Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ride the West - Day 10, Garberville California to Ft Bragg California

We left Garberville today with the sun shining and the hopes of warmer weather ahead. Garberville is a very strange town. There are many young people, who are homeless by choice, hanging around bumming money for hemp, hashish and marijuana. It seems this is where the hippies are starting to hang out. There was a store for purchasing hemp right there on main street, but it looked like there were marijuana plants as well in the store. I feel sorry for the residents who have worked for so long to buy a house here, only to have their neighborhoods invaded.

Leaving Garberville

The sights were quite beautiful as we left Garberville. The landscape was rolling hills overlooking green valleys. The hillside is just beginning to change from the redwoods and pine trees into more of the brown grasses that will become so predominant once we are further south. We passed by the Benbow Inn, where Aila and I had stayed just 2 weeks prior. From there, we got off of route 101 and started to take the little used back roads that wind through the hills.

View from the back roads in the hills

Today was one of the top 3 days for degree of difficulty. There was 5500 feet of climbing, with most of it concentrated as part of 2 major ascents. Baltimore Mark rode with Joe and me for much of the ride, but on the longer climbs, Joe and I went on ahead. After the 1st climb, there was a 12 mile, highly technical, descent which was laced with many switchbacks requiring the frequent use of brakes, in order to keep from running off the road. In many of the turns, there were signs for cars warning them to remain below 15 or even 10 mph. The descent was lots of fun, but didn't allow us to reach anywhere near our top speeds of over 50 mph.

Baltimore Mark climbing one of the hills along the coast

After the climbs were over, we arrived back along the coast, which was absent of the fog we had become so accustomed to. It was a pleasant change and reinforced the feeling that the west coast is far more beautiful than any other place I have seen in America. The weather is getting warmer, but still required the use of under-armor and a jersey.

View from a climb near the coast

A few wineries were seen lacing the roads as we headed into Ft Bragg, but these are not the high-quality vineyards so prevalent in Napa or Sonoma. As we got closer to Ft Bragg, the road became narrower and without a large shoulder that we had been blessed with. Cars were still careful to get around us. Along the way I noticed a Department Of Corrections fire truck that was giving some prisoners training in fire-fighting. It sounds like a good idea, to provide a skill set for when they get out and back into the general public.

People learning fire-fighting skills

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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