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June 2008 Archives

June 12, 2008

summer bike trip

I thought I would move my wandering updates from public libraries across the land over to the katieblog, since it is currently quite empty. I'm not sure if I can cheat or not, in order to make the dates more realistic, but I will try.


Hey guys. Kerry requested updates from small-town California public librarys, and here I am, killing a hot afternoon in a library in Upper Lake, CA.

I left Wednesday afternoon from Davis, after some internal discussion on how to best attach Steve's fly rod. Most people who take long bike trips go for some kind of practice trip before setting out on the real thing, but as you all know I'm not one for extensive preparations or well-reasoned plans. So off I went. I immediately found that a bike handles like a tank with a very small engine when it's loaded with everything I own plus a flyrod that Steve owns, plus Michaela's world famous tortillas, which are exceptionally heavy.

On the way out of Davis, I passed a giant bus parked on Stevenson Bridge road, and some lady waved me down and wanted to tell me that she was supporting some kind of cycle-tour group of recovering quadrapalegics riding across America. Judging by the size of their bus, the lazy no-longer-paralyzed people weren't carrying their own gear. Come on!

After two long-ish days, today I had a nice easy day of riding, which is good because I hadn't been riding for the last few weeks and my ass is sore and I'm tired of riding my bike. I'll be met by Liz sometime tonight on our way up to the Lost Coast for a weekend backpacking trip. [Erin don't kill me for going there without you! Yolla Bolly was too snowy!!] Hopefully we can manage to hitch a ride to the trailhead as it's a through hike and we have only one car. I guess we could shuttle with my bike...who wants to ride handlebars?

Miles so far: 135
Rides from dubious strangers accepted: 1
Michaela's tortillas consumed: 5
Quadrapalegics dropped like hot potatoes: 0

This bike riding shit is way harder when you carry gear along.

June 16, 2008

lost coast

The Lost Coast is a stretch of coastline south of Eureka too rugged for the construction of the PCH - it goes inland here. As a result, there's a remote stretch of wilderness beach that one can access only on foot.

As Liz put it, maybe it should stay lost.

We failed to get any hitchhiker shuttling action, so we resigned to hike in for a day and a half, then hike back out the way we came. If you like foggy walks through deep sand with bear cans, come here. If you don't, don't.

No really, there were some beautiful spots, especially when the sun came out on our last day. I don't regret making the trip, but folks it ain't all it's cracked up to be. We did see a couple of freshly shark-attached octopi, which were sweet.

Lessons learned:
- walking on sand sucks
- fog sucks
- you should always bring chips on the first day of a backpacking trip because you will definitely want them.
- instant potato pancakes are gross

June 17, 2008

Garberville to Mad River

View Larger Map

After our Lost Coast trip, Liz dropped my bike and I up off highway 101 and I started pedaling again in the afternoon heat. My personal records indicate only this:

21.8 miles
7.3 mph


26x28 gearing is just low enough to turn the pedals over doing 3 miles an hour. At one point I stopped and tried to push, scraped my leg on the pedal, nearly dumped the bike, and said fuck this. After that I just stopped to catch my breath intermittently. Some fella on a little honda motorcycle gave me a thumbs up as he cruised down the hill I was climbing - that might have been what pushed me over the top of it. That, and the friendly tailwind I had on my way up. The climb was beautiful, but my oxygen-starved brain could process little of it.

I managed to take a wrong turn and do 7 or 8 miles on a gravel backroad. Finally I descended to Alderpoint, a crappy little town on the Eel river. I had an awful campsite off a side road, and a shit night's sleep. The closest I've come to bear meat.


The following day I resigned to the reality that each day would begin with 2-3 hours of climing, which would net 6 or 10 miles. I owe my progress up today's climb to John, who invented Ramen and Mashed Potatoes, which I had for my second breakfast, as well as lunch. Carby, salty, and looks like albino worms in white dirt. Yum.

I made my way to Mad River (population 25) and stopped downtown for a hot dog and milkshake (best shake of my life). There was one building, and one trailer (which served hot dogs and milkshakes). At a Forest Service campsite, I decided to try my luck at fishing the Mad River. I found a riffle that looked perfect to my experienced angler's sensibility, and tied on some bugs. After half an hour of fruitless casting, I felt a strange wiggle on my line!

Steve started playing in my head - let it run, Katie! We battled for what seemed like hours, before the fish freed itself, taking my fly with it.

And if you want the true story, I felt a weird wiggle, said to myself, what the hell is that?? And before I could decide what to do about it, it was gone, along with my fly. Either I tie shit knots, or the fish had huge chomper jaws and bit the thing right off. Either way, it was at least proof that fish do exist outside of the supermarket.

Tech Review: Salsa Verde Doritos

Score (1-10): 9.5

Salsa Verde Doritos are without a doubt the world's greatest flavor of Dorito. Tangy, spicy, and salty, they balance a delicate middle ground between overuse of flavor powder (see Nacho Cheese Doritos) and corny blandness (Original Flavor Sun Chips). Especially when paired with rehydrated black beans with melted cheese, they are truly a delight. The light dusting of flavorspecs (R) is perfect for the replacement of electrolytes lost during a hard day's adventuring. I heartily recommend them to all outdoor enthusists.

June 18, 2008

Mad River to Hayfork

I left Mad River and got on highway 3 for a gorgeous, gentle climb through Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Finally a hill I could climb without killing my knees. The descent was awesome too; my loaded bike picks up speed quickly, and it was cornering like it was on rails. 15 mph corners were scoffed at.

I had the worst burrito of my life in Hayfork. Thought I was getting food poisoning on my way out of town, but happily it was just my legs giving out after a couple tough days. I didn't realize until too late that the land near Hayfork was all private - I was hoping to camp in national forest property. I eventually found what I thought was a small patch of government land, with a four wheeler track leading up a steep hill to a flat-ish area. I camped there.

As it got dark, I could hear some music in the distance. That, combined with the occasional sound of loud, revving engines, led me to believe that there was a crazy group of ATV-riding partiers in the forest. My tent was set up just off the 4x4 track, and as I slept, I convinced myself that I was going to be run down any minute by crazy drugged-out ATV riders. I slept with my headlamp in one hand, thinking I could turn it on if one approached and my tent would light up, so I wouldn't get run over. I didn't get much sleep.

I realized the next morning that the revving sound was the engine brakes of the big trucks on highway 3 below me. Who knows where the music came from, but I resolved to stay in campsites when possible, if only to avoid the paranoia that comes with being where maybe you're not supposed to be.

June 22, 2008

Tech Review: Beer

It's so good. I like the 22 oz bottles.


Weaverville, Scott Valley, Marble Mountains

I rode the 20 or so miles into Weaverville on Thursday morning, after that shit night in the national forest. Weaverville has it all goin' on: sawmill, ranger station, bike shop, grocery store, long's drugs, library...it's a bustling metropolis. I must've ridden 10 ,miles going from one end of town to the other, trying to gather essential supplies like a comb and a stocking cap (I lost mine in the lost coast). Finally I rode up to Trinity Lake, a much tougher 10 miles than I anticipated. I gotta learn to pay attention to topo lines.

From my campsite, I could see some people fly fishing in Stuart Fork below me. One was a guy teaching some lady, but who seemed to think she would learn best if he never actually let her hold the rod. The other was a woman who clearly knew what she was doing - she was reeling in fish one after another. I was too beat to join them. The next morning I tried my luck - nope. It made me feel better that a guy using bait hadn't had any bites either. Guess I missed my chance at hungry fish.

Erin picked me up and we crammed my bike into the back of her car, along with the five of us. Erin had brought along a friend who'd had a lung transplant, ie her lungs were NOT ORIGINAL. Nonetheless, she hauled herself up 2000' and 10 miles of trail to a beautiful lake in the Marbles.
I was breathing hard, and my lungs are a matched set with my body.

It was a nice chill weekend, with more unsuccessful fishing (Scott River). We did go snorkeling though, and saw tons of little baby coho and chinook salmon running around, along with a couple of good sized trout. They were not tempted by my graceful casts, though, nor those of Erin's friend Justin. This also made me feel better.

I rode back to Etna on Sunday, a short 20 miles, because I wanted to stay at a little backpacker's hostel in town, before starting down the Sawyer's road to Forks of Salmon. Somehow, I broke a spoke on my rear wheel (40 spokes, you'd think it'd be strong enough). Maybe I weakened it on the rough gravel, or maybe it's just 20 years old. Anyway, I though 40 would be sufficient and didn't bring along any extras, so I trued it up the best I could and am going to ride it to Yreka to a bike shop tomorrow. Hopefully they can fix me up, and send me off with a couple spares.

About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Katieblog in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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