Ahhh… California at last. It didn’t take me long to cross the state line and I was happy to be heading south into warmer weather. I had only been to northern California when visiting San Francisco so I was eager to see the famous wine region of Napa. The end of my day would see me in St. Helena, staying with Rick and Juliette (no relation to my bike) and enjoying the comforts of a real home.
I whizzed along the California coast, taking in some of its beauty before route 101 turned more inland. I took a small detour along the Avenue of the Giants which is a 31 mile road that runs through coast redwood forests. To see these giant old growth trees overshadowing the road is amazing… it makes you feel so small.
I also stopped to ride through the Chandelier Tree, a famous 315 foot tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California. It has a 6 foot wide by 6 foot 9 inch high hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. The hole was carved in the 1930s. I’m not sure the hole is actually 6 foot 9 because as you can see from the picture below I was hitting my head on it! Much to my surprise, I also had some of the best vegetarian chili at the roadside stand near the tree. Sadly, the lady who owns the stand said this would be her last summer as business was just too slow with the economy still in the toilet. It made me realize how lucky I am to be able to take this trip of a lifetime.
I stopped for gas about 75 miles from St. Helena and made the mistake of checking my rear tire. I about had a heart attack. See the pic below and you will see why that last 75 miles had me very nervous. I won’t be doing that again. Fortunately, when I arrived at Rick and Juliette’s there was a nice glass (or two) of wine waiting for me 🙂