We did it, we reached another first milestone, day ten is here. It might not have been a milestone in terms of borders or distances but I thought 10 days sounds like a nice round number. Anyways, I got up fairly early, let Alex sleep in again, and once she had finally arisen, coffee and good old oatmeal was already waiting for her. Then we went down to the beach of Cape Kiwanda, enjoying our coffee and enjoying the sun laughing in the sky. Cape Kiwanda was a beautiful sight that morning, waves were breaking, a light wind was going and some surfers were already out on the water. We climbed up the ridge and got an even more stunning view.
Since we spent so much time surf-gazing we got on the bikes fairly late. Neskowin was next and we were already dreading it based on our maps because it was showing us an enormous hill. Turns out the map was right, that 750 foot hill definitely took some manpower to cross but at least we were rewarded with a 3 mile ride downhill into Lincoln County. Our lunch break was at the shores of the scenic Devil’s Lake, and the road there could easily be called a road to hell. Short, steep ascents and unsatisfying descents for about 4 miles was really no pleasure. But the break helped us push through the final stretch to Beverly Beach State Park, our final destination of the day. Icy winds didn’t prevent us from enjoying a pretty sunset on the beach.
Day number 11 was to be our first almost-complete-rest day. We planned to simply roll into Newport, get breakfast (with eggs!), and push on to the state park just down the road. But the nasty headwind was back in full force. The 6 miles into town took everything out of us…so much for simply rolling into Newport. Luckily, our spirits were lifted by an amazing breakfast at Cafe Stephanie, and I even had time talk to my old friend Mathis and my parents on the phone. After 3 hours of lounging we gave it a last push, crossed the bridge out of Newport (accompanied by massive gusts from and a ton of cars following us on the narrow street) and finished our day at South Beach State Park. The free coffee and tea, which seems to be a state park fixture, was a welcome reward.
When I woke up way past hours the next morning I could immediately tell that Alex was not feeling so great. Pain in her knee and general fatigue made us decide to finally take a full day off riding. I went back to Newport to fill up our food and snack panniers with some goodies, and we spent the rest of the day playing Scrabble like the 60-year olds we are at heart (and yes, Alex did beat me, damn it!).
During the night, Alex woke me up to check on our bikes. She’d heard a noise, and thought that someone might be outside fiddling with our stuff. Reluctantly (and still half asleep) I poked my head out of the tent, saw that the bikes were alright and told her that she’s simply hearing things and should go to back to sleep. The next morning, however, proved that maybe I was the one who should have been more alert. When we started to prepare breakfast we suddenly realized that we were one pannier short. And it just so happened to be the snack pannier, loaded with all the goodies (dried mangos! trail mix!) from our grocery run the day before.
We keep the panniers under our tent’s rain fly during the night to have them as close to us as possible, so waking up and finding out that one is missing is more than odd. Further inspection brought to light that there was a little trail leading away from our tent, a trail obviously made by some furry critter who must have dragged the pannier away during the night. The trail led into some thick bushes and, following it, we soon located the missing pannier. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the best of shape…
Judging from the claw marks, it must have been a raccoon. Greedy, dirty little fuckers. It ate all our remaining bread, a ton of trail mix, a good chunk of cheese and dried mangos. I hope that little shit had a bad stomach ache in the morning. Luckily, duct tape helped us fix up the ripped pannier (which should bring our street cred to whole new levels), and Alex even gave it a little flair to remind us to tie up our panniers in the future.
Once the pannier was fixed and things were packed up we continued our trip southwards. The wind had finally turned to a light breeze from the north and there was barely a cloud in the sky, so we had almost perfect conditions to ride in. In Waldport we refilled our snack stash, talked to about 30 people about our trip at what must be the friendliest grocery store in all the land, and rode on along the scenic coastal route past Yachats. At the top of an epic climb, I finally pulled out my GoPro to capture a nice long roll downhill.
Late in the day we arrived at Honeyman State Park, located just beyond Florence (which, in case you’re wondering, bears exactly zero resemblance to its Italian counterpart). Even with “the raccoon incident,” this 13th day was one of our best yet!