Warmshowers, the touring cyclists home-stay network allows the thoughtful cyclist a glimpse into another’s world.
Our hosts a few days ago, Dick and Kathy showered us with hospitality on their rural property. After helping Dick stack out some freshly milled redwood lumber for one of his many projects, he showed me his bee hives. He had a new queen to place in one of the hives. I gladly observed to learn. I have had a beehive in my garden before and would like to do it again when we return so I’m always happy to learn more. It turns out Dick is the local bee expert and invited Therese and I to attend an evening class on beekeeping he runs at Humboldt State University. Once again I felt privileged to be included. We were introduced to the rest of the class as “Our beekeeping guests from Australia.”
After a breakfast of fresh fruit and oatmeal we bid our fond farewells. After a quick tour of the town of Eureka, with its old seaside district and extensive Victorian architecture, we were excited to be heading to The Avenue of the Giants along the Redwood Highway from Pepperwood to Burlington Campground.
I used up my quota of adjectives along the Oregon coast. Lost for words (yes really), amongst these 2000 year old living giants I could only mutter the occasional WOW!
In the quiet filtered afternoon light standing silently amidst a grove of trees, I heard them whisper, creak, sigh and breathe. Tired and a little overwhelmed we rolled into Burlington State Campground where we camped beneath a canopy of giants.
The hiker biker site was humming with activity. We caught up with Mathew, who we stayed with in Trinidad a few days previously, there was Liz and Jamie the two American college students we had meant the day before in Arcata, at the beginning of their cycling tour to San Francisco, Luke was from England and had been on the road for 8 months most of it in Australia cycling from Perth to Brisbane, we shared stories of crossing the Nullabor. And two young Canadian girls Lucy & Anika were heading north back to Victoria , British Columbia.
That night the eight of us sat around a roaring fire in the forest sharing tales of the road. As morning came we said our goodbyes some headed north, we headed south, continuing on the Avenue of the Giants, this time in the clear light of a new day.
Past Myers Flat then up into Miranda and a breakfast of oatmeal with bananas, raisins and brown sugar.
As the conditions warmed up, the climbing seemed to increase. We spent most of the day cycling the ridge line above the spectacular Eel River, sometimes catching a flash of silver as fish rose to the surface, mostly though we were hopeful to see some bears, scanning the sandy banks for any signs.
Nothing much changed as we crossed Humboldt County into Mendocino County, the verge came and went along with the logging trucks. We cycled up and down for the rest of the afternoon before making camp at Standish-Hickey State Park hiker biker site. At $5.00 a night it’s great value, even if a hot showers costs a $1.00.
Tomorrow we leave the forest and highway 101 for the California Coast and highway 1.