Monday, December 7, 2009

Winding Down or Wrapping up?

The morning was home to a bittersweet donut breakfast. Clancy’s folks were coming to visit us on the road the following day and Thanksgiving was a mere four days away. Unfortunately, the weather outlook was pretty grim with rain forecasted for the next several days. If we kept pedaling it was going to be cutting it fairly close for the holiday. Clancy didn’t want to rush the last few days of the trip and wanted to keep riding - completely understandable. I on the other hand wasn’t so fond of riding in inclement weather and wanted to be positively home for Thanksgiving. So it was decided; when we met up with his folks I would hitch a ride and he would complete the last leg by himself. It was a tough call - I sure didn’t want to leave Clanc but I equally wanted to meet back up with parents and friends. Maybe the cold rain had made me soft. Speaking of wet weather, it was raining on this fine morning and I pulled out my laptop to kill some time. Clanc got tired of waiting for the weather to change and hit the road.

The rain that day in Leggett never did let up (at least not for long), so I ended up hanging out in the small town all day while Clanc made it up to Garberville. I hit the only two points of interests in Leggett: the “Drive Through Tree” (upper left in collage below) and the K-12 school. The massive redwood was quite the sight - almost as fascinating as the people that failed to drive their cars straight through the tree and removed some extra paint from their mirrors *ouch*. I made my way down to the school when I overheard some ladies at the post office talking about chicken pot pie. When I enquired they extended an invite - you know me when it comes to food! It was quite the spectacle in the cafeteria; there I was eating at the table with the third graders. Took me back to a simpler time at Sam’s Valley Elementary. After we all sang happy birthday to a boy at the table I gave my regards to the chef and ducked out.

The following morning I awoke both bummed out and excited. This was the last day of the trip for me. I intended to ride as far north as possible, tying to catch Clancy before his parents met us on the road. The redwood attractions along the way were pretty amusing. In addition to the drive through tree I had witnessed the previous day, I spotted a couple unique tree houses/homes (also shown in collage) before I entered the “Avenue of the Giants” north of Garberville. The Avenue is a scenic stretch of road just off the main highway that features a high concentration of large redwoods. It was on this section that I spotted Dale and Tresa in their maroon GMC. They hopped out of the truck along with Clanc (they had recently picked him up as well) and I gave them each a big hug. It was an awesome moment - especially since Tresa was the last one from home to see us, having shuttled us up to Seattle more than six months ago to start the journey . A fitting way to bring the trip full circle. I tossed my bike in the back and we headed north towards Eureka where we were to spend the night. Little did I know Tresa had prepared an all out feast for lunch. We stopped at a picnic area and out came the food. Here you can see the impressive spread and an over-indulged Clancy. The best was yet to come though - Tresa had made a shoofly pie for us! This was the confection that we wanted so badly to sample back in Amish country. It was worth the wait…mmmmm.

We reached Eureka in no time and Tresa landed us a plush hotel room at a bargain with her superb negotiation skills. She should be closing deals on Wall Street I tell you! Anyhoo, we settled in, showered up and got to thinking about evening activities. Clancy, Dale and myself decided to head down to the Lost Coast Brewery downtown for some guy talk and Tresa turned in early. The brew was good, the food tasty, and the conversation juicy - you know, all the crazy masculine stuff that went on during the trip that we couldn’t share with Tresa. I kid! It was good to visit in a place that was already starting to feel like home though.

The next morning Tresa outdid herself again and prepared us a red-white-and-blue breakfast. Here she is modeling her creation featuring yogurt, almonds, pomegranate, and blueberries. Delicious and nutritious! With full bellies we loaded our stuff into the truck minus Clancy and his gear. This photo was snapped right before we departed company. Clanc was to ride his bike the rest of the way home (another 190 miles) and we would finish the drive home that day. Another bittersweet moment. We had a safe drive home, where I was dropped off at my Dad’s place to start catching back up. Not to worry - Clancy made it home safe too, and in time for Thanksgiving! He has an entry that will follow about his final leg. Until next time…

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