Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Usually Don't Say It All At Once

I usually don't say it all at once, better to lay it on gently. I either say to strangers that I'm driving a Miata up the coast, or that I'm driving towards Alaska, but never I'm driving up towards Alaska in a Miata. That would make me look foolish.

After the previous epic day, I wake up early to get a head start on the highway 1 traffic, and it was worth it. I didn't see another car for at least an hour. My first bit of traffic was a deer running right in front of my car. If I hadn't swerved and braked, or done one and not the other, I would have hit her. Hitting a deer in a normal car is one thing, but in a Miata it would probably be the end of my windshield, best case scenario.

A photo posted by Byron Young (@byron.a.young) on

The highway took me right through the Redwoods, which look even larger from a tiny convertible. I drove fairly consistently until Eureka to restock on some food and supplies before heading to Six Rivers Brewing to have a great burger and some even better beer. It also gave me a chance to take a breath and figure out where I was mountain biking that day. I found a loop trail and decided to do part of it, Davison Path.

I set out and found what I thought was the trailhead but I took it in the wrong direction and ended up in a campground next to a river. I took it the other direction and was on my merry way, until my rear derailer started acting up again, shifting and jumping annoyingly. I decided to press on, not push it, until the inevitable, a chain break. I had to walk at least a mile back to my car, where I assessed the situation.

I decided to head to the campground and figure out how to fix the chain. If I could fix it, I'd head onto the trail and stay at that campground I ran into for the night. If not, I'd drive another couple hours towards Bend Oregon. I drove to the campsite, and after a lot of trial and error, "fixed" the chain. It was getting late, but I decided to try for that trail. I hopped on the bike, and with Yogi in tow, followed it deeper into the forest. I was quickly rewarded with amazingly dense Redwood forests, rivers, and some great single track, but it ended at a road. I decided to take a right to see it would lead, knowing the coast must not be too far away. It started descending, and finally the trees opened up to reveal a secluded beach.

A photo posted by Byron Young (@byron.a.young) on

The road went on, and some signs told me it headed to Fern Canyon, which I have actually been to before! I had time to get to it (another 4 miles) but after turning a corner there was an enormous moose about 100 yards ahead of me. Luckily I saw it well before Yogi did, allowing me to prevent him from chasing after it, and I decided that considering the time and my uncertainty with my chain fix, it might be a better idea to head back.

A photo posted by Byron Young (@byron.a.young) on

After turning around, I started climbing a hill, and immediately the bike was not happy. I was having the same gear skipping and jumping I've had in the past, and finally on a steeper hill, another chain break, now at least 4 miles away from my campground. If I couldn't fix it I would be walking back in the dark. Luckily this time around I brought my tools, and I did a makeshift fix on the hill, while being bombarded with mosquitoes. I felt the chain after the fix and it was very stiff, but I decided to try to set off anyway. I started riding and... somehow it worked perfectly. It also gives me a new theory about the true nature of the problem, which I won't bore you with.

I ride all the way back to the campground with barely a complaint from the bike, set up camp, make a gargantuan amount of Chili-Mac, and head to my sleeping bag with a combination of food coma and exhaustion.

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