Today we set off with the ambitious goal of making it to Eureka, CA. We had two reasons for this: 1) We need to meet Jonathan in a week and these sub-70 mile days are not going to cut it, 2) We are using Warmshowers for the first time and the prospect of having a solid roof over our heads is quite appealing.
We were off before the sun had fully risen, back on Highway 101. Interestingly in California, bikes are allowed on some highways and 101 is actually an official bike route. Another oddity of California highways is the arbitrary way they start and stop freeways. We'll be passing through a redwood grove, see a sign stating "Start Freeway" and suddenly find ourselves on a 4 lane highway instead of the previous winding 2 lane road.
We made decent time against a slight headwind for 14 miles until we reached the scenic alternative route named "The Avenue of Giants". The Avenue of Giants roughly parallels 101 for 31 miles and takes its riders past some of the oldest (and largest) redwood groves. This newly paved road was a great break from freeway riding and offered some break from the headwind. The views were gorgeous, with redwood trees growing into the road shoulder in places.
Back on 101 we soldiered on towards Eureka. The road remained a freeway and we made great time as the elevation flattened out. We arrived and met our first ever Warmshowers hosts, Bob and Marianne. They were incredible as they welcomed us to their house, provided us with their spare bedroom, great shower and offers for laundry and dinner. The welcoming we received by Bob and Marianne went well above what we had expected from anyone we had just met.