Thanks and so fucked

I can’t adequately thank all of the people, both of you, who have subscribed. Your contribution is paying for crucial life-giving supplies that make this venture possible.

I’m writing from inside my tent outside of Leggett. My backlegsneckarmsass hurt too much to stand or move. I left Manchester this morning bright and early just past 7 o’clock. It seemed like it was going to be a not so horrible day. That was good, because the day before had been truly miserable.

I had left Bodega Bay in fine spirits, stuffed as I was with bacon, eggs, sausage, and coffee. I was immediately met with a bitter headwind and Angeles rollers out of town. The day before, Darell had told me that all the way to Point Arena it was downhill, and a tail wind, and that once you reached Point Arena, there was a pot of unicorn farts as your reward.

Breakfast

Darell is complete fucking liar. It was mostly uphill, bitterly Wendy, and a couple of the claims were truly the kind that make you wonder what in the world you are doing on a bicycle.

From Point Athena it was a mere 17 miles to Bodega Bay and every one of those miles was loaded with fast moving facial air. I staggered up the main street before turning off towards Manchester where I met roller after roller after roller after roller.

Eventually I got to Manchester, where there is an awesome state park. Unfortunately it isn’t all that awesome right now because it is closed. The feeling of riding for six hours into the wind only to be met with a giant closed sign is not really a very good feeling unless you like feeling like shit, which, if you are riding 1000 miles into the wind for no reason, you probably do.

Luckily, next door to the state park there was a KOA campground. Instead of paying five dollars, it cost $11.50. Still a huge bargain as the alternative was a ditch. After setting up camp I was able to reflect on the extraordinary beauty of the ride. Once you leave Bodega Bay, you have left behind all of the mess and the traffic clotting the roads and your life for the past six hundred miles.

But this is actually the beauty of bicycling. With a magic carpet you buy an economy ticket, drink ten mini-vodkas, and wake up in London or Honolulu. Somehow all the emotional shit you thought you were leaving behind wound up in your suitcase.

On the bike? It’s a gradual letting go. Bit by pedal stroke things fall away, ideas that don’t fit any longer, feelings that are too heavy to keep hauling up the steep hills, chains from the past whose shackles crack and clunk by the wayside.

I slept soundly and in great pain, got up at 5:30, made breakfast and sallied forth. It wasn’t windless but it wasn’t windy except for the constant wind. I made Fort Bragg, 34 miles distant, in four hours including a long coffee stop in Mendocino and a Mac stop outside Ft. Bragg.

I met some tourists, all going south, shockingly, and they were just starting for the day.

“Where are you coming from?” they asked.

“Manchester.”

“Wow .., that’s fast.”

“Felt pretty slow.”

“No, that’s super fast. But …” and then I got a supercilious look “slow and steady wins the race.”

“Where are you coming from?”

“Seattle, three and a half weeks ago.”

“You’re for sure winning then.”

“Aren’t you done for the day?” He asked as I remounted.

“Thought I might make Leggett.”

“Leggett?? That’s forty miles away.”

“I’ll try,” I said, “seeing as I’ve already lost.”

From Ft. Bragg a huge tailwind sprang up, and I passed the last campground in Westport confident I’d make Leggett by three at the latest as it was only 28 miles away.

Then the 18-mile climb commenced and I experienced the seven, eight, or nine stages of grief over the next THREE HOURS. You know the stages:

  1. I got this.
  2. Fuck.
  3. Fuck fuck fuck.
  4. I quit.
  5. I’m crawling off the road and sleeping under that giant fern or poison ivy tick palace.
  6. I got this.
  7. Who am I kidding?
  8. Is there Uber in Mendocino.
  9. Ah fuggity fugg fugg.
  10. There’s the top!
  11. False flat FUCK YOU!

Finally I got to Leggett only to find out it’s not a place but rather trailers. Up the 101 I found a state park with camping and a store across the street selling bacon and ice cream.

At camp I opened up my bags. They were lighter even though I’d done just under 90 miles and — maybe — 7-8k of climbing. I rummaged around for some of the sadness I’d been lugging with me, the really heavy kind.

It was gone, left by the side of the road under some towering redwood in Mendocino County.

END


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20 thoughts on “Thanks and so fucked”

  1. Sorry for your loss, where should we send flowers….

    I hope you got something good to eat…

    If I’m being an a-hole I’ve had some wine…

    you have power to post this, expecting angels of the road have swept in an nourished you with mana of the ash tree.

    If not truly sorry you are with out stove and food.

    Again sorry if I’m being an a-hole

    Keep up the good work, don’t die for my 2.99 a month.

    1. Hey! Seth’s the one who claims to have ridden to England with all this “Manchester” business!

  2. I feel so lucky to have your inner voice in your blog…your honesty…that everything…
    I miss you man.
    I missed you before you even left, my fault.
    You’re extraordinary.

  3. 1. If the lying part is true, then who can we believe?

    2. If you missed the unicorn turds, that is entirely on you.

    3. Did I mention that the section you rode is all downhill… on the return? I may have missed that detail in my effort of trying to keep my appendages away from the Hoover.

    4. Awesome loss of baggage. Now you have room for rocks.

    5. Miss you, man!

    1. They’ve closed a bunch due to the covids but the farther north you go the fewer closed parks there seem to be. This one off the 101 outside Leggett is great and open for business!

      1. I just looked at the map. I recall that long climb and long descent into Leggett. We camped a little further north, and then on a supply run to a store, the bracket holding my rear rack to the rear brake failed and all I could think was I was glad that didn’t happen an hour ago descending that mountain.

        1. I constantly wonder what will happen if my bags/rack come unhitched. Then I stop wondering because I know …

  4. David Atkinson

    You are not alone in this journey, I wish you along while I am chained to this desk, and this life.

  5. I love my Fierce Hazel. Can’t remember but I probably found out about it from you. Best phone bag going. She will lighten your journey.

  6. I feel like I missed the backstory for this entire undertaking somewhere.

  7. This past week has been the best Covid Times read of the entire pandemic. Your other writings have been excellent and important, but bike touring…

    One man’s tip… if you make it as far north as Crescent City, turn right on Howland Hill Road just south of town and ride the entire road as it winds through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The ancient redwoods in this grove of Giants will return you to the age of the dinosaurs. And make you feel really small.

  8. Hell Wanker, I pay my $2.99/month and hardly ever even read the blog anymore. Your bike trip stuff has been worth the read/view though. BTW, when are you going to resume your role as the David Walsh of the socal master scene again? Just looking at Strava, seems like lots of old (approaching 60) guys out there in CA getting “faster with age” and doing low level pro wattage.

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