I found out last night that I’ve lost my other wool sock. That ol’ sock had been with me for a long time before this trip, and I learned the true value of warm feet every single night in this tent.
No matter how I searched for the lost sock I couldn’t find it, and it’s simply not like me to leave stuff behind at campsites. Especially that sock.
But the fact is that it’s pushing 8:00 PM and all I have is one warm sock. I’ve got a couple pairs of cycling socks and one pair of walking socks, so I could either double-sock the bare foot or wake up every couple of hours and put the warm sock on the cold foot. Either way it’s not a satisfactory set-up, which is kind of the point about being out camping on your bike. Everything’s a compromise of sorts except the experiences you have, the people you meet, and the sights you see.
For example I stayed last night at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale. I got there and a sign said “Please check in with host.” I went to the host who was holed up not in an RV but in an old bus. It wasn’t a schoolbus, it was one of those giant honking Greyhounds; the thing hadn’t run under its own steam for decades.
I knocked on the door and a lady came and opened the window. “Campsite for one, please,” I said.
“Well sure,” she said. “How long you staying for?”
“That’ll be twelve dollars. Where you coming from?”
“LA but today I came from Miranda and did the Lost Coast loop around Mattole Road. I bit off more than I could chew.”
She looked at my bedraggled face. “You’re not the first bicyclist to tell me that.”
“Bet I won’t be the last, either.”
She laughed. “Not by a long shot.”
“Is the campground pretty safe?”
“Oh goodness, yes. It’s the town that’ll getcha. I work at a gas station in Fortuna and the other day I had left the key in the console next to my husband’s spit cup as I was only going to pop in to get my paycheck and a gal hopped in and drove right off. Caught the whole thing on video, too.”
“What did the cops do?”
“Oh not much. They knew her and a couple days later got the car back but I had my weapon the car and she made off with that.”
“I’m packin’, you better believe. Or I was. Now I’m scared to go anywhere without my .357.”
“If only it had been there when you needed it.”
“It was. Under the front seat. But I see what you mean.”
I made some chicken for dinner and it was passable good.
My campsite proved wonderful. Quiet, with a picnic table handy for cooking, and a healthy space between me and lunar lander RV’s just over the way. The ground was grassy and soft and didn’t have stones and pine cones sticking up into my back, nor was the ground tilted at an angle so that I kept sliding down into the bottom of the tent.
In the morning I fried up eggs, bacon, and toast and made a cup of instant coffee with real milk. People knock instant coffee until they’ve been out camping a couple weeks. Then they treat it like the manna that it is.
Being all tired out from the day before I went a short way up the road to Arcata and pitched my tent at an RV park. On the way there I got good and lost and ended up back at the coast somewhere in the middle of the Humboldt Slough National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful but sadly uphill.
At the RV park the lady there was really nice. “We don’t have room for you because of the pandemic but you just hustle around the railing there and put your tent and I won’t tell anyone.”
I had the best pork chops ever for dinner but forgot to take a picture. Everything was going great until I got the inside of my tent all ready for bed and realized I was still missing that dogdamned sock.
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