September 15, 2015 – Overcast, 60 degrees
Miles Today: 65
Miles to Date: 6,969
States to Date: 24
California! I rolled over the line in late afternoon and entered The Golden State – home to one in nine Americans, each of whom is increasingly thirsty. As I entered, fires raged in the State after a long, dry summer. But I brought with me the forecast of rain, a forecast heralded like a newborn over the past few days. If the word California means anything, it means hope. It’s where we head when we need a fresh start. Everyone here is hoping these rains will do some good, to extinguish fires in the short-term and quench thirst in the long.
Paul Hempel and Bruce Newman sent me off from Gold Beach with a huge breakfast. The ride along the Oregon coast was beautiful, though the wind turned into my face as the weather shifted. Much of the Oregon coast is preserved, with well-marked viewpoints along the way. I stopped to enjoy many of the diversions.
I took a break at the Brookings Library and continued on to California. I crossed the border and passed the requisite agricultural station. Immediately, there was much more development. More oceanfront houses, more farms, more places stacked on the hills. I turned off US 101 just beyond Smith River, passed the forbidding Pelican Bay Prison, and arrived at my warmshowers hosts.
Hope and Dave live on a two-acre orchard with a small house, shed building, and cottage out back. Dave had just finished installing batt insulation from the outside of the west wall. He asked me to help hold a 4×8 sheet of plywood at the corner. I suggested that the insulation would be ruined if the rain forecast proved true, so we spent an hour getting all the sheathing in place. It felt good to work for my supper of homegrown squash soup and thick, fresh bread. The simplest and most satisfying meal of my trip, topped it off with dark chocolate cocoanut patties for dessert.
After dinner I tucked into the back cottage, two charming rustic rooms with a comfy bed.