Leaving our spot on the side of the Redwoods Highway, Alison and I headed South to the small town of Arcata where we would meet up with some friends and stay for a couple days. Unforunately our hopes for a dryer future were smothered when we again were met with heavy laden clouds as we approached closer to the coastline; however, we were blessed with a reprieve from the rain during our two day stay with our wonderful friends, Amber and Jake, in Arcata. Alison was able to ride with a fellow teammate and I had the chance to do some pedaling of my own through the local community Redwood grove.
After two days in Arcata it was again time to leave. Our plan from there was to stop off at a suggested mountain bike riding area near Redway, CA, for a ride then afterwards we'd head down Highway 1 and camp near Rockport, CA.
To my excitement, when we rolled into Redway I quickly realized something, we had found the Toyota pickup capital of California. It was like every second vehicle passing me was a lifted pickup or Tacoma (sheesh talk about rubbernecking). I dropped Alison off in town then headed towards Paradise Royale located in the King Range Wildlife Conservation Area. We both did our respective rides in torrential downpour, Alison having to catch a ride back up the mountain due to heavy fog and dangerous roads and myself riding 15 miles (close to the longest ride I've done on a mountain bike), completely soaked and utterly alone. To those mountain bikers in California, definitely give Paradise Royale a try, it's a beautiful and challenging ride.
After I arrived at our rendezvous place two hours late Alison was finally able to dry off and warm up. Shortly after we left to find a campsite. I had searched around on Google Earth earlier and had chosen a spot we could try to camp for that night. There was Usal Rd that led off Hwy 1 near the coast and led to a river delta further North along the coast. We easily located the road and began our journey along the dirt road. We quickly found ourselves along what we figured was a cliff edge with only pitch black to look at beyond the reach of our lights. After about 20 minutes of dirt, as we began to descend towards the delta on steep slippery switch backs we located a small level outcropping. Alison pointed it out as we drove past so I stopped and backed up. Getting out of the truck we confirmed that we were close to the water based on the crashing of the waves. We agreed the spot would do fine and set up camp. Again that night we were hammered by wind and rain, but I think it was worth it based on where we woke up.
The next day we woke up, packed and drove the whole day down the curvy and wet California coast. My friend Joe said to me once that I would wish I was driving a sports car on Hwy 1, he was right. We crept along exceeding no higher than 80km/h due the windy roads. It was a shame that the weather was so poor, otherwise we would have spent far more time outside of the vehicle. Many times the California coastline reminded us of our travels in Newfoundland, just a lot warmer and wetter.
We're now stationed in Marin County, just outside of San Francisco where we'll be for two days before we fly back home for Christmas. Our journey will continue after that as we go the rest of the way to San Francisco.