Category Archives: mother and son

July 22

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.

July 21

Tomorrow is July 22. The day we were supposed to fly back from Denver in our original trip plan. Noah only wanted to do two weeks.

It is lunchtime and we are at Myers flat which is nearing the end of the Giant’s avenue.

Noah would like to go home tomorrow. If we do 70 miles today we can get to Leggett tonight and maybe catch a bus out of Ft Bragg (another 45 miles) tomorrow.

We start out early.



Avenue of the Giants is as wonderful as I remember from biking it last summer. As soon as we are in those trees we both feel a timelessness that is palatable and relieving.


We also enjoy eating blackberries at the side of the road which are plentiful. As soon as you say “ok I’ve had enough” you spy a cluster that looks like it will taste even better. It’s hard to stop.


There is an enormous and varied amount of wood carvings on living and dead trees.


There are all kinds of redwood attractions. There’s the immortal tree and the eternal tree and the 1200 year old tree and the tree you can drive through ( very old and still producing greenery) and the tree with the small house in it etc.





Of course there is also the dead tree.



There is one good thing about a giant heavy logging truck passing you on a road with very little shoulder which is you get a big burst of wind pushing you along for a moment.

Mostly, thank goodness, there are wild trees.



After we got out of the avenue, we started climbing in a big way. We were prepared for it in that we knew about it and were clearly no stranger to the long 7% grade hill into Garberville. It didn’t sound like it would be as bad as the Klamath climbs.

What we didn’t expect was how hot it was going to be.


We took this photo on the mileage counter machine on Noah’s bike at 4:45 pm. We had forgotten about it earlier and kept trying to get the temperature on our iPhones but they kept having the “alarm too hot!” sign and we couldn’t get them to operate.

When we pulled into Garberville we were completely beat and then I got stung by a yellow jacket. I am allergic to them and so I got all swelled up. It was 98 degrees in the shade at 6 pm so we decided to get to the nearest campground which was 3 miles away with wifi showers a pool and a hot tub.

I was thrilled to finally wear my new bathing suit in the cool pool even with my balloon like right shoulder.

Garberville is a town made from marijuana money of the early Humbolt farms. It is a strange place. I loved the impulse item at the register of the large chain grocery store. Very fine pruning shears.


Whoops I forgot to mention that when Noah and I were melting on the climb and the phones were burning up, we had a moment of clarity and ditched our bikes


And scrambled down the mountain side to the South fork of the Eel river below. By the time we scrambled up again we were almost dry!


July 20

All around this town and some others are these.




We couldn’t get into the rodeo because they wouldn’t accept credit cards and we ran out of cash many days ago.

The crowd outside the rodeo was very interesting however and we hung around for a while at the carnival watching the crowd have fun.





I also thought this traveling ministries church in a truck was interesting.




The “church” was next to the “free fallin’ ride.


Eventually we left and went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner which felt like home.

July 20

We woke up to rain 😦



Still, it is beautiful!! Photos don’t do it justice. The sound and air are also beautiful. But wet.

We did only forty miles with practically no hills. Noah’s mat deflated permanently last night so we bought a new one at Eureka which is not a nice town.
Pictured below.


Arcata, the small counter culture town 5 miles north is fantastic!
The poster board outside the health food store looked historic but it was all advertising current events. The stools at the smoothies counter were done in top notch mosaics.




The food in California is marvelous. As a vegetarian I am used to the only two items on the menu I can eat being grilled cheese or eggs and hash browns if its early. In Trinidad and Arcata there was teriyaki tofu and red quinoa tabouli etc. feels like food wonderland to me.

We are stopping early because the next campsite is 30 miles south and we are more for a 40 mile day than a 70 mile day.

Also, there is a rodeo in town!!! Yeehaw. So we are now going to set up our tent and then go to the rodeo.

We are only 15 miles from the beginning of “Avenue of the Giants” the ancestral redwood home. We will be there first thing in the morning. 🙂

July 19

Today we met Zeke Gerwein. He stopped where we stopped. He is going the other way. I noticed his water bottle was from “Missing Link” in Berkeley! He is going to King middle school.

He looks like Harry Potter. Small, brown hair. Brown eyes with crooked glasses. He is riding the entire west coast of the USA, from the Mexican birder to Canada, raising money for Sierra club!
Different adults are riding with him during different parts of the trip. He even road the lost coast!!! North of Ft Bragg which is impossible! 20% grades on dirt roads!! Wow!

His blog is on the site “crazyguyona” his individual blog is “headwinds’R’us”. We met him with his dad who had been with him since Gualala. They were carrying more than twice the gear we were and riding mountain bikes.

They gave us a few tips of scenic roads as alternatives to hwy 101. We followed their suggestion. Once I got off and walked because on county roads the grade can be 20% whereas the state roads are 6.5 to 7 % max. We only did 50 miles today. It was tiring though because the winds were against us. I figured because they were with Zeke and so be it. Also we had lots of hills and cold wet weather all day. I was beat when we got to Trinidad, a town of 311 people.



We saw some elk but the were hiding in the talk grass between us and the ocean.


We saw goats and cows too.



At one point there was a random giantic chain fence by the road. It was beautiful in its way even though it prevented nothing from getting in or out as it was only thirty feet long out if nowhere.


Trinidad was full due to a kayak fishing competition . Folks had come from all over to see who could catch the most fish while kayaking from A to B. I wanted to stay at this Emerald place.


It looked very nice and was next door to this other place which I though looked interesting but Noah didn’t.


When I got to the office the sign said it was full. Noah said there’s no hope. I said I can’t go any further; they have land and I have a tent and money it will work out.

Cody, the cool young fellow at the desk said he always saves one tent site for the saddest story and we were it!
Yahoo! We got the site, set up and fell asleep quickly.

July 19

There’s precious little reception in redwood land so here’s a photo from Orick’s cafe where we are eating now with Internet. We biked up and out of Klamath and then took a detour off 101 through a state park with huge trees.



We are so glad there is a place to eat here because the town is only 650 people and we are a bit tired. Even though its only been 25 miles the wind was against us and we have 30 more to go so its nice having this rest and warm food.

Hope to write later but I doubt ill have reception. We’ll see!

July 18

We started out slow knowing we only had 50 miles to do today to get to Klamath CA. It was flattish the first 26 miles and beautiful as usual. We made the California border quickly.

I would like to put a photo here but I am writing this at night at a campground laundromat and have no Internet so all the pictures will have to come at the end when I hopefully get Internet tomorrow.

We make it to Crescent city early in the day. It is like Brookings only it is California which somehow makes it less subtle. It’s hard to explain but the difference is apparent immediately. There is more money in California but it doesn’t go to the right places.

The roads are awful and there is no shoulder. They are repairing the same part of the Klamath mountain road this year as they were last year when I biked this route.

The climb out of Crescent City over the mountain to Klamath is intense in a few ways. Even the RV folks were talking about how hard it was to pull their giant traveling homes up it. The most saliant aspect of the cumb is that it seems like it will never end. It twists and turns and when you think it will be over it just keeps going up. This happens repeatedly until you don’t let yourself hope it will be the end anymore.

It took us three hours to go ten miles. It was laughable. We could have walked it faster I guess. What makes the climb tolerable is it’s otherworldly semi magic beauty. We are not in full in magic yet because this is the beginning of the Redwoods and these trees are not super old.

During the climb, despite the cars, you still feel the silence and the fog drifts through the trees in that rays of God light way. It was about sixty degrees cold as we climbed and yet the sweat poured through us steadily.

At the top we got teased a bit because it goes down and up and down and up for a while so you think it’s over but it’s not.

When we did finally go down it was freeeezing! We had to stop twice to put on extra clothes. The fog was chilly and even with the fancy bike clothes, the sweat was not quickly wicking off so we were wet as well as cold.

We didn’t want to go down fast because the faster we went, the colder we got and also because the California road at any point can have a six inch hole or random lump (this never happens in Oregon) and there’s no shoulder.

We, in our always day glo yellow clothes (over our black long silk underwear) made it to Paul Bunyan trees of mystery towards the end of the afternoon. We had something between lunch and dinner there before we spent quite a bit of time in the museum.

This museum has a formidable collection of indigenous American artifacts. It has all been put together by one woman. It is astounding.

The traded beads I found poignant. Also the dress which uses the paid Swiss coins as decoration.

After trees of mystery we landed in the Mystic River campground down the road just a bit from the only store in Klamath.

Our site is superb. We have a giant redwood that we can walk through at the beginning of our site. Those before us left wood in the firepit so Noah made a fire and heated up his can of soup. No one is anywhere near us and we walk over a creek in a tiny covered bridge to get to the showers.

It’s all super perfect here in the redwoods. Well worth the effort.














July 17

We got up at 6:30, ate breakfast (purchased at the grocery store last night) and got on the road by eight.

We stopped at a place that was a cross between a garage sale and a antique shop. They had a first edition Tom Sawyer! Noah got a truckers hat.

Folk in the store had endless suggestions of what we should see. It is a bit irritating when we are shooting to bike 82 miles today (making up for yesterday) and these locals are pushing an extra ten on us to see a gorgeous coast, like we haven’t already. We know they are well meaning so we are patient and semi smiling but they have all day to talk.


Eventually we get out of there and roll into Port Orford after 26 miles of biking at 10:00. We have a good hearty second breakfast at paradise cafe and get two milkshakes to go.

We see quite a few folks biking 101 today. We saw a guy today who was biking on the other side of the street hauling a rig behind him. On the rig, was a six foot tall white cross. It happened so quickly, I couldn’t get a photo of it.


By two o’clock we made it to Gold Coast, 56 miles away.


We were exhausted after 56 miles but it was only two. We ate at the grocery store and got BenGay for our painful parts and kept on going.


Then we came across the roadside prehistoric park.



They don’t have these in Utah I’m guessing.

We biked on and on and on. Miles up 6.5% grades and down 6.5% grades over and over again.



There was nothing but natural beauty between Gold Coast and the next town. At seven we rolled into this next town of Brookings for a total of 82 miles! We made up what we lost yesterday with all parts of our bodies were aching



July 16

Today started out okay. We got to Moe’s bike shop in north bend not long after it opened. The store is located right after you come across the bicyclist’s bridge from hell.


Alan Moe himself helped us and didn’t charge us anything! We didn’t really have a problem but the tire was under inflated and the tire rim was under the wheel rim in a small section which made it go bump slightly in every rotation. He inflated us and we left with big smiles.

We then went to the coffee shack. There are drive in coffee boxes everywhere. Next we went to a thrift store. I got a brand new bathing suit for 3.50 and Noah got a high school jacket for the same price!

Outside the store we met the local weatherman who told us there would be no wind. That was not the case! It slowly increased and became what felt like thirty miles in our face. We’d be climbing up the hill and look at the long grass on the side of the road and it would be bent to 45 degrees!


There are old old cars on the road a lot up here. It doesn’t make sense since we are on the salt water coast which is bad for cars.


In this area you see oyster shells everywhere. In some places more than others.


We biked the wrong way for about twelve miles. It was a dead end road without the dead end sign. It was beautiful however and we had lunch there.




While we were here being lost without knowing we were lost we meet four women my age from Salt Lake City. No kidding.

At the dead end we bike back almost to Charleston where Hwy 101 disappears.



From there we take the one and only way from Charleston to Bandon which is


And it’s every bit that. The seven refers to these crazy steep grade hills. It’s only twelve miles but it was almost impossible. The wind was way strong in our faces and as we climbed higher and higher it got quieter and weirder. At one point we heard this strange very loud repetitive yowl which I assumed was an animal but I am not sure as we never saw the source. Roads that were driveways looked third world.


Half way through it started to rain. We were freezing with that and the wind. It was also beautiful and serenely soundless.




Beautiful but still strange


The long and short of it all is that at the end of only 36 miles we were exhausted beyond going further much less the next 28 miles to the campsite. We secured a tent site in an RV park but it was too wet and freezing to stay. We couldn’t go to sleep at five. The lady there understood and refunded us our ten dollars.

We then went to an odd cheap hotel run by a really nice Iranianan man who used to love in Oakland. It has a funny middle eastern touch in the room decor. It is warm! After we warmed up a bit we walked to the grocery store. After you bike all day every day, walking is a strange slow luxury. I got a progressive vegetable soup and heated it in the microwave. It was wonderful.


Missing day

Somehow I missed the end of yesterday. We did sixty miles and slept at washburne memorial state park. It was freezing. The showers were on timers. Noah said his lasted fifteen seconds. Mine was two minutes. Maybe his fifteen seconds is my two minutes. Not sure.

The restrooms were full of odd insects.

We had a completely alone tent site with no one around us at all. The trees were very talk and swooshed and swayed in the wind. The ocean roared in the near distance but it sounded like the freeway to us city dwellers.