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Archive for August, 2011

Day 49

Myers Flat. That’s not a description, it’s where I am now. A small little ‘town’ of 200 souls and a camp site by the river, deep in the heart of redwood country. Charming.

I’m on the long climb up to Leggett, which I’ll be tackling tomorrow. It’s at over 1700 ft elevation, but I think it’s quite a steep climb, so it might be a long, hard day in the saddle tomorrow. But if I make it in good time then it’s a free-wheeling, feet-up on the handlebars glide to Westport (pop. 238), and a beer and good times. Haven’t a clue what Westport is like, but it’s going to have beer and good times whether it likes it or not!

Today was pretty much more of the same; cloudy to start, sunny to finish with wind out of the north. The knee felt fine, but I only made about 65 miles. I also got my third flat. This caused by a small bit of roadside shrapnel that managed to penetrate the Batman-esque aramid layer in my tyres. There is so much junk on the side of the road out here; bolts, fishing lures, a piston con rod I saw today, wire of various sorts, shredded tyres and lots of bark. In fact it took me quite a while to figure out why there was so much bark everywhere. Fallen from the trees? No. Discarded by beavers? No.
You’re probably ahead of me here, but I only twigged when another huge logging truck roared past and actually dropped some bark… ahhh, I thought, that’ll be it then. It’s been by the side of the road since Anchorage. There is still an awful lot of logging going on up here.

Here’s me stood in a redwood tree. Before the loggers get to it.

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Someone say, ‘hobbit’?

The cyclist’s tan is coming on beautifully. Arms are bronzed, as are the lower legs, but I’m especially proud of the fine patterning I’m achieving on my hands.

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I think I’ve invented a new make-up for some sort of subtly different sci-fi human. Get me Spielberg, stat!

Love
Pete

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Day 48

A day of two halves today. It started in fog and cold, and ended in glorious sunshine and a fair wind. Let me show you…

Lunch at Trinidad was made more interesting by sitting next to the palm-reading Mary at the diner bar. She reminded me of one of those elderly matrons beloved of Gary Larson’s Far Side – diamanté studded glasses and pink fingernails. She was in turns blithely rude and then flattering. She read my palm for free(!) and got some things right and some things wrong. There’s a surprise. And apparently I have some Japanese in my background!? Mother?

After lunch it was all sunshine and fair winds until I stopped in Eureka for the night. I wouldn’t bother with Eureka. Bit of a dump.

Here’s what the afternoon looked like.

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Elk it would appear are bothered by The Honker.

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That looks like a pretty interested elk, if you ask me.

And whilst you can’t see their expressions from this photo, the seals on this rock certainly answered back when I honked. They must have been thinking there’s the Chris Bonnington of the seal world at the top of that cliff and we must salute him.

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Love
Pete

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Day 47

Well, a mixed day. It’s cold and foggy over here at the moment, but if you get to the top of some of these hills then, for a brief moment, you get to see the sun before you dive back down into the gloom.
It looks a bit like this.

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The beginning of California hasn’t filled me with confidence for the rest of my trip through it. The towns have been pretty nasty and the shoulders to the roads, so generous in Oregon, have all but disappeared here. It makes for some exhilarating downhills! I’ve driven through California before with Amanda, but it’s a different kettle of fish on a bike.

I think the lack of pedestrians makes it less human over here. Maybe it’s the same in all developed countries, but I’ve never ridden a long tour in them. So the only regular point of human contact I have is with shop and campsite/motel staff. And you don’t really get to strike up a decent conversation or make a lasting relationship with a conversation of only 89 seconds. I shall seek out bars and force people to talk to me! Although I did meet Hamish and John, two fellow Brits, who are kite-surfing the California coast. Good luck fellas. At least we’re used to the cold, eh?

Pip pip
Love
Pete

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Day 46

Here are some things I’ve learned about long distance touring so far:

1. It doesn’t appear to be a weight-loss program. Sure the legs are now made of steel, but the bit in the middle doesn’t seem to want to go. He and his stomach can now leap buildings in a single bound!
2. Don’t skimp on the lube. It’s the only thing between you and the dread chafing.
3. Maintaining your ‘form’ when pedaling is vital for efficiency. Nice and smooth revolutions gets you up any hill.
4. Keep your hands on the brakes down hill. And, conversely keep your hands on the bar-ends up hill.
5. A cadence of between 80 and 90 seems to suit me. Change gear accordingly.
6. Stop when you like. It’s not a race.
7. Wear a hat with a peak. It soaks up the sweat and keeps the rain or sun out of your eyes.
8. Always wear gloves. Your hands will be the first things that get it when you come off.
9. Stand up out of the saddle down hill. As long as it’s not too fast, it gives things a chance to air and you can stretch out the calf muscles.
10. Honk your Honker at least once a day. The following is a non-definitive list of the effect on some animals: Bears, bemused. Moose, never Honk a moose, especially with children. Cows, not bothered. Sheep, not bothered. Goats, not bothered. Horses, slightly bothered. An ass looked up, but I don’t think it was bothered. And crows positively stare you down. The research continues.

Let’s try another video…

Anything?

Love
Pete

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Day 45

Good riding, but nothing eventful. I’ve met a few more tourers – mostly from Seattle heading to San Fran. Seems like a popular thing to do, and I can’t blame them. This is spectacular scenery and perfect cycling weather. I’ve also seen a few unfortunate cyclists battling the other way against this wind, and they don’t look happy at all. Head down, arse up grinding slowly along a flat bit of road. Not much fun. You’re lucky to get a wave or a grunt from the poor beggars as you whistle past them barely touching the pedals, reading a paper and enjoying a small espresso. Still, I had about 600km of headwind on the Cassiar and Alcan, so suck it up!

I stayed in an enormous state park campsite, which I imagine is what Bedlam would have sounded like had it been outside. Screaming, whooping, whistling, crying, maniacal laughter. Kids and parents alike just letting rip with the sheer joy of being outside and separated by the enormous distance of three feet from the next nest of harpies. And then at about 2100 it all goes silent as they all retire to their RV’s to watch TV. To be replaced by the screaming, whooping and whistling of the local fauna. This can’t be helped, I understand, and once the raucous crows have turned in the the rest of the wildlife gets their chance to gently scream you to sleep. Ahh, the great outdoors! I love it.

Love
Pete

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