#93 PNW - Zenia, California

2007 July 21
231 miles
PNW Trip
Day 14

Leaving Eureka, over my shoulder I snag a photo of the restaurant we ate at last night.

South of Eureka on US101 to the Avenue of the Giants...Giant Trees, that is!

I am reminded of a favorite poem by Robert Frost...
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep...
But I have miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep."

Of course a required photo when you visit the redwoods is a drive-thru photo.
There's more than one place to achieve this goal. I found The Shrine Tree for my photo-op.

I had taken a couple photos of a family a few miles back at another pull off. When they saw me here at the drive-thru tree, they offered to take my photo.

This is looking straight up through the tree from where I was sitting inside.

After 20+ miles of "Avenue of the Giants," I popped back onto US101 and rode the 10 miles to Garberville. This is where my trip officially turns for home when I take Alderpoint Road to the east. It won't be the straightest way to Virginia, but it'll take me in the right direction...more or less. Alderpoint Road quickly climbs into the mountains east of Garberville, California. I felt I was at the top of the mountain, but later would find that I could climb higher on the next ridge.

This is an unbelievably great ride across the mountains!

Today I ride where the big birds soar! A few miles later the road loses its paint and shrinks in size. But I keep going...
Then oddly, it'd opens up to this huge, nice bridge. So I know I must be on a road going somewhere. So I keep going...
But then, when the next bridge is small one-laner, I start to wonder if I have gone astray somewhere. But I keep going...
The road is still paved though, so I don't worry too much...

But then it turns to gravel. Now I have a few passing thoughts of whether I am on the right road. But I keep going...
I am relieved when the road returns me to a paved surface. It's not in the best condition, but better than the gravel - especially when hugging a mountain. Then I come across the first cattle guard, but I'm now committed to this road after 20 miles. So I keep going... Even when the cattle crossing signs all have taken a few rounds of buckshot...I keep going. By now though I have already calculated how many miles I have left on this tank of gas vs. how far I "think" it would be for me to back track and find another way across these mountains.

You may wonder where Jill stands in all this... Well, she sees no problem. She just tells me to keep going. So I do...I keep going.

Then I got a good look at where I've come from. You can get a glimpse of the road I just conquered to the right of center in this photo.
Like I've mentioned... When roads have this much twist to them, it usually means there is a change in elevation, as was the case here. I went low across low water crossings, then high where I could look across miles of roads where I'd just been.Jill announced my arrival in Zenia, California.
This is apparently the Zenia suburbs.
And this is the only building in downtown Zenia. It's the General Store and the Post Office, but the General Store part closed down years ago.
The signpost offers important information to those, like myself, who wander into town with more questions than answers about where they are and where they are going from here. But I get lucky and find someone more than willing to show me the way out of town.

Actually Rose Marie works at the Post Office and was very friendly and helpful. She's called the "Map Lady" and she proved why, when she returned from her vehicle with a handful of maps. She sent me on my way with a map of northern California and assurances that I..."can get home from here. Just follow that road. It gets better on the other side of town," she said.
On the other side of Zenia, the roads did, indeed, improve...there were only a couple more stretches of gravel. I pulled over and took a break near a creek where I found an odd assortment of rocks...several of which got tucked into my saddle bag for a ride to Virginia.
I don't know much about rocks, except I like these.
If anyone can tell me what I found, please let me know. According to Rose Marie, her husband swears by the Burgers at Mad River.
I decided I was hungry for lunch by the time I reached CA36. Population of Mad River, CA: 35 My visions of sitting in a comfy booth in an air-conditioned diner were quickly brought down by the realities of Mad River's Burger Bar.

It's an old, old trailer house converted to a roadside burger stand. The dining area consists of two wooden picnic tables, and the restroom facilities are the three porta-potties out back. But the Burgers are worth the lack of facilities. While I was waiting for my burger to cook, I spread my new map of Northern California out on the picnic table and started marking where my eastern route may take me. A young couple with two small kids pulled in and got out of the car like they were looking for something...little did they know that what they were looking for was out back with the words "porta-potty" on the door. The small girl had a look of desperation and the young mother had a look of determination as she led her daughter past me toward the best public facilities for over 40 miles. This fact was confirmed later as we chatted about my proposed route eastward. I was thinking about going to Redding, but they were from Red Bluff and after chatting with them for a few minutes, I decided to go to Red Bluff instead. It was a good choice. California's hwy 36 to Red Bluff was one of the highlights of the trip.

It was told to me by one that knows of these things...

There is a great green snake found between the two rattle snakes. The green snake spews water. If you find this snake, you will be rewarded. I found it and was rewarded!

As you ride east of Mad River on CA36, if you look closely you will see two 2" pipes sticking out of the hill to the right of the road. Attached to each is a green garden hose which runs down to the bottom of the hill and is coiled in the ditch. It can be found between the Upper and Lower Rattlesnake Creeks.
These hoses deliver natural spring water from a spring up above. The water is there for anyone who knows to stop for it. It is the best, coolest water around! I drank a lot, washed my face, splashed on self to cool down, filled up all the plastic bottles I had with me, and then drank some more before leaving. Life is good!
These signs are the only clue as to the origins of how this came to be.
Hwy 36 closer to Red Bluff was one of those cool roller coaster roads. A twisty that dips down in a "Now you see it, now you don't" sort of way. I unburden Fleeter at the Days Inn in Red Bluff for the night. How can the parking be anymore convenient that this?!

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