We leave camp and begin riding into Redwoods State Park, before joining the Pacific Coast highway to our end in Santa Cruz!
I awoke in the cold early hours of the morning just as I did the day before. It hadn't been the warm Californian climate I had expected. Fortunately today we had an early start so I could get up, get moving, and get warm. We fuelled up on multiple cups of coffee and indulged in another fantastic breakfast before leaving camp for the final leg of our journey.
We began climbing steeply out of camp. No more than ten minutes pass and we've already stopped at an exquisite view point overlooking forest as far as the eye could see. I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of looking at an unspoilt mass of forested land like this before; not being able to see a house or a power line or anything man made. It was beautiful.
Riding through this place chatting and exchanging stories with these magnificent people was amazing, but the highlight of the day for me amongst many great things: was the road through Big basin Redwoods State Park. A smooth winding road descending on some of the finest asphalt switchbacks I've ever encountered. Only to be dwarfed by the magnitude of the awe inspiring landscape that surrounded us. It seemed like we were descending forever as we engaged in some light racing tucking in behind each others wheels before over taking with the typical 'wooooo!' as we passed. It was a euphoric moment as the epic fun of this outstanding road and location harmonised in a unified romance, encapsulating for me the essence of what riding bikes is all about: Spending time with great people, having fun, and all within natures finest offering.
When the descent was over, I thought my smile may never fade. But as we came to a stop I soon noticed we were now in the presence of one of the grandest trees I'd ever laid eyes on. Standing tall as wide as a car and hollow. This tree still stands after a fire burnt through the inside of the tree allowing you to stand inside with a bike, and plenty of room to spare.
The whole place just felt ancient and Jurrasic, so much so I probably wouldn't have been surprised to see a T-rex emerging from behind one of these gigantic Redwoods. As we left the large burnt tree behind we again began climbing, and out of nowhere and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, was the most eccentrically constructed treehouse/playground I'd ever seen. Complete with a series of train cars... yes, train cars. How they got up here I have no idea. Only in America. After a brief snack and all secretly jealous this isn't our little hideaway, we begin pedalling again and onto an exciting off road descent. I was again getting a little excited as I began letting my new bike loose over the rough and rocky terrain.
Shortly after the descent we rejoined the tarmac and the Pacific Coast Highway. With our next stop "Pie Ranch!?" just a few miles away. I'm not sure why, but I imagined this place to be some kind of weird typically American roadside diner, serving an unhealthy portion of sugary desert. Thanks Hollywood! Yet, what. a. place. and what another amazing treat and surprise for the trip: An all-organic farm come educational facility, that served us an amazing spread of food, and of course pies! All the ingredients were grown on site and cooked in there idyllic outdoor cooking area. Its so great to see people with such passion for quality food from ground to plate. With the sun a blaze, we finally enjoyed catching some of those Californian rays with a few more cold ones before we left the ranch for the final leg along the coast and into Santa Cruz.
Cruising into Santa Cruz, we rolled along the coastal cliffs, explored a railway line and checked out the surf, before finally arriving at our destination. We where again spoiled with yet another spread, of cold beers, coffee and freshly fired pizza. What a day! As night fell, we couldn't believe it was coming to an end as we drank and a live band played. At the end John Prolly had a little slide show of his amazing photos (great to see how he goes about shooting a trip like this) from our trip and a sample of some of the amazing visual projects Blackburn have been working on. As night fell we were tired and said our farewells before heading to the motel. The dream over! for now.
A big thanks to Blackburn and everyone that was involved!