Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 106 – 07/17/2012 – Eureka, CA

When I opened my eyes everything seemed blurry. I checked my clock and it was 6:05am. Finally I had woken up early enough to get a really good start, I thought. Well, no so quick. In the split second that followed that thought I noticed it was raining! It was supposed to be a hot day, and in the previous day the sky was completely clean, it took me a few seconds to believe my ears but it was true. I was really raining. Pouring, actually.

I decided to sleep a couple more hours and see if the rain would stop. This time I put no alarm, just turn to the side and slept. I woke up again at 9:00am, but it was still raining. Yep, there would be no escape, it seems. I then realized several of my clothes, including the pants I was planning to wear today were hanging on my bicycle, probably completely soaked by now. Rain or no rain I had slept more than enough and it was time to go.

I started folding the sleeping bag and then noticed water was dropping from the ceiling inside the tent. Apparently this tent had a design flaw that allowed for water to accumulate on its top, resulting in leakage. The floor of the tent was very wet, and so was my air mattress. I took two subway sandwich bags I had in my pannier and used it cover my socks. Then I placed my shoes over it and went out of the tent. The rain was not so strong by then, so I went to restroom and brushed my teeth. Then I started packing.

Everything was wet and I had lots of clothes that were supposed to be pretty much dry by now but instead were dripping. My tent was wet inside and outside, and so was the tarp I used to protect its bottom. Regardless I had to pack so I just folded everything and placed in the panniers. The front bag I usually placed hanging in the handlebar had too many important things that could not get wet, so I placed in a plastic bag and the bag inside a pannier.

After a good two hours cleaning and packing I was finally ready to leave. I rode to a small town about two miles away called Meyer’s Flat. There I stopped to get a sandwich for breakfast and a cup of coffee. The front desk lady told me to get the coffee in the next door, so I left the sandwich over my bike and walked over there. On my way I passed a guy who was coming out of the store. He looked at the bicycle for a second and shook his head, then asked in a rude tone “what do you want?!”. I said I wanted coffee. He shook his head again and walked away. I entered the store and noticed it was empty: that had to be the store’s clerk. In about a minute he was back. I asked how was it going, and he said in a sharp way “forward”. That was my last attempt to be nice, so I just served my coffee and paid for it. As I walked outside he turned the “open” sign off and readily shut down the blinds. I didn’t really care. I set down and took some time to eat half of the sandwich and drink the coffee. On my way out I heard the guy talking to a friend who called him the coffee monster. He replied saying he was more of a coffee Nazi. I was ready to ride so I just took off.
The first twenty file miles were very nice. The rain had stopped but there was thick dew covering the surrounding mountains. Also, the temperature was low enough to prevent me from sweating too much and that was nice too.  Afte riding about 12 miles I stopped for one more coffee and a break. I entered a small coffee shop and started talking to the clerk. They warned me that Eureka and Arcata were major hippie cities. In other words there were lots of drug addicts, many homeless people and crack heads. They also heard me to be careful with my bicycle as the risk of having it stolen in one of those places was higher and anywhere else in California. I thanked them for the advice and resumed the ride.

Soon enough the Avenue of the Giants was over and I reentered Highway 101. Again the heavy traffic and lack of scenic views made up for most of the environment. At least by then there was a huge shoulder so riding was not so dangerous.

Miles speeded by as I rode to the next major city, Fortuna. There I entered and had a subway sandwich for lunch, and took one to go for diner. The distance from there to Eureka was short and in about an hour I was there.

This town had a Victorian feeling to it. Many historical buildings and houses were lined up in the main avenue. I stopped by a supermarket and got some food, then resumed cutting through the city. Just like the ladies in the coffee house had warned me, there were many homeless people and hippies wandering around.

The campground I was planning to stay was located between Eureka and the next city, Arcata, so I once more entered Highway 101 and rode for about three more miles. Once I arrived I noticed this campground was nice. It was not as nice as the previous KOA I had stayed in Manchester, but still a major upgrade from the State Parks I had been in the previous two nights.

I set up my tent, cleaned and dried everything I could. I also started chatting with a hiker called Hans which was camping right next to my site. Not too long after we started talking another camper approached: Keith, which I had already met in Samuel P. Taylor!  We had a nice conversation then took a picture together and he headed back to his tent. I went to the gaming room to charge my computer’s battery which was pretty much empty, then took shower and prepared to sleep hoping I would wake up in the nice day with a nice sunny day.

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