Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Pictures from today are here.

You can tell a lot about someone from the way that they handle setbacks. Some people get flustered and confused, some start flailing about, and others just stop dead. Many folks try to fix the issue, while others just give up and step away in hopes that the problem will fix itself ... or someone more able will take over.

I've always had the most respect for people who take a moment to analyze the problem, gather information, get ideas from others, and then choose a direction that effectuates a solution. This usual works out well, and I wish that I was the kind of person who could do this.< br />
You can also tell a lot about someone from the way that they handle windfalls -- you know, those gifts that just kind of fall into your lap at little or no cost. Some hide them away, while others make the most of them immediately.

I guess that today I was in the second camp of that, since I had a literal windfall and used it to do an extra 20 miles with a nasty climb that I wasn't supposed to do until tomorrow.

Since I had stayed in a hotel last night, it was easy to get an early start this morning. I grabbed breakfast at a restaurant down Jerry's Flat Road, and was heading out of Gold Beach by 8 am. Within half an hour, I was on the two-mile climb up Cape Sebastian.

As climbs go around here, this one was long and a little steep, with pitches averaging about eight percent. Worse, the shoulder kind of comes and goes, so you just have to take the lane and make the cars go around you. That's about as easy as you would think ... except when it comes to some pig-headed semi trucks and one or two RVs.

The wind was out of the south again, but lighter today. I made good time going through a series of state parks for the next 30 miles, stopping at most of them to take a picture. At one of these, I met a young lady who was heading back to Seattle with her mother, having just completed the same trip that I am currently doing. At a park before Brookings, I chatted with a local who had questions about my ride, and he also recommended a good place for lunch.

The burger place in Brookings was super, thanks to fresh-baked bread and perfectly done french fries. I was back on the road just after noon, and made a quick stop for water and candy bars after turning on Lower Harbor Road. While I was in the shop, three touring cyclists went by, so I jumped on my bike and ran them down.

The three guys were college students headed for Virginia. We talked a bit, but they were stopping at a store just before the California line. I gave them one of my RandoBoy cards and told them to look me up if their trip ended up including Nashville or the Natchez Trace.

After stopping for a picture at the "Welcome to California" sign, I jumped back on my bike. The wind was now mostly a cross-wind, occasionally getting behind me, so that I flew along on some of the next flat sections at over 16 mph -- not much normally, but huge for what I've been touring at lately. A series of quiet country roads brought me to the beach and Crescent City just before 3 pm.

So, here's my windfall: I'm early enough that I could check in to my hotel, but I did laundry last night and didn't want to just goof off for half of the afternoon. Also, my legs weren't really all that tired, and I liked the idea of getting a jump start on the next day's route.

Which is why I ended up pushing on. Within a couple of miles, I was beginning a climb that would take -- more or less -- six miles of work on another road where the shoulder was often nonexistent, with semi trucks and RVs giving me no quarter. I gained 1200 feet of elevation, finding myself riding amongst giant redwood trees in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.

The descent out was pretty good, thanks to some construction near the top that took the road to one lane. I waited until all of the other downhill traffic had gotten by, and then pulled into a real lane (just like I was a car or something) so that I didn't have to get on the shoulder or even hug the line.

I was soon climbing again as I headed into Klamath, where I planned to stay the night. Originally, I was going to get a hotel in Crescent City, but the only hotel in Klamath was full so I went down the road to an RV park. The only restaurant nearby was also closed, and there are no real grocery stores here, so I bought a couple of tacos from the convenience store.

Thanks to getting in some extra miles, I'm going to change some things around for the next few days. Tomorrow I will probably grab a hotel in Eureka, and then either start the Lost Coast Alternate the next day (which would make that one day earlier than planned) or head straight to Myers Flat. In effect, this will either gain me one or two extra days. I'm just not sure how I'll spend them.

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