We tried to get out of Eureka early before traffic got too crazy. As soon as we got out of town, we stopped at a McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich before pedaling toward Ferndale.
Ferndale marks the last town before we enter the lost coast, so we decided to hang around and chat with the locals. The people were incredibly friendly, and we learned a bit about the unique area. The vast, remote mountainous landscape contains around 60,000 acres of federal land under the King Range National Conservation Area. The remaining land is scattered ranches and farmland.
I talked to a local business owner who used to have a restaurant on the other side of the mountains in the town of Petrolia. She described the area as a mecca for cannabis farms since the area receives an insane 100 inches of rain annually. She also mentioned a rancher releases their old horses into the wild, so supposedly some horses roam the beaches out there.
While talking more with the locals, we got the impression that the climb to the coast would be brutal. Many truckers recommended that we shouldn’t bike the road because of the conditions, steep grades, and wild drivers. I agreed with them, especially since I have an old road bike with narrow tires, rim brakes, and awful gearing for touring.
This all made me nervous about the climb but figured we could walk if things got rough.
We began the climb, and I was powering up the road with a good pace, but my father wasn’t making great time. After about an hour of climbing, we reevaluated the situation and decided to forgo the lost coast. It was a tough decision to make, but it was probably a good choice, given the circumstances.
Getting a taste of the area, I know I will be back, but not on a bike. I would like to backpack the area and experience the land on a trail rather than the road, so if anything, it has given me an excuse to make a trip out this way.
Our new route diverted south of Ferndale along Grizzly Bluff Road. This alternative route that runs parallel to Highway 101, alongside the Eel River, was beautiful.
We now had to figure out a new campground as well, and again we weren’t very close to a state park. We found another RV campground that was a fun stay. We were able to camp alongside some massive old redwood trees in what seemed like an empty campground.
I am not going to lie, biking partway up to the lost coast, only to turn around, was tough on the mind. Although that was tough, the people today made my day. I always enjoy chatting with locals and learning about the area, and the town of Ferndale is full of great locals.
I am absolutely stoked for tomorrow. The Avenue of the Giants is just a few miles down the road, and I plan to spend most of the day exploring the old-growth forests along the road.
Stats from today:
- 52 miles biked
- Too many vertical feet climbed
- One bumpy, steep, gnarly road