Sunday, August 17, 2014

Klamath to Elk Prairie. People: Caroline and Nigel. Megan and Max and the Yuans. Dave and Jan. Cayla. Anne.

The ride from Klamath to the campground in Elk Prairie State Park was short - which was perfect because the redwoods are beautiful so it was nice to be able to spend time to stop and check out the different trails.  

My back felt OK but I was feeling pretty tired from the lack of sleep and junk food the day before.  I pretty much forgot all of that upon reaching the redwoods and seeing such amazing trees.  I also felt sad seeing the stumps of the old growth trees.  It’s a shame we cut down so much (almost all of it) of the old growth forest as it must have been incredibly peaceful and impressive.  But even the second growth trees are pretty awesome and there occasional older tree is just mind-blowing in terms of age (some are ~2,000 years old), height, and girth.

I spent lots of time checking out the redwoods and then set up camp under a nice pine tree in the hiker biker area.  A huge group (14 people) with two support vehicles joined the camp.  I think folks in camp were a bit wary of so many people but it ended up being great as it was a nice and fun group that joined (and strange that I used to live in some of the largest cities in the world and now I think 14 bicyclists seems like a lot of people).

After dinner, we had a little ‘ukulele and guitar jam session which was fun.  I inadvertently ended up staying two nights at Elk Prairie, but it was pretty great to get to be there among the redwoods so it turned out well.  On the second day, I went on a mini-hike with Dave and Jan and Steve plus two of the kids in their group.  In the afternoon, Anne and I went for a mellow hike that started from the campground.


Caroline (green jacket) and Nigel (red jacket).  Caroline and Nigel run bike tours in New Zealand and are very relaxed and friendly folks - it was nice chatting with them.  Caroline kindly gave me a hotel bar soap when I realized I left my soap/shampoo at the church in Crescent City.  It’s pretty great how the cyclists all help each other out.  Nigel brought a travel guitar so we had a fun little jam - with Caroline contributing some vocals as well.

Megan (blue jacket) and Max (black jacket) and the Yuans.  The Yuans are a hardcore family.  The parents teach outdoor recreation and the kids are crazy athletes.  Megan is on a track scholarship at WVA (a NCAA Division I school).  She runs steeplechase, which I think is super cool.  Megan also has a funny frankness in her communication style that had us in stitches over dinner.  Max is a freestyle skier who does all those crazy and complicated aerials.  He also plays guitar and joined in on our little jam session.  It’s pretty neat to meet a whole family that does outdoor/athletic stuff.

Dave and Jan.  Dave and Jan were very welcoming and invited me to join them on a hike where they had a car (one of the support vehicles).  They’re from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada (where Max and Megan are also from).  Dave is a psychologist and Jan is a physical therapist, so it was really interesting to talk to them.  Dave has interesting observations on how treatment (drug treatment, for example) needs to be present in people’s normal lives (and not just in rehab centers).  Jan was giving me advice about my hurt thumb and back.  Riding the car ended up taking a lot longer than expected, so by the time we returned and I packed up, it was quite late in the day.  I said ‘bye’ to everyone, cycled to the ranger station, consulted with them on timing/distances/etc. and realized I wouldn’t make it to the next campsite until quite late, so I turned around and stayed another night at Elk Prairie.  Again, it was so beautiful, that it was a nice thing to stay an additional night.

Cayla and Otis.  Cayla and Otis were also part of the dinner and jam session group - lots of laughs over dinner and talking later.  I had heard about Cayla earlier in the trip from other bicyclists as she was traveling with her 55 lb dog, Otis.  Otis gets to ride in the trailer while she pedals - that’s pretty serious cycling.  I believe Cayla was hauling the heaviest load of anyone I had met (Otis alone was about the weight of most people's total gear weight - so Cayla was hauling at least double).  Here's a link to Cayla's blog:

Anne.  In contrast, Anne was the first cyclist I met with a regular set up who had less gear than me.  Granted, I met Candace earlier in the trip and she had a lighter set up - but that was due to her riding off-road on this trip (Continental Divide... serious, serious bike touring) and her normal touring set up was heavier.  There was also Ryan who was at Burnside in Portland, but he was so crazy (virtually no gear and seemingly no concern for safety or comfort) that I think most folks would be hard pressed to use his extremism as a model (it's ultra-cool, but I don't think most folks can replicate - I can't anyways).  

So, Anne qualifies as the first person I met on the trip with less gear than me as a normal set up - she fit her things neatly in her two rear panniers + tent on the rear rack.  Most folks doing the route also had front panniers and therefore had quite a bit more gear.  I had been quite interested in the gear thing since some of my friends at home felt strongly that I brought too little gear (good news that it has seemed fine to me on the trip).  Anne did make one pretty heavy concession on gear in that she did not bring a stove and would eat cold fruit/veggies for dinner.  Fortunately, I had packed some extra food so was able to cook dinner for both of us after our hike (the hike was really nice, Anne seemed to have a similar approach to hiking as me - enjoying the place and not rushing).  Anne's blog:


  1. P.S. I met Anne at Standish-Hickey, who had heard about me from you! It took us awhile to figure out who she had heard about me from though.

  2. That's great... guess it's a small bicycling world and I'm glad if I helped to further spread your fame! :)