Day 29 Ė Monday, July 16, 2001

McKinleyville, CA Ė Garberville, CA

89.05 Miles
16.15 Average Speed
5:30:50 saddle time
Departed 9AM
Arrived 5PM
1828.46 Total Trek Miles

††††††††††† It would be a shame to attribute the high quality of the families we have stayed with to luck, for most certainly the larger forces at play are responsible for the unrestrained generosity of our often-unwitting hosts.They give as though we are their children and we try to take as though we are not.In short, our stay with the Nichollís increased our debt to society several fold.

Today we had a pretty good line up.Thirty miles south of McKinleyville a road splits off the highway to wind among the giant redwoods.Fittingly, itís called the Avenue of the Giants.Some of you mayíve heard of it.Well, it shouldnít be surprising that I think riding a bike through it is a better experience than driving a car through it, but thatís because we donít really know what driving a car through it is like.But Iíll tell you, thereís nothing distracting about riding.Thereís no radio to drown out the treeís silence, and thereís no glass or steel to protect you from feeling too small or too young or too free.Thatís how you feel, though, small and young among the ancient Age of the Tree.You feel free too because they are; they have grown freely against gravity and against time.†† Am I taking it too far?Perhaps, but it may not be bad to feel small and young and free once in a while.But enough Emerson for today; letís get back to the ride.

We cruised today.The wind was favorable and the terrain was not encumbering.There were no serious upís nor downís and Sundayís rest had affected us positively.We did, however, almost die.We were almost to 101 when sirens rang and fire trucks emerged from side streets.Unfortunately, they were going where we hadnít been yet and since the wind was in our backs we couldnít smell the smoke.As we neared the ďforest fireĒ (it wasnít much really Ė just a little flame on the side of the road), the amount of fire fighting equipment increased.Among this equipment, was a well-disguised fire truck.In fact, it wasnít a fire truck.It was just a truck.Apparently, the driver was an undercover fire fighter.I guess sometimes you want to sneak up on a fire, you know, before it really starts burning.Well, the driver also wanted to rid the road not only of fires but also of any bikers that happened to be in the area.Thatís an assumption, of course, on our part, based on his proximity to us as the time of his light-speed passing, which was very close, and his fist out the window, waving either in anger or in disappointment at our survival.Nevertheless, he stopped just one hundred feet ahead (where the fire was crackling), jumped out of the truck and hurried over to the other fire-fighters.He was just standing there talking to them when we passed.I think he should have least brought a pail of water to throw on the fire Ė you know, to make himself useful.I guess I just donít understand.

Anyhow, we arrived in Garberville safely, despite all attempts otherwise.We stopped at the Seventy-Six station and were met there by a newspaper reporter who promptly interviewed and photographed us.Soon we were met by a remarkable man named Bruce, who is about 50 years old and has EB.I hadnít heard of EB patients surviving to such an age.When the Gurnettís arrived to take us to their house, they invited Bruce to dine as well.It was nice to visit with him over dinner and find out about how he has dealt with EB.

The Gurnettís treated us outstandingly, which always involves lots of food.When bedtime arrived, they left us in their home to sleep in their newly acquired RV trailer against all our objections.


  day 30