Stopped Into A Church
Humbug Mountain State Park, OR to Crescent City, CA
Despite the repeated downpours throughout the night, I woke to a quiet morning. I didn’t know if that meant the rain had moved on or if it was giving me a window of opportunity to pack up before the rain started to fall again. I didn’t want to take a chance so I packed up. In a hurry. That ended up being a wise decision. Moments after moving from the Hiker/Biker sites to the somewhat sheltered washroom area, another downpour moved in. Fortunately, it was a short-lived downpour and I was able to wait it out while eating a couple of peanut butter covered bagels. After that, it was time to start my ride.
For the first time ever, I started the day knowing I needed a bike shop. And for the second time on tour, that need has fallen on a Sunday. Open bike shops and Sundays don’t frequently go together so I didn’t like my chances.
According to my map, the next bike shop was 80 km away in Brookings. The distance was of less importance to me than the terrain. With a damaged gear cable I was limited to just two gears. Neither ideal for big climbs nor big descents. As far as I could tell, I would have neither of those on this day. Yes, there would be climbs and descents but I was optimistic they would be manageable with my limited gears. They were.The first town I passed through was Gold Beach. I had heard a rumour that there was a bike shop there but that appeared to be false. There was a Subway though, so I stopped for a more substantial breakfast than my bagels of earlier in the day. I also bought three more cookies with Jeremy’s still remaining donation. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
When I returned to the road I knew I was only 45 km from Brookings and a bike shop. I was also reasonable sure that the bike shop would not be open. Fortunately, I still had two functioning gears so my bike wasn’t at a critical level yet.
Despite the lack of gearing on my semi-broken bike, I was in good spirits today. Sure, it was a bit foggy. Sure, it was a bit windy. And sure, I couldn’t travel as quickly as I would have liked. But more importantly, I was getting very close to California which seemed significant to me.
Before I could arrive in California though, I would have to get to Brookings. And I did. And much like Gold Beach, there was a Subway to greet me. The bigger question? Would there also be an open bike shop to greet me? Spoiler Alert: Nope.
The closed bike shop hardly came as a surprise so I switched gears (figuratively … since I couldn’t do so literally) and set my sights on The Golden State. It’s kind of funny to think that on my journey down the east coast last year I cycled through 14 states. And now, as I cycle my way down the west coast I’m about to enter my third and final state. That final state crossing took just 40 minutes to reach after leaving Brookings. I’m not going to lie, I was kind of hoping for a nicer sign. That said, I was still very happy to see it.I was also happy to meet Michelle and J.P. who had also stopped to take a photo of the sign. J.P. was from Ireland so he’d travelled a lot further than me to get there. Michelle was kind enough to take a couple of photos of me by the sign before we chatted about various travel adventures. It didn’t take long to reach the not-so-shocking conclusion that travelling is better than working.
While the “Welcome to California” sign didn’t really live up to what I was expecting, my overall arrival in California did. The sun started to shine, the wind was less harsh, there may have even been the sounds of mermaids singing. Okay. There were no mermaids. But everything did suddenly feel different. I have no explanation.
My first destination in California was a Warm Showers host in Crescent City. And it is certainly unlike any Warm Showers experience I’ve had. When I arrived there were two other cycling couples staying there – John and Becky, and Austin and Brittany. The latter were heading north, the former were heading south.
I was supposed to call our host, Katie, when I arrived in Crescent City but that didn’t work out so well as my phone doesn’t work in the U.S. and there doesn’t seem to be any payphones in Crescent City. As such I just went directly to the address in question.
Becky was kind enough to let me use her phone and moments later I met Katie. She showed me around the place and gave me a full overview of what’s in the area, what routes to take, what routes to avoid, what sights to see, what sights to skip. Did you know parts of E.T. and Return of the Jedi were shot here? Well, you do now. Oh, did I mention I’m staying in a church? Well, in a big room attached to a church anyway. It has all the amenities you could want and, based on Katie’s guest book, she hosts a LOT of people. It looks like I’m in for another great Warm Showers experience.
Oh, and yes … there’s a bike shop in Crescent City. That will be job number one tomorrow.
Distance travelled: 129.52 km
Ride time: 6:51:50
Average speed: 18.87 km/h
Maximum speed: 51.63 km/h