We got a late start to our morning because we overslept our alarm. This was definitely due to how comfortable we had become in Bob and Marianne's beautiful home. They had exceeded our expectations once again by putting out a great breakfast spread of hard boiled eggs, fresh ground coffee, cereals, granola, bagels and local milk and butter.
We finally hit the road around 815am and cruised through Eureka and Arcata's flat terrain on 101 (occasional breaks were taken to peel and eat hard boiled eggs on the freeway). Mile 23 brought out the rolling hills which we endured until mile 45 when it started raining very hard on us. To avoid the rain and refuel we stopped in at a gas station/deli. We were given advice on a bypass to avoid 4 miles and 1500ft climbs of Highway 101. (If you're wondering why we decided to do our longest ride to date on a day it rained, there's a simple answer: We had a tailwind all day. It was simply too much for us to pass up.)
Despite whatever climb we did avoid, we still slowly climbed for about 8 miles, leading to a 2 mile 6% grade descent. Descending this quickly in the rain was interesting. While two southbound bikers walked their bikes uphill, Greg lost his sunglasses in a downpour and I got hit in the chest by a bush as I squinted to avoid having more water/dirt from my front tire get in my eyes.
(side note: you may have noticed and wondered why so many people are heading south. There are these things called guidebooks for bike touring. They give you maps, elevation, bike shop locations, campground information, and advice on avoiding a certain prevailing north wind along the Pacific Coast during the summer.)
Thinking we'd had enough climbs and descents for the day, we were finally only 10 miles from Crescent City. Suddenly we start climbing through a construction zone. It is a most unpleasant surprise to start the steepest climb of the day when you are already 75 miles into a ride. Passing the construction we found ourselves risen into a fog bank with 100ft visibility. After turning on our front and rear lights we continued to climb for nearly 3.5 winding and narrow miles. Eventually we were welcomed by a 6% grade descent sign. Learning from our last steep hill, we took this one slower, staying below 20mph on our way down.
Shivering and soaking we were finally in Crescent City. We headed to our Warmshowers host at St. Paul's Episcopal Church where we were able to share their activity room and soup kitchen with 3 other bikers. Thanks Katie!