We met up with Ned and Charlotte again in Crescent City, and headed south on the 101 together.
The wind was calmer and our spirits were high - we all had a good laugh at a sign that boldly proclaimed 'Don't be a crab, eat one!' as we left the city. We saw a bunch of hippies with guitars sitting by the beach and realised we really were in California!
Just outside of town there was a mountain to climb - our biggest since arriving in the USA. Ned and Sam went ahead and Charlotte and I ground the pedals together. I was glad to ride with Charlotte - with Sam I tend to be a bit sooky and complain a bit... but with Charlotte I had to just smile and keep chatting through the pain. And there sure was pain! But we got to the top - and quicker than the boys expected! Partway up we even saw some gigantic trees - had we arrived in the Redwoods??
Going down the other side was so much fun. We all laughed and jeered and overtook each other - taking photos along the way. It was one of the most fun descents I've ever done! And the seaside scenery was beautiful.
Ned and Charlotte made a quick stop in a small town to try and buy some food but we had enough with us, so we continued down the road... Or rather, UP the road. We had hit another mountain. Not quite as big as the first one, but still enough to make my legs turn to jelly.
Partway up there were signs pointing that the bike route went right, off the 101. We debated what to do. Follow the main road? Or take the bike route? We'd talked about meeting up with Ned and Charlotte at the upcoming camp site but which road was it on? I tried to call them. No phone reception. We chose the bike route.
Around the corner the gradient got even steeper. Had we made the right decision? We keep climbing higher and higher. At least the road surface was nice and there were few cars.
Then we were in the redwoods. Around us was the densest forest I've ever been in. The temperature dropped. It got darker. Wow was it beautiful. The last five miles, flying downhill to the campsite, was some of the best, most beautifully scenic riding we've ever done, massive, ancient redwoods towering above us, lining the road like a procession, interspersed with deciduous orange and red leaves, hanging from trees coated lightly by silvery crystalized mosses.
At the campsite we were setting up when Ned and Charlotte arrived. This campsite had bear lockers to keep our food safe and it had cold showers for just 50 cents... But in Oregon campsites provided hot showers for free- so it wasn't such a tempting offer.
Another girl, Jodie from Cleveland, turned up after dark and the five of us stayed up far too late talking and laughing...