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August 23, 2012 / betweenstops

Ft. Bragg to Gualala

It’s been five days since I’ve had electricity with Internet so I’ll remember what I can.
It

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Basically, it’s beauty everywhere. Often I will stop to take a photo on one side of the road and realize that the view on the other side of the road is just as beautiful. I am no longer shooting as I ride. It is not possible as the roads are often bad and there is no shoulder

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What made being able to shoot that last photo miraculous was that what’s represented in the image completed a full circle for me. Blue was the only color missing from the supportive cast of wildflowers growing freely by the side of the road. I had seen every shade of pink, red, yellow, orange, purple and now finally blue.
I didn’t photo them much as they were everywhere and to document it seemed overwhelming. It was not their image that was important (albeit it is always perfect and amazing as flowers are when examined) but their presence that had its effect on me.
They were there where they had no reason to be. They were like the artist and the art that doesn’t need to be seen and the art.

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The other roadside gift are the abundance of blackberry bushes. If you had to, you could survive on them.

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Also there are squeally pigs on the side of the road. Sorry this is so misty.

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Getting to Guala was just riding through beauty without much happening.

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When you start out at twelve, it’s just riding riding riding to make the sixty or sixty five in time for camp with light long enough.

Twenty fives out of Ft Bragg was the hardest climb I’ve ever had. It is the steepest slope in all of California. It was six quick switchbacks and I started walking by the third and near the top my cleats were slipping on the pavement as I tried to pull the weight of my bike with packs.
In the middle of hills that are hard I’ve started to take breaks. I sit down and eat something or I just look around me while watching my breath. They can be very special moments. Already what I am doing is stepping outside and this is stepping outside of stepping outside.
Also electricity is getting very sparse so I have my phone turned off and only turn it on for photos. It takes one and a half breaths for the thing to be ready to take a photo. Seems like an eternity.

About twenty miles out from camp there was Manchester with its one store
That had everything including these

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Four different ones but I’ll spare you. This time over the hardware aisle. I met two young bikers at this store. They were going San francisco to Portland.

Thats going the direction Against the wind. I’ll just say in an oversimplified way, that the wind can mean everything. If its with you, uphill is easy. If its not with you, even downhill can be hard. Sometimes you can not tell on a slight grade whether it is uphill or downhill. I know that sounds weird but it’s true. You’d think you’d be able to tell visually but you can’t. Your eyes can see it either way. If you are next to a river, you can tell by that but usually there’s no river in view.

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Finally I make it to Guala but it’s after seven and because this is a Sonoma County park, it sucks (a lot of them have closed even, like no funding in Sonoma for parks go figure) and the camp host is unavailable. The map tells me nothing and I bike around and can’t find the hike and bike Site but I do find a woman with a tiny tent and a bike so I join her. After I’m set up she comes out of her tent and tells that where we are is not the bike site and isn’t very friendly but not overtly unfriendly either and then she goes back in her tent. I just go to sleep with my book and she is gone in the morning by the time I get up and see lots of raccoon tracks all over my towel.

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One Comment

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  1. cathy / Aug 23 2012 9:14 pm

    Beautiful photos. I love the ones of the S curves in the road and the yellow flowers against the ocean. Your photos are amazing. So are you?! You are getting so close to home. Enjoy every minute and I can’t wait to see you!

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