PCH Tour: Welcome to California’s Trees of Mystery

Humbug Beach Sunset Oregon

Day 30 – The fog was thick in Harris Beach. It didn’t lift overnight. I had a feeling my clothes weren’t going to dry too well that day, even hanging off my panniers. I left a bit later than the gang, so I rolled through the misty town of Brookside on my own. Matty’s Pancake House was the breakfast destination that morning. I saw it appear out of the fog on the south edge of town.

Inside, Russ and Cindy were waiting for me to arrive. Russ and I got the stack of 3 pancakes. I added a side of sausage links. When Russ ordered, the waitress asked, “are you sure you want 3 pancakes?” That’s when we knew we were getting some bike-tour-size portions. The pancakes were huge and piping hot. We all devoured our meals, sucked down some coffee, and headed out for the road.

The next 20 miles were all straight flat terrain with few rolling hills. We kept a good pace as we passed crop fields and rolled down cypress lined stretches of highway. Along the way, we crossed into California. I made it back! Now I was about half way home, and ahead of schedule! Cindy and I were near each other when we rolled into Crescent City, CA. The first person we saw, looked kinda like a zombie. He turned to us and said, “humba ho grah of dum ba.” We pulled into a lot to let Russ catch up and figure out where we wanted to go for lunch. Cindy asked me, “what did that guy say?” I said, “I think it was, humba ho grah of dum ba.” She said, “yeah, that’s what I thought.”

There were a lot of strange creepers wandering around town. We decided to go to a Safeway and grab some sandwiches to eat on the curb. I stayed outside to defend the bikes from the meth heads, while Cindy and Russ went in to grab lunch. They came out and I ran in. I had a turkey sandwich and some chips. The sun felt good beating down on us as we sat on the curb, munching on our food and blending in with the local vagrants.

As we were getting ready to leave we met a hiker, covered in gear and looking a bit crazy eyed. He said he’d traveled over 40,000 miles over the last several years. On our way out, I couldn’t say bye enough times to the guy. Finally, he said, “Have a beautiful and blessed day!” I rode off, but I think he continued to talk to me and laugh to himself. The people just got stranger as we moved into California.

Maybe a mile out of town we hit the big climb for the day. It was over 1,300 ft with a triple summit at the top. I chugged along in granny gear 2. I managed to get into a good rhythm and keep my pace. Several hundred feet up, I pulled over and took my fogged up sunglasses off and swigged a drink. Then I was back at it, lugging my loaded bike up the hill. Occasionally the shoulder completely disappeared and I had to hug the edge of the road as big logging trucks zoomed by.

Further along, I saw a French guy resting on the road side that I had noticed the night before in Harris. I waved him to go ahead of me. He jumped back on the road. I was able to keep up with him for a while, but he powered along and disappeared around the corner. I could see the top of the hill and I pushed along until I got to a turnout just near the top. I stopped for a rest and downed some water as Russ caught up. He said some parts of that climb were as steep as the mountains he climbed in Northern Canada.

Paull Bunion and Babe the Blue Ox

We pushed on, getting a little break with a down hill portion, before climbing the second summit. It wasn’t long before we were at the top, riding down a row of giant redwoods. I jumped off the bike and grabbed some photos of the trees and caught Russ and Cindy riding down the long row of trees. We climbed the third little summit and then began the long fast descent. I got well over 30 mph coming down the hill. It’s fun to go fast, but it also takes a lot of concentration to make sure that you don’t hit any potholes or debris on the shoulder. One wrong move could launch you to the pavement.

At the bottom of the mountain was an amazing view. We caught shots of pelicans fishing in a rocky bay. Another mile down the road, we came to the Trees of Mystery and were greeted by a giant Paul Bunion and Babe the Blue Ox (anatomically correct). We celebrated with cheers and photos. Around the corner we pulled into our campsite at Mystic Forest RV Campground. They had wifi, but the lady working the counter said, “It’s not like the big city.” Which was code for, the wifi sucks. The whole gang eventually rolled in. We all shared one big campsite. It was another fun night of drinks and jokes.

(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)

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