Thursday 28 September 2017

Day 35, 36, 37 & 38 Jessie M Honeyman, Sunset Bay, Bandon

28, 29, 30 June & 1st July.

Another nice easy day...I did enjoy the slow trip down the Oregon coast so far and taking time to look at the view, but I was ready to do a nice long day of riding. But that wasn't today. I did have the second and last tunnel on the coastal route. I found the tunnels slightly shoulder and very noisy. Luckily this time the tunnel was only a couple of kms from last nights camp and when I got there Christophe was waiting. I think he may have waited for me as I had said I was slightly nervous of the tunnel, so thankyou Christophe! Much better riding through with someone else.

Also passed the Sea Lion Caves in the morning. There is a place you can pay to go down to the beach and see them up close but I was happy just checking them out at the viewpoints. We have a lot of sea lions here in NZ. In fact one time we were at the beach going for a walk and I nearly walked into a big old male sea lion asleep on the beach...I thought he was a big log of wood from far away!

It really was a lovely stretch of coastline today and a lot more deserted with not too many houses and towns, also a nice wide shoulder in most parts which makes me have a happy day.

I stopped off at the Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside on my way today. It had been on my list of places to visit before I left home...a small marsh where the rare carnivorous California Pitcher Plant lives.

I stopped in Florence to stock up on groceries and have a donut sugar hit. Christophe was there too and it was great...we could look after each others bike as the other went shopping. So much easy to shop when you are 100% sure your bike and gear are safe. Opposite the supermarket I saw this shop. The photo is a bit blurry but the perfect shop for Mark and I!

Jessie M Honeyman was a nice campsite, quite a few bikers there too so nice having some company. 

I had a good early night as I wanted to do a big days riding tomorrow to Sunset Bay State Park...a 90km day.

Not a bad days riding but also not that interesting. The first part has some nice scenery but after that it was flat which isn't a bad thing, sand dunes and pines.

One exciting part of the day was crossing the Coos Bay Bridge. Some cylists have said its scarier than the Astoria Bridge but luckily when I got to the bridge Christophe and an english couple, Bob and Helen were there so we rode over in convoy which worked really well. I was last in the convoy and I was peddling so fast to keep up with all the others on their road bikes but I managed to.

I found Coos Bay a very confusing place and would have gotten thoroughly lost (again) if I hadn't been able to follow Christophe through town.
Got to Sunset Bay Campground and the hiker biker site was closed, so all the bikers were squashed into 2 normal sites surrounded by huge RV's. We ended up taking over another site as more bikers arrived. Made me realise how much nicer the hiker biker sites are, away from the noise of all the RV campers.

Woke up to more rain and a very wet tent and I also had the infamous Seven Devils Road to tackle this morning. I had heard about this road...bikers struggling and having to get off and push, and also the famous graffiti on the road to encourage bikers.
But I didn't find it a problem at all, it was so similiar to the hills and roads I ride around at home. Even all the scenery and forestry felt very familiar, but I could have done without the constant light drizzle.

I get to the town of Bandon and am feeling very wet and cold and it is still raining. I run into Christophe who is also feeling fed up with the weather and being wet so we go and eat pizza and warm up.
Today was not a good day. I realised I won't have enough time to get to San Francisco, get the train to Paso Robles then bike to the coast to meet my best friend Alan unless I really push myself and do some big days. I wanted to spend a few days camping in the Redwoods once I reached California so I knew I needed to revise my plans and for some reason I just felt stressed, cold, tired and fed up.

Given the time difference its hard when I felt like this to talk to Mark, but I am lucky I have both Alan and Tinker to boost me up, and Alan copped it this time! I couldn't ask for a better friend, he found me a hotel, booked me in for 2 nights which would let me sort out travel arrangements to get to Paso Robles. Christophe also decided he was going to have a night in a hotel to dry out. There is nothing worse than putting up a wet tent on a wet afternoon!

The next day after endless phone calls I had finally made a plan. I was going to Amtrak from Eureka in California to San Francisco, then spend a couple of nights with my friend Tiff, then Amtrak to Paso Robles. The only downside was I couldn't get Birdy on the train, so after much more phone calling and with Alan's help we found a bike shop in Eureka to box her up and then I would send her to another bike shop in Paso Robles. Best laid plans and all that stuff...but that is a story for later on. 

So now I was feeling much better, and spent the afternoon exploring Bandon. Its a very pretty town and has a shop that sells 30 or so different flavours of popcorn, and you can try them all! It also has some wonderful seafood and I ate a fabulous crab sandwich. 

There are so many sculptures down by the waterfront but this one took my eye.

This sculpture was made from rubbish found in the sea and on the shoreline. There was a whole exhibition of these and its astounding what gets washed up on the beach. So much rubbish!

Woke up the next day feeling very perky and ready to hit the road to Humbug Mountain State Park. I passed these cyclists on my way out of town.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Day 33 & 34 Devils Lake State Park, South Beach, Carl G Washburne State Park.

June 26 & 27

I meandered today knowing it was only going to be a short day so I stopped and enjoyed the coastal scenery. The traffic noise and the amount of people at the view points did make it a bit less enjoyable. I think this was maybe more to do with my attitude today, I had thought I would be biking in lovely warm sunshine, but seem to have more grey skies than anything which does put you in a certain kind of mood at times.

One stop I wanted to make today was Bike Newport in funnily enough... Newport. Birdy's gears were playing up again and I just couldn't get them right and I knew she needed some attention. Rode up to the bike shop and who should be there drinking beer already but Christophe and Brett!
Bike Newport is a haven for the touring cyclist...they have hot showers, you can do laundry and have a beer in the bikers lounge. I was so impressed with the service I got...they had trouble with Birdy so called in the top notch mechanic on his day off to sort her out!
When I had work done on my bike before I left NZ they put in a new bottom bracket BUT it was the wrong size...3 mm too big and that had been the cause of all my problems so far on the tour.
Thankyou so much Bike guys are the best!

Got to South Beach State Park, my camp for the night. the guys were already there but I had got lost again and taken the long roundabout way to the state park, and then couldn't find the hiker biker site.

Met a guy at the campsite who is walking to Seattle. It has surprised me how many people are walking the coast....some are just doing it for an adventure and holiday, but others are doing it as lifestyle. I wonder if it is similar to the depression when people took to the road looking for work?

Off to Carl G Washburne State Park tonight and I have no idea who Carl G Washburne is! Riding through Sea Gulch I realised its the chain saw carving capitol of the world so of course I had to stop and look. The first place all they seemed to carve were bears...the owner even had bears of the side of his pickup which I thought was kind of cute.

They all seemed to have their specialty but I preferred the bears to the dolphins and the weird looking monsters. Not really sure what this place below was selling. An awful lot of people seem to set up their houses as thrift shops, so maybe that's what it was.

The road was not too busy, so a great day riding. Even managed to catch up to Christophe and Brett but I think they may have been taking it slow too!

I also picked up a new travelling buddy today. I was riding along the road and just poking out of the gravel by the shoulder was this little ear and arm. So of course I had to stop and rescue meet Roadside Bear or RB to his friends. After a good wash he scrubbed up pretty well and happily waves to the cars behind me now.  Of course I had to give Christophe and Brett a hard time about not stopping to rescue him! I also found a blue plastic shark called Maco that is now travelling on the front of Bretts bike. Good day for highway treasures.

Its Bretts last night on the coast before he heads inland so we decided to have a BBQ and beers at the campsite. Christophe, Brett and I were the only ones in the hiker biker site and the campsite was lovely in amongst the trees and only a short walk to the beach. We saw the most beautiful sunset...a fitting end to Bretts Coastal tour. 

I really enjoyed camping with Brett and Christophe and I can't put it into words any better than what Brett has written.

"Most important to this week are the connections I've made with others. Among many other travelers from all over, I've befriended a Canadian and a New Zealander with whom I've spent the week meeting nightly along the coast. Sharing sunsets, beer, cultures, jokes, and our views on life have made for some very memorable evenings by the campfire.
The people I've encountered seem to agree that in all of our normal lives, we are very different. Acknowledging that we wouldn't approach or talk to each other if we crossed paths in a normal setting. But on the road we transform from strangers to a tribe. We all had the same struggles and are overcoming the same challenges. We can share experiences and really listen to each other in ways that our normal lives would never facilitate the time and space for.
I think back to a week ago when I ran across two very different strangers cycling down a similar path as mine. Yesterday I left them with hugs and a saturated heart. This connection is the kind that humans can use to build things together, rather than destroy. I have immense gratitude for the time away from my daily life to relearn that this type of comradery can form between people who are from such different walks of life.
Masks aside, are we not all just lovers and dreamers inside?"