Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Two Hundred Fifty-seven, 091112 - Jenner, CA

Day Two Hundred Fifty-seven, Date Thursday, November 12, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:34
Distance for the Day: 63.94 miles From Albion To Jenner, CA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 12,521 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 19’/92’, Highest: 136’ Accumulated: 1383’
Speeds: Avg: 9.7 mph, Max: 43.9 mph
Weather: 38° clear and cold, warming to the low-to-mid 60s
Expenditures: $35

As is often the case, I woke up at various times during the night, and got up briefly at 2am to drink the rest of my ‘reserve’ soda, then woke up for real at 6:11am, and got up at 6:15am. There were two more cars around 5am or 6am that left the area this morning (I wondered if they were the two cars that went in last night). A lovely crescent Moon hung fairly high in the southeast in the totally clear sky. The dawn was bright enough I couldn’t see any stars; I could hear a flock of redwing blackbirds in the reeds between myself, and the Navarro River. I broke camp, stowed my gear, and was ready to roll by 6:49am. A slight breeze blew, but the big surprise was that clear sky; I wasn’t expecting that. From the weather predictions I got while up at the 3Ps, I thought it would be at least partly cloudy or even a bit of rain. I guess heading south got me out of the cold front’s path, except I thought I took that into account by checking weather forecasts for points down along the coast. Anyways, I wasn’t complaining. I stopped in the town of Elk from 8:15am to 8:41am for a breakfast of eggs, toast, and hot cocoa ($10) at Queenie’s Roadside CafĂ©. I talked a while with a local, Brett, who owns a house that is almost right on the edge of an escarpment facing the ocean – lucky guy. We chatted about my trip, and I gave him a tip on how to view more green flashes (use binoculars just before the last bit of Sun disappears). Continuing on, the Sun was now shining brightly, but it was still very cool, out. I would have to start using my face mask, again, to keep the UV off me. I stopped for 10 minutes at 10am to do my civic duty, and picked up dozens of nails and U-tacks that some knucklehead dropped on the road – each one a potential flat for cars and cyclists. I threw them into the bushes, out of harms way, and noticed they were a bit rusty, so they must have been there at least a week. I was a bit disappointed that no one else bothered to take a few minutes to pick up those nails and prevent innocent people from getting flat tires. Not always, but every now and then, I pick up or shove off debris from the shoulders. Of course, being so close to the ground makes this possible.

I stopped in Manchester at 10:30am for food drink items ($10), and stopped in Anchor Bay at 12:20pm for lunch. I already had the 2nd half of my Subway sandwich from yesterday, so I just got a side of fries and soda ($9) (expensive!) I also stopped for a few minutes in Gualala at 1:12pm to get more drink and chili cheese chips ($6). I was a little concerned for my progress, because the coastline was just so beautiful, I kept stopping to take pictures. It was necessary, though, not just to capture all those aesthetic views, but to also give me poor legs some rest stops. It was getting so bad, I would limp for a minute after getting up, before I could walk normally, again; that never happened to me before. I think my body was in anticipation for the end game, and was saying, “Okay, since we’re so close to finishing, now I can fall apart.” I hate it when my body anticipates. Like when you have to relieve yourself, and you can see you’re getting close to a relief station (a bathroom), and your body prematurely begins the dump sequence countdown, making the situation much more urgent than it was, just by the power of a thought. It’s even worse if the anticipated bathroom is for some reason unavailable. There you are, ready to blast off, and the launch pad is gone. I thought up an (I think) original expression for situations like that: “When the chocolate dogs come scratching at the back door, the hounds must be released!” It’s a bit crude, I know, but it’s just so true. If you’re truly strong, you can pucker up with Herculean effort and delay the launch, but it’s tough. Do those Kegel exercises!

The whole day had been beautifully clear with mild temps, and even a light breeze out of the north (a tailwind - yes!) The terrain was still relatively tough – always some degree of up or down, and as described yesterday, there were lots of those fingers of water that poked inland, creating short but steep descents and ascents. As evening approached, I found a reasonably good stealth campsite at 4:45pm (N38 30.870’ W123 14.408’). This site seemed to be an historic cemetery, perhaps associated with the historic fort complex (Ft. Ross, as I found out later) several hundred yards to the north, across a ravine. It had odd-looking crosses to mark the graves. There weren’t any signs saying ‘keep out,’ or ‘private property,’ or anything else, and there was an opening in the low picket fence that I could *just* barely squeeze my trike through, which I did. I then waited about 15 minutes to watch the sunset on the ocean. I could hear children playing at the fort, but it was several hundred yards away, and I didn’t see any lights from buildings, or any people, so I figured I was pretty safe, there. There were clouds on the horizon, so even with binoculars, I only saw some hints of the green flash as the Sun went below the somewhat sharply defined clouds. I continued to wait about another 20-30 minutes for it to get darker before setting up my tent as far from the road as possible, without making myself too visible to the caretaker occupants of the fort. I finished setting up at 5:50pm and hopped in by 6pm to munch, drink soda, and finish my book (this one was a pretty quick read). I now had less than 90 miles to San Francisco, which meant doing two 45 mile days, if I took it slow and easy. If I went my usual pace, I could probably make it back to my Start Point by late morning or early afternoon of Saturday, November 14th. I would wait until most of tomorrow to verify my progress, before getting online to post my ETA for the hoards of my adoring fans (all ten of ‘em) who wanted to be there when I arrived.

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