Monday, December 22, 2014

One bar in Fort Bragg

How are you feeling? Danny's such a good egg. I wonder how he knew the right question to ask.

It's quarter past one in the afternoon, at the counter of Wiley's Cafe, a regular place that serves breakfast all day long. Food has been ordered. The service is excellent; the waitress keeps filling my coffee cup. Love her.

The data signal may be weak, yeah, but with the proper contortions we can text. The ritual involves going in and out the front door repeatedly, twirling in my chair, tilting the phone this way and that. This no doubt has the locals whispering in their booths. For them Internet connectivity has not obliterated all contenders to become The Main Thing in Life. Not yet.

Late as usual
Wanna rent car
It's cold and foggy and blowing like hell

Given that last factoid, it's actually helpful to be moving around, pitching for signal. With the wool head-to-toe, indoors, drinking hot liquid, even with all that there's a chill. About four miles inland, on Comptche Ukiah Road the grey muck came on and I cursed it. A strong marine layer in winter, a pretty rare thing. Thick, cold, relentless, like Scotland or Ireland or the moors of Jane Eyre. And a stiff headwind for northbound bike tourists on the coast. All 1 of us.

The forecast said high pressure. Well, I was supposed to get here more than an hour ago too. And you know, be long gone by now. So a lot of things have not panned out today.

It's supposed to be nice in Garberville 

Really? Sunny and clear? At the same time Garberville seems very, impossibly far. Fort Bragg is mile 48 - this much effort for 48 miles! Lots of climbing from Orr. Garberville, mile 106. Right now a nap would be welcome. I'll never make it. It'll be midnight. I'll be killed by some drunk driver on the freakin' highway. This will be the last conversation with Danny.

Will be dark by the time I get to Humboldt

if I can just get thru richardson's grove I'll be OK
Have reservation at Benbow Inn
Scared little bit
Don't wanna do in dark

One good thing about texting, you have to be brief. Even when utterly discouraged, hungry, tired, cold, it sounds like a little everyday problem. This is a first, wanting to pack it in right before the remote and beautiful part. And it will be a first, riding those two narrow sections of 101 at night.

If I could figure out a one-way car rental to Eureka... or a truck with a reliable driver happened to be going to Garberville... or the Skunk Train went to Laytonville instead of Willits... OK, I'd have to explain to my dad, how I'd just had enough and went for comfort.

Eggs and potatoes arrive, with other things like ham and bacon and cheese and onions. Hash browns on the side (instead of toast). It's a massive pile of food.

Three hundred miles away, Danny recognizes what's going on. He knows the situation well - how I tend to overshoot and run myself down to zero. The day after the Winter Solstice, a hard century with weight on the bike. He knows food will fix whatever can be fixed. After the last hash brown is gone, I'll head north into the cold hostile wind. And 101 will be waiting there in the dark.


  1. I agree with Terris - sometimes you have to know when to say when and just get a different hotel for the night, or rent that car. :/ (There are two more entries to read, so I'm sure you made it and all was well, but still. I guess I periodically remind myself that I'm the only one to satisfy - I won't go to hell if I don't drag myself past my limits once again.)

  2. It’s a bad tendency to overshoot and run down to zero. Talking about drunk drivers, while the high cost of a DUI case will likely discourage people from drunk driving, some people do not consider it as a determining factor. If you are ever get arrested, you should look for good attorney immediately to get out from this mess. My brother is system admin at a DUI lawyer office and he often tells me how DUI cases if not fought properly can destroy your life.