Day 21: Smith River to Orick

7 October 2011

I had a light breakfast at the hotel. There were patchy clouds but no rain for the entire day, fortunately.

I set out in the direction of Crescent City along farm roads.

Smith River

Not to be outdone by Oregon's push-button tunnel warning systems for cyclists, the relevant transit authority here has installed bicycle warning lights at the Smith River bridge that are triggered by a bicycle detector loop!

Bicycle loop detector for cyclists crossing the Smith River

Just before downtown Crescent City, I turned right on Washington Blvd in order to take the significantly nicer waterfront road and admire the rocks.

Crescent City waterfront

After passing downtown, the road returns to Hwy 101 (Redwood Highway). I ate lunch in Crescent City. Past town the Redwood Highway starts a sustained climb. I was now entering the Redwood country of California.

Crescent City from Redwood Highway

It was a peaceful and cool ascent through the trees. Though there was no shoulder for much of the climb, I didn't really mind because traffic was light and there are two lanes going uphill.

Redwood Highway

After the descent, one reaches the Trees of Mystery, which sounds like a tourist trap even before you see the giant statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Paul Bunyan and his giant blue ox

Some cool-looking trees, just past the Trees of Mystery

Near Klamath I encountered a foursome of cycle tourists doing the Pacific Coast route. I had started to see many more cycle tourists since about halfway down Oregon.

Golden bears guarding the Klamath River bridge

I turned off 101 at the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, which runs down a valley roughly parallel to 101 and through a redwood forest. In the shade of the redwoods, I felt a real sense of tranquility. I stopped more than once just to walk into the forest for a bit and commune with the trees.

Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway

In one place you can take a short trail to see the very oddly-shaped corkscrew tree:

Corkscrew Tree

By now it was mid-afternoon and getting quite chilly in the middle of the forest, in places. I stopped in Orick, just a few miles past where Newton B Drury reconnects with Hwy 101.

I got a room at the Palm Motel. This place (like the hotel in Smith River) appeared to not have been renovated since about 1985, and also appeared to have not been terribly well maintained in the meantime. But the place was clean, and the price is right.

I ate a dinner of chicken fried steak at the hotel restaurant, which was very good. The restaurant even has an impressive spread of pies, all homemade. The Foursome ended up at the same motel and I chatted with them at dinner.

Dinner in Orick

I was now getting close enough to home to be making reasonable projections. From here it looked like another 7 days of riding, assuming the weather didn't conspire against me.

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