Day 4 – Scotia to Fort Bragg – 9/23/2013

Today, I started early and fully rested. Went across the street for a cup of coffee, and some goodies to take along for the ride. Finished my breakfast, got all my gear ready, checked out from the hotel. The road was still wet from all the overnight rain. I decided to dress lighter, and for the warmer weather that I knew was coming soon. The morning was cloudy, crisp and cold.

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Nice view of the Eel River from Highway 101
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Riding the Avenue of Giants!

I was looking forward to ride the Avenue of the Giants.  The road was very quiet. I like quiet roads. After a few miles on 101 I finally turned off to see the “Giants”. It was indeed beautiful. Almost no traffic to speak of, and beautiful scenery. And to top it off, the weather progressively got better.

The road followed the Eel river to my left and, sometimes, the highway to my right. I went thru a few small towns.  When I arrived at Myers Flat I decided to get a latte at the local coffee shop. The shop was open, but no barista or anybody in sight. Waited for a couple of minutes and then decided to move on.

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Another view from the Avenue of the Giants.

That was also the end of my ride with the “Giants” because the remainder of the avenue was closed for repairs. So it was back to 101. By now there was more traffic on the highway. Oh well! At least it was warmer and sunny. I made my way back to the highway and onto my next  waypoint, Garberville by way of Redway. Both were not memorable towns. I made my way in and out as fast I could, and went back to the highway. There I met John, a Brit guy that had started in Alaska, and was planning to be in Panama sometime in October. Cool!

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German cyclist from Cologne.
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Nice view from 101 onto the Eel River.

After that I met a German guy from Cologne. He was going to San Francisco and he was in no hurry. He wasn’t even certain of when he would arrive there. Heck! He didn’t even know where he would be sleeping at the end of the day. This only happens when you have plenty of time to travel. Unfortunately, not my case.

I continued to travel towards Leggett where I would take highway 1 back to the coast after climbing to 1,450 feet. Once in Leggett I went looking for the store so I could refill my camelback with water. That was because the next 28 miles had no services. To my surprise the store was closed, fenced and schedule to reopen sometime in the future. No water there!

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I’m finally getting on Highway 1. The coast is near!

So I proceeded towards the center of the town and came to stop at gas station where I got two small bottles of water and a Mexican Coca-Cola. That’s right, a Coca-Cola! Last time I had a Coke was in Spain at the end of May 2010.

I then headed back to Highway 1 eager to go across the climb and get down back to the coast. The temperature was around 78F, and the sun was shinning on a great blue sky.

It was quite the climb. I went from 787 feet to 1,919 in about 5 miles. But it was well worth it. You know how it is, one goes up must come down. And down I came! Some 10 miles all the wait to 75 feet. That was a great reward for my hard work. Not to mention that I got back to the coast. Even before I got to see the coast I could smell the ocean (and myself) and feel the salt and the humidity in the air.

And then I turned a corner on the road and there it was. The Pacific Ocean! What a great sight! I stopped at a view point and congratulated myself for choosing this ride as a vacation ride.

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First view of the Coast after coming down on Highway 1.

After a well deserved break, I continued onward to Wesport, a short 13 mile ride, for my overnight stop. According to my map this was an all service town of 238 people(!).

The 13 miles passed really fast thank to the beauty of the coast and the energy I “captured” from my favorite star, the Sun. When I arrived to Westport I found that hotels and restaurants were closed for the season or some other reason.

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Highway 1 just north of Westport, CA.

My nearest option was to continue to Fort Bragg, some 15 miles away. Sunset was less than a hour away. This was my only option, so without much debating I continued towards Fort Bragg.

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It’s a cyclist! No shadow of a doubt.

On the way I spotted a fellow cyclist. Eager to strike some conversation I sped up until I caught up with the cyclist. It turned out it was a 22 year old woman from Portland. She had just received her degree as a psychologist, and was taking a well deserved break.

We talked about the ride for a while. After some 30 minutes she made it to her destination for the night. I continued on, and some 20 minutes later I arrived to Fort Bragg where I used my iPhone to figure cheap accommodations for the night. The nearest accommodation was at an old Travel Lodge just a mile down from where I was.

I secured a room for the night, and asked for direction to the nearest place that had beer and food. A mexican restaurant a couple of blocks south form the motel was the place. After a quick shower, I made my way to the Mexican restaurant, and ordered some Carne Asada and a local Beer.  And because this was a long arduous day with very little food on the way I was really hungry. So I inhaled my Cane Asada and remained hungry. Seeing that I had finished my meal the waiter came back and asked me if wanted dessert. I responded that I wanted the menu. He gave me a puzzled look, and asked me if his portions weren’t big enough for me. I thought his reaction was pretty funny. I explained that I was on bike ride and that I was hungry. After I placed my second order he told me that we would have a larger than normal portion prepared for me. Cool! I celebrated by ordering a second beer. Consumed my second meal, ordered dessert, went back to hotel, and turned in for the night.

I had done 111 miles and climbed 18,895 feet. My moving time was 10 hours and 1 minute and my total travel time was 11 hours and 53 minutes. I had a great time!

Total distance: 111.39 mi
Max elevation: 1949 ft
Min elevation: 3 ft
Total climbing: 20056 ft
Total descent: -20144 ft
Total Time: 11:52:34

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