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Out of the bubble......... One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.-- Henry Miller

Nope, I am not getting up today....

USA | Monday, 9 November 2015 | Views [1039]

Happy on the dirt on King's Peak Rd

Happy on the dirt on King's Peak Rd

.......... don't want to! Nauseous, dizzy, achy and incapable - can't imagine being on the bike today!"

It is 4 am and I am still horizontal, high above the Pacific ocean, deep in the forest, in the tent. We had left Petrolia a couple of days ago, it was our second night out, way out, first, after Honeydew
on Wilder Ridge Rd to Kings Peak Rd, past Shelter Cove and then onto Chemise Mt Rd, which turned into the real dirt and rough and tough and rugged Usal Rd  - which is supposed to bring us along the coast back to Highway one.
The road's ups and downs the last couple of days made my legs burn, my shoulders cramp and my head dizzy. We were told that there were plenty of creeks for water on the way. We carry water filters, but Usal only had dried out creeks and we were nearly out of water. Only 5 miles into this dirt fiasco, but still 20 to go, I don't think I could make it, the way I feel. Maybe we need to go back to that last paved intersection by Shelter Cove - the bailing point- where Usal Rd started,
but another "real" road goes out to 101. That was one of the more difficult 5 miles dirt road on a loaded bike. It's a Mt bike fire road, for crying out loud. (People who want to get somewhere use 101). I couldn't imagine riding those 5 miles back....but what are the next 20 miles going to look like?
We had met a young couple in a FWD truck coming up a steep dirt road at Kings Range where the pavement had just stopped the first time. They asked: You guys know where you are going? Those are very rough roads....
A little unsure, but still confident: Yes, we know!
That first stretch was fun enough - I like dirt and Mt biking. On that stretch of around 10 miles there was enough water in those beautiful creeks and the few times we had to dismount on the uphills, or put a foot down on the downhills was still fun and not too bad! We had just picked up a bunch of cookies and chocolate, even a home cooked browny in the little store in Honeydew as an addition to our planned out dinners, snacks and breakfasts. We had a wonderful resting day in Petrolia and the weather was promising. 
But, I feel like shit! The night before - also in the woods, I was plagued by night mares. Don't really know what triggered it....the woods reminding me of that silly movie "The Blair Witch Project"?
Or the horrible news of a man being randomly shot on one of my favorite trails back home in Marin just a few days prior? What ever, I couldn't get that chill out of my bones or my head and the second night out I am done with this adventure - ready to go home....no need to prove myself. 
No easy way out though.....well, at 4 am it is still too dark and my brain too foggy to make a decision. 
I went back to sleep, restless, uncomfortable, worried and out of sorts. What do I tell James? I don't want to battle these fire roads anymore!
It must have been between 8 or 9 when I woke up again, remembering what I thought and felt earlier. My body still feels like shit, but the sun is kind and the air warm. The ocean's comfortable rhythmic sound in the safe distance and the forest doesn't look quite so daunting anymore. That body has been through the mill the last couple of days. More reminders of last nights nightmares pop back into my mind, but I don't let them take over my mood....I seem to feel better in the light of the morning, the real beginning of the day.
After breakfast (I don't know how we got so fast so low on supplies, but it was slim pickings already on the second day..?), I was ready to tackle the day onward, not backward. I'd rather do the 20 miles I don't know, than the 5 miles I do know! James looked surprised and concerned when I told him about the development since 4 o'clock this morning.
Now down here in the Redwood forest,
off the higher elevations I am writing this: It was a long hard day again, but it was worth it. We did it, except for the last seven miles on Usal: We took a wrong turn in the dirt and wound up on a logging road. Some way up, a pick up truck caught up with us and told us it was a private  road, but we should just keep going, it will meet up with Highway 1 in about 2 miles and it will save us the difficult last stretch on Usal, some 7 miles along the coast (I was wondering why the hell we were headed inland..) There were no signs!
The 2 miles turned into 5 and it was a gradual up, up, up. Even though it was easy, it was not pretty, especially when the logging trucks past us, leaving us in a cloud of dust. If you read this and you are not a cyclist, I would like to URGE you not to tell a cyclist a distance you are not sure about. It makes a  big difference on a bicycle if you climb 2 miles or 6 miles, even if it is gradual climb. Road conditions are also viewed differently by drivers. They are experienced differently. A cyclist can pick a much more narrow line through a rugged washed out road. Anyhow, if we would have known it was 6 miles, we would have turned around when that guy talked to us and find the continuation of the Usal Rd to Usal Beach and hit Highw 1 further down the road. James and I were both in a pissy mood when that stupid logging road finally met up with the Highway , having paralleled it into the wrong direction for too long . The paved downhill on Highway 1 ALMOST made up for that dumb detour. Not having been on pavement for two days made it feel like we were flying.
Further down, but not quite to the coast, we got handed a jar of homemade pickled beets when we knocked on a door to ask where we could camp. Now we are camping in a beautiful Redwood picnic area, near a babbling, clean brook. Pickled beets and smashed potatoes stilled our hunger and it is promising to be a pretty good night. Paved road - Highway 1 all the way home- starting tomorrow.


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