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Pacific Coast Bike Route – Day 15 : Harris Beach State Park > Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Kinda slept in this morning. Then again that is what happens when you’re up late. Woke up at 6:00 and got straight to it. I didn’t have an incredibly long day planned, but I did want to get breakfast at a local joint before leaving town. Didn’t clear out at as quick as I would have liked but hit the road at 8:00.

I rolled up to Foxy’s Restaurant at 8:30. As I was trying to find the door an older gentleman walked up and says, “Hey man let me take a look at what you’ve got going on here.” He proceeds to give the entire rear end of Shadow a once over and compliments me on all the lights.

“You know sometimes I see cyclists out there with no lights and it just makes me so angry. Nothing worse than driving down a dark road and BOOM suddenly there is a cyclist out of no where. At least you can be seen.” We spend a few more minutes talking about the additional light on my helmet and the Varia radar. Eventually he starts towards the door and says, “You know they have a patio right there you can park you bike if you’d like.”

Never one to pass up a secluded patio with clear views from inside I park Shadow and walk back around to the front door. On walking in THE ENTIRE restaurant turns to take me in. It was funny and unnerving at the same time. I let it go because I wanted breakfast dang it. They had counter seating and the gentleman from outside had already pulled up a seat. He turns to me and says, “You could have come in the door right there ya know.”

I looked at it and them replied, “I saw it but I thought it was locked so I went around.”

I pulled up to the counter a few seats down and started checking the menu. Didn’t take long before I found exactly what I wanted. I decided on the 4×2 which was two each of eggs, bacon, sausage patties, and pancakes or french toast. I went with scrambled and french toast. It was exactly what I want in a breakfast before a ride. Solid proteins and carbs.

While enjoying my breakfast I’m going through my email and there is one from the kiddo. I open it and it contains a single link. I tap it and my browser takes me to a Father’s Day eCard. The best thing about it was the inside was customized and written by her. To say I was touched would be an understatement.

With breakfast done it was nearly time to roll out. When I checked out I picked up the check for the kind gentleman who had greated me so warmly. The hostess asks, “Did you want to pay for just him or the entire table?” I’m guessing it was him, daughter, and maybe three grandkids?

“The entire table, please.”

“Okay. How do you know him?”

“I don’t. Just met him out front this morning. We had a nice conversation.”

“Yeah, he’s a nice guy. He’ll appreciate it.”

Not sure why but it seemed like a good thing to do for someone on Father’s Day. I hope he remembers it next time he sees a cyclist.

After leaving Foxy’s I made a couple quick turns before stopping to be certain I was on the right track. I could have just continued south on US-101, but I wanted to backtrack the mile to connect up with Lower Harbor Road which was along the “official” ACA route. I’m glad I did. Lower Harbor Road eventually became Oceanview Drive and got super pretty before dumping me onto US-101.

Rejoining the highway it was a short ride to the California border. I pulled up to the big “Welcome to California” sign and set up Shadow for a couple pictures. Not a minute later a red van all marked up with a “Runners on Road” sign pulled up. I immediately knew they were one of the teams from yesterday’s The Wild Rogue Relay.

This motley group of people pile out of this van. They walk over and start chatting. They introduce themselves as the “Running Billy Goats” and ask if I’d take their picture. Of course I would. I took three different shots. One portrait and two in landscape, or vice versa can’t recall. I know I had to redo one because I cut off the top of the sign!

After they left I snapped my pictures and recorded a quick video. I have to admit I got a little emotional. Another major milestone for the trip.

Back under way it wasn’t long before I was leaving US-101 again. There are times when I’ve questioned ACA’s routing, but time and time again it comes through. This was another road named Oceanview Drive and it was a quiet country road. Only a small handful of cars for the entire section and I was able to ride in the middle of the road the entire time.

Crossed US-101 and the route wound through the small community of Smith River. I rejoined US-101 only long enough to cross the Smith River before turning off for more quiet roads. This time I made my way through Fort Dick. This road would take me through to the west side of Crescent City.

When I came to the corner of Northcrest Drive and Washington Boulevard it was just shy of noon. I spotted a service station on the corner and figure it was time for lunch. I have to admit that lunches aren’t always the beautifully laid out dishes, but whatever you can find to shovel into your face. Today was certainly the later.

Washington continued taking me west, and I again found myself wondering about ACA’s routing. Eventually I turned south onto Pebble Beach Drive and it all became obvious. Another beautiful ocean side road with a great view. Snapped some great pictures and shot a video of the ride. Totally worth it.

Soon enough I was leaving Crescent City behind an dreaded the miles ahead of me. I frequently visit Crescent City. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, east of town and its campground are one of the places the kiddo and I have visited during numerous Spring Breaks so I’m familiar with the main roads. I knew there was a monster climb right as you leave town and I was not looking forward to it. I treated this climb like every other climb, except I stopped at the viewpoint and park sign to get a couple pictures. Perfect excuse to take a break!

Made a couple stops at various viewpoints to get pictures when I could. Despite my best efforts I can’t escape all red lights though. Caltrans was nice enough to leave a button for cyclists to trigger a light cycle and extend the green duration to allow cyclists to clear the single lane section with plenty of time.

I was first to pull up to the light and when it went green I swung out to take the lane for the duration of the one lane section. Thankfully it was a descent and relatively short. Once I was clear of the construction I pulled over to the shoulder to let all the cars pass by while waving as a thank you for their patience. This gave me the added bonus of not having to worry about vehicles coming up behind me due to the break in traffic stopping at the red.

Next stop was at Trees of Mystery to see Paul and Babe. I simply had to stop. I’ve stopped here numerous times in the past with my girls and got pictures with them. Seemed only right to get another one with Shadow to add to the stack. As I left I was, one again, fighting back tears from missing my family dearly.

A short while later I came upon another construction zone, another red light, and another single lane section. I rolled up to the front of the line of cars to look for another bike button, but found none. Next to me was a gentleman on one of those three wheeled motorcycles. We chatted a little when suddenly he says, “Hey man if you want go ahead and take the lead when this goes green. I’ll run interference for you.”

“Hey man I really appreciate it!”

Light turns green and I ride out. Did my best to not be an entire slouch and put in an effort. Sure it wasn’t earth shattering, but what’s a guy to do when he’s got an extra 50 pounds strapped to his bike? Similarly to before, when I cleared the construction I pulled off to let all the traffic go by.

Not too long after I left US-101 for the last time of the day by turning on to Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. I absolutely love this road. It’s been a long time since I rode it last. I remember it all to well.

I rode it from south-to-north and back on the last day of my Spring Break 2020 trip. The night before I’d returned to my campsite in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park with a note on my tent saying to visit the camp host. Upon doing so I was told I could stay the night, but I had to leave in the morning because the campground was closing due to COVID-19. I was floored. I checked in with the wife and we agreed I should do Newton B. Drury before driving home. The ride was special then and it was special now.

When the ride was sent over to Strava I was surprised to see I set several PRs. I was most floored by the “Newton B Drury N to S visitors center” segment which starts at US-101 to the north and the visitors center to the south. I blew my previous time out of the water by a minute and a half! I thought I’d be slower considering I was loaded with gear, but then again road bike versus MTB. Also proud to see the progress I’ve made in the past 3+ years.

I finished the day by rolling into Elk Prairie Campground. I was worried they didn’t have any hike/bike sites. The California Parks website lists Elk Prairie Campground as having them, but they aren’t shown on the campground map. I was much relieved when the girl working the campground entrance assured me they did.

After quickly setting up camp I walked over to the visitor center. I took the Garmin with me and used the park’s WiFi, which was only near the entrance station, to upload the ride and send out updates to family and friends that my regular nightly update would be delayed and I was safe.

I browsed the visitor center looking for a souvenir, but the search was a bust. I did find this cool piece of wood on display with Elk horns embedded within it. The sign in front of it read,

NO! This isn’t an Elkhorn tree.

Apparently a bull elk died after lodging his head in the crook of this madrone tree. Over many years, the tree grew up and around the skull and antlers. A look at the back of this tree stump will reveal the skull.

A rare find indeed!

As I was walking back to camp I spotted a solo bull elk walking along a ridge. I caught a camp neighbor’s attention and pointed him out. The guy got super excited and jumped into his RV to tell the wife to take a look. I kept on walking and looking to my left the elk was walking along with me. Soon enough I had to make a right for my camp and he disappeared out of sight.

When I arrived, the NPS posted the weather forecast and it called for rain in the early morning. Back at camp I wasn’t thrilled with the location of my tent in the site I’d selected. I decided to relocate to another site that I hoped would have the potential for drainage issues like the first one.

After enjoying some dinner another cyclist pulled in and it was Ray who I met back on day 11 at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park! We chatted some and he’d taken a rest day of his own after leaving Honeyman. That’s how we got caught back up.

We discussed plans for the next day. I told him I was planning on camping at Samoa Boat Ramp and Campground run by the county, and he was riding to Ferndale. He wanted more miles up front.

I did tell him to go to Tuyas for dinner! It’s the restaurant I enjoyed on a solo spring trip to ride the Tour of the Unknown Coast route and shared with the girls when we visited on a family vacation.

After chatting with Ray, I went back toward the campground entrance to the go on to the Campfire Center.  NPS staff were hosting a program at 7:00.  Figured since I had no signal it would be something fun to kill time.  The program was their take on Jeopardy.  They presented five categories all related to the park and NPS.  Think it lasted approximately an hour and even got a cool little patch for the trouble!

I think that about wraps the day up with a nice little bow. Honestly, it was a very emotional day. First, the kiddo makes Father’s Day special. Then, I cross into California which is a major milestone. I’ve now crossed two states in their entirety. Finally, I’m revisiting all these places I’ve visited, in some cases multiple times, with my girls, it brings back those wonderful memories, and I start missing them tremendously.

New bike fund: $5.57 (+$0.16)
59.71 new miles
🏘 Completed 25% of Crescent City
— From
Mostly cloudy-Sunny, 50°F-59°F, Feels like 55°F-64°F, Humidity 96%-71%, Wind N 0mph-NNW 8mph – by
myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: -11%
Headwind: 10% @ 5.8-9.2mph
Longest Headwind: 19m 24s
Air Speed: 12.4mph
Temp: 55-60.7°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 69.87 mi
Max elevation: 1265 ft
Min elevation: 24 ft
Total climbing: 3881 ft
Total descent: -3897 ft
Total time: 07:48:36

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