Garberville to Westport, California: At home on the coast - Grampies Go Coastal - CycleBlaze

January 1, 2013

Garberville to Westport, California: At home on the coast

Dodie says I ride too much with my head down, and so tend to miss some of the splendid scenery we are passing through. I say that head down is part of the geometry of my bike, which gives me my amazing power and speed! Anyway, there are interesting things to see, down there on the road.

For example, yesterday there were those puzzling gas canisters, which people have tagged as anything from seltzer carbonators to paintball energisers to bike tire inflators. None of these makes too much sense for being strewn along the highway, but I rather like the seltzer one - which would have to be linked to too much fast food while driving!

Anyway, a unique item today was a crutch. Now what does this mean and how did it get there? Did a pilgrim cast it off, having achieved an early cure? Was it provided in case I should ditch my bike again? For many roadside items there will just never be an answer.

Another roadside mystery
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About the road, we stuck on 101 out of Garberville and followed it straight to the infamous Leggett. Leggett is infamous because there starts a really darn tough 30-40 km of road that leads back over to the coast. For us the logistics of this were almost a game changer. We could find no accommodation in Leggett (the couple that do exist were closed), and at first nothing in Westport, the first place on the coast. But when we did locate an open B&B in Westport, all we needed was to do 80 km over nasty hills to reach it. We did manage that, so our tour stayed on track.

The road to Leggett started out as standard freeway, but was interesting because of views of forest and mist early in the day, and the fact that the road and the Eel River wind around each other, with numerous bridges over the river to look out from. 101 also turns curvy, and heads through what will be our last redwood groves. Curvy also meant usually no shoulder, so we oput on our flashers and spent a certain amount of time cowering by the road side. The number one thing that would induce cowering was seeing one more of those city bus sized campers with jeep in tow bearing down on us. Invariably they are riding our white line.

101 out of Garberville: straight, wide shoulder, and early moring misty. Temperature: zero celcius
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The Eel River. This is really the major rver in this area, andithe highway crosses it numerous times
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The redwoods inspire tourist trap type development, usually based on a house within a tree, a natural chimney, or a drive through tree. These are lots of fun, as are the redwood carving places, which always have some version of Bigfoot. It seems natural to suppose that some sort of ancient biped would lurk in the ancient forest.

Carved lumberjacks climb a redwood
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This seems a natural fit for this area
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Typical tourist attraction here
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Another house in a tree
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There were still several groves of redwood to pass through today
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Bigfoot?
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Blue sky and misty forest!
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Roadside carvings
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Bigfoot? #2
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When we reached Leggett, it was time to say goodbye to 101, which had been our friend all the way from Port Angeles. 101 would now zoom straight south to San Francisco, while we would head over to the coast on route 1, 1 would now be our ticket the rest of the way south.

Here in Leggett is where we part ways with 101
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They really aren't kidding!
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Curvy, hilly road to the coast
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Dodie breaks out the emergency Cliff chews given to use by Barry and Janet
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The swithcbacked road up over a mountain that stood between us and the coast climmbed immediately out of Leggett, and continued to climb for another 10 km or so. Then it descended and descended. Climbing, we got really hot and took off lots of sweaters. Descending we got really cold, and were glad of having new brake pads. The whole experience was tiring as can be, and since we had started way back in Garberville, it was just dark as we hit the coast.

With headlights on, we made out way along the coast, to the Howard Creek Ranch, the B&B we had located. In the dark, it was bit hard to find, and when we arrived, a bit hard to get the idea of where we had really arrived to. There were two buildings, joined by a suspension bridge.The bridge made Dodie really nervous, as it tended to sway and shimmy. But the buildings and place (such as we have been able to see them) made up for any kms out on the road. Were we are used to be a huge barn, but it has been totally redone by the owners here. Now it is all stained wood, windows, and skylights. Inside the furnishings are antique wood tables, wood stoves, shelves of books, leather chairs and sofas, staircases going everywhere, decks. Our room adjoins a library which adjoins a large dining area, which adjoins the bit with our hot tub! I am sitting in a large leather chair by a woodstove, with Dodie keeping me company by napping on the leather sofa. She is sleepy. The hot tub and Leggett hill will do that to you.

This is just like home, except bigger and with even more natural wood. Also, I am listening to the crashing surf. The cost was same as a regular motel. Wow!

We reached the coast at sunset
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The bridge to our room at Howard Creek Ranch
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Our cosy bedroom
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Dining room off our library.
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Today's ride: 80 km (50 miles)
Total: 1,417 km (880 miles)

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