We left the Burlington Campground knowing that we only had to ride about 30 miles today to get to the Richardson Grove State Park, so we were in no rush. It was nice to continue on Avenue of the Giants. It’s so tranquil riding under the redwood canopy; there’s only a hint of wind, the sun beams through in small pockets, there’s little traffic, and the road is smooth. This is the same tranquil feeling I have when riding at night, except I can see my surroundings.
Today we had the great pleasure of leaving Highway 101 behind early in the ride and rolling along the magnificent Avenue of the Giants, a quiet and shady stretch of road lined with some of the largest trees on the planet: sequoia sempervirons, or rather, big ass redwood trees. Now in my neck of the woods, it’s fairly easy to go for a short road ride through a grove or two of redwoods. These groves are indeed fantastic. But out here on the Avenue of the Giants, we got the opportunity to ride through maybe 15 miles worth of groves. This was a whole different level of experiencing the redwoods.
Because of Peter’s painful knee, we’ve decided to shorten the trip a bit. Instead of riding about 80 miles per day and ending our trip at Bodega Bay, were now planning to ride about 50 miles per day, ending in either Leggett or Fort Bragg. Peter’s dad agreed to pick us up further north.
Yesterday was highlighted by scenic coastline. Whenever we took the surface roads off Highway 101, we’d be rewarded with stunning ocean views. Today was more of the same, but instead of ocean views, we had the pleasure of riding through redwood forests.
Since riding from Corvallis, no, since reading about riding this route, I’d been anticipating viewing Oregon’s ruggedly beautiful coastline. Yet since we’d hopped on the Scenic Highway in Florence, we’d had only little glimpses of what Oregon had to offer. Occasionally through a clearing in the dense forests that surround both sides of the highway, we’d see some dark blue water in the distance. Through towns like Coos Bay, we crossed a bridge where river and ocean met, but we had no real views of the famous coast. I was beginning to think that all of the splendid views were north of Florence, that we’d be stuck with only a taste of the coast: fog and sand dunes.
After a late start it wasn’t until 20 miles into our ride that we sat down for breakfast in Reedsport at about 11:30am. The waitress, recognizing that we were cyclists, sat us at a table with a nearby outlet. The staff must be used to seeing Paciﬁc Coast cyclists come in with all their gadgets.
After a good night’s sleep at Taryn’s place, Peter and I set out do what we came to do: ride bicycles for lots of miles while eating whatever we could get our hands on. We accomplished both goals today.
The wonderful thing about traveling by train is that you don’t have to travel in an airplane. The full-body frisks. The cramped seats. The sense of your impending demise. It’s as if airline executives and TSA officials meet regularly to come up with new ways to make airline travel more uncomfortable. Bathrooms? Let’s get rid of them. If they don’t pee before boarding they’ll just have to hold it. That will also take care of the problems with smoking and humping.
About a week after we returned from our adventure in Idaho, I got a call from my friend Peter, who wanted to know if I would like to ride with him along the Paciﬁc Coast from Albany, Oregon, back to the Bay Area. To that I responded, “Heck yes!” as my Idaho politeness hadn’t yet been rubbed off by the cruel streets of San Jose.
Ahh, shucks. Do we have to leave Idaho? We’ve had such a good time. We’ve met some of the friendliest people on Earth. We’ve ridden through some beautiful landscapes. We even managed to soak in some hot springs, but there were so many we missed.
We had a decision to make today. Do we continue on route over the big pass outside of Idaho City, camp at Cottonwood Campground, and then retrace our tracks on the unappealing exposed washboard road back to Boise, or do we head straight for Boise on Highway 21, arriving in Boise a day ahead of schedule? We opted for the highway.
As planned, we arose early and arrived in Crouch before 9am, where we stopped at Wild Bill’s Cafe for a hearty breakfast and then stopped by the well-stocked grocery store for a few rations. The town of Crouch consists of a handful of humble buildings scattered haphazardly in close proximity to each another, like the town planner was on vacation so they asked the grocery clerk to provide the town layout in an afternoon.
The Idaho Posse arose to a rather frigid morning. Harry made a fire that we huddled around while eating breakfast and breaking camp. We then moseyed on down a quiet residential road before hitting the dirt. Our climb du jour was steeper than we expected, but the road condition was decent and it hadn’t gotten too hot yet, so I at least enjoyed the effort.
In the morning we headed to The Pancake House, which our rafting guides from the day before recommended. At The Pancake House we met up with part of the Idaho Posse, Jay and Harry, who said that the portion of the Secesh Singletrack section that they attempted was extremely difficult, almost all of it requiring hike-a-bike. They seemed to be a bit upset about the experience, believing that more of the route would be rideable. They also warned us that the portions were huge at The Pancake House. I figured that the meal would be comparable to our huge breakfast at the Noth Shore Lodge. Boy was I wrong.
Our rafting guides from Salmon Raft picked us up at the Scandia Inn early in the morning. Drew, Stephanie, and Greg were to introduce us to the wonderful world of rafting. Both Carrie and I were a little nervous, as neither of us had ever been. The guides reassured us that it would be safe and fun. They were right on both accounts.
Today is the day the Idaho Posse disbanded. It was a glorious one day as a posse, despite the lack of gun fights and hangings. Jay and Harry headed north to check out the Secesh singletrack option of the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route while Carrie and I headed to McCall on the main route via the Lick Creek Summit. Vicki was also planning to head to McCall but got a later start than us.
Carrie and I broke camp early so we could be first in line for breakfast at the North Shore Lodge. Since the lodge’s convenience foods consisted of not much more than ingredients for s’mores and some candy bars, we were planning to rely on a hearty breakfast to fuel us for the day. And fuel us it did. I downed a large stack of pancakes with blueberry sauce, whipped cream, and syrup, with a side of two eggs and hashed browns. Carrie got the same, including all of my bacon. Carrie probably ate about 1000 calories in bacon alone!
Although it did rain overnight, we awoke to sunny skies and cool temperatures, a perfect way to start a bike ride. We rolled about five miles until we stopped at an intersection for a snack. While stopped, a guy came out of the woods to tell us his car needed a jump start. Since we lacked jumper cables and a motorized vehicle, we couldn’t offer much help, but we did agree to stop by the Deadwood Lodge, which was on our way, to ask if someone could help the guy out.
Today, I have to confess, we cheated. Casey Greene and Adventure Cycling went through all this trouble to create another off-road touring route and here we go and decide to ride on the highway out of Stanley for the first 20 miles. But I tell you what, it felt really good to cruise on some smooth asphalt at 17MPH instead of some washboarded, sandy, dirt road at 8MPH.
We awoke dirty but well-rested after our ride from Ketchum the day before. With a four-mile, paved downhill into Stanley, we had he whole day ahead of us to eat, relax, and eat some more. We also had to figure out if Carrie would be able to replace her lost toiletries, including the all important contacts case and solution.