We were up at 6, on the road by 7 and in a full body sweat climbing in the early morning sun by 8.
The manager at the Bennow campsite outside Garberville told us there were no hills between here and Leggitt but when we met the hills, we realized he probably never leaves Benbowland.
We reach “Confusion Hill” when it opens by 9. It is like “Mystery Spot” near Santa Cruz where gravity and magnetism operate differently. I love these kinds of places. I think there are 9 or 11 in the USA.
We have a lot of fun there and then move on.
The blue wildflowers are by far my favorite ones of the many on the side of the road. Something seems so special about them. They have an otherworldly quality to them even though they are quite natural.
The road itself also can be beautiful.
We are trying to make it to Leggitt well before the southbound bus gets there at 12:20. It stops at a very cool place called “The Peg House” which is a store/restaurant/music event center. It has an old cop car covered with counter culture stickers out front.
Peg House is owned by Gary and his wife. I met Gary when I biked alone Seattle to Oakland last summer and I knew he was a supercool guy. I called from the campsite last night and asked him if we could leave our bikes with him while we took the bus to Oakland and come back later for the bikes. He said “sure” in his easy friendly way.
We get our lunch and are chatting with Gary as we eat on his picnic tables out back. He (man of a million hats) also happens to be a UHaul dealer. He offers us a brand new (4,000 miles with clean car smell) truck to drive back. A new UHaul! I’ve rented plenty a UHaul in my day but never anything remotely new.
It would be more expensive than the bus but not by much and then we could still be on OUR road trip, with much more flexibility and make it in much less time than the 7 hours the bus was going to take. Plus we needn’t return for the bikes. We took him up on his offer.
Just as we were loading in the bikes, we met these guys who approached us and asked, “Hey, are you guys from San Francisco!?”
They recognized the jersey I got Noah from Box Dog Bikes, a super cool bike collective at 15th and Guerrero in SF. They were from another cool bike store at 14th and Church in SF. 3 blocks away! Both shirts are sponsered by “Four Barrel Coffee” on Valencia between 14th and 15th which is the best coffee shop in SF and thats saying a lot.
We chatted and shared stories. They told us about this crazy bike messenger race from coast to coast. They were super nice and invited us to join their rides when we got back. They were doing the big steep hills in SF! We explained we were not in that league but thanks for thinking we were.
Noah and I did 609 miles in 12 days (counting Utah) and we felt very happy about that as we got into our squeaky clean UHaul.
Leggitt is where Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 meet. Instead of going 101 south immediately we drove over the hill to coastal 101 as was our bike plan. I wanted to show Noah the ride. I did it last summer and Noah never wants to do it. It is (this is a fact, not my opinion) the steepest public road climb and the twistiest road in all of California. It is gruesomely hard and merciless.
When we drove it, we passed 14 cyclists crawling diligently up. When you are on the bike, you only see cyclists now and then but in the car, you see many.
We are extremely grateful to have been two of them for a short while. When you read this I know it all sounds like just plain hard work but what it really is, is wonderful as in full of wonder.
Amazement at what you can accomplish if you try. Deep appreciation for the kindness and connection with strangers. Marvel as marvelous at the overwhelming abundance of beauty in nature.
There is a simplicity and satisfaction of doing a bare bones basic trip like this that can’t be put into words.
We got back to Oakland before nightfall. Everything seems like unnecessary extra and a bit too precious here but I know it won’t by day after tomorrow. Noah is already out with his friends and I am looking forward to being back in the studio and making art.
Whatever that is.
Thanks for reading this blog.