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Monday, April 28

Monday. Woke up to rain. Intermittently heavy and then light, but always raining. Continental breakfast in the hotel lobby, and then packed up the bikes. Instructed John on use of boot covers. Confident that my Ireland-tested gear would work fine, I worried that John would get wet in his Joe Rocket outfit. It didn't work out that way.

Underway about 9AM, we headed north on 101, and very soon I started to feel water in my gloves and coming through the sleeve vents. By the time we stopped 25 miles later, in Laytonville, to gas the Radian, I was already cold and my sleeves and hands were wet. I stripped down a few layers and put on my electric vest, then re-suited up. Kate suggested putting the glove gauntlets under the First Gear jacket sleeves. This was a two person operation, but it did cut down on the water running down my sleeves and into my gloves.

For the first half hour after leaving the gas stop, I didn't have my vest controller turned up high enough so it wasn't heating. Just as we got to the turnoff for route 271, the sun came out a little, so we voted to get off 101 and take the scenic route. This was quite nice, excellent curvy pavement through the redwoods. We came to one of the tree tunnel tourist traps and I unilaterally decided we'd visit this one. We caught up with the rest of the tour group down at the tree, which had a 6 ft by 7 ft hole cut through the base of the trunk. Don was positioning his Wing inside the tunnel for a snapshot when we got there.

We only stayed a few minutes, skipped the gift shop, and headed out to 101 again. The rain returned, and we rode through a steady downpour. By this time I had my electric vest working, and that helped a great deal. But the 40 degree rain was really making me miserable. We slogged north, skipping all the tourist traps, until we hit Garberville, where we pulled in for lunch. I randomly chose a Mexican/Italian restaurant, which turned out to be pretty good - they had a fireplace which the proprietor built a fire in, and the food was decent, and the decor was fascinating - old photos, newspaper front pages, advertising posters covered every available wall surface.

After hanging about as long as we could justify, we put all our gear back on. By this time I was quite wet from the waist up - my sleeves and gloves were soaked and the front of my shirt was wet. I put my hippo hands on the CBR in an attempt to keep my hands from getting any colder, and off we went.

The remainder of the ride was just more of enduring the cold and the wet, as far as I was concerned. Kate took us on a litte piece of the Avenue of the Giants starting in Phillipsville, and that was a nice ride, but my enjoyment was limited by my inability to ignore my own discomfort. Then my vest quit working about 30 miles from Eureka. At that point I either wanted to race to Eureka, or stop and fix the vest. I chose the race, and sped to Eureka as fast as I dared in the rain.

We found the Carter House Inn with no trouble, and parked and went and dripped all over the lobby whilst checking in. The hotel staff were nice enough to let us use their dryer to dry our wet gear, and while I was at it, I got permission for us to use the washer to do a load of our laundry. Kate and I got a very nice suite, with a gas fireplace and a canopy bed - apparently a free upgrade because the hotel had too many people booked in the "normal" rooms.

After finishing our laundry, Kate and I went out for a short walk in the rain to see some of Eureka. It has lots of wonderful Victorian homes, and I snapped some photos of the three best near our hotel, plus the hotel itself, with our bikes parked out front.

The hotel had wine and cheese in the lobby from 5 to 7 PM, we sampled a little of that before our walk. Dinner in the hotel restaurant was fine, though this was probably the kind of restaurant I would be afraid to go into if left to my own choice.

John riding through the "tree tunnel"
Carter House Hotel main building, with bikes
Carter House Hotel aux building