Day 22: Prairie Creek Redwoods to Eureka

Lovely late morning. Got up after 7, no rush, we weren’t leaving til 10. Had time to dry the tent, have a shave, potter about. This is what the whole trip should be about! Glorious surroundings too.

Beautiful little (pop 311!) place called Trinidad for lunch stop. Had clam chowder, in a bread bun — win!!

Bought white wine for our hosts (Sally & Kevin Coyne, whose children wrre also out cycle touring, and Brendan had made their acquaintance in Alaska) from a local winery located directly over the road from our lunch spot. Turns out she and her husband don’t drink. Oops. Still, was nice enough.

Afternoon ride was easy enough, generally quite flat and very speedy along the highway. Max speed today was 64 kph (40mph). Had a couple of little races for speed signs. One of them showed me at 28 mph on the flat.

Staying in their nice place, for free, tonight. Thanks entirely to Brendan. Enormous meal of ratatouille, BBQ chicken breast, and med veg. Ate far more than I needed. Delicious apple crisp for dessert.

Today’s stats..

Odometer… 2004 km (still off from yesterday, and now today)
Distance… Oli — 84.9, Brendan — 85.5. Both lost some of the journey. Brendan reckons his lost 2km, so 87.5km total.
Climbed… 623 m (lost a little)
Time… 6hrs 1 non (that’s total as I gave up with auto-pause today)
Avg speed… 14.1 kph (again, different from previous; are above)
Avg HR… 104 bpm (see above)
Calories… 1574

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Day 21: Harris Beach to Prairie Creek Redwoods

Another long day. A couple of km into Brookings. Then some internet in a cafe; spoke to Josh+mona which was nice. Then to the post office and the library for more work and to so Brendan could print his 7k sign.

Started cycling a couple of mins after 1pm. Was drizzling, a small headwind, but generally flat. We stopped at the Oregon/Cali state so I could get a photo, and it was close enough to the 7k mark so Brendan was happy to do that there too. Brendan was sure it was going to be drier just over the border…pah!

We’re of the opinion – though it is based solely on our one day’s worth of experience – that drivers in California are less friendly to bikes. We got honked at, and given the one-fingered salute, far more than had been usual thus far.

Got to Crescent City around 3.30pm. Lunch – another veggie burrito for me, with refried beans and rice on the side ($6.50 – so cheap for such a massive meal!), Jack In The Box for Brendan – then Safeway for food shopping.

We got back on the road for about 4.45pm, for the remaining 50 km. immediately post lunch we hit our big climb of the day – 340m worth of elevation gain, at around 6% (ie about 6km long). But we were in the redwoods, which are Massive trees — I couldn’t see the treeline, which I usually use to judge the length/shape of climbs, because they were so tall that we couldn’t see the top of them.

We passed a couple of false summits, reached the top, just started our descent, and then roadworks meant the traffic stopped in each direction, for about 5mins at a time, right next to a “7% descent for the next 2miles sign”. This was perfect for us, the lights went green, we waves everyone else through, went through as they were just changing back to amber, and so knew we had a clear run for the descent with no traffic behind us. And what a lovely descent! I’m increasingly learning to love hill climbing, purely for the descents they bring. This one wound us out toward the sea, giving us a view of the ocean from high enough up that the grey & blue quilt work of the sky was perfectly reflected in it.

We were on the 101 for another 30km after that, but it was mostly flat, following a river back inland. Good, easy chat all the way with Brendan; it’s nice having a rising buddy again, and so fat at least we don’t seem to be finding it difficult to converse, or to be okay with those quiet periods when we both just want to knuckle down and deal with the rain/wind/hills in our own space.

Then we turned off onto the “scenic parkway”, words which I’ve learnt mean “hilly”, and fair enough it was another longish climb, but not too steep and we managed to chat most of the way up. The road was pretty much empty, and this was a gentle (2-3%) for pretty much the whole of the 8km to the campsite, allowing us to freewheel and spend most of our time, necks craned skywards, shouting “ye gods they are big!”

We arrived at a point where the trees rolled back to show a large meadow – our campsite for the night – at about 8.15, so after sunset, but still some light. It was my first Cali state park, so a few lessons learnt – (1) yes, they have Hiker/Biker, despite what we’d heard too the contrary, (2) prices are pretty much the same as WA/OR at $5 a night, and (3) no, they don’t have free showers like in Oregon 😦 (but at 50¢ for 5mins, it’s hardly terrible).

The days stats…

Odometer..1920 (should read 9.2km more, will fix later)
Distance…100.9 km Garmin only recorded 91.7km of it.
Time… 4hrs 52mins
Avg speed…20.5 kph
Climbed 975+200 (the missing section was on our biggest climb of the day)
Avg HR…115 bpm
Calories… 1549

Day 20: Cape Blanco to Harris Beach

Late departing (9.45) because had been chatting away to my fellow hiker/biker Warren, of Portland (a trauma nurse) about bike flouring and such. Nice guy. As I sat there I kept getting whiffs of pine, blowing in on the wind.

Had a lovely 15km ride in to Port Orford where I found a library to do some work in for several hours. Tried to find the post office; failed. Tried to change my Canadian $20; failed. Grabbed a burrito to go and left town at about 3, for the 45km to Gold Beach, telling Josh I’d Skype with him when I got there, thinking it would be about 5.  A rubbish headwind, and a feeling of sluggiahness in my legs, all the way slowed me down, such that I arrived at 5.30.

By the time I’d done my food shopping, and gchatted with Josh (thanks for the free WiFi Gold Beach Town Hall) it was 6, and 40-odd km to go.  Oh well, got on with it. Turned out to be a lovely ride, I do love riding in the early evening.  It got to about 7.45, 10km to go, and I saw a couple of other campgrounds, which I was te,opted to stop at.  I decided, don’t quite know why, to stick to my plan, and was rewarded upon arriving at Harris Beach by discovering that Brendan was also there. Happy days. Quick chat, food, shower, bed.

The campsite is practically (though crucially, Not) in the town of Brookings. Think 1.2 miles to the town centre.

Oh, and random story of the day — whilst in the shower, a man came in with his dog. It had been sprayed by a skunk. Had never smelt it before, it’s Very potent, into the back of your throat. He was trying to clean of the dog using soap and tomatoes. Hmm. Weird mix. Today’s lesson — do *not* get sprayed by a skunk!!

Today’s stats..

Odometer…1828 km
Distance… 15.0+88.7 = 103.7 km
Climbed… 85+931 = 1016 m
Time…  42mins + 4hrs 32/mins = 5 hrs 14 mins
Avg speed… 21.2+19.5 = 103.7/5hrs 14 = 19.8 kph
Avg HR… 126+131 bpm = (5292+35652)/314 mins = 130 bpm
Avg cadence…n/a
Calories… 337+2017 = 2354

Day 19: Sunset Bay to Cape Blanco

Started at 8.45.
Seven devils Highway. Lovely. Climbing, but happily so.
Old Seven Devils Highway. Stony / not sealed. Obvious from start, so I considered options for a few minutes. Detour on sealed road added about 15km, not terrible. Decided to follow old highway though. Not quite sure why. It was sure fun, going downhill on George, on close to cyclo-cross conditions. Harder work on the first short uphill, which I got off an pushed (not enough grip on the stones).

At the top of that small rise as i was coming into a longish descent, the trees rolled back giving me a good look at how much more lay in front, and at that particular moment I got a flat.

Changed tyre, simple enough. As I did so, I took stock. Looked at Garmin. 9.5km forward, potentially on this broken surface all the way, vs 2.5km back (and then that 15km detour on the road).

Decided back. Had to push bike for first 750m (not enough grip on road). Path improved and levelled out as I went — how did I not notice it degrading? I guess it just seemed terrible from the start! Cycled the last 1.5km, thankfully. Was so haply to see the road! And then a gorgeous 20km of perfect tarmac and rolling hills, mostly descent. So glad I went back. Right decision. Though do feel a but silly for trying the old highway in the first place – why did I do it??

Got in to lunch at Bandon at 12.15. No mosquitoes in sight, thankfully. Grabbed coffee and lunch, and some Skype time, then headed to library to get this work done. Sorted some route planning. Left library at 6, headed for Cape Blanco (45km ish down the coast).

Lovely evening ride, really enjoyed it. The sunset at 8.04; I was rear light on from about 7.30, front light from about 8, but didn’t need it to see where I was going until pretty much I summited the hill that the park is on — note to self, if you pick places named “Cape X” or “Lookout Y” you WILL have a hill at the end of your day! Thankfully this one was an easier one, though did have a small section of gravel, which I found slightly amusing given my earlier adventures!

As I got up onto the cape and turned toward the camp I could see the lighthouse going, in the dusk. Would’ve been a cracking photo but no way this camera could capture it.

Setup camp in the dark (8.35-9). But was fine. Realized its easiest if I put the roof on the tent after I’ve got everything out and into / around the gang already.

Only one other hiker/biker here called Warren – a nice guy, quality beard, a nurse, from Portland, who was travelling north back to Portland. Chatted to him over dinner, and consequently didn’t get to bed til midnight – which felt soo late!! Hence writing this now, at 8.30am, rather than being on the road already. Right time to go. Here’s the days stats…

Odometer… 1724 km
Distance… 76.5 km
Climbed… 833 m
Time… 3hrs 53mins
Avg speed… 19.7 kph
Avg HR… 134 BPM
Avg cadence… n/a
Calories… 1980

Day 18: Beachside to Sunset Bay

Got up at 7, packed up. Sun was out so had breakfast on beach – lovely! Got on way at 8.30. It’s cold (8.9C) so had sleeves, second jersey, and my full length jacket. Can see my exhaled breath condensing. Toes a little cold, but will warm up quick.

Stopped for 5mins at 9, to remove my outer jacket, and start writing this. Lots of clouds out to sea, but still nice here at the moment.

Last night was cold, but sleeping bag did the job – in fact I woke up to find I’d got a bit too warm and had started sweating! I slept to the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the beach, a lovely soothing monotony. For a moment I had contemplated that I was in a Tsunami region (there are signs Everywhere) but sleep won over that pretty quick.

Slow morning. Barely managed 21kph over the distance to Florence (48ish km, with 500m climb). The headwind was a pain. But the views! Wow, every hill was a climb up to a headland, and then as you summit you’re rewarded with a view along a sandy-shored coastline, and a long descent/flat alongside that shore, before the next headland.

Stopped for coffee in Florence at 11ish, for an hour.

Met Daniel again – him arriving as I leave. He mentioned there was an Irish guy called Brendan on the road in front of me that he had been biking with that morning.

Sure enough, I met up with him a few hills later and we road the rest of the day together. Brendan is riding down from Alaska to Tiera del Fuego, then up from S.Africa to Egypt, then round the Middle East and up through Europe to his home in Belfast. He reckons it’ll take him 4 years (he’s 25), and about £8k total. That’s £6 a day to live on!

We stopped in Reedsport for lunch (a takeaway burrito for me). Really interesting chatting to Brendan about all afternoon, and nice to have a riding buddy.

We had a headwind for much of the day, grrr. Sometime today I passed the 1000 miles (1600km), which is kind of cool. Small in comparison to Brendan’s 4000 miles, but big for me, and that’s what matters.

Came over a lovely bridge into Coos Bay, and picked up food at a Safeway. But then as it was getting late (6pm) and we had another 10km to go to Sunset Bay we busted on, so saw little of Coos Bay.

Today’s stats are off by about 8km, because I forgot to start the timer after lunch..

Odometer… 1639 km (will correct to 1648).
Distance..130 km (actual distance 138km)
Climbed.. 1132m
Time… 6hrs 35mins
Avg speed… 19.8 kph
Avg HR… 126 BPM
Avg cadence… n/a
Calories… 2651

Half now of days done. How is my body doing?

I am halfway through my holiday, though the first 10 days or so were not cycling. And I’m just about to hit the thousand mile mark, so it seems a good point to check in on my body..

I don’t appear to have any constant aches, which is nice. What I do have, occurs infrequently..

* Had been getting pain in right shoulder early on in ride, but hasn’t reappeared of late.
* Minor shooting pain (sciatica?) in low back/bum region, left side.
* Numbness in hands, a few days ago.
* At end of longer days often get pain in lower neck/upper back – that seems simple, it’s just the posture.
* More commonly, pain in a ligament in the back of my left knee.

Nothing there that (yet) seems too bad, which is nice.

Day 17: South Beach to Beach side

Last night I think I had my first smore (for non-Americans, that’s a sweet biscuit sandwich, with a filling comprised of a layer of chocolate and a layer of marshmallow). Met some NOAA workers- the NOAA pacific fleet is now based in Newport, and their ship was broken so they had time to kill. We chatted for a couple of hours whilst having my dinner. They had a campfire going which was nice.

Today was meant to be a day off, but I wasn’t feeling it, so moved 26 km further down the coast to Beachside State Park, just south of Waldport. Sun came out a bit, so after spending the morning hiding in Starbucks (the only place offering WiFi in this quiet, nothing, of a town) I’ll got on my way.

Also, that short ride helped to cut tomorrow down from a 96 mile day to more like a 76 miler. Still need to set aside some time for finishing off some work (still! Gah!) and for catching up on missed blog posts, etc, but 30km was less than 1.5hrs, with maybe 30mins each end for packing up/setting up, so that left time – in fact it feels a little weird to be putting clothes out at 4, and sitting here typing this at 5.30; usually I’d still be on the road until 6.30ish.

Now sat in a pizza place called Grand Central, ready for my first pizza of the trip! (Ollie would be upset its taken this long!). Feel much happier here than I did in South Beach. The beach here is nicer, and emptier, the long slow dip off the afternoon sun has definitely helped my mood, as I sit here looking out over the harbour, watching the local fishermen pulling up their bottom cages.

End of day stats..

Odometer… 1509 km
Today’s distance… 44.3 km
Time.. 1hr 58mins
Climbed… 279 m
Avg speed.. 22.4 kph
Avg HR.. 128 BPM
Calories.. >1143 (no HR for last 10km, so prob about 1378, based on 25 calories per km)