Florence here I come

Monday 8 June

Newport is bustling when I finally get started, I still need to find a store that will sell me a cord for my camera battery charger so I set out looking for a computer shop. Just by luck I spot a secondhand computer junkyard in a side street and finally get the resident geek to put down his spliff and float over to the door to open up. He crawls through his pile of cords to no avail until I suggest to him that is is most likely to be printer power cord. Light appears from behind his slightly ajar eyelids and he agrees. In no time at all I am the proud owner of a charger cord with an American plug. I tuck into a short stack of buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and pecans for breakfast (note to self, eat better). These are very, very good pancakes which makes up for the ‘coffee’.

All fuelled up I set out for Florence, at last I am heading south towards my intended final destination, wherever that may be. My first task is to negotiate the long Yequina Bay Bridge. This is no mean feat. Typical of Oregon’s regard for cyclists there is a push button at the beginning of the bridge which sets a swag of flashing lights ablaze to warn motorists that there is a cyclist on the bridge. All the way across I wonder if the lights are still flashing but I survive and after leaving the bridge I wave merrily at the long line of traffic I have collected and get several waves and ‘Hi’s’ as they pass me.

There are a couple of steep climbs today but the first part of the day to Yachats is a bit of a doddle. I cycle mostly in sight of the coast and the scenery is spectacular, huge rugged cliffs and sea stacks way out to sea but mostly along the coast. Yaquina Bay was the first landfall in this neck of the woods for our very own Captian James Cook who called the place Cape Foulweather. He was obviously not happy with the weather or the place so didn’t stay long enough to find the Bay.

Seal Rocks is spectacular and remarkable for the fact that there are no seals here nor are there very often, if ever. The birds, however, love the spot and return en masse every year to nest and raise their young as do the Oregon RV’s. The coast is starting to get rugged again after many miles of long beaches and flat dunes. Waldport and Alsea Bay appear just in time for lunch. The Alsea Bay bridge is incredible and just one of many wonderful bridges I will cross over. There are so many bays and ravines on the coast that the bridge makers were kept at it full time.

This bridge was long and a bit scary because there was no edge to ride on. The traffic was, again, very patient and stayed behind me at a lesurely 25 kph whih probably doesn’t even register on a mph speedo. Yachats is next and the chance for a breather before the first big hill of the coastal run. Well it looks big on the map profile but it was not bad so perhaps I shouldn’t have had that extra doughnut.
Heceta Head is famous for its lighthouse and is truly a beautiful spot. I rode the 300 metres down to the beach but the walk was a bit too far and I was running out of time again. I think I worry too much about leaving the bike out of sight.
Today’s little bit of excitement is a tunnel through a massive headland that seems to go up forever into the ever present ceiling of fog. The approach to the tunnel is over a bridge just after Heceta Head. The bridge is an engineering marvel and the tunnel, although short is very narrow. There is a push button at the beginning of the tunnel that, when pushed, sets flashing lights going that warn motorists that there is a cyclist in the tunnel. This is comforting and to my surprise the cars and RVs behind me stay there patiently until I emerge from the other side. I wave thanks and usually get a wave in return. This is a major highway but nobody seems to be in a major hurry to get anywhere, even the mullets in their huge utes (pek urps. I actually saw one with a double gun rack in the rear of the cabin – I smiled but kept my head down).

Next stop Florence after a very pleasant day in the saddle. Florence is a a fairly big town but the camp grounds are all about RVs so my tent stays packed up for another night but I find a motel with a huge room and a very hot shower. The Silver Sands Motel has a huge king sized bed and a massive bathroom at less than a third of the price of the Best Western just up the road. All the moteliers along the way are happy for me to put my bike in the room so this is a relief.

I take a long walk around the town and eventually settle in for dinner at a hamburger joint near the motel. I have long learned that one doesn’t just order a hamburger with the lot. For a start, nobody does pineapple on a hamburger. So it goes like this:
‘I will have a cheeseburger with bacon please.’
‘(stunned look) Um, what sort of bun, whole-meal, rye, play dough, wheat … ?’
‘Rye please’
‘Rare or well done?’
‘(I assume that we have moved on to the meat) Rare please’
‘What dressing would you like with that?’
‘What are my options?’
‘Italianmustardmayochiliketchup …?’
‘The first one (whatever it was)?’
‘Cheese?’
‘Yes please (isn’t that normal with a cheeseburger)’
‘(rolls eyes) What kand o cheese sirrrrr?’
‘What have you got?’
‘American Pepperjack, American Blue, American, American Brie, American …’
‘Blue oh wow, definitely blue’
You want fraas (I stifle a chortle remembering one of those irreverent blond jokes)’
‘No thanks’
‘etc … ‘

By the time I have finished my order I realise that I should have ordered a beer first to help with the ordering process and also it is now almost time for breakfast.

Anyway the beer was great and the well done hamburger excellent even the chips that I didn’t want were an unexpected treat. I left the 25 different little sachets of sauces on side of the table though.

Well it is time for bed. Bye.

Bikely route map for the day – http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/318424

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