Saturday, February 7, 2009

Northern California

November 3rd to 9th

The Sunshine State!!

Well not really...

We break camp at Brookings Oregon before the tent breaks in the intense wind and rain, cross the state border and somehow expect a miraculous change in the weather.... It does not happen.

So, heads down, we crawl into lashing, eye stinging rain. We climb and descend the Redwood Way and I stop in a lay by to regain my poise as I am almost blown off the bike on a 30mph descent at "Footsteps Rocks" along cliff edges shearing 30 metres into rolling, boiling seas below. A parked wagon driver helpfully explains the radar pictures he's seen of the coming storm - which gets worse. Freezing we make it to Klamath and hole up in a motel. You can't pitch a tent in weather like this - more like flying a 2 man kite!

It's a good opportunity to sit out the storm and tune in to CNN for 3 days to watch history unfold as the Americans elect a sentient president after 8 years of Bush. It's a truly historic moment, as an African American gains the Oval Office and I am happy to be here to appreciate at some level just what this means to the average US citizen. Motel owner Gary is happy to talk politics until our ears melt and is a fantastic character and wonderful host....



Finally the weather breaks and we can ride again under leaden skies....



Things have changed after Oregon and there's a much more earthy feel to towns such as Crescent City, Orick and Eureka. There's a much more earthy smell as well as cars waft past trailing aromatic vapors of head spinning cannabis. The stuff grows around here apparently, and second hand smoke ensures days pass in a warm hazy glow.

But this is Redwood country! Mighty woody behemoths....



We ride a black tarmac ribbon designed on a different scale and the atmosphere becomes dark and oppressive. Tolkien-esque trees that can surely talk. It's damp, dank and claustrophobic....



We make a sodden camp beneath huge brooding red boughs. These trees are old; very old and fearing their wrath, we make no fire. Actually I couldn't get it to light, but that Tolkien stuff sounded better...



But a Redwood's gargantuan size is due to water - lots of water and the sky happily supplies another deluge. Days are interrupted by extended coffee breaks as clouds drop on mass to the ground.

And suddenly we emerge unscathed, back and blinking into daylight....

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