlights so far were…
- Raccoons finding a single packet of oatmeal in one of my panniers at my first night of camping. Lesson learned.
- Still regretting that I committed myself to 70 miles on my second day. My legs are still giving me a hard time about it.
- A guy around Ferndale in Humboldt County yelling “You gonna get killed!” from his souped-up truck. That section of California is quite non-Californian, I found
- Mendocino and Warmshowers host Jesse
- Sleeping underneath the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and riding the Avenue of the Giants
- Me destroying two of the three bike jerseys I brought because I wanted to be efficient and dry them in the much too powerful drier at the KOA campground in Eureka. Lesson learned.
- The coastal views along the Scenic Drive north of Arcata on Day 8
- The people I met so far. A sample of it can be seen on my Instagram stream.
Just yesterday I crossed into Oregon, an experience that turned out very much anticlimactic, given the foggy conditions and the chilly headwind. This bumps up my mileage to 480, which averages to about 50 miles per day. It is still less than ten percent of the overall goal and I find it hard to comprehend, even imagine at this point, doing this for another eleven weeks, which is the best case scenario.
But I know it is doable. And it is only up to me to prove it.