“Sort-of-Sabbatical” Day Fourteen, Saturday June 16
My morning begins in the company of friendly camp neighbors. Pancakes and coffee (in a cup with an automated push button stir feature!) appear before me and I, traveling sans camp stove of any sort, am not too shy to enjoy their kind generosity. Although they’re not riding now, they’re motorcyclists, too, so we have much to discuss.
As pleasant as the company and hot breakfast may be, I do eventually break camp and leave the lovely McKerricher State Park. In a happy Eating on Two Wheels coincidence, I’ll be passing through Arcata, CA on the very day of their annual Oyster Festival.
The festival is One Seriously Big Win, and I’m not the only one that thinks so.
The lines for oysters and beer are long, and it’s disappointing to have to abstain from the beer, but while waiting, I have plenty of time to ponder my choices and discuss their merits with others. I’m surprised when the couple in line behind me offer to purchase my motorcycle jacket. I guess I’m not the only rider that has difficulty finding small sizes. I decline. I’m sort of using it, yanno?
Oysters are lightly barbecued around these parts. There must be a hundred grills in action.
The “Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor” oysters are sold out, so I give the candied bacon ones a try. Smokey and delicious, with a sweet salty kick, but in the end, the spicy garlicky* ones are my favorites.
I’ve spent a few hours sampling before I head, once again, north. I want to arrive at Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park** in time to hike amongst the trees. And when I do arrive, it’s with a brief moment of confusion. It seems my motorcycle has arrived ahead of me! Right next to my assigned spot, I see a red Ducati 696, nearly identical to my own. I’ve seen plenty of bikes at campgrounds, but this is the first Ducati street bike I’ve seen, other than my own. Turns out, it belongs to Alec, another friendly camp neighbor, who has not just a motorcycle with him, but a small camper loaded down with countless toys - canoes, bicycles, and a space for his Ducati. He’s just acquired the bike, and before I’m even unloaded, he’s visiting, eager to investigate my luggage system, taking photos of every detail. I am so proud!
The desert dweller in me can’t believe my campsite looks like this:
I carry my gear up a few darling wooden steps to my perch within the lush growth and set up camp. As I had hoped, I have time for some hiking. Oh, the lively greenness of it all!
… and slugs…
…not to mention the preposterously tall trees. I’m a long way from the Mojave Desert!
Like most days on this trip, I’ve not ridden nearly as far in one day as I typically do when touring. In California, it turns out, the points of interest are just too close together for me to cover even 300 miles most days. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it’s certainly different. Despite the leisurely pace, I’m tired, and find myself at a fireside campground talk to keep myself awake until nightfall. It’s enjoyable, so why not?
Tomorrow – Oregon!
* Not surprising, because I put raw garlic and chile flakes on nearly everything I eat.
** Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods are contiguous and all fall under the joint jurisdiction of the National Park Service and California State Parks. So much to see in just one small area. *sigh* I’ve barely scratched the surface.