July 23 – August 3, 2020
The next day we got to reap the benefit of having bailed a day early on camping at Richardson Grove in that it opened up a day for bike riding. To figure out a route I turned to a resource cyclists use often, Ride with GPS, a social media type website where one can upload and download routes. One cool thing about the site is the ability to look at a route’s profile, both total mileage and elevation gained and lost, enabling one to tailor that day’s ride to one’s desire.
In my case, I use a Wahoo Element Bolt cycle computer (many folks rely on Garmin’s suite of products) to track each ride. It then synchronizes to both Strava (another social media site where cyclists track each other) and Ride with GPS and allows me to look back at any ride I’ve taken. It’s a nice support tool, as we give each other a thumbs up for a day’s effort.
The route I pulled down would total 35 miles with a modest amount of climbing and best of all, circle the city providing us with a number of glimpses of the town. We picked up the route part way through it just a couple of blocks away from the Travelodge, turning south onto a bike path that led us along the shoreline until we turned east to enter a suburb.
A short climb took us into some nice looking neighborhoods as we turned north and continued through the communities of Indianola and Bayside before entering Sunny Brae where we stopped at the Coffee Break for our usual mid ride cup of joe and a snack.
Finished we pedaled past one of the entrances to Humboldt State University (Norm’s Alma Mater)
and heading west, entered an area of tidal wetlands and open fields of grazing cattle before eventually taking a bridge to cross over Arcata Bay and finish a few blocks later back at the Travelodge.
It had been an overcast day with moderate temperatures; as it turns out the climate here is a mild one, rarely getting hot during the summer but also not very cold in the winter.
We’d spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the room, figuring out our plan of action for the next day or two, and making a run across the street to North Coast Co-op for provisions. Shopping at a market like this one is a mixed bag in that you are assured of fresh and healthy (eg: organic) options and yet denied the opportunity to buy products you are familiar with.
Later we walked towards Chapala for dinner to Gallagher’s Irish Pub a place we’d noticed that had outdoor dining the day before. Still pretty early in the evening seating wasn’t a problem as we were placed at a high-top table on the sidewalk at the side of the restaurant.
We started off with a Liquid Electroshock Martini (Grey Goose Vodka, Orange and Cranberry juice, and a cherry) for Joanna and a Hopthermia IPA for me.
We settled on splitting a bowl of clam chowder and the Captain’s Platter which included two pieces of cod, two prawns, and two scallops, all of it beer battered. Although all of the seafood was fried, it was done well and so delicious we were glad to have a good bike ride under our belts to justify the caloric intake we ended up ingesting.
With just a three hour or so drive ahead of us the next day we killed some time in town and took a driving tour of the cities celebrated Victorian homes. A daunting and challenging task requiring stores of energy, we fueled up first at a great find, the Cherry Blossom Bakery and were we glad we did. A good cup of coffee and two different flaky Danish pastries made anything we’ve ever eaten in Solvang disappear in the rear-view mirror.
We then set out on our tour of the homes which would take about 30 minutes; on a different day it would have been fun to actually walk the route as the homes are concentrated in an area encompassing just a few blocks. We started with the Simpson Vance House (1852), now occupied by a community action agency.
We would then drive a couple of blocks, stop and take a picture and then move on.
We eventually landing on Hillsdale Street, which had an array of homes including four of note (the Painted Lady, Stick/Eastlake House, 1890 Queen Anne, and 1893 Queen Anne/Colonial).
Continuing on we found the John Cottrell House (1902), still a private residence like most we had viewed and as our last stop of the morning, it was a good way to say goodbye to this interesting town, one where we had few expectations and yet were amply rewarded with plenty to do. I’m not sure we will return any time soon and yet could very well find ourselves spending another night here someday as we explore the coast of Northern California and all that it offers.
Ride with GPS: https://ridewithgps.com/
Wahoo Element Bold: https://www.wahoofitness.com/devices/bike-computers/gps-elemnt-bolt
Coffee Break: https://www.facebook.com/coffee.break.arcata/
North Coast Co-op: https://www.northcoast.coop/
Gallagher’s Irish Pub: https://gallaghers-irishpub.com/
Cherry Blossom Bakery: http://cherryblossombakery.weebly.com/