Day Two Hundred Forty-nine, Date Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time in Saddle: 4:20
Distance for the Day: 36.57 miles From Orick To Arcata, CA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 12,295 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 24’/376’, Highest: ?? Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: 8.4 mph, Max: 36.09 mph
I woke up at 5:50am, and got up at 6:04am. I did manage to get some sleep despite the traffic, ocean, and horse noises that filtered through my earplugs. Oh, yeah: I didn’t notice them last night, but I could hear ocean waves breaking this morning, though I couldn’t see the ocean – it must have been just over a small rise to the west. I broke down and packed away my gear, except for my tarp, which had gotten a bit of mud on it from the ground. This is actually quite rare, as I’m careful to not put it down on actual dirt – always trying for gravel, pavement, grass, or straw. I set it out to dry, some, and went into the mini mart for breakfast. I got a hot cocoa, Danish, blueberry muffin, and some food and drink items for the road ($8). After eating, I took my hand towel and wiped the bits of mud on my tarp off, then folded it up, and stowed it away. At 7:18am, I took off to continue south on coastal Hwy 101. Almost immediately, and no big surprise after hearing the pounding surf, I came to the ocean, and followed alongside it for quite a while. Then something strange happened: at 10:24am/12,276 miles: my front left tire got a flat (#14, I believe) – it’s not supposed to do that! I stopped to fix it, and found that it wasn’t due to a puncture from some sharp object off the road, but a flaw in the manufacture of the tube, itself. It was a Slime brand tube, and a short fissure on the *inside* surface of the tube wall (the side that goes against the rim, as opposed to the side that faces the road) decided to fail this morning, and leak air. The fissure was too much for the Slime sealant to deal with, so the tire went flat. Just for the record: once a self-healing innertube develops a leak, patching it won’t work – period. I’ve tried this before, but thought I’d try one more time, just to make sure, and sure enough, the liquid self-sealant worked past the patch before I could even pump the tire back up to full pressure, so the tire couldn’t be filled. I once again took the tire off, pulled out the Slime tube, and installed my one spare (regular) innertube. I then rode a few miles to the gas station in Trinidad at 11:25am to set all three of my trike’s tire pressures right, and got the two front tire beads correctly set, too. That was a bit of a job in and of itself. I put a couple of good dollops of shampoo in a water bottle to make a soapy solution. I then deflated my tires, and poured the solution over the tires, making sure it got between the tire and rim by rubbing it in with my hand. It still took three tries on the right-side tire before the bead set correctly – whew! Those Schwalbe tires are great, but *man* they’re a pain to mount. After that, I picked up some supplies in the mini mart ($12) and ate the other half of my Subway sandwich, a ruby red grapefruit drink, and some trailmix for lunch, while charging my notebook. I then took off at 12:45pm to go the 14 or so more miles to Arcata, home of the Three Peas (my cousin Pat, her husband Pete, and their son, Parker).
The weather changed from sunny and cool in about a half-hour to cloudy and cold, but by the time I made Arcata around 2:30pm, it became mostly clear, again. Following signs pointing the way, I left Hwy 101 to follow the Pacific Coast bicycle trail to a rails-to-trails route, which was very scenic. It went across a narrow bridge over a channel of water, and through farm and ranch land, where I encountered several other cyclists, including a recumbent bicycle – cool! When I got into town, I found a mini mart for a bathroom break and got an ice cream ($3). I asked the fellow there if there was a bicycle shop nearby, and he pointed out the window kitty-corner across the street, and there it was! Not too surprising, since it was on the Pacific Coast cycling route. I went over and got a new spare innertube, plus a bottle of do-it-yourself tire sealant goop ($14), which had enough to do two tires, which was perfect. I immediately put the goop into the new spare innertube I’d just bought, and I also put it in the innertube that I installed to replace my recent flat. The bike shop had an air compressor, free for use, so I used it to reinflate my two just-gooped tires, and I was all set. I called Pat at 3:22pm to let her know I was now in town and asked if she knew a good bookstore (where I could replace the one I’d just finished). She told me where two were, and they were only a few blocks from where I was, so I headed over to the used book store, and traded my old book in for store credit, and went looking for a new book. As I was perusing the store, looking at book titles on their spines, I noticed a familiar face off to the side – it was Pete! He was driving by, knew I was close, and saw my trike outside. He just stopped in to say ‘hi,’ and find out what my immediate plans were. We chatted a bit, and then he left me to continue my peruse. Then, a few minutes later, Pat and her son Parker showed up, too! She decided she didn’t want to wait for me to get to their house, so she and Parker came to the bookstore, first. Pete came back to the bookstore, too, so we all chatted a bit, and they gave me access to their account at this bookstore for when I eventually made my pick – how nice! They all took off back home, I finally made my pick (Robin Cook: Mutation, a medical thriller) and purchased it with my trade-in book credit and their account, and took off for their house in the hills above Arcata.
Wow. As I slowly ground my way up the steep streets approaching their house, it occurred to me that out of the five relatives I have stayed with during this trip, three of them lived atop these hellacious hills – and this one took the cake. It was even worse than Auntie Elsie’s home in Los Angeles, for sheer steepness and length. As I approached the last stretch of road that led to their house, a couple of dogs started barking at me, getting louder and more urgent as I continued to approach, ignoring their warnings. They belonged to the 3Ps, and were so freaked out by my slow approach in the face of their protestations, they stayed scared of me until I was let into the house, and interacted with the family for a while. Roady and Amoeba (or just “Amy”) were their names, and by evening’s end, we were finally friends. We chatted all evening, and Pat fixed a wonderful meal of ravioli, broccoli, and rice. We chatted the night away, and retired for the evening at about 10pm. It’s always so nice to be with family.