Days sixteen through nineteen: Back to taking it easy
After the Mill creek campground annoyance, we've had several days of excellence in every way: easy rides, good weather, and interesting haps.
Coming back up the hill and re-summitting the Crescent City hills mountain as not bad at all first thing in the morning, and we hardly noticed the alleged three peaks, feeling only slight rolling hills up top. In general, riding in the morning is remarkably easier than later in the day. We didn't ride far, only about 30 miles to Elk Prairie Campground, so named for a little field where a bunch of elk graze regularly. After setting up, we went on a little hike around the place, which made us want to do a longer hike the next day. In the evening, we ate our Subway footlongs bought earlier in the day in the tiny hamlet of Klamath, and talked with a couple of cyclists, Luke and erika that we first spotted by the giant likeness of Paul Bunyan we stopped at.
They turned out to be a really cool recently married couple currently living in South Korea teaching the US military base kids. We enjoyed hot chocolate with rum and conversation with them. The next day we said good bye and started walking to the trail head of a 12-mile hike when we chanced upon some people we met in Portland: the roommate of Joey, the guy we stayed with one night, and his folk musician friend whose house show we attended! We ended up hiking with them on an awesome set of trails that led us through redwoods, down a river bed, and onto the beach and back. Weird coincidence, but I suppose the more people you meet the more this kind of stuff happens. We capped the day off with a short 20 mile ride to another state park campground, Patrick's Point, where we devoured chili with cheese and tortilla chips.
The next day we rode to Eureka, stopping in Arcata for a nice ice cream and chilling time on the grassy square. We followed the adventure cycling map instead of the stupid book, and enjoyed a scenic cruise on back roads instead of the frantic pace of the 101. At one point we were even stuck behind a herd of cows for a few minutes.
Upon arrival to Eureka and checking in to our motel (we were going to stay there two nights to hang out in town all day on Friday) I received a fateful call from Luke. He and Erika were "kidnapped" by the city of Fortuna to be put on mock trial at the Fortuna rodeo and parade this weekend. In return, they got a three night stay at the Holiday Inn, all meals paid for including dinner with the mayor, and constant introductions to all the kingpins of the town. Having heard about how much we wanted to go to a rodeo, they invited us to share their room at the hotel!
Well, this we could not pass up. We still hung out for a half day in Eureka, a great town, and then headed over 20 miles south, to Fortuna.
As I type this we're waiting for the parade to start, and the rodeo begins in a few hours.