Fort Braggs, California, Friday Aug 7 , 2015
Ride across the endless vineyards of the Napa and Sonoma valleys, head North West through a majestic redwood forest, reach the Pacific coast: within a few hours you will sweat in a hot Mediterranean climate, relax in the cool shade of the huge redwood trees, and shiver in the spooky fog of the coast. Such are the climate contrasts in this area of northern California. As often in the US , nature is what strikes before all. One must try to imagine how these hills , valleys , forest and fields were yesterday, in the early 19 th , before the arrival of the immigrants, to realize how dramatic environmental issues we face today are key for the future. Can we offer billions of people on the earth the American dream without destroying our mother earth? Observing this country at the slow pace of a bike, this question pops up to the mind mile after mile after mile. It took 1000 years to transform Europe’s countryside, 200 years here, 20 years in China. The results are very contrasted. Sometimes human activities ravage Mother nature, sometimes they improve it. It is the case in the part of California we are visiting, due to State Parks and Conservation Programs: the shore line is absolutely pristine, no development programs or wild construction as in the South of France or the Costa Brava in Spain. Americans , after having massacered this country in the 19 th, have wisely learned how to preserve and embelish it. The result here in Northern California is stunningly beautiful.