Monday, September 21, 2015

Stories From the Ride: To the Redwoods...

The last several days have been wonderfully hard. I started collecting photos of interesting objects I found along the road during my ride from Eugene to Florence. I went a few days without finding anything except a hat and a lighter, and then about 50 miles from the Oregon-California border this vividly bright red tube landed right in front of my bike forcing me to stop and move it out of my way. 

This was the start of my downfall. It was not until after I became sick an hour later with chronic diarrhea that I realize what I had touched. It was a waste disposal tube from an RV. 


 This did not stop me from exploring a magical land filled with dinosaurs.


After hours of laboriously struggling to keep everything clamped shut tight I made it to California...

I was sick all day and had to just keep riding until I got to camp. After setting up my tent, I walked down to the beach and discovered a nice bonfire that beckoned me over, so I asked to joined in on the fun. We sat around the fire listening to The Doors while sharing stories and drinks. Near the end of the night, the neighbors above us started lighting off fireworks creating a spectacular show that seemed to last all night. It was straight out of a movie starring Keanu Reeves capping off my first night in sunny California. It was an epic end to a horrible day.

The next morning I awoke early, like always, surrounded by fog. I laid in my tent listening to the surf roll in while trying to go back to sleep, but I soon gave up and decided to hit the road. The road ahead of me was shrouded in mist and mystery. I was dreading the upcoming climb, this would by far be the biggest challenge of the entire ride, and I was already exhausted from the last few days. I had planned on staying in Crescent City, but arrived so early I decided to just keep riding.

As soon as I hit the grade, I had to dismount and walk the entire way. My load was too heavy.  Just before arriving in California, I picked up three cases of Ensure from the pharmacy in Brookings Oregon.  My pharmacist Amber from the Albertson's Sav-On in Troutdale, Oregon had three cases transferred and ready for me. I ended up giving away a case to a group of homeless to lighten my load, but it was still too heavy, yet I kept pushing....

After about an hour of pushing my new friends drove past me and pulled over to take some photos. They soon left me in the dust. After a hundred false summits, I reached what could only be the top of the mountain and ahead of me awaited an awesome seven percent downgrade sending me flying down the hill for the next twenty minutes.
When I reached the bottom I ran into Paul Bunyan and his Ox, so I stopped for a photos.

I carried on and soon came across a small shop selling Smoked Salmon and Indian artwork. I asked for some traditional belly strips and left one of my brochures. While I was outside eating, the nice lady tending the store brought me out a ten dollar donation and took a picture with me. Smoked Salmon was the second food that I could eat after ten years of not eating, and this was the best smoked fish I have ever had. I packed half my fish in ice and headed down the road for camp.

Following the shopkeepers advice, I headed for the coast and again I faced a daunting hill that was hell to push over.  Just after I started down the other side, I was flagged-down by a group of hitchhikers whom I had kept crossing paths with over the past week and we shared some food and talked for about an hour before someone stopped offering them a ride.

I arrived at a Redwoods State Park campground and was completely exhausted. I was promptly warned about locking up all of my food because of the bears. I even had to sign a form agreeing to lock everything up in a large steel box. As a neck breather, my sense of smell is weak, but I reeked of sweet goodness of my favorite food and no amount of washing would rid my hands and clothes of what could only be crack for bears. I finished the rest of my fish and did my best to clean up…