Tuesday 9 June
My 80 k day turned out to be 95 because I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough; my destination was to be North Bend but the camp ground was actually in Charleston which was another 10 miles plus change, further on. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Today’s scenery was not as spectacular as yesterday’s but I believe there is more to come.
This area is the Oregon Dunes National Park and the dunes are vast areas of ever moving sand. I did a side trip that, had I read the instructions carefully enough, I should not have done. The real scenic spot was further up the road and more easily accessible, as it was I did a 6k side trip down (and of course back up) a very steep hill and out to the sea. The dunes go on forever and the diversity of bird and plant life is spectacular. Every type of bird from the soaring Turkey Buzzards to tiny finches darting around in the bushes. Now I have to say the Turkey Buzzard looks great from a distance but up close and personal they would be stiff competition for Muscovy Ducks as the ugliest bird I have seen.
The closer I got to North Bend the closer the dunes got to the road. In some places I had to ride off the side lane to avoid sand that was encroaching onto the road. The sound of the traffic as it speeds past is now accompanied by the many off road vehicles that speed across, up and down the dunes. This is a serious training ground for the Dakar Rally. North Bend arrives and another bridge but not just any bridge, this one is a monster and very narrow. So narrow that cyclists are not allowed to ride across but we must dismount and walk across its nearly 2 klm length.
Ok so we are talking about a ‘footpath’ that is about 900mm wide and a bike plus trailer that is around 750mm from hub to hub. The drop to the road is about 300mm and the traffic is ‘right there’. Slowly I negotiate the path with one wheel of the trailer falling off about half way to the top. Over the top and on the way down there is a board walk attached to the bridge rail that allows the maintenance crew to work on the water side of the railing. The path is now about 800 wide which means that I have to step down to the road walk side step fashion and push the bike and trailer along a path with only about 25mm clearance either side. Such fun! By the time I get to the other side of the bridge I am a blubbering mess and I have earned my first abuse from a motorist.
I arrive at the Sunset Beach RV and Campground where a tent site is a whopping $21 (plus taxes). I am not sure if I have just rented it or if I now own real estate in Oregon. It is a great spot under a small tree and right next to a beautiful beach. After setting up camp I head back to Charleston which is about 2 k’s back up the road for an incredible meal of clam chowder, sauteed oysters and one of the best beers I have had in ages. All this along with a nice glass of Zinfandel has put me in a mellow mood for the ride home – fortunately. The restaurant allowed me to bring the bike inside where I could watch it so that was a bonus. My ride back to camp was a treat, two k’s, no moon, no street lights, one tail light and a single led front light.
Wednesday 10 June
Today is a rest day so I am up bright and early (go figure) serenaded by the sounds of a million birds and the crashing waves. Now I did say it was a rest day but by the end of it I will have clocked up over 50ks on the bike and about 10 in my shoes. I decide that I will go into Coos Bay for breakfast and with that aim in mind I set out on the bike, sans trailer, for the ‘short’ ride. I get lost of course and why is it when you get lost you seem to find the steepest hill in town to get lost on. Well I did. Eventually I find a great coffee shop that is opened after 20ks where I sit down to what is now brunch. The town, sorry City, of Coos Bay is lovely with many old buildings and a beautiful boardwalk along the bay area.
I head back to Charleston where I buy a meal for dinner and a couple of bottles of Mirror Pond pale ale then on to my camp where I have a pile of washing that needs doing. Sorry that there are no pictures of my washing on the line but there are no lines in Amarica. it all goes into clothes dryers roughly the same size as the utes and RV’s. This done I set out to explore the beach and headland as the sun sets slowly into the Pacific Ocean. I enjoy my dinner in the picnic area of the park (the only place with a light) where I get my diary up to date.
Seen on a sign just out of Coos Bay – Bonk and Bonk Investigations (I kid you not)
Bikely map of today’s route – http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/319110