Saturday, September 20, 2008

Avenue of the Giants and Confusion Hill, from Humboldt to Mendocino

Once again, we are recapping the week for our fine readers at home. We are relaxing this afternoon in the lovely Fort Bragg library, and enjoying some free wifi.

Tuesday night's house party in Arcata, CA was quite a blow-out. It was the last show that Kati played with the group before she had to head back up to Portland to be a part of a wedding. She promises to be back by the time they reach San Francisco, though. The young crowd dug the group and declared that the band keep playing until the cops showed up. And the cops did show up. After they left, they told the band to keep on playing and so they did. Once the cops came back a second time to quiet down the party, the band ended their two hour set and called it a night.

Wednesday morning, Kati headed back up to Portland, catching a ride with Ian's dad who had driven him down two days before. There were lots of hugs goodbye, and Kati wondered what she was going to do all day if she weren't biking 50 miles. The band got off to a very early start to make it out to Ferndale, CA, where they were interviewed and played a set for KSLG and KHUM, very cool independent radio stations in Humboldt county. After the first 25 miles of the day, they pushed on to make it to their campsite in the redwoods that evening. Ian plowed through the difficult day of riding, and although he was a bit slower than the rest of the group, still made it the whole ride. We stayed with the group most of the first day, arriving much after dark to a beautiful campsite nestled in the redwoods off of the Avenue of the Giants. It was quite magical and very quiet. Buzz the traveling cat frolicked for awhile amongst them.

Thursday's ride began fairly early as well, as they were on their way to The Peg House, across the street from the Standish-Hickey Campground, for a show that evening. It was a long, hilly ride with lots of small shoulders. We hung out with Ian for a while in Garberville as he had arrived after the others had already come, had lunch and left again. The second day with all the hills was really wearing on him, but he was determined to finish the ride. We decided to drive ahead to the campground and see how the rest of the group was fairing up ahead. Toward the end of the ride, we rode over Confusion Hill - one of only 8 vortexes in the world, we learned when we stopped to check it out and use the restroom. Apparently, the "vortex" refers to strange magnetic fields that affect gravity, and our hard drives. As we drove over the hill, the external drive that Max had been offloading to was mysterously disconnected and then disappeared from his finder. Although scary, it soon came back after we left the Hill. We are now believers. Max dropped Emily off at the campsite to set up and cook some pasta while he went back to find Ian along the road and tell him to find a place to stay as the road was far too dangerous to ride at night. As Max pulled out of the campsite, the ancient G4 laptop that he uses to offload footage from the camera fell off the handmade passenger seat table, onto the camera, and broke the internal hard drive. We had just enough time on the card to catch Ian arriving by pick up truck (the rest of the band had sent a kind stranger to rescue him) and play a small, but cool show at the very friendly Peg House. We sat out under the stars with Gary, the owner, and saw a few falling from the sky. We headed to bed early to be able to make it out to Santa Rosa, 130 miles south, the next day to find a place to repair the hard drive so we could continue this project.

The next day we woke up and packed up camp before it started to pour and made it to Santa Rosa and Mac Advantage (a great Apple repair store, friendly and helpful) by noon. They replaced the hard drive and disc drive and we killed five hours by hanging out at coffee shops and Costco, where we ate lots of free samples and got massages from display massage chairs, while the band tackled some of the largest hills (including the infamous Leggett Hill) so far on this journey. We found them at a campsite north of Fort Bragg and caught them playing for a group of girls from a seventh day adventist boarding school on a field trip. Ian made it through the day again, showing up after dark, more tired and sore than the day before and developing a head cold.

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