Today started without breakfast as I was out of food supplies but knowing Dune City was just 4 miles up the road I had planned on an early cafe stop and shop. Mistake. Dune city did not have the provisions listed on the map and now I had another 16 miles to go without food, 20 in total. I was already Hank Marvin when I woke up so this did not make me a happy bunny. Thankfully a road marking along the way kept me going.
I passed through the ghost town of Gardiner before entering Reedsport where I would finally have breakfast. These places were grim and in stark contrast to the previous Oregon towns so far. I know not everywhere can be shiny, happy and affluent but these places just seemed to be decaying. The type of place that only the industry workers would live, but the industry had died. It was inland on the small river bays away from the glorious coastal views I had been accustomed too recently. The sky was grey, the buildings were grey, I think the air was even grey.
My mood wasn’t helped too much when I arrived in North Bend, coming over the bridge into town a guy in a blue pickup drove up on the white line and shouted at me for riding on the bridge, I was furious. Needing to regroup I located some coffee, disaster struck as my handlebar bag, unbalanced, fell sideways knocking my 16oz on the floor to surrounding public amusement. I felt like calling it a day and I stayed in North Bend until 3pm with 30 very hilly miles to go. The ACA maps had you come off 101 which seemed strange and go over Seven Devils Road, a Devil for each of the steep climbs to overcome. When I arrived at the biker camp in Bandon I was cyclist number 10, not much in the mood for chat I bought some Floridian cyclists beers then hit the hay.
I woke up with renewed enthusiasm the following morning and hit the road super early for a nice breakfast with options assured in Bandon. I parked my bike on the side of a cafe so Eal would see it, the women came out screaming she had just planted things on that patch, just looked like sand! Dragging my bike off with the rear wheel still locked I had tangled the cable up between cassette and spokes. 10 minutes and filthy hands later it was removed but I didn’t feel like eating breakfast there any more so found another spot.
After I started riding I heard a huge pop, a flat tyre. Huge rooftacs had been sprinkled in the shoulder, nasty. I caught up with Eal to find he had a flat from the same things, his first in the US. He managed to get a second heading into the next town from a staple then a third shortly after and I a second. 5 flats!! In Port Orford I saw a genuinely homeless cyclists with a dog and sign that said ‘Any food helps’. Looking to the cycling gods for mercy I road over to him and gave him my freshly restocked bread, peanut butter and jam. He was ecstatic and shared it with his buddies, we talked briefly before I hit the library. I was feeling chirpy again and read a great email of Flavia which helped immeasurably, still missing her being around and probably why I have struggled to see the brighter side in situations as normal the past day or so. That afternoon things did pick up, I ignored ACA today and stuck with the 101, wide, clean and flat shoulder :-).
In Gold Beach we met with a guy called Clifford riding the coast. He said the RV Park appeared closed and we decided to split a cheap motel room 3 ways.
Clifford up and left early the next morning to tackle the nasty looking climbs between here and Crescent City. The ride would take us into our final state, California. I was looking forward to seeing what northern California had to offer having covered just about every other inch of the state south of Sonoma. What I found was a more rural California, charming and pretty country roads that could be mistaken for France and as many blackberries as you could shake a stick at. I gorged on them throughout the day. Clifford reconvened with us at the campsite, a wonderful spot right on the beach. Sea Lions barked all night long but its hard to get angry at those goofy guys.
Waking to a sopping wet tent from the wet mist that was tumbling in from the ocean we all packed up, fingers numb. I had almost every layer of riding gear on which is saying something, I’m usually good with cold. I had visions of Flavia riding in her sleeping bag, holes through the bottom for her legs. The road out of Crescent City was an instant climb of around 1500 feet. Within half a mile I had stopped and stripped down to just jersey, amazing how quickly you can warm up. It was Eals birthday! and at the top of the climb was a great wooden lodge cafe where I bought him a special birthday breakfast. The entire morning was spent riding through huge redwoods, my lense isn’t wide enough to do them justice but they were phenomenal, I inhaled lung after lung of the warm bark smell
Destination for the evening was Arcata where we would be taking a day off tomorrow in the small college town which had been recommended to us by a few people. The roads at time in the afternoon was nothing more than single lane of crumbling sand and rock, cars were still driving on it. Getting annoyed with ACA we jumped back on the nice wide shouldered 101 and hit town. To our dismay we pulled up in front of the motel we had reserved to see it completely shutdown. Apparently it had moved and the address not updated everywhere. We found it and had a few beers and then ice cream from Arcata scoop where Flavia had told us to visit. We found the following day she had left card details and our descriptions so we would get some free ice cream, best girl! Unfortunately they realised at the point of purchase they were missing a zip code. The gesture alone was sweet enough though.
The day off in Arcata was spent doing laundry, grocery shopping then hitting town in the afternoon to check out the campus, go hippy watching at the town plaza, of which there were hundreds in town and hit the brewery. A quirky place for sure, we later found it was the marijuana harvest coming up so they congregated here yearly to pitch in, funny.