Day 33: Blue Lake to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

We left Chris’ early and went into town to check out the local cafe, which we heard had fresh baked muffins every morning. Walking in it was surprising to see a guy inside with his guitar playing American folk music.  He was really good, but seemed to be a travelling musician who was not used to playing in front of people. He said he was learning how to take compliments, and hid his face behind his guitar when someone tried to take his photo. We spent a while here watching people coming and going, and watching as it seemed like the locals delivered their fresh baked goods for the day.

Eventually it was time to get going, so we took the same nice quiet road towards Astoria, then continued on backroads toward the town of Trinidad. Just before arriving in Trinidad we passed a beautiful beach which we spent a few minutes looking down at. In Trinidad we went to the Beachcomers Cafe. it had many interesting sandwich options and seemed to be owned and run by a group of fairly young women.  They were swamped when we arrived so we waited a little while for our food, but the quality was great and we weren’t in a rush so the wait was no problem.

We had a very long afternoon break, during which we spoke with a couple from Washington who invited us to stay with them when we pass by. With 30km to go, we eventually left late in the afternoon to find the campground. In Orik we stocked up on snacks, and discovered our 30km was actually 40km.

There were many signs warning of elk in the area, and specifically as we entered the park that the campground is located in.  We saw many small deer in the fields as we approached, which made me wonder if perhaps elk looked a lot like deer as babies. As we reached the campground I saw they had 4 or 5 large plastic elk animals lined up so we could see what they really looked like. However, watching for a few moments I realized they weren’t plastic but the real thing. And those animals we saw in the fields certainly weren’t elk.

The elk were very calm and not too bothered by the humans present around them. We did have to wait as they moved slowly ahead of us so we could reach our campground. We didn’t want to disturb them too much. Eventually we were able to reach our camp and setup.  The later sunset and open area of our site allowing for later and more relaxing evenings.

Day 32: Eureka to Blue Lake

We stayed at the motel until checkout, maximizing our time there and not worrying about an early departure. Before leaving Eureka, we had to find more fuel canisters for the stove so we visited a couple outdoor stores. Eventually being ready to leave, we started riding on the route past the old town and near the waterfront. I had expected more of the old town, but there wasn’t too much there. It was particularly entertaining yesterday when we walked past the prison and across the street was the huge 24/7 Bail Bonds store.

Before we got out of the city, while we were checking our maps, someone on a scooter came up behind us and stopped. His name was Chris and he stopped to see if we needed a place to stay for the night and offered to let us stay at his place. He lived in Blue Lake which was about 10km farther inland from Arcata. We weren’t too sure at the time what our goal for the day was, so we took his information and after chatting a bit more with him, we went our separate ways.

We quickly decided we would accept his offer and spend the afternoon in nearby Arcata. It was a short ride on the freeway before reaching the small hippy town of Arcata. While riding into the city we were surprised when someone yelled out “no riding on the road!!!” but then after turning back we saw Jim Frogs, the man we’ve seen off and on the past couple day who is also going northbound. We caught up briefly with him, circled the town, then returned to a small cafe in the main square and spent a few hours there.

There was another brewery in Blue Lake that was apparently quite good and had happy hour ending at 6, so with this news we road quickly along the small farm roads to Chris’ home in Blue Lake. It was a great ride and felt more like a leisurely after-dinner ride. While riding the small back road, a man stopped us to tell us about the hen turkey that had come back this season – he was very excited.

Coming into the town, it seemed like everyone was enjoying time at the river. We found out after the day was warmer than most days previously experienced in this area so people were exceptionally happy with the weather.

We found Chris’ place, quickly settled in before heading to the brewery. The brewery was a small, community place with live musicians. After trying a couple types of local brews, we returned to Chris’ place for dinner and to help him catch their baby chickens and return them to their bed for the night.

Day 31: Burlington State Park to Eureka

Waking up before the sun had come over the mountains gave us time to get going before the most magical time in the redwood forest, when the morning beams of sun come sparkling through. We leisurely rode through the forest on the quiet Avenue of the Giants so we could fully appreciate the trees and the views.

With a hint of melancholy, we reached the end of the Avenue of the Giants and returned to the 101. Our goal for the day was to make it to Eureka, an 80km day which we’re trying to make our new ‘average’ day. Aside from the headwinds, the ride on the freeway was without any problems given the large shoulders. Pushing onward to Eureka, we only stopped briefly in Rio Dell for lunch. There was a great roadside General Store/Deli where we each had a sandwich. They were very friendly and well setup to accommodate lots of people in the peak season. From there the next destination was Ferndale. We were told it was a nice Victorian town, but the headwinds were quite strong riding there so we took a shortcut across a farm road straight to Fernbridge. In Fernbridge we crossed a narrow bridge where all traffic lined up patiently behind us as we pushed into the wind to get across the bridge.

We eventually arrived in Eureka, riding the busy 101 into town. The town wasn’t too impressive, but as we got further in we did see some improvements. After checking into a motel, we walked to Radio Shack so Jesse could get another month cell phone plan, and then we went to the Lost Coast brewery for dinner.