DAY 97 (9/15/05): Gold Beach, OR to Crecent City, CA 60.9 mi. After a good night's rest, Tobias seems to have fully recovered from his bad experience with the glass of cold water. Although we did see the sun at our campsite this morning, as soon as we left it and returned to the coast, we were once again surrounded by fog. The air was quite chilly, with the temperature hovering in the low 50's all day. We rode up and down some steep hills and passed a bunch of marked ocean vista points where we couldn't even see the water. We also crossed the highest bridge in Oregon, which, at 345 ft above the ground, spans a deep gorge carved by a creek. We could almost see the bottom through the fog in some parts. After the bridge, we stopped at Letty's all-you-can-eat Chinese/American buffet in Brookings and got our money's worth of medium-grade food. Their home-made onion rings were quite good, I have to say. After lunch, we finally crossed the border into Caifornia, the very last state line I will cross on this tour. After the border, the fog lifted almost immediately and we actually had some sun for a few hours. During this period, we passed through the town of Smith River (the Easter Lilly Capitol of the World). We then set up camp at a nice KOA where the tent sites were surrounded by redwoods, a fitting location for our first night in northern CA. DAY 98 (9/16/05): Crescent City to Klamath, CA 30.8 mi. This morning, we awoke to (surprise, surprise) grey skies. As we were eating breakfast, occassional drops of rain fell into our cereal. Because of this, I decided to take a break from breakfast and take down my tent and load up the bike That turned out to be a wise decision, because about 5 minutes later the skies really opened. Fortunately, there was a little sheltered area near the restrooms with a picnic table, so Dagny and I hung out there while Tobias made several high-speed trips back and forth to our campsite to retrieve his stuff. We remained at the picnic bench for almost two hours while the rain continued to fall unabated. Finally, the rain let up and we were able to ride into downtown Crescent City. On the way, Tobias got a flat tire from a piece of glass on the road (there is an awful lot of broken glass on the roads around here, for some reason). We patched the tire uneventfully, although the whole experience convinced me that Mr. Tuffy strips are totally worth the added rotational weight in the wheels--fixing a flat on a tour is no fun at all and totally breaks any kind of rhythm that you had going. Anyhow, we proceeded through Crescent City and onto the Crescent City hills. The first pitch was a relatively steep 800 ft climb, and then a few rollers of a few hundred feet each up at the top. The descent off of the top was pretty intense, being very steep with no shoulder to speak of. Instead of a shoulder, there was either a steep embankment or a cliff, neither of which offers much opportunity to escape from logging trucks. We made it through, though, and were rewarded with some very nice views of the Pacific off the southern side of the hill, which was considerably less foggy than the northern side. We thought about getting a motel room for the night but in the end decided against it because the motels were all a little bit too expensive and it wasn't actively raining at the time. We ended up regretting that decision, however, because no sooner had we pitched the tents in Klamath, the skies opened again with the same intensity as this morning. Fortunately, the campground had a nice "activities building" that featuring a gas fireplace, so Tobias and I spent a good portion of the evening there, trying to stay warm and dry. DAY 99 (9/17/05): Klamath to McKinleyville, CA 56.1 mi. This morning we packed up our cold, wet gear and headed off towards the famous CA redwood forests. We rode a beautiful scenic parkway through a redwood forest. I got a little bit ahead of Tobias on a hill and got off the road to wait for him in an unoccupied parking area near a trailhead. As I was standing there, enjoying the majestic scenery, a very loud Harley pulled up next to me. And then another. And then another, and another, until there were about 20 men in leather chaps astride motorcycles parked all around me. They were very friendly and happy to meet a "real biker." After we chatted for a bit, I took some group photos for them. I really regret not taking one with my own camera just for fun, they were quite a sight. After Tobias caught up, we continued downhill on a winding road through the forest, stopping now and again to marvel at the size of the trees (in some cases, 20 ft in diameter and 350 ft high!). After returning to the coast, we rode some beautiful secondary roads through the tiny tourist town of Trinidad, where we could hear sea lions barking from rock outcroppings offshore. As we rode along, we practiced barking like sea lions, too. This may make some of you think that I have been on the road for too long, but I swear it's fun and you should try it next time you're in the shower. In any event, since all of our gear was wet, we treated ourselves to a room at Motel 6, which was incredibly warm and luxurious. DAY 100 (9/18/05): McKinleyvill to Redcrest, CA 55.4 mi. This morning we rode through the old Victorian town of Eureka, CA, and spent an hour or so walking around the old downtown area, which still has a lot of colorful Victorian-style storefronts. We then turned inland a bit and rode on some gorgeous, if quite rough, country roads through the Eel River valley. It was some of the flattest riding we've done so far, and certainly the sunniest we've done in recent days. There were lots of dairy farms in the valley, and many of them had beautiful, run-down Victorian farmhouses as well. After riding through the valley we picked up the Avenue of the Giants, a 32 mi stretch of road that runs through some of the most spectacular old-growth redwood forests around. We rode about half of it today, to the tiny town of Redcrest, where we stayed at a nice little campground across the street from a country store.