Monday, August 9, 2010

Danbury to Hayward KOA

  • 56.54mi
  • 9.0AvS

I slept through the night with no raccoon encounters, thankfully. The thick cloud of mosquitoes where absent when I emerged from my tent. Thinking back, the reason was readily apparent: I doubt they could have flown in the heavy fog without weighing down their wings.

Joining the many logging trucks on the narrow road east did not seem a prudent choice when I could barely see across my tiny campsite, but I did manage to make it to the local gas station for a cheap breakfast without serious incident. A man filling up his truck pointed me to a nearby private campground, where I was able to take a long, hot shower.

My campsite along the Gandy Dancer trail.

Foggy way out.

The fog and clouds cleared quickly, and the traffic was mild. It took another cyclists comment to make me realize that on a worse day I'd call the road a poor one, largely lacking in shoulders. I neglected to be bothered while admiring the scenery. Finally, I was out of the cornfields and surrounded by marshlands and forest.

Eventually, the heat and humidity of yesterday returned. By 3pm I was starting to feel overheated and dizzy. I waited out the next hour under a picnic shelter in Minong, where I forced down a lunch of seasoned rice before before treating myself to ice cream from the air-conditioned community building.

I left Minong as soon as I felt recovered, but the delay put me into an uncomfortable situation. The sun was getting low as I arrived in Hayward, and I needed a part from their bike shop. There was little chance of the bike shop still being open, I would have to camp near town.

Following the advice of near every cyclotourist to ever post a journal, I found a firestation, waited someone to wander out of the building, and asked if there was an out-of-the-way place to spend the night. He mentioned some trails in the park, but on my way there, a police officer informed me that there was absolutely no sleeping in city parks. Still feeling insecure from being getting caught, I let him direct me towards a campground down the road which he assured me was "pretty cheap".

The so-called cheap campground turned out to be a super-expensive KOA. It wasn't exactly 'right down the road', either. By the time I reached it, it was dark, and fog was rising from the fields. Remembering the zero-visibility morning, I was eager to be off the road. Feeling defeated, I handed over $38 dollars for a patch of grass to sleep on.

Nighttime at the playground.

Disregarding the price tag, the night wasn't a complete loss. After the long, hot, lonely day I could appreciate the busy campground. My little site was among tall pines, on soft needle compost. Across the reddish dirt drive where scattered several tiny, cheerful log cabins with glowing windows. One of my near-neighbors was playing a peaceful tune on a guitar by his fire. Children ran about, likely trying to escape their parents, and bedtime. The RV folks where numerous had all sorts of colorful lights and decorations out, but I didn't hear a single generator all night.

Best of all was the absolutely charming and very clean outdoor kitchen. After a hasty set up, I showered, dried some laundry, and set up shop in the kitchen. With all my electronics plugged in and charging, I prepared my rice, crispy fried spam, and tea over electric burners.

One last picture.

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