Day 10: Beverly Beach to Honeyman Memorial State Park
September 3, 2013. 61.33 miles.
I successfully made it to the bike shop 5 miles down the road. They had a choice between a 28 or a 36 (tire width) to replace the 32 that was on there. On the bike mechanic’s suggestion, I went with the fatter tire since I’m not going for speed and am pretty loaded down. He thinks I probably won’t get another flat with that tire, though I bought another tube just in case. I’m just looking forward to not having to worry about my tire blowing out and not having a bump every time the wheel goes around.
I saw another sign forbidding unmuffled engine breaking while coming in to Neport, this time with a maximum $500 fine. It’s one of the things I’ve started to think I should have started collecting at the beginning of the trip. Basically all the towns have signs saying something similar, but the fine amounts vary widely. Would have been sort of cute to keep track. Maybe I’m just a data geek.
Ellie was at the bike shop doing laundry and editing video footage (she does multimedia production and so is carrying a computer, SLR camara, etc.). I didn’t want to hang out long enough to do laundry, so spent a little while snacking and chatting with the bike shop people, then went on down the street to a nearby cafe for lunch (I’m starting to eat a ridiculous amount – this was a very tasty panini and clam chowder). I decided to aim for the park that gives a 60-something mile day instead of a 80-something mile day. Getting started after noon will do that.
The bike shop guy gave up a bit of advice for things coming up. There’s a co-op in Eureka. He warned us about the Leggett hill, which is the biggest one on the trip. He says that it’s made better by the fact that it happens right when the route switches from the very busy 101 (basically freeway at that point) to the very calm 1 (very few cars at least at that point). He suggested staying at the campground just before the hill and tackling it first thing in the morning. Sounds good to me.
Exiting Newport was a long bridge. I have taken to walking over the big bridges – there are generally good views, and elevation gain, and no shoulders on the road. Walking on the sidewalk let’s me see the views and relax, whereas biking in traffic would be stressful. Who needs stress.
The next 20 miles were not terribly interesting, but also pretty straight forward. Soon after that, I traded ease of biking for interesting views. The road got hillier, and more winding. Biking felt really hard, and I discovered that the back brakes were binding on the wheel. Bah. I fixed that, but I think I may also stop at a bike shop tomorrow and try to go back down to a 32 width tire. This new one is nice, but might be just a bit too heavy for this trip (which is all on roads, after all).
I opted to skip some of the tourist attractions. A group of (Swedish?) tourists walking across the street to the Sea Lion Caves (one of the attractions I skipped) said they had passed me a couple times (“good job”, said one).
The second tunnel of the trip was pretty unremarkable. The traffic was light, so the fact that tunnels make engines really loud wasn’t too problematic. Around this time, I played leap frog with the quiet couple I’ve seen at the last couple campsites and at the bike shop. They eventually pulled ahead.
Because of the late start, I was wheeling through Florence around 7 and didn’t get to the park until nearly 8. I managed to get the tent set up just before full dark. The hiker/biker camp is very pretty, with clearings set back into the woods for tents. But it’s quite far away from the bathrooms and showers, and as far as I can tell there isn’t even an outhouse out here.
As I was coming back from the shower, I realized my bike headlight was out of batteries (I had meant to replace the batteries that came with it, but forgot). The park check-in people didn’t sell batteries (no surprise), but a woman checking in with a truck full of gear sold me 3 AAA batteries for $2. People are nice sometimes.
I chatted with the only camper still awake while eating some (unremarkable) food. He was a Swiss guy (according to him, most long-term bike tourists are Swiss) who had been in Alaska, was now doing the the Pacific Coast, and would be off to some other part of the world afterwards.