Friday, October 8, 2010

October 2, 2010. Stafford to Benbow, CA. 53 miles.

The Stafford RV Park is owned and run by a church. From the looks of the camp this morning it is the United Church of Bicycling... We started out on Hwy 101 again, but were off it in no time and onto the Avenue of the Giants. Fortunately for us it is a weekend in October so traffic was very light. It would have been wicked in July, that's for sure!
The road was nicely paved, but with little shoulder. We all stopped frequently for photo opportunities. The sun filtered through the trees in places, and sometimes the canopy of trees was so dense that we were in near darkness.
Off to our left was the Eel River basin, which is very low right now. In one town there was a billboard that showed its current level compared to normal. Water conservation is very important in this part of the country. I guess we are spoiled in the Great Lakes State.

One of our stops was at the Immortal tree, that made it through fire and flood and the loggermen's axes to surivive over 2,000 years. At that stop was the log below.

Many of us had breakfast at a small restaurant in Redcrest where they had a tree house--I am in the treehouse below, kind of hard to see, but it is a room about 20 feet in diameter inside the bottom of a living tree.

We continued on, stopping to listen to the absolute silence and photograph and take in the views so we can remember the majesty of it all.

We stopped at the Founder's tree and took photos, and I took a shot of my bike, below, to show the incredible size of these trees. My bike looks like a toy next to the fallen redwood tree!

After the Avenue of the Giants we had to get back on Hwy 101, which was worse than before! There was no shoulder and the drivers were even less considerate than usual. We were back off the highway at Redway and had lunch at a little roadside diner, back on the highway, then back off on Benbow Road, which was a terrible idea! The road was chip sealed where it was paved at all. The saving grace was that there was no traffic--no wonder--the road was nearly impassible! The last few miles on 101 was right after it narrowed down to 2 lanes with no shoulder (from a 4 lane freeway) and it was a nervewracking last couple of miles to end this wonderful, memorable day's ride.

Our camping spot was Richardson Grove RV Park, which was great! They set a picnic table right under the big outdoor light so we could play Scrabble until 10:00 at night! (actually the table and the light were already there).

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