Whoa man. My legs are killing me. There is a good reason for this... LEGGETT!!! Anyone doing the Pacific Coast tour only needs to hear the word Leggett to feel chills of fear run down their knee caps. I left the Westport KOA and an early 7:30am on the 19th of June, knowing full well there was a colossal monster waiting for me, ready to turn my body into mush. The Leggett hill begins with a quick 600 foot elevation climb, then brings you to about 150 feet. After that it's WHOOSH!!! You need to summon all your might and climb to a solid 1800+ feet elevation. YEA!!! Yea I was scared. Yea I was like a small child watching a scary PG13 movie knowing full well that once my parents find out I'll be in big trouble for watching it without their permission. But, as it turns out, it ended up not being so bad. It took me at least three hours, but the hours didn't pass by in an agonizing way. Leggett is actually a beautiful place and being able to see it at a slower pace was nice. Because I started so early on a Sunday morning there was barely any traffic so it felt like it was just myself and the mountain and nature around me. You know the old question, "If a tree falls in the forest with nobody to listen, does it make a sound?" Although I didn't see or hear a tree fall, there were small things that were happening that, if I weren't there to hear or see it, would have gone unnoticed by the entirety of the human race. Tiny subtle things like leaves falling or bees pollinating flowers or even deer and her fawn crossing the street. It put life into an interesting perspective. Life goes on and will continue to go on without me. I am not necessary nor does the life on Leggett hill need me to thrive. It has been doing so for thousands of years and will continue to do so long after I'm gone. Kind of a humbling experience actually.
When I got to the top of the hill I was told of the Drive Through Tree. A giant "chandelier" redwood tree that has had its insides hollowed out so that a car could drive through the center. It is actually amazing. The fact that a tree, a living, growing thing, could be so wide that a car could comfortably fit through the center of it is just incredible. I took some quick pictures and moved on, now going down the opposite side of the at incredible, sustained speeds, to my resting place which ended up being Lake Benbow State Park. It's a cool place but incredibly lonely. I think there was only one other group of campers all the way on the other end of the park It wasn't terrible spending the day alone. It did give me some time to reflect on the occurrences of the past couple days and reminded me how fortunate I am to be on this Journey.
All right. Leggett done. The only problem is, is that from Benbow the nearest hike/bike option is a KOA just north of Eureka which is 85 miles away. Long day ahead perhaps? Luckily it's mostly downhill so I just took it for what it was and pushed on. I stopped for coffee in a small town called Garberville, CA. You have to stop at a place called Garberville right? Anyway I needed provisions and warm coffee is just a must some mornings. I mentioned to the barista/chef that worked at this pretty high-end bakery that I thought the scenery through the mountains is actually pretty spectacular and so vastly different that what you will see in Southern California. He said, "Yea, it's our little secret." Life in these places seems slower but the people just love the quiet scenic beauty of these small mountain towns. Honestly, I don't blame them. There is an alluring charm to these places. It would be easy to found yourself settling down for a long time in the Humboldt Mountains.
On my way to Eureka there is this road that cuts through some of the biggest Redwoods called "The Avenue of the Giants." This place is absolutely astounding. A thirty-mile ride through a giant living forest that, in most places, is over thousands of years old. It's an ancient cathedral with colossal, monolithic, unmoving patrons that have withstood the changes of time for centuries. Giant sages that hold quietly the wisdom of a millennia secretly within the folds of their branches. I would bet that some of them even are so old that, as small saplings, felt the earth shake at the crucifixion of Jesus. It felt like a holy place. I rode on silently, in awe of the majesty of creation. I felt that any unnecessary noise was a sacrilege. It was breathtaking and if anyone is in the area, please, divert from the 101 and take the Avenue of the Giants. It's well worth your time.
Afterwards I just cranked on, with many miles ahead of me. A few more trees and a dairy farm or two later I finally rode into the KOA around seven or so. 17 bucks later (AHHHHH) I pitched my tent, ate some food and prepared for the next day. I was getting pretty comfortable, when the sound of two scooters broke my concentration. The cause of this was two touring scooter riders from Michigan on a "Moped Justice Mission." John and Bradey are two super cool guys that have gone around almost the entire country trying to raise awareness for human trafficking. We ended up talking for a while and it was really cool to see a couple dudes utilizing the attention they we're getting for scooting America, and turning it into a conversation starter for a good cause. Please check out their blog mopedjusticemission.blogspot.com. It's something that we need to be aware about. They also gave me food… Some pickles, tuna and beef jerky. A wonderful addition to my pantry that is going to vastly enhance my daily ration of quiona and beans. Thanks guys.
Well, I'm going to wrap this one up. I'm headed for Crescent City today and the end of California is in sight. Oregon, here I come!