The land that time forgot

Day 22, Arcata to Burlington Campground, 53 miles

After a rest day spend in Arcata, I head out refreshed into the morning gray. Thick fog over Humboldt Bay continues in to Eureka. I enjoyed the extra day in Arcata, visiting the Finnish Tub & Sauna, Cafe Brio, the huge North Coast Co-op, and in general just relaxing and bumming around. And chatting with my sweetheart. Seems the more we share, the more I want to share. Opening up again.

I turn right at F Street, into Old Town Eureka. Victorian architecture abounds. I stop at Old Town Coffee, charging batteries, blogging, and generally waiting out the fog. Dan arrives, who also camped at the overpriced RV park last night. He gets a 24 oz latte in a huge mug, great for an Instagram post. We hang out, sharing stories, international politics, and general laughter in the common language of humor. Of course, his English is better than mine, considering he’s from the source country. Though we both bemoan what to do if the fascists win the elections. Which country will have us?

The fog is beginning to lift as we head out. I let him depart first, knowing my pace will be slower. My packs are laden, now as in other trips, with too much food. How could I resist the bounty of the co-op? I’ll carry it all for miles, for days, probably eating it down the Mendocino Coast somewhere. I like to stop at cafes to break the ride, so my main meal is usually lunch. Such as in Rio Dell today, at the nice Mexican restaurant.

Moderate tailwinds carry me up the Redwood Highway out of Humboldt Bay. An easy ride, with the sun breaking through. How nice to see blue skies again! I make great time on the highway, now a freeway with light traffic and ten foot wide shoulders. Easy going, and then, the Avenue of the Giants! I exit at Pepperwood, dropping immediately into the dark Redwood forest.

Massive trees line the Old 101, the land that time forgot. I try to imagine the heyday of this road, when families would pile into the family car and take a driving vacation. Just like my family always did. So much has been lost in the modern entertainment, to virtual media, virtual landscapes. I’m reassured to see people still cruising the redwoods, even if to just grab pictures for their Instagram. Hey, I’m doing this too!

The Avenue winds back and forth, crossing the mighty Eel River. The water is low, but I remember last May when there was quite a bit more flowing. The markers high on the trees remind of a huge flood, some 50 years ago. California, still in drought after five years, with no end in sight. We all wonder what will happen if rains don’t come. Twenty million people living in Southern California, on water imported from other drought-ridden watersheds.

I roll into Burlington Campground, just before sunset. I find Dan and several other cyclists in the Hiker Biker site, maybe we’ll be riding to SF together. I’ve just confirmed a stay at Donkey’s cob wonderland, near Gualala, and he says to bring whoever I want with me, we’ll fire up the cob oven. Might be a gang at that point! I set up camp, take a hot shower, then settle into my tent, to text the night away with Jennifer.

Our emails have deepened our communication, piquing my desire for even more. To write, to express ideas and feelings. The ultimate aphrodisiac. And yet, we are so far apart. I’m really feeling the miles. But pining, this is a good thing. And technology really seems to bridge the gap.

Seems like she’s right here. Like my dreams keep tricking me into believing, until I wake and find her missing. This woman has really captured my heart.

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