Monday, September 10, 2012

Ride the West Day 9 - Eureka to Garberville

Daily Statistics
Mileage:  80.22
Vertical Gain:  4029 feet
Calories Burned:  7272 (2774)

Note:  The first number is from Garmin Connect, the second is from Strava.  I was quoting Strava only until yesterday.  I don't understand the large discrepancy.   They used to be the same.

Link to Garmin Route Data

Today was about as good as it gets.  This is my favorite day on this tour.  The Avenue of the Giants on a bicycle is absolutely terrific, as I hope you will fee after you read this.

We started out from the hotel, and made our way out of Eureka on some little used back streets.  After about 5 miles on highway 101, we got off at the College of the Redwoods exit, and made out way on some roads largely paralleling 101.  The main one was Eel River Road, with took us to the town of Loleta and Fernbridge, where we turned onto highway 211 for the trip to the SAG in the little town of Ferndale.  This is a cute little town with lots of great old houses.  I had thought we had everyone at the SAG together for the first time on this trip, until I learned that Herb got lost getting out of Eureka and put in over 6 bonus miles.  Anyway, here is a picture of the gang massed at the SAG.

At SAG in Ferndale
After Ferndale, the route got a little tougher, with several nasty grade hills going in to Rio Dell.  About 40 miles in to the ride, we entered the Avenue of the Giants.  This is a terrific road, even if you are in a car, but fabulous on a bike.  Here is the first touristy thing, where many of us posed in the trunk of this downed big tree.
John and Barb Solley in tree trunk
The next point of interest is this high water mark from the 1964 flood.  It is hard to describe how far above the current river level this is, or how wide the valley is at this point.  Suffice it to say it took an awful lot of water to reach this point.

Dec 1964 High Water Mark
It is hard to describe the feeling riding down the road among these huge trees.  The following picture captures it as well as I was able.

The Avenue of the Giants
The final touristy thing I had to do was go through the drive thru tree.  When I mentioned to my son Mark where I would be, he immediately asked if I would go through it.  He remembers a trip when he was about 10 when we went through in our old Toyota.  Here is the proof I did it again.

At the Drive Thru Tree
From the drive through tree, it was about 20 miles to Garberville and the hotel.  It was a steady climb for the most part, with about a 2 mile climb of some merit coming in to town.  I was trying to keep a group in sight so I wouldn't have to get my cue sheet out, and managed this modest goal.  Tomorrow we head for Fort Bragg, which is the first of two days with some serious climbing.

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