Honeyman State Park

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Coastal Contemplations day 14

Sunday, June 19th, 2016
Crossing the rocky stream

Crossing the rocky stream

in summer cool
ambling down my
road to hell

-Issa

a step east
On this day I would leave 101 for the first time since joining it in SW Washington.  I was riding to Eugene which was a fair piece and since I desired to spend some time in the city I left early. It was partially blue skids when I left camp but it clouded up as I made my way north (still on 101 for the time being) to Florence.  I began to hear thunder in the distance.  Big, threatening clouds rolled in and fat drops of rain began to fall. I quickly made my way to Natural Market and Cafe, where I had more coffee and a second breakfast. While I was here the storm passed right overhead – lightning flashes followed by thunder almost right away, which would shake the glass of the windows. It poured rain which was whipped around by the winds.  Pretty Dramatic.

Siuslaw River

Siuslaw River

But soon enough it had roared by and the blue skies were back and things began to dry out. I had put my bicycle under an overhang and had missed the bulk of the rain so I was nice and dry.  But I’d lost that early start.  So I hit the road and quickly turned onto Hwy 126 which I’d be following all the way to Eugene.  It began with a flat fifteen miles or so right along the Siuslaw River. The shoulder was good, the road flat but lots of traffic., more heading west than east, but still pretty busy.  But in the main this was good riding.

outlined against
green trees —
a white bird

At the tiny burg of Mapleton hwy 36 split off and the road headed into the, well not quite mountains, hills maybe?  The shoulder faded away and it had the feel of a paved forest road.  If it wasn’t for the traffic, which didn’t really let up, this would be my kind of riding. I still enjoyed being right in the trees and the many little rocky brooks that the road croused over and often followed along. There was a good long ascent, not to any really epic elegation but it went on for a long time.  And then there was a tunnel.  The hill actually crested right at the end of the tunnel.  This of course was followed by a descent into a forest valley.

under fluffy clouds
a profusion of pink roses

I’d almost caught up with the thunderstorm and the roads were wet and ahead I could see the storm clouds ahead and to the north.  But it outpaced me, or moved north and I was riding under blue skies with these big cotton ball like clouds.  The winds were out of the west as usual and helped push me along.  There was another long climb out of the forest valley this one actually had an elevation sign at the top: 756 feet. Made me smile.  This was followed by a long descent into the Wilamette Valley which I’d be riding in the rest of the way to Eugene.

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

The valley was farmland at first and then wineries showed up as I came into Veneta. From that point on it was fast traffic and lots of it and the road both deteriorated in quality and the shoulder bexams rather minimal.  I went through this vast wetland of the  Fern Ridge Wildlife Area which once I exited I was in the edge city portion of Eugene. A sign pointed me toward the Fern Ridge Trail which I was able to ride most of the way to my hotel.  Leaving the trail I rode through residential streets filled with funky little houses and streets with lots of life.

Sunset in The Whit

Sunset in The Whit

My hotel turned out to be right on the edge of the Whiteaker Neighborhood (“The Whit”) of Eugene, which is clearly a funky, happening area. Art, tons of foodie type restaurants,  coffee houses with character, breweries, all in the midst of those unique houses and a lively neighborhood. Nice.  I’d arrived late afternoon and I was able to spend about five hours walking around this area, checking out various places and enjoying the vibe.  As I walked back to my hotel, the sun was setting, lighting up the lingering clouds.  I crossed a set of tracks and as I did the Amtrack Cascades went by. Tomorrow morning I’d be on that train.

fiery sun set over train tracks —
no real road home

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Eugene, Oregon, United States.

Coastal Contemplations day 13

Saturday, June 18th, 2016
Umpqua River Lighthouse

Umpqua River Lighthouse

dancing butterflies—
my journey forgotten
for a while

-Issa

the butterfly flies anyway
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park was the southern most extent of my journeys.  In fact I had gone beyond the road where I needed to start heading east.  So this day requires back tracking north for a ways.  But I was going to camp just before the turn east so this was going to be a short days ride.  I began by heading down to the Umpqua River Lighthouse.  This was the sixth lighthouse I’ve checked out this trip.  Almost a lighthouse themed tour, which one could easily do in OR as they continue to be present as you move down the coast.

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

Clearcuts with the coast in the distance

From the lighthouse I found a backroad that let me skip the climb out of the campground, which on reaching 101 would just descend. In steam I took a nice pleasant road to the banks of the Umpqua and rode along the river to Wincehester Bay.  Then it was on 101 with its rolling hills until Reedsport where I stopped at Jitterbug N’ Java. A really interesting coffee shop it had a dance floor and stage fully loaded up with instruments. They did live music and jam sessions along with dancing.  I lingered over lunch there before returning to the road.

the shadow of a bird
crosses my path —
yellow wild flowers

Apart from the typical northerly winds this was excellent riding weather.  Blue skies, clouds blowing by, warm but not hot.  There was the long climb up to the clearcuts and along the way I noticed a tiger swallowtail struggling on the shoulder.  I pulled over and grabbing a stick helped it walk onto it.  Then I transferred it to a stalk of grass – these big winged butterflies can’t take off from the ground.  It immediately flew off and crashed right into the road. I rescued it again, and this time holding the stick aloft it flew off and wobbled across the road. On the other side it randomly encountered another Tiger Swallowtail and they began that timeless dance.

at the far end of the lake
amidst the trees
a lone cabin

At the top of the hill I stopped to look at the clearcuts.  On the other side of the road I go down a short access road and there, beyond the clearcuts is woods and hills as far as I can see.  Nestled in a valley is a lake, the north end completely wooded with the exception of a train trestle running across and one solitary cabin.

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Dunes and the last glimpse of the Pacific

Now it was the descent from the hill, and riding in the National Forest land amidst the lakes.  There was also a long stretch of roadwork in progress but like yesterday they were actively working on it.  Then pretty early still in the afternoon I came to Honeyman State Park.  This is on the Oregon Dunes and after situating myself I hiked to the edge up the dunes and up the fine sands.  Far in the distance I was able to see the ocean.  The last sighting of the pacific this trip.

amidst the devastation
stands one lone
pine

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Florence, Oregon, United States.