posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013

Eureka


I woke up to a freezing morning, the campsite immersed in a thick, chilly mist that had soaked into my tent flysheet. With no food left for breakfast, the plan was  to have a first stop in Orick and treat myself to a local speciality, worryingly named 'biscuits and gravy'.
Jack was the first to leave with his trusted banjo, I followed with James and the canadians. Outside the campsite we could finally see some elks grazing in the foggy fields. I survived the breakfast  experience but couldn't share all the excitement for the gravy mess... James had been talking about it for days and maybe the build up had been a bit too steep to meet my high expectations!
After breakfast due to technical problems with his bike, James had to look for a hitch hike to the nearest town; I couldn't help him with his wheel repairs so eventually I set off on my own for what would be a transfer day to Eureka. The long awaited day of riding 'Avenue of the Giants' was now looming ever close. The route up to the town of Trinidad was interesting and  I reached Arcata, with its chilled out, hippy feel, a very nice town indeed. The hostel they once had and I had considered spending the night in, was no more, having shut years back, so I thought I would have a quick burger and move on;  when I looked down the street and saw James waving his hands at the bike store. It turned out that he had been rescued and given a ride by car by the same cafĂ© owner who had served us breakfast!
There must be a kind of magnetic pull that bonds all cyclists who meet on this coastal ride not far from each other and you end up constantly bumping into familiar faces in the most unlikely of places as I would later find out in San Francisco too.
In the end James decided he had enough tribulations for the day and would stay in Arcata while I had a bit of a tighter schedule to stick to and decided to say farewell and continue to ugly Eureka for a comfortable motel night and laundry.
The joy of riding and chatting with other cyclists comes at the expense of slowing down a lot as you end up stopping when you would like to, as well as stopping when the others do! My sixteen days to get to San Francisco meant that regrettably I couldn't linger and had to keep pedalling faster or longer than I would have wanted to.