These last few days are a whirlwind of cycling in sunny weather and meeting wonderful people. After a few rough days of weather in Humboldt County, California, I arrange to stay at a Warm Showers host for a night, mainly to recharge my social batteries and meet some cool people.
Sam and Janelle host me, along with their three-year-old Frank, who they call Frankie more often than not. About two hours out from their house, I coincidentally meet Sam at a mom-and-pop organic food shop. He walks over and tells me, “I think I am hosting you tonight!”
We set up a time and place for him to pick me up near their house with his pickup truck. They live at the top of a massive hill, so I appreciate the help.
Getting to their house is like arriving at a magical oasis. It’s a gorgeous wooden home from the 70s with fruit trees, produce, and flowers growing all around. Sam and Janelle have spent the last two years making wonderful progress in their yard. Sam is a school teacher and Janelle works in the cannabis industry with a company called Rose. From what I understand, they make rosin edibles with world-acclaimed chefs using local, organic produce.
Their perspective on life seems to be one of utmost sustainability. This is especially important when you live in California with the constant danger of wildfires and lack of water.
They cook me a huge vegan meal full of fresh veggies, yams, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and more. Their hospitality and conversation are so refreshing. I feel at home. I didn’t realize how much I needed a rest. They offer for me to stay another night or two, as I need… I make sure it is actually okay and take them up on it.
I converse with Sam for hours in his gardens walking around his property, talking about plants, and asking lots of questions. Luckily, he is excited to share his knowledge and we have a good time together taking a tour through his gigantic yard.
I end up spending two full rest days at their house. I play with Frankie a bit when he’s not at school and his laugh is so contagious. He’s a really smart kid and eager to be involved in all the food-making processes.
We share more amazing meals together, nighttime teas, and long chats about life, and I devour a book on building alternative, green homes. This family and their home inspire me. I make loose plans to reach out in the future and return with my girlfriend in our van to help build out some of the projects that Sam has brewing in his head. I spend an hour or so in the garden weeding as well, and it was such a relaxing break from cycling and a great opportunity to connect with nature.
I end my stay with Sam, Janelle, and Frankie completely recharged physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am super inspired and with a new outlook for the trip. Of course, I took no pictures with them… so I will have to head back someday to take some!
Leaving their house, I head towards Fort Bragg. Blue skies and tailwinds follow as I climb two massive hills with ease after resting up. I get another puncture in my rear tire and put in some “bacon strips” to temporarily clog it. It doesn’t feel secure, and the next stop at a bike shop reassured me that I should put in my last spare tube and ride with tubes until I get new tires. My tentative plan is to ride to Los Angeles or San Diego to use up the remaining tread, then buy new tires and switch back to tubeless before crossing into Mexico… if I go.
I’ve been giving Mexico some thought, and I am not loving how I wake up in a bit of a rush each day to complete a “reasonable” amount of distance to ensure I can complete the PCBR to Mexico and then the Baja Divide from north to south. I’d rather take my time and let chance happenings like meeting Sam and Piercy come into play. Maybe I want to surf for a few days in southern California. There’s also this dog rescue that I want to volunteer at in Baja. Plus, San Francisco is calling my name for an extended rest and a chance to really explore the city and its coffee and food scene properly. Who knows who I may meet and what reasons might pull me in to stay longer?
I may not finish all four parts of the Baja Divide. I may opt to stay along the coast, closer to civilization and not so off the grid. I find I work well with having a timeline in lots of cases, but sometimes just a start and end date with a general idea of the route is better than having everything written in stone.
This California air and weather are calling for some great days! Blue skies, tailwinds, and salty ocean air as I ride on the cliffs adjacent to the Pacific… beautiful.
Oh, and I even stumble across a campground with a hot tub one of these days. A perfect way to end a long day of cycling!