Vancouver to San Francisco Tour 2016 – A Cycle Tour by someone who’s never cycle toured before – Day 17 – Elk Prairie, CA – Eureka KOA, CA

This picture sums up exactly how I felt this morning.

It was cold. It was damp. And confusingly enough it was California. I hadn’t slept well and I was also hungry, so this may have clouded my judgement but . . .  I thought I left the wet in Washington, and the cold in . . . Europe. California was supposed to be warm. The OC, Baywatch, all the TV ads fail to tell you they are talking about Southern California. No one made this clear to me, or the rest of Britain, that not all of California is hot.

As you can tell, I was grumpy this morning on a comedic scale. I soon got over it most of it with a nice cup of coffee inside me. ahhh.

Oh, one other thing. There were no Elk. Charlatans!

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Once the sun had risen over the trees and we were out of the shade it was bloody hot. It was only 8:30 and it was warmer than any summer I’ve had in the UK. It was a sluggish start. Low mental strength (coffee wearing off already) and no energy. I concluded I didn’t eat enough yesterday and my body was suffering today was a result.

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Trinidad isn’t such a bad place eh?

This was soon sorted. The morning’s ride was relatively easy and I was staring out to sea as we hugged the coast line for the majority of it. With the morning grumps still in mind the most memoral part of the morning was getting into Trinidad. The last kilometre ride in was like riding through a Hollywood summer retreat. Lots of beautiful and big houses on a quiet road on the coast. Perfic. The novelty of being in a town that had the same name as somewhere older still hadn’t gone. It was a small, cute little town. We slowly wondered around town to find a suitable place to eat. We found the Trinidad Bay Eatery and Gallery

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Trinidad Bay Eatery and Gallery – Photo Jace

We sat down at the bar area of the restaurant. I was extremely happy to be in this place right now. Having not eaten enough yesterday, I made a concerted effort to make up for it right now. I had a very large fish and chips (note – in North America they give you 3 or 4 smaller pieces of fish rather than one large one that doesn’t fit on your place, as in the UK), 2 root beers, an extremely large muffin and a coffee to wash it down. I was READY. As we were finishing up, I felt a pair of hands rest on my shoulders.

“G’day Mate – Fency seeing you heyah”

It was the Other Scott.

They ordered some food and we all chatted outside for a bit before Jace and I went to take a look at the bay area.

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Scott, Andy and Myself in deep conversation about who’s leg hair grows faster

I realised as we left that Trinidad had reinstated some confidence about my Californian expectations. It was quaint, beautiful, friendly, sunny and importantly . . . warm!

We left this beauty behind and got back onto the 101. The 101 turned from a highway into a freeway. This meant that there was a central reservation, and it was up to maybe 4 lanes. It was motorway time. If you read my post on Day 1, you’ll know how I felt about the freeway. It’s horrible. Busy, loud and in some places it felt pretty dangerous. One advantage is that the shoulder is about 10 foot wide, so you can ride side by side if you wanted to, and stay well away from the cars. The disadvantage however is that there are many slip roads on and off. So you’re constantly looking over your right shoulder for the ON roads, and the left for the OFF roads. There are some points where traffic is high that you need to stop and just wait to cross the slip. It’s also quite difficult to accelerate on these touring bikes so it can be pretty nerve-wracking.

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Taking a breather from the freeway at the beach somewhere

Also . . . please people, learn to use your indicators. There were so many times that a car wouldn’t use it’s indicators to come off the freeway that you think it’s safe, when it really isn’t.

I knew that we would be riding on the freeway for the rest of the daya s well as tomorrow morning, so that didn’t really fill be with buckets of joy. But I did know that this was probably the last stretch of freeway of the whole trip. That was enocouraging.

I was keen to ride straight on to the KOA, however Jace wanted to take a look at Arcata. So we took the slip and head into town. I was actually glad that we did. It was a university town, so there were lots of ‘young’ people and it was somewhat full of ‘alternative’ types. Band t-shirts, piercings, organic hippy shops. My kind of place – It had actual personalilty. First of all we found a bike shop – Revolution Bicycles. I’d had minor problems changing gears so I wanted to find some nice grease for my chain. I was also in a hunt for a trendy cyclist cap, if I could find a nice one. I couldn’t.

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Nothing like a pair of new socks as a pick-me-up

I’ve mentioned before that I started off with only one pair of cycle shorts, which I doubled in Newport. I also only had one pair of socks. Yes, I know. Terrible. So I treated myself to a new pair of them. They were pretty funky and there was nothing better than pulling those on the next morning. I would then proceed to wash my socks every night and hang them off the back of my bike, as I do with my shorts.

We also found an organic supermarket. This again, is what I think of when I think of California. We found copious amounts of fresh produce, cliff bars and other goodies. It was difficult to tear ourselves away. We got some fresh food and bits for dinner – it was awesome to have this food back in the diet.

We were only a few kilometres away from the campsite formerly known as the KOA. With this we had one last hurdle. The camp site was on the north bound side of the freeway. We were heading south. This meant that we had to somehow cross the freeway. Luckily there was a cross roads here. The camp was pretty big, but was also next to some sort of garage for large construction vehicles. It was an active area of the road so they needed plenty of space for turning around and pulling in. We decided to do it in parts. We pulled over to the right and waited for about 10 minutes for a gap in traffic for us to cross. We were over now in the central reservation. A couple of cars join us and go to leave us behind. They have slightly better acceleration than us. Finally, after another 15 minutes a gap appeared large enough that we could make across OK.

We check in and all is fine. This is probably the least campsite campsite I’ve stayed in ever. I thought that Devil’s Lake was pretty built up, but the ‘hiker biker’ section of the campsite was the garden of the main reception building. The freeway was maybe less than 100 metres away, and it was just a bit grim. At night the security floodlights remained on so we camped in light all night. It was funny however because I remember Scott saying “I’m sure they’ll turn off after 10pm”. Nope.

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Our back garden camp at the site formerly known as the Eureka KOA

We had some new campers with us today. As I mentioned yesterday, they were at Elk Prairie but we didn’t get to talk. A Dutch couple who’s names I unfortunately never wrote down. They were in their 50’s and this was their first tour. Saying that they seemed to camp like experts. They had ‘proper’ dinner, with red wine and the sorts. No pasta and soup for them. Cameron, who we met in Brookings. Cameron’s styke was leave late arrive late. He liked a lie in. Last but not least Jeremy, a Teacher from Portland.

We had a great evening actually. From a Europeans perspective, Cameron is what you may say classically American. He’s charismatic, very fun and would do a great job at bringing people together in conversation – just by his child like enthusiasm for everything. His energy also reflected in his, er, volume so you couldn’t help but listen. This is OK though as he was very likable! We collectively spoke a lot of politics tonight. We talked of Trump, the health care system, Brexit and a lot of schooling and children’s health. As a teacher Jeremy has a lot to say for the education system and the health of the kids that he teaches. The general consensus was that everything needs to improve – people should have access to free healthcare, families and children need better nutritional education and there’s a big gap between the poor kids and the rich kids and the education that they get. It was also on topic for the UK as well as recently there had been the introduction of the Sugar Tax, something that Jamie Oliver had been petitioning for.

All round, it was a very healthy evening of discussion

This, my friends, is what comes out of such adventures as this.

  • Route can be found HERE

Cheers, Scott

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2 thoughts on “Vancouver to San Francisco Tour 2016 – A Cycle Tour by someone who’s never cycle toured before – Day 17 – Elk Prairie, CA – Eureka KOA, CA

    1. Oh it was great. I loved it. I’m looking for a new ride myself for next summer or if/when I return back to Europe. I had some friends that walked it so that certainly looks like an option!

      Next Summer however I think it will a short tour of The Rockies

      Liked by 1 person

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