September 10, 2013, Tuesday
Richardson Grove State Park to Standish-Hickey State Park, California
15 miles (running total = 371 miles)
I awake refreshed, and enjoy my morning bowl of granola amid the towering redwoods. It is quiet. Only Alan is up. The others, who drank a lot of liquor last night, are still tucked away in the sleeping bags in the dark forest. Alan and I talk as I eat. I need to do a laundry again. Heat waves have a way of making this necessary. One of the fellows who was at camp last night walked over from a nearby RV park where he is staying, and told me to stop by his tent in the morning and I could do a laundry at the RV park (just tell them, if they ask, you’re with me). So, it’s early, and I decide to take advantage of the offer.
The laundry room is old and somewhat run down, but here it is, and I am the only one up to use it. Once started, I sit outside and wait. Large RVs are all around me. Once the folks start getting up, the men folks walk over to learn all about my trike. I answer many questions with a smile for a long time. I figure if these folks like me, I’m as good as in here, and won’t be hassled by anyone for doing a laundry, which technically, I am not suppose to be doing here since I’m not a paid guest. This is a very conservative park, with conservative patrons, and there are religious sayings affixed to all the walls of the laundry room. I do my entire laundry without negative incident. One man tells me how dangerous my mode of transportation is. I thank him, load the clothing back in my Arkel panniers, and pedal onto Highway 101 south, heading for Standish-Hickey State Park.
Standish-Hickey State Park is only 14 more miles down the road, but I decide to stay there tonight. Coming from my head, this sounds rather out of place because I enjoy high mileage days, but I have two reasons for a short day. First and foremost, I have eaten up a substantial amount of my morning riding time doing a laundry and talking with all the fellows who gathered around to learn about my trike. Second, beyond Standish-Hickey State Park 2 miles, I will be departing Highway 101 after all these days, and taking Highway 1 out of Leggett, California, over the 22 very steep and long mountainous miles back to the Pacific Ocean. There is no known campground (at least in my knowledge base) for quite a ways from Standish-Hickey State Park, so I would rather pitch my tent early today, really rest up a lot, and then tackle the infamous Leggett Hill first thing in the morning tomorrow, when it’s foggy and cool outside. This strategy will set me up perfectly for a moderate 59 mile day the next day into Van Damme State Park along the coast.
It is an easy day for me. Fifteen total miles through the redwood forest is wonderful. Still, it’s hot though, so the shade feels good. It is certainly no where near as hot as yesterday in Redway and Garberville. I take my time pedaling, realizing that I can easily arrive at Standish-Hickey long before sunset. The state park comes into view in early afternoon. I make a stop at the market across the street, and, true to form, scarf up my Odwalla protein monster drinks (all three of them), along with a couple bananas, and other good stuff.
Regarding protein, I am maintaining an intake level of 90 to 100 grams of protein per day. I am keeping it this high because cycling is continually breaking down the muscle tissue, which rebuilds itself from protein intake. Normally, when working out off season, I train every other day, with a day of rest in between to allow for muscle recuperation. Overland trike treks are not so kind on the body, as there is no rest sufficient for muscle growth, or at least one would deduce based on extrapolated logic. I like to give my body every advantage I can, and since I know that it is being stressed maximally most days on the road, I decide to “feed the machine” all I can. Interestingly, on these trips, my leg muscles do noticeably increase in volume. I can see the results as the trip goes along, and by the end, it is clear that my legs are much more defined with more muscle mass. One-hundred grams of high quality protein each day maximizes this dynamic.
I also supply the machine with high fat foods, primarily mixed nuts or trail mixes. They are high in healthy mono-unsaturated fats, which give me loads of energy for these long steep uphills. The protein may rebuild the muscles each night at camp, but it requires the fat to fuel the burn that breaks the muscles down in the first place, which leads to overcompensation, thus increased size and strength. And I eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies at the daily market stops, in addition to the green veggie power I spoon into my granola every morning for extra insurance.
My largest expense item on overland trike trips is food. At the Safeway supermarkets and other stores, I spare no money in fueling my living machine. Price is not a consideration when out on a trike journey. This is unbelievably difficult work pedaling cross country, and it would not demonstrate wisdom to use money as the determining factor in what I eat. At Safeway, for example, their trail mix packages are very pricey, and the Odwalla protein drinks are too. Veggies and fruits are cheap. It is not unusual for me to spend upwards of $20 at times on a tough day. It is always at least $10 in any market where I buy “eat on the spot” food. I like cold drinks on hot days, and chilled strawberries. Hiker/biker camp sites are typically $5 per night, so you can see that the food bill will comprise the bulk of what this trip ends up costing.
Shortly after 2:30 PM, I pedal into Standish-Hickey State Park campground, pay my five dollars, and cruise into the hiker/biker camping area. The area is huge, well maintained, right next to multiple private showers and toilets, with an outdoor sink for washing cycle clothing, and electrical outlets for charging electrical devices like cell phones. There are already five cyclists here, so I walk around and introduce myself to them. A husband/wife couple from New Zealand, Mike and Les who live in Aukland, are the first I meet. They tell me to learn more at http://getjealous.com\crang, a website that apparently tells about their adventures.
Next, I walk over to another picnic table and meet Bert Lensink from Victoria, British Columbia and Vic Krueger from Vancouver, British Columbia. They have been riding together on diamond frame touring bicycles since northern Washington. They too are really nice and very enjoyable to visit. They seem to have this touring business down to a fine science. Bert and Vic are slightly older than I am. And again, I see Alan from Arizona sitting at a table, smoking one of his 25 daily cigarettes. Alan is an alternative type of fellow, perhaps a bit rough around the edges for some refined folks, but I really am starting to like the guy. He is very likable if one doesn’t find him frightening. I think he’s a kick in the pants to talk to, a real straight shooter who is honest to a fault, even if it puts some people off. His knowledge of this Pacific Coast route is incredible, having pedaled it before. I ask him many questions, and he usually knows the answer – impressive.
For an hour or so, we all visit, with no one else arriving, but then, sometime after 4 PM, after we have all showered, they start coming in. First a trickle, then a torrent. I realize that so many bikers are arriving now that to go around and get all their names won’t really work. I want to take a group shot of us all for the website when we numbered about 10, but by the time the afternoon turned into evening, and the total number swells to 17 cyclists, all working diligently at setting their camps, cleaning up, and eating, it becomes apparent that I will simply visit and behold the activities. One gal sets up an elaborate hammock, and explains how it is that you don’t fall out. I greet everyone who pedals up with a smile and a welcome to our camp spiel. This is fun.
With my borrowed cell phone charged, dinner eaten, shower taken, visiting accomplished, a tomato eaten that Mike and Les did not want, and darkness finally descending upon our lively gypsy camp here in the grand redwoods, I slip quietly into my tent for the night. Fabian Brook, a cordial young man from Whitehorse, Yukon, is out there playing a ukulele, and the music is very nice to hear. I will not forget his strumming. Tomorrow morning, all 17 of us will be arising before sunup to begin our ascent of the Leggett hill, only three miles distant from our tents by road. My easy day today will be replaced by a working day tomorrow, and only 24 miles from my sleeping bag lies the Pacific Ocean once again, replacing the oppressive heat of Redway and Garberville.