DAY 101 (9/19/05): Redcrest to Bendow, CA 45.1 mi. 
Before I make any notes about todays ride, I would
like to remind everyone that today (9/19) is webmaster
Erik's birthday!  So, if you have been following the
adventure on this site, now would be a great time to
send Erik an email, wish him a happy birthday, and let
him know that you appreciate all the hard work that he
has put into this site (esw at alum dot mit dot edu). 
In honor of Erik's birthday, the clouds went away
today and we were able to see the redwoods in the sun
for the first time.  We rode through the forest to a
visitor center, where we locked up our bikes and took
a 2-hour hike through the trees.  They are
unbelievably huge, and it was fun to approach them on
foot to get a real sense of just how big they are.  We
then got back on our bikes and rode the last few miles
of the Avenue.  On our way out, we met a man walking
with a hand-made, unstable looking trailer that he was
using to tow a 10-ft tall cross.  Of course, we had to
stop and talk to him, and I would have to say that he
is one of the nicest religious wackos that I've ever
met.  He very earnestly explained to us that the Lord
spoke unto him and told him that he should build a
huge cross out of plywood and then walk with it from
Tijuana to Crescent City.  The lord works in
mysterious ways, that's what I always say.  

DAY 102 (9/20/05): Bendow to Cleone, CA 61.6 mi.  This
morning was warm and sunny because we were far enough
inland to be protected from the coastal fog by a big
ridge.  We rode south along the eastern side of this
ridge for a few hours, and then at a town called
Leggett we switched from US-101, which we've been
following since WA, to CA-1, also known as the
Shoreline Highway.  After picking up CA-1, the first
thing we had to do was climb over the ridge separating
us from the coast.  This climb, called Leggett Hill,
is the highest point on the entire Pacific coast
cycling route, at about 2000 ft, and all the cyclists
last night were talking about it.  It turns out not to
be a particularly difficult or intimidating climb,
though, not very steep at all.  The descent was great,
lots of very tight turns for slaloming back and forth.
As soon as we arrived back at the coast, it was
immediately cold and foggy again.  We went up and down
a series of steep rollers along the coast, much
steeper and more challenging than Leggett Hill by far.
Along the way we went through several very small
towns that are clearly getaways for rich hippies, as
the stores in these towns stock 15 varieties of
organic salad dressing but no actual food to speak of.
Armed with the odds and ends of food that we could
scrape together, we went to the hiker-biker site at
the nearby state park.  There, in a truly surreal
small-world moment, I met a guy who knows my uncle
Joel (who is from South Portland, ME) at whose house
this whole adventure began.  

DAY 103 (9/21/05) Cleone to Point Arena, CA 51.8 mi. 
In a startling turn of events, we were completely
fogged in for most of the day.  We still had a very
enjoyable ride, though, passing through several scenic
towns on the coast including Mendocino.  My guidebook
says that this town is "just like a New England
fishing village."  I'm not sure I would goe that far,
but it is very quaint, being mostly pastel-colored
wood buildings erected in the 1850's.  After Mendocino
we continued along the coast, catching very
occassional glimpses of the water as we passed through
towns such as Elk.  We arrived in chilly, damp Point
Arena and set up camp.  We then employed our new trick
of scavanging firewood from the fire pits of vacant
campsites (as opposed to paying $5-7 for a fresh
bundle).  Or efforts were especially well-rewarded
here and we soon had a great blaze going.  It was so
good, in fact, that the owners of the campground came
by to ask us where we had gotten our firewood (since
obviously we had neither carried it in nor purchased
it from them!).  They seemed a little skeptical about
our explanation of its origins, and seemed to suspect
that we had stolen fresh firewood from the few
customers that they had in the RV area, but without
any evidence of such nefarious activity there wasn't
anything they could do.  So, we enjoyed our free
campfire for another hour or so until we were too
tired to stay up any later, and went off to our tents.

DAY 104 (9/22/05): Point Arena to Bodega Bay, CA 69.1
mi.  Today was one of the foggiest in a series of very
foggy days.  Although we could hear the crashing surf
for most of the day, we saw the water only a handful
of times.  Today's ride was quite challenging, lots of
very steep climbs and descents, usually with a very
tight hairpin turn in the bottom.  Riding this kind of
terrain definitely tests your skill as a cyclist--you
want to carry as much momentum as possible through the
descent and the hairpin at the bottom because right
after that tight turn is another steep climb.  But, of
course, you have to be going slow enough to maintain
control of a very sharp turn.  And you have to get
yourself in a gear that's high enough to pedal and
maintain some speed as you start the climb, but not a
gear that's so high that you can't pedal it for more
than a second on the climb, or so low that you lose
all momentum before you can start powering the bike
again.  I think I had an advantage for this part of
the ride simply because I've been riding Dagny
continuously for almost 7000 mi and have a very, very
good feel for how she handles on turns.  So, I was
able to take the turns pretty aggressively and coast a
good way up the climb after each turn.  Tobias and I
both really liked the riverside town of Jenner quite a
bit, the scenery where the river met the ocean was
wild and beautiful (as far as we could see, anyway),
but it was too cold and wet to stay there.  So, we
decided to push on for another 10 mi to the larger
town of Bodega Bay, where we planned to get a motel
room.  Sadly, once we got there, we found that all the
motels were way out of our price range, and ended up
spending a very, very cold night at a beach-side
campground instead.