It was clear blue skies and already hot when I left my hotel room to get my free continental breakfast. You’d think the very concept of touring cyclists would give the providers of a self serve breakfast pause, but the various plus sized patrons groaning plates made my portion seem downright modest. I had washed my clothes in the sink the night before but it had not fully dried overnight, so after breakfast I walked a few blocks to a laundromat and put them in a drier for twenty minutes. Walking back I swung by Safeway to grab something to replace my emergency meal as I’d eaten the last one after the day of riding in the rain. After all of this I checked out and went to the bicycle shop.
Moe’s bicycle shop was really cool, Moe had been in the business for ages and had a sweet collection of classic bicycles. They had me remove my front panniers (but not the saddlebag) and checked it out. They really tried to just fix the Silver Shifters but had no luck. Thankfully he had one last set of Dura Ace bar end shifters (the ones I had originally amusingly enough) and he installed those. While they did that I walked up to a bookstore ad I’d finished my book, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, the recently released “original scroll” version. I enjoyed this s lot, but honestly it’d been so long dunce I read the original version I couldn’t catch all the differences. Anyway I felt like more Kerouac but alas couldn’t find any I wanted to read. I ended up picking up, at the second used bookstore, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods which ironically I’d bought at the same time as the Kerouac but had chosen not to bring. Well it was only $3.25, I’ll trade it in when I need another book. My bicycle was done, I picked up some spare tubes, put my bags back on and rode the three blocks to the Post Office. I picked up a mailing envelope and mailed home On The Road and my old shifters. After of course the only person in line went over every last bit of minutiae regarding sending something COD. Finally I rolled out of North Bend just after noon.
I now had the whole days riding ahead plus the 10 or so miles I hadn’t dome yesterday. Leaving North Bend, which shortly became Coos Bay, began on busier arterial roads but it soon became more residential. Apart from the sun the other feature of the weather was a fierce wind but it was usually blowing across me at this juncture. As I crossed a bridge in the little harbor town of Charleston, the side wind was pretty intense. But after climbing a stiff hill out of town, the route turned south onto an even steeper hill, but I now had this great tailwind. Or would once I got out of the trees in a bit anyway. First I had to negotiate the Seven Devils which was a serious climb in seven segments. The first was the longest, steepest and curviest and had me right to the granny gear. After that there would be flat sections or even descents between the devils. The road was on top of a ridge with great forested views on either side. I finally crested the last devil and then it was a screaming descent back down to sea level.
The route wended through nice back county roads and the tailwind was really in my side. There was a short stint on 101 and then off it again as I turned into one of the most scenic parts of the tour so far. First up was the scenic port town of Bandon and the winds off the harbor now were intense- I could literally feel it pushing me up the steep climb out of town. After this climb the road stayed on top of a bluff and the views of sea stacks in the roiling surf was breathtaking. There was so many overlooks and places to stop I had to limit myself to just a couple of them. Sun, amazing views, tailwind: pretty much perfect touring.This went on for a while but then it was back to 101, away from the coast. But I was running late as it was and a fast jaunt up the highway propelled by this tailwind was just the thing to make up some time. The highway rolled up and down and there were a couple of long climbs but I made great time. Soon enough I was in Port Orford, the last place to get food before camp, so there was of course three other tourons there. One was J___ whom I knew from the last three camps or so, but two were this couple head north all the way to Alaska. They gave us info on the camps ahead (mice and mozzies they reported). I bought some food and then set out on the last stretch.
The last stretch began with the typical climb out of town but the scenery was amazing. Right on these bluffs overlooking rock strewn waters as the sun was getting lower. Spectacular. After the climb it was a great descent and then the road curved away from the coast and went into the trees a bit and I was at Humbug Mountain State Park. The H/B site had the couple I’d seen before, plus a solo guy on a Long Haul Trucker and another tent whose occupant I never saw. J___ showed up, followed by the three beerhounds and later another young couple. Again a pretty full camping area. We all walked or rode the mile or so to the beach to catch the sunset, which was pretty much over when I got there. But walking back along this babbling brook I was treated to this incredible aural experience: these striating insects in conjunction with the brook, was captivating. The insects were all around so it had thus rather 3D effect to it and the brook was this constant, yet ever changing background. I again stood still and just listened for minutes.
So that’s it – a busy day, but a really great one all around. Only one full day left in Oregon…
Miles ridden today: 67.5
Miles ridden to date: 609.7
A few pictures from this day can be found here