Day 22: Redcrest – Richardson Grove State Park
Distance: 44 miles.
Average Speed: 9.7 mph.
The site owner seemed surprised to find tents in his RV park, but was in good spirits and said he’d sort something out for us regarding payment. The site had a shop, so we went in to buy provisions, and the family running it were lovely and very helpful. Before we left, we read about the ‘immortal tree’, which had survived lightning, axe, flood and fire.
The plan for the day was that we would travel the remaining 10 miles to Burlington Camp Ground, where Leah would be spending a rest day, and then I would continue 30+ miles to Richardson State Park. Despite the odd climb, the 10 miles flew by. It was a scorching day, but we were protected by the mighty trees. We stopped, after 2 miles, at a gift shop which advertised coffee, surprising the owner immensely, on such a hot day. While we waited for fresh coffee to brew, he requested my assistance to push a lawnmower, and gave us the coffee for free.
The assistant in the shop was a really nice guy, and told us all about a festival he hopes to attend in British Colombia in October. While we stopped we also encountered a homeless guy who had travelled from Florida, for 9000 miles, by bike.
Pressing on, we soon reached Burlington campsite, it was a lovely spot, right in amongst the Redwoods. Shortly afterwards, a Canadian, Vincent, from Montreal turned up, and after that, two girls we’d passed on the road. It would be a busy site that night, which didn’t make leaving easy, and I stopped for a coffee.
It had been great riding with Leah, we had put in some long tough days, but, somehow, it felt like I’d had a break from the objective at hand. It had only been for a few days, but it seemed like an age since I’d been on my own.
As I pedalled away, and for the first few miles, I reflected on my trip so far. The people I’d met along the way, the people ahead, the people now behind. Recent days were a blur, and before that, a distant memory.
I continued through the stunning redwoods for a few miles, venturing into a tree that had been burned out from the inside, but was still alive.
Finally, I was dumped, unceremoniously, back on the highway. With the shade of the trees gone, it was unbearably hot, and there were long climbs to contend with. This is what I remembered from before, I couldn’t get comfy on my bike, I was pounding along the highway, desperate to get finished.
A detour through Redway offered some relief from the highway, but, with it, another big hill, and the place was a dive. Parts of California have a lot of transients, homeless people, walking the roads, and pushing or carrying all of their possessions. Places like Redway and Garberville where I passed through next, seemed to have a lot of them.
Back on the highway, I decided, no more diversions. Next stop, Richardson Grove State Park, then with only a few miles to go, I encountered a couple of American girls, one from Wisconsin, one from Montana, also pedalling to the same campground. They were at the end of a 65 mile day, on their way from Seattle to San Francisico, and it was a pleasant distraction to chat about our trips as we finished the day.
After days of cycling amongst the Redwoods, tomorrow brings a 2000 foot climb before I drop back down to the Pacific once more.