Got up early (cold) and packed up. Bernie not slept too well and so a bit drowsy in the morning. Then we discovered that her back tyre pressure was down to 20 psi so hardly surprising. She got faster when I pumped it up! This morning was a gentle uphill plod through farmland and sandy forests. Very different to Oregan and Washington but showing that the land is more arid here.
The morning was 28 miles uphill to Old Station, a climb of only about 1500 feet (but with quite a few ups and downs on the way). Lunch was at JJ’s cafe in Old Station. This is a “bikers cafe” if ever there was one. There are several characteristics about US – and particularly Californian – motor bikers. The first is that they almost all ride Harley Davisons. Other brands of motor bike may exist but a serious biker would not be seen dead on any other machine. Secondly, they are mega friendly to others on wheels – and as cyclist we are included within the category. So they give us a general wave as they pass. One explained that this was out of a sense of relief that they had an engine and did not have to put in the effort that we were expending to get up the hill. It also means they give us a wide berth and are kind at 4 way stop signs. These remain a complete mystery to us just as roundabouts were to the Belgians. Fine – so you stop – but then who has priority? It sems a complex game of “chicken” to see who moves first.
There is, of course, an exception to 4 way stops signs. It does not say this on the signs but these do not apply to logging trucks. They go through 4 way stop signs with a loud blast of the air horn 100 years in advance and with hardly a touch of the brakes. It is as if they are saying ” i AM A LOGGING TRUCK – you do not seriously expect me to slow down for something as inconsequential as a 4-way stop sign – BE SERIOUS”. All the other traffic appears to understand that a blast of the horn from a logging truck means “Too much momentum….. get the f**k out of the way!”.
But back to bikers. The other thing about US bikers is that they are – how can I put this delicately – not the most slimline representatives of nation USA. Sitting on a HD requires as substantial rear and most (but not all) have no difficulty in fulfilling the requirement. Then we sat with them at lunch and perhaps say a little why…. but who are we to judge when they are so friendly and supportive of our crazy approach to life. So the US bikers get a serious thumbs up from us.
The afternoon was another 15 mile climb up another 1500 feet to the edge of the Mount Lasson National Park. Relieved of $10 for an entry fee we found Robert – the wonderful camp host and booking agent – who procured us a cabin (predicted to be 25 degrees tonight which means -4 degrees in real money) lent us a wrench to put Bernie’s kickstand back on and let us back in when – we locked ourselves out. It was only 42 miles today and so we arrived at about 3pm. That gave us time to get settled and then walked around the beautiful Lake Manzenita. Bernie cooked a serious delicious tea and we are now settled in a snug cabin with a heater. Cheating I hear you cry and of course you are right but it is 6000 feet high!
I was about to get whipped at Scrabble (assuming I cannot get relocated – for which see about 1 week ago) when all changed when Elisa and Eli (from Berkley near San Francisco turned up seeking relief from their cold tent. Bernie had met Elisa in the showers and offered relief from the cold. They were great fun and we enjoyed their company. Mean scrabble players too!