Starting out

Thursday, December 22, 2004, 5:45 AM. A quick breakfast by lamplight of almond butter and jam sandwiches, mandarins and hard boiled eggs washed down by tea from a thermos bottle.

Dawn remained a couple hours away at 7:10 AM. Here, the bicycles loaded, Patrick removed his cleat covers and with no light other than that of the headlamps we headed out.

The headlamps proved barely adequate to illuminate the road. To further reducec visibility we quickly became engulfed in thick fog. Thankfully the broad road had double yellow reflective stripes and bumps in the center and a reflective white line on the shoulder. The lamps made all this reflective material stand out and staying on course proved no problem at all.

This first stretch of road is called "The Avenue of the Giants." It roughly parallels Highway 101. I'd looked forward to getting a good look at this redwood forest. However, I couldn't see any of it—nothing but darkness all around. I guess I might say that I felt the presence of the giants, but just as massive vertical shadows.

Just beyond the "Avenue of the Giants," we rode through Scotia, home of Pacific Lumber—the belly of the beast—much the focus of the "Save the old growth movement." Further up Highway 101 We turned through Rio Dell on to lovely secluded country roads and I could finally take photos with naturallight.

The road climbed over ridges. The morning sun peeked over the horizon.

Patrick stopped to take this photo of me. Fog clung tenaciously to the valleys.

It made for a rather mystical riding experience.