Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crescent City to Klamath. People: Timo and Rosa.

Lots of text, only three photos - will look to balance in later posts.

While in Crescent City, I cycled up to Jedediah Smith State Park to check out the forest there.  It was used in the filming of ‘E.T.’ and also the ewok chase in ‘Return of the Jedi.’  I almost never watch movies any more (my long-time average was two a year, but in the past few years I’m down to one every 2-3 years), but I loved both of those movies as a kid so wanted to go to the forest.  

It was bit of a harder ride there than expected (steep uphill) which resulted in me not being in much of a picture-taking mood (ate the lunch I packed - that was more of a priority).  This tree was interesting though - guessing it's been roughed up by elk getting fur off their antlers.  I hope it will survive as it looked like the bark had been stripped almost all the way around:

On the way back, I stopped by an Indian gaming casino (their labeling, not mine) just because I have never been in one - I just poked my head in as they didn’t want me to leave my bicycle up near the building or take my bicycle bags in.  After spending so much time in the outdoors, the dark room filled with stale, smoky air seemed incredibly depressing.  I can’t really believe people spend hours of their time and their hard-earned money there as a form of entertainment.  Particularly because the region is full of natural beauty such as old growth redwood forests and beautiful beaches).  To each his/her own, I suppose.  I don’t have any photos as they wouldn’t let me take photos either (they’re real easy-going there, obviously).

I was initially planning to stay a second night in Crescent City since I thought I’d be too tired to bicycle further after going to Jedediah Smith State Park, but I started to feel a bit homesick and wanted to continue to move forward in my trip even though my back wasn’t feeling great.  I realized that I could use the bus to help me get part of the way given that it was late afternoon already, so I use a bus-assist to get partially up to the hills.

I made a bit of a mistake on food planning.  Since I made a last-minute decision to leave Crescent City, I didn’t have a chance to get my groceries as planned.  It seemed OK as my map highlighted that all services, including restaurants and grocery, were available in Klamath.  When I checked at the one restaurant I could find, the hostess responded with an emphatic *no* when I asked about vegetarian options on their menu.  

The 'grocery store' was a shelf with some produce at the gas station.  Dinner ended up being a burrito from the gas station plus hostess cupcakes - not the healthiest meal of the trip.  I was questioning the wisdom of my last-minute change of plan given that there was a big natural food store in Crescent City.

My back wasn’t feeling great, so I checked in to a motel.  It was a nice motel, but I didn’t sleep that well after my junk food dinner.  It’s funny, as I had stocked up on healthy food (ex. organic food, whole wheat pasta, etc.) each time I reached a larger city earlier in my trip but had found that healthy food seemed readily available  in many places so I stopped the practice.  Well, it turns out it is not consistently available on the route - so making notes for myself to remember in the future.


Timo and Rosa.  Timo and Rosa are from Germany, work on medical devices (research and clinical work), and set the gold standard for trip planning.  

They started planning their trip a year ago and had everything calculated and listed out (daily mileage, cumulative mileage, hotels, hotel prices, etc.) on a spreadsheet page which they had in printout and on their tablet (the tablet version was the latest, but I was getting glare off the screen).  

Timo and Rosa are strong bicyclists so they were comfortable carrying loads of stuff.  They had 5 bags each - one which was like a suitcase.  Inside, they had neat things like a full-size DSLR camera and big telephoto lens that had to be packed separately from the camera body.  They also had all the tools to take the bikes completely apart and put them together again.  

In fact, Timo had done just that.  He took his bike completely apart and put it together again so he knew exactly what tools he would need for pretty much anything.  I admired how thorough he was in his preparation.  I shared my slightly differing philosophy: I carried a slim set of tools that would get me through most things but with some trouble and I instead focused on keeping the weight of my bags low so that it would be very unlikely for anything on my bike to break.  I know enough to keep myself rolling and helped someone out with repairs earlier in the trip - but if we were selecting teams for bike repair, Timo would be the varsity team captain and I'd be lucky to make the cut on junior varsity.

I was super impressed with the amount of planning they put in to their trip and they were really nice.  It was fun talking to them and contrasting our approaches to bike touring.  It’s neat when you meet folks that have a very different approach and really enjoy their company - it is often much more interesting that folks who do things exactly the same way.

We were laughing at how I had essentially planned my trip in three weeks and didn’t know when I’d get home or which place I planned to stay in two nights.  For the motel, they had booked it nine months ago - while I called 5 minutes before I showed up there to see if they had a room (I was pretty lucky that they did).  I related to them how I really enjoyed the first week of my trip which I had actually planned out fully (but even then I accidentally got one day ahead of my plan and showed up at the monastery a day early).  I would like to plan out my trips more - but I also realize that it’s pretty unlikely that I will as I get somewhat impatient to just get on the road.  However, it was great to see how a fully planned trip would look like - pretty impressive.

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