Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Our tummy troubles just about completely over, we finally set out from our motel in Gold Beach this morning a little before 7 am, stopping just a few blocks away at Grant's Restaurant for a great breakfast. Soon after that, we crossed the Rogue River, a large river on which white water rapids tours are made on jet boats. The bridge over the Rogue was beautiful, and offered great views of the river, the ocean, and the town of Gold Beach, just behind us. It was a beautiful, sunny day, just a hint of fog in the trees off in the distance, and the wind was fairly calm still (by local standards, wind that feels pretty blustery to me is "not bad" to them; they tell "car doors that nearly blew off their hinges" stories like we tell of "12 inches of snow that fell in one night"). We were a little worried that it would be a hard day - 55 miles with a lot of climb and us in a weakened condition. However, the road was pretty much up and down all day, with a couple of longer climbs in the morning, but none of them were very steep or long and the ride went pretty easily. We stayed on 101 most of the day, until we turned off onto Beach Loop Road near Bandon, our night's destination, so the navigation was easy, too.
It was typical Oregon scenery, rugged ocean coasts, lots of wooded hills, a bunch of rivers and creeks. We passed very few towns, most of them small, with one town, Port Orford, conveniently located at midpoint. It was a largish town with a few places to eat and we found a nice cafe with good food and cheap prices. Just before Port Orford, we passed a little cove and saw lots of cars lined up along the road with people getting in or out of wet suits and carrying surf boards. The waves didn't look nearly big enough for surfing, but we saw a couple of people manage to catch a few rides. Another point of interest in the morning was a "prehistoric garden" museum and gift shop, which featured 2 fine specimens from prehistoric times out in front. We went past Humbug Mountain, a 1,750-footer right off the coast that featured walking trails. Brush Creek, a pretty little stream, ran alongside us for a while near the mountain - I tried to get a picture of it but it came out blurry.
The afternoon went pretty quietly. We passed 3 more small towns, the third one - Langlois - being the smallest (population 50!) but having the most to offer - a market, cafe, art galleries and gift shops, quite an artsy little town. There were lots of other gift shops along 101 as we got closer to Bandon, most offering wood carvings and artifacts, but one glass blowing place and others featuring other crafts and homemade goods. Some of the land here was pasture and farm fields; it was also boggy or marshy in places and there seemed to be cranberries grown here. We passed some fields that were bermed around the edges, as if they typically were flooded like the fields we saw in Texas and Arizona. We couldn't tell if they grew cranberries, or rice, or what. We turned off onto Beach Loop Road and rode for another 4 miles before we got into the town of Bandon and found our motel. It turned out that the owner had fallen ill today and Mrs. Gorman, the owner of a nearby motel was looking after things. She clearly thought her place was better, though, and since it was easier to manage one place rather than two, she invited us to go over and take a room at her place. It is certainly a nice room, with an ocean view and everything, and she gave it to us at the same price we had been quoted. We arrived to find another group of bikers settling in there - 8 on bikes and 6 spouses riding support cars. They were riding from Canada down to Crescent City and they highly touted the idea of using support cars. We tried to talk one of the women into riding a support car for us when they were done their trip, but I don't think she really went for it. We're still open to offers!
Tomorrow we'll ride across Coos Bay and along several miles of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a long stretch of coast covered by sand dunes. We ended today at 56 miles in a little under 6 hours of bike time, a pretty respectable average. Reached another bike milestone today - 14,000 on our total bike mileage. We still have a few days until we reach 5,000 miles on our trip. We started the trip with a bit over 9,000 miles on the bike.