7/25/2003, Harris Beach to Elk Prairie, 65.3 miles

I have been dreading this day since the beginning of the trip: two 1000 ft hills, narrow, shouderless roads, traffic, and fog all rolled into one! As if that's not enough, I felt saddle sore and aslight numbness on my left feet from mile one.

After getting into Crescent City, I decided to bolt for those dreaded hills after parting with Sis, bypassing the scenic detour around the City. It was foggy - at times very much so. The traffic, while not as heavy as that at Hoodcanal, was heavy enough to play a role in the ride. Fortunately, the narrow roads, while often shoulderless, did give me enough to dodge traffic. For example, while climbing a steep, shoulderless section of the highway when I saw in the rear view mirror a semi-truck trying to pass a logging truck, both heading furiously towards me without any intention of slowing down, I thought I was in deep trouble. Then I noticed the beginning of a 2-inch gravel "shoulder" just a few yards ahead. By peddling quickly and dismounting in the gravel, I was able to wait for the commotion to pass. Thus with constant viligence and frequent rests to keep myself fresh, I was able to ride through the Hills without many incidents. A few dogs in passing cars did bark at me (which while frightening me also comforted me: after all, if dogs could see me, people should also, right?), and a couple of people did curse and flip off at me (yelling at me to "get the f___ off the road.").

The descent from the first triplet of hills made me cold, so I ate last night's rotisserie checken leftover at the bottom of the hill. After an hour or so more of riding along mostly flat terrain, I arrived at Klamath, where I ate lunch and picked up the care packet Mom had sent to the local post office and got some groceries for dinner and the next day.

The second set of hills was much nicer despite the moderate headwind (gentler grade, much less traffic, and consistent, ridable shoulder). The fog which had thinned out after the first descent got denser again but never got too bad.

After the summit, the sky quickly cleared, the sun shined - it was amazing! I was suddenly riding in the redwoods, and I sang all the way to camp. I made several stops along the way (including Corkscrew Tree and the Big Tree) and composed several tunes (none of which I wrote down though).

What a day! I had a great ride and dropped in for a state park campfire talk before going to sleep (the talk was about the birds of the redwoods). Though many challenges remain ahead, I feel like a big burden has been lifted by passing the Crescent City Hills. I can finally look forward to San Francisco!

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