Day 18: Crescent City, CA to Bridgeville, CA

Monday 9/26

I knew on our trip we’d be in places where the temp would be low, but because 18 days ago we were packing in the middle of a Southern California heatwave, it was hard to appreciate the concept of discomfort from cold. As such, in an effort to reduce cargo, one of the things I left behind was an extra pair of tights. That was a bad idea, as this is what I had to resort to:

I raided our medical kit for the Ace bandages and wrapped them around my thighs for extra heat retention. Thankfully, it helped.

In the morning as we were headed down the 101, we saw the British TAT contingent travelling in our direction along a frontage road. It’s weird: I didn’t know their names, let alone any other details about who they were, but it felt like we were seeing long-lost friends. We gave them a hearty wave and received the same in return.

Today’s route was a mix of single-lane pavement and logging roads.

The logging trucks kept us on high alert, speeding around the corners as if they were on a closed-course circuit. Wayne spent most of the day in the lead and I figured with him out front, he’d spook the trucks and then they would be slowed down when they got to me. Well, for whatever reasons, the truckers seemed to think it was “one and done” because they’d be back to hauling ass when they got to my corner. You want to make a set of narrow Asian eyes as big and round as saucers? Just have a semi grill materialize in front of them. My eyes were shocked into roundness so many times I think they’re permanently stretched out.

Simon liked reading the informative signs about the local redwood ecology. For the record, his lips do not move when he reads.

The golden* hills of Northern California…

…contrasted against the deep green forest.

I don’t know how the size of the names on maps are decided, but Bridgeville was in a fairly large font (way bigger than Denio Junction) so we figured that it at least merited one gas station/mini-mart (which Denio Junction offered). If we had done our research ahead of time we would’ve known that Bridgeville offered nothing and that the large font was selected at random. Bridgeville, it turns out, was the first town ever to go up for auction on eBay. The last owner committed suicide in 2006 and it was up for sale again for a few months after that. Not sure what the current status of the town is other than being devoid of gas, food and lodging.

It was late in the afternoon and we needed to find a place to camp so we headed west on Highway 36 in search of anything suitable. About seven miles down the road we came across Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. At first glance the torn up concrete and temporary orange fencing all around suggested that the camp was closed. We pulled in anyways and came across the camp host who said they were open, but that the showers weren’t operating. We weren’t in need of a shower so we stayed. Ironically, the only two other campers in the 30-space campground were two motorcyclists from San Diego.

The campground was slated to be shut down at the end of 2011 for two years due to budget cuts. However, they were going ahead with the repairs since the money was already earmarked for it. Wise move since two years from now some politico will have squandered that money on his stripper/dancer mistress named Candy, Amber or Destiny.

We asked the host if there was a bear problem at this campground. He said there wasn’t because it was legal to hunt bears in the area so they remained wary of humans. Based on that, here’s my solution for places where bears aren’t hunted and have become a nuisance: Taze them. It won’t kill them but it’ll teach them that people are the source of a very unpleasant sensation so they had better stay away.

Right next to the campground was the Van Duzen River. I thought I’d be Miss Natural and rinse my socks in the stream instead of the campground sink.

The water was a touch clearer towards the middle so I decided to step my way further in. I got greedy and I paid for it with an ass-plunking. My pants were soaked on a cold night where there was no hope they’d be dry by morning.

But as a diehard fan of futility, I went ahead and hung them on my DRZ anyways. Who knows, perhaps I was next in line as a recipient of a miracle.

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* “Golden” is pretty writer-speak for “bone dry.”

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Day 18 overview: 174 miles

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