18.1 mi / 9.45 mph / 1323 ft. climbing
Home: Redwoods River Resort Lodge room
While we waited for the previous night’s rain to truly end, I walked across town to the laundromat to do a load. Rett finished up the cooking chores following our camp-stove breakfast (cooked out on the covered patio of our motel room, since our microwave was broken, but had bought a load of microwaveable food before we were aware of that). We had plenty of time to burn, because today’s ride would be another short hop from roof to roof during a short break in the rain.
And that rain had cooperated with the forecast, basically ending by 11am checkout, so the ride began straight away with a good uphill back on US-101, followed by a screaming 36mph downhill. In retrospect, we probably could have skipped the morning’s coffee as the first 20 minutes of riding provided all the wakeup needed!
Most of the rest of the day was then back again on the old highway, which had varying surface quality (including one gravel hill we had to walk over), but was nearly deserted. It made it relatively relaxing to do all the climbing we needed to do in the day’s short stretch, which essentially brought us up to the Base Camp of the California coast route’s equivalent of Mount Everest (our final summit push would then happen on our next hop).
After the last few days of wistfully passing all the redwood tourist resort lodges, we would finally be staying at one! The Redwoods River Resort was clearly a family’s long-term labor of love, and combined a campground, cabins, lodge rooms, a small store, and even a pub! We had booked a room in the A-Frame lodge, but instead of the decades-worn carpets embedded with redwood needles tracked in by thousands of families over those years that I had been expecting (and would have even enjoyed in a way), we were surprised to find beautifully-updated, huge, clean, modern room with kitchen, deck, etc.
After checking in, I spied a familiar yellow jacket, and was surprised to see it encasing Annie, who we had met at the Burlington campground a couple nights earlier! As we had been going up one of the last hills of our surprisingly-tiring 18-mile day, I had been telling Rett, “we’re taking two days, with a motel night in between, to do still less distance and climbing into headwinds and rain than all six of those other insane guys did after leaving Burlington!” Come to learn through Annie that they were all slightly less insane than advertised, and had ended up stopping at the same place as us (though still after only one day vs. our two).
And then Annie had used her brain, decided that fighting on through another week of terrible weather wasn’t worth it, made the difficult call to split from her trio, and get picked up by her friend from the Bay Area and then spend another week cycling with her south of San Francisco in hopefully-better weather. As the extremely “no rules to bike touring” couple we’ve become, we fully endorse that decision!
One of her friends picking her up at the exact moment we arrived (the only reason we even saw her) had so loved the “trail magic” he experienced while through-hiking that he loved to pay it forward, and he didn’t have to try too hard to convince us to let him sprinkle some of that magic back on us. His spell-casting had him pulling some hard cider out of his hat (er, the camp store) to go with our lunch. It’s important to us to remember to keep that circle going, and we’re really grateful to him for the reminder even more than for the cider!
Not only were we staying at a tinsel-tinged resort, but we also had one of the 1950s-era tourist attractions sitting directly across the road! After lunch, while the weather still held, Rett and I walked over to check out The Gravity House at Confusion Hill. Super-kitschy in all the right ways and funnier than expected, it also was truly disorienting and did things to my mind-body equilibrium that I’d never experienced before. Totally worth the $5 each! (especially in its nearly-empty state).