Goodbye Oregon!

Following the stress of the previous morning’s raccoon encounter, we planned to spend the next morning peacefully exploring the dunes outside of Honeyman State Park. The park sits next to the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, and being naive Pacific Northwesterners we were expecting to walk over a few dunes and then reach the ocean. Instead, we were greeted by an immense sea of sand and a little tiny speck of ocean far in the distance. In the interest of not perishing in the desert, we decided to skip a dune walk and instead spend some quality time with two friendly pups we found playing in the sand.

The view from our tent.

Dunes for days.

The ride for the day was fairly uneventful, but riding past vast ranges of logged country was probably the lowlight. We took a long break in Reedsport and, due to the suffocating heat, threw away all of our ideals and had milkshakes and fries at McDonalds (there is no photographic evidence of that moment of weakness, sorry folks). We also heard some locals on bikes talking about stabbing people, so needless to say we were out of there pretty quickly. Once out of hellishly hot Reedsport, we made it to Tugman State Park where we made camp under a bit of welcome shade. We celebrated surviving the heat with a delicious pasta salad.

A small step up from mac & cheese.

Day 15 started out easy. Mostly flat roads brought us into North Bend, where we took an extended Wi-Fi and lunch break (we’ve stolen so much internet from Starbucks that we’re probably on some sort of watchlist at this point). We then cycled on through Coos Bay and Charleston, where we had the pleasure of meeting our first fellow bike tourer, who also happened to be a raving lunatic. He was a scraggly old man on a tie dye-painted bike, who spent a good long time babbling nonsense words at us while we tried to down some cold water in peace. He was very enthusiastic about whatever he was saying, we just had no idea what it was.

After ripping ourselves away from that guy, the bad stuff started. Temperatures had been rising over the past couple of days and on that very day it topped out at around 92 degrees. Even worse, we were rerouted from 101 to a “scenic tour route” called Seven Devils Road. If there is one thing we’ve learned on this trip (other than that raccoons suck) it is to avoid any road with the word “devil” in its name. Steep, jagged climbs combined with the stifling heat and the apocalyptic clearcuts around us made the route anything but scenic. What a big fat middle finger right into our faces! The torture went on for 16 painful miles before we finally arrived at Bullards Beach State Park to set up camp for the night.

This put the oomph in our last 3 miles of pedaling.

Once at the camp, our initial attempts to reach the beach were thwarted…

…but we found this little guy on the side of the trail…

…and eventually found our way to the beach…

…where a hard day’s ride was rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

The next morning we skipped self-made breakfast and rolled into Bandon instead. And this time it really was rolling, barely 2 miles between us and real breakfast (with eggs!). Minute Cafe in Old Town Bandon served us amazing omelets, home fries and I even got a load of grits in. Yummy! Afterwards we spent some time taking pictures around famous Face Rock before comtinuing on…we say “around” because neither of us could actually detect a face in any of the rocks. By the time we got back on the road, the wind had turned yet again in our faces, blowing heavily from the southeast. That meant headwind for us and subsequently slow, frustrating progress. By the time we made it to beautiful Humbug Mountain State Park for the night, we were about ready to collapse.

Do you see a face?

We don’t, but the views sort of make up for it…

Tom spent a lot of time staring into the distance…

…contemplating interesting rock formations.

Humbug Mountain in the distance.

After that rough patch we took a different approach. No more messing around, it was time for business. We were slated to meet Alex’s dad in Brookings the next day, which lay 50 hilly miles in front of us. So we went to bed at 8:00, got up at 6:00, and got going early in the morning and fully rested. And it paid off! We hit our stride early thanks to lower temperatures and…(drumroll)…no headwinds! We got to Gold Beach just past 10:00, which put us in great shape for what looked to be the biggest climb of the coast: the ride up Cape Sebastian. But not even that could stop us, we practically flew up that 800 footer! After that it was only a formality to get to our final destination of the day, just shy of the Oregon-California border.

Ferocious dinosaurs at the Prehistoric Gardens…

…and we finally found someone who is taller than Tom!

Top o’ the hill lunch break…

…and the view’s not half bad.

In Brookings, we rendezvoused with Alex’s dad, who rode his motorcycle down from Bainbridge Island to meet us. It was great to see a friendly face and share some of our stories from the road. We spent the night in a nice little hotel, feasting on pizza, ice cream bars, and copious amounts of beer and wine. All in all, it was an awesome way to end our time in Oregon. Thank you Scott! Tomorrow, on to California.

A good way to end the week!

 

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