Friday, 23 April 2010

Avenue of the Giants

“Avenue of the Giants”. Sounds a bit like a thoroughfare in New York or Paris…perhaps one that has Hermes, Yves St Laurent and Lanvin on it. Mais non, mesdames et messieurs. It is THE road in Northern California to see huge redwoods, and no need to pay $6 to drive through the middle of it.

We set off with tummies full of eggs and bacon this morning, and feeling well rested after our mammoth day yesterday. The weather was bewdiful (that’s how you say it here); even the wind had dropped a few notches. So, with the Windstoppers stowed away in the panniers, and after a few miles spent on the freeway, the event of the day arrived. We turned off the 101 and onto the Avenue of the Giants. There is an ethereal quality that one feels when confronted with pure beauty on this scale. These trees are massive, with trunks wider than 3 people stretching out head to toe, and taller than a football pitch. But somehow, riding through them, we still had streams of sunlight sneaking through the lighting up the scenery. It was truly magical.

After about 25 miles, we reached the small town of Myers Flat, where we stopped for a quick bite to eat. We found ourselves compelled to visit the local winery, just to use the restroom you’ll understand, and bumped into Lisa and Cameron, a lovely couple from Sacramento, CA, who were vacationing in the area. After a pleasant chat in the sunshine, and resisting the temptation to go in and taste the wine…hell, to spend the whole afternoon tasting the wine, we pedalled on, and soon turned off onto our special “alternate” route that we are following today and tomorrow. It is 40 miles longer, involves over 8,500 ft of extra climbing, and has a shockingly bad road surface. But we’re not mad. It’s isolated, and stunningly beautiful. Today, we were treated to even finer redwoods than we had seen on AOTG (cue helmet cam), and then a cacophony of greens, as we looked down from our ridiculously long, hard, 2, 800 ft climb into the river valley below (see photos). Tomorrow, it will take us out to the “Lost Coast”, which speaks for itself…more then.

Tonight, we are staying in a cabin at the Mattole River Organic Farms and Cabins. It’s very much back to nature and on its own in the middle of nowhere. The owners, Ian and Melissa, were kind enough to get a wish list of groceries in for us in advance, so we were able to chill out and cook here this evening, without having to carry several kgs of extra weight over the mountain! And it’ll be eggs and bacon chez nous again tomorrow morning before we set out.

Us x

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