Humming down the Humboldt highways

Day 8, Elk Prairie Campground to Arcata KOA, 46 miles

Packed up, we bid farewell to Viktor, who is as enthusiastic and effusive in the early morning as the night before. I tell him I will blog about him, and he says he’ll read it to see what BS I’ve written about him. I tell him I think he’ll like it, and that I’ll see him in Denmark. Next tour?

Leaving camp, we cycle down and return to 101. It’s not too busy, an early Thursday morning. Just a few miles later we ride into Orick and stop at the Palm Cafe for breakfast. Great omelet and hotcakes, and a friendly server who tells us he’s a Native American, but also home to Tennessee. Lingering too long for Roberta, she heads off to enjoy the sun and explore Patrick’s Point and Humboldt Bay. Before we go, the host beckons Alice to see his collection of Queen Elizabeth memorabilia. Flags hanging from the ceiling include the State of Alaska, Georgia Stars & Bars, Sweden, and the British Union Jack. An international spot, many visitors, countless cyclists, here in a forgotten Northern California town.

It’s noon by the time we leave the Palm. We head down 101, divided freeway drops back to a narrow two lane highway with no shoulder at places. We pass Humboldt Lagoon, around to Big Lagoon, then climb up to Patrick’s Point. We exit and take the scenic drive, cooler and mercilessly empty of traffic. The road climbs a bit, but I think less than the 101, which is the only route I’ve taken on past tours. What I missed is the beautiful town of Trinidad. The sun is shining as Alice and I decide for a coffee break at the Beachcomber Cafe. Delicious Sumatra and a good gluten free marionberry brownie.

The poster at the door reveals the coming green storm: Humboldt Harvest Glass Gathering. It’s high times for the growers in the Emerald Triangle – Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino Counties. Notably, Oregon began selling recreational marijuana today, through over 250 existing medical dispensaries. Whatever one feels about the herb, it can be argued that prohibition has failed, and decriminalization/legalization will save millions of dollars (and ruined lives) in needless prosecution and incarceration. Perhaps it would help end the drug wars at the Mexico border.

We ride to the edge of Trinidad for a stunning view of Humboldt Bay and a lighthouse memorial to people lost at sea. Skies are clear and blue, ocean reflecting the shimmering brilliance of the sun. I’m overjoyed as we ride on, skirting the bay, past sand dunes, marshes, fields with cattle. Suddenly we are confronted with freeway ramps, and weaving around busy traffic entrances. We exit and follow the bike route into Arcata, straight to the North Country Food Coop. A plethora of provisions. I wander about, buying a much as as little as I can figure out that I need. The brain becomes fuzzy after a rigorous, ecstatic ride.

I text Roberta and we meet up at the KOA, just a few miles down the 101. Laundry day! And charging all the electronics. Dinner is delayed until it’s well past dark. But I’ve decided to follow my original schedule, rather than push on tomorrow. Instead, a day’s rest and a soak at the Finnish Tubs!

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