Mattole to Eureka - Tea for Tim - CycleBlaze

April 25, 2012

Mattole to Eureka

I woke up to rain this morning, so wasn't in a great hurry to get out of bed, which turned out to be a blessing because I got to the Store at Petrolia with only 20 minutes to wait until opening time, where I chatted with some locals.

Having had a coffee and apple strudel I was on my way again. In the rain. Again. I was soon riding alongside a beautiful 5 mile stretch of deserted beach with the grazing cattle and smell of seaweed to keep me company whilst trying unsuccesfully to see another whale. I was also enjoying a welcome tailwind which normally accompanies the bad weather. The only thing spoiling this otherwise perfect setting was the sight in front of me. A hill known by the locals as "The Wall". I now know why. It is without doubt the steepest hill I have encountered in the USA, and required a few photo stops on the way up - of the type that the camera doesn't come out for!

"The Wall"
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With the wall behind me it was a hard ridden 30 miles from the Petrolia Store to my next stop at Ferndale, with plenty of steep ascents, fierce wind and driving rain. At one point whilst going slowly down a steep and rough descent the brakes started to fade. When I menaged to stop the bike I felt the rims which were too hot to touch - time for another "photo stop".

Road signs also doubling up as practice targets.
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Rolling into Ferndale was like being transported into another world, all of a sudden encountering people, houses, traffic. The main street was like the film set from a western movie, very pretty old wooden buildings. I stopped at a cafe for a calorie and caffeine frenzy, impressing the waitress with my ability to put food away, before heading out of town and on to Eureka.

The ride into Eureka was so different from everything of the precious 2 days, whizzing down the shoulder of a busy freeway with a tailwind, and tucking in and getting low on the downhills for maximum speed without having to worry about the next pothole, landslide or hairpin bend. I arrived at Eureka at rush hour, not nice, so headed straight out the other side to a KOA campground where I spent the night. Here I met Mark, another English guy, heading south and suffering from too much of his own company, who I had an enjoyable evening chatting to.

"Eureka - i've found it"
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Today's ride: 60 miles (97 km)
Total: 700 miles (1,127 km)

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