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.