Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 5: Honeydew to Eureka

a. 5590’ gain, 64 miles. Night spent at sea level.
b. Motel – Discovery Inn, 2832 Broadway in Eureka. There are many motels on this strip, and we picked this one because it was cheap, had on-site laundry, and had a row of rooms set well back from the main road and was therefore fairly quiet; if you stay there be sure to get a room in the back. Shopping plaza and grocery stores are <1/2 mile away to the south. We aren’t familiar with Eureka and don’t know if there is a motel in the older down-town area; we were told all the motels are on this strip of road.
c. Food: Small store in Petrolia. Cafes and groceries in Ferndale. We think Loleta has a small store, but could be wrong. Eureka has all possible services.
d. Road info: All paved. Very quiet low traffic roads until you get to Ferndale. Ferndale to Eureka included some busy road sections. There are surface streets in Eureka that are quieter than the described route, but not until you get pretty far north into the town.
e. Water availability: Petrolia store. There might be water in Bear River at Capetown (we didn’t check to see if it was flowing or dry, but there are no other services in Capetown (it’s a label on the map, not a town).
f. Miscellaneous Notes:
i. This is a lovely lonely stretch of road with nice views of the coast. The winds are consistently from the North to Northwest and they are usually steady and strong, especially for the stretch of road along the coast and in the flats between Ferndale and Eureka. We worked very hard on this day just to keep moving forward. You also climb “The Wall”, a couple of kilometers of 15-18% grade starting at the north end of the coastal stretch.
ii. The stretch of road directly on the coast is visually beautiful, but quite disappointing because it is all fenced cattle land (with no trespassing signs) and there appears to be no public access to the beach, even though you are riding through the dunes adjacent to the beach. We didn’t study it carefully, but it looked like it would be tough or impossible to stealth camp in that area without being quite visible and very obviously crossing fences.
iii. Ferndale is a funky upscale town with nice shops and inns. The parts of Eureka we saw were either strip mall or worn out, although we didn’t leave the route and don’t know what the rest of town was like. Just north of Eureka is Arcata, which is a university town and a bastion of old and young hippies, similar in tone to Berkeley. There is one old hotel in Arcata (on the main square) which is expensive (~$100/night) and at least one other motel downtown, and there are several at the 101 interchange north of town.
iv. The Google map on Andreas’ site is a bit mangled in the area between Fernbridge and Eurkea. That route doesn’t work because one of the roads is a private gated farm road. The better routing would be this: after crossing the bridge at Fernbridge, immediately turn left onto Fernbridge Drive and take that for ½ mile to Eel River Drive; turn left onto Eel River Drive (instead of right onto Singley Hill Road as per Andreas’ instructions); take Eel River Drive north through Lolita until it crosses 101 (about 5 miles) and dead-ends at Thomkins Hill Road where you re-join the published route. Left on Thomkins Hill Road, which you then follow north for 3 miles until you are forced onto 101.

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