Day 23 – Humboldt State Park

I wake up for the day at 6 AM. Even though the weather called for a beautiful sunny day, there is a thick fog and all my gear is extremely wet with the morning dew. Even with all the rain the past two weeks, my tent is the soggiest it’s ever been as I put it into the dry bag. It will stay soaked all day until I take it out to dry.

I put my cold-weather gear on and get riding to Eureka. I have quite a shopping list to do today while in the larger city: buy another iPhone cable as a spare, withdraw cash for state park camping fees, pick up my tent’s footprint from UPS, drop my bike off to get fixed at 10 AM, and then make it 85+ more km to Burlington Campground in Humboldt State Park.

Today feels different. Everything flows as I’m in a less rushed state of mind. I’m confident things will work out.

I manage to get all the chores done before dropping my bike off. At Revolution Bicycles, the entire team is so helpful. I ask a ton of questions and realize that none of the problems with my bike were that major. They reassure me that people come in touring on much jankier rigs and still make it to their destinations. They clean my chain and drivetrain, adjust my disc brake pads and rotors, true my front rim, inspect my tires, fix my rear thru-axle position so the chain stops rubbing against the tire in low gears, replace some pulley that was wearing free of charge, and explain how to make little adjustments on the road when I hear more noises pop up.

For some reason, I had it in my head that once a bike is tuned, it shouldn’t get out of tune or make weird noises for much longer than 23 days of riding. They tell me that this is simply not the case with bikes. The heat is constantly warping the brake rotors and extra weight from touring adds more stress to various parts. Squeaking can also be normal.

Now whenever I pass a bike shop, I may have them check my brake discs and adjust my chain for $5-10 for each wheel. It seems worth it for peace of mind. I can usually make minor adjustments just fine, but once various noises start popping up in different places, I tend to fix some problems and create even more.

Anyhow, I feel much better. My bike feels much more aligned. I find out that I wasn’t riding at too high of a PSI when my tire blew out… I was truly just unlucky by hitting something.

Onward to Burlington Campground! Even though I start at 1 PM, I decide to follow my route’s detour through Ferndale. Up until then, it had kept me off the main highway and cycling has been breezy. Ferndale is majorly out of the way though. After lots of back and forth, I decide to go for it.

I pass through lots of farmland… nothing special… or so I thought. Getting to Ferndale was like arriving on the tiny main street of old western films. Boutique shops focused on quality. A slower pace of life all around. The buildings are well-kept but in an older style.

I come across a café with V60 pour-overs and beans from various countries roasted lightly. I haven’t seen this much focus on quality since Seattle. Most places I pass offer an extremely dark, burnt, oily roast that tastes like charcoal, hence why I order dirty chai lattes instead of a plain coffee.

I indulge in an Ethiopian coffee and a panini before setting off. The route takes me through Avenue of the Giants, which is a scenic alternative road that parallels Highway 101. It passes through more old-growth redwood trees and it is a treat to cycle through.

I make it to camp just before sunset thanks to a full Ziploc bag of dried mangos keeping my energy levels high. I complete my second century of the trip at over 101 km cycled. I’m tired but feeling good. Another night sleeping among the redwoods.

I organize to stay at a Warm Showers host for the next day because they seem like a really cool family, and I could use a slower-paced day with less distance. Tomorrow will start with a small hike and then 50-ish km to a town called Piercy.

San Francisco is on the horizon!