Coos Bay to Bandon and beyond


Thursday 11 June


Relaxed after my ‘rest’ day, a trailer full of lovely clean clothes and all my camping gear and with breakfast done and dusted, I head off into the fine misty rain heading for Bandon. Yep, rain! The clouds that have been ever present since leaving Eugene have finally decided to do their thing. The rain stayed with me for about an hour, just long enough to keep me cool while I climbed the ‘hill from hell’ or is that to hell. Yep it was, ‘to hell’ because after a short sharp downhill there was another climb. Ok so it was only 160 metres up but it was straight up and it happened three times in the space of 12 ks. Granny gear was the only way to go for the best part of two hours. Ok so I will stop complaining now.

My reward was a long slow downhill ride all the way from the bottom of the last roller coaster to Bandon where I had planned to stop for lunch. Over lunch I had a good look at the map and decided that the 80 – 100 k days were folly. At the rate I was going I would be at my destination about 4 days early and I was missing too much along the way. So, short lunch turned into long lunch and a search for a bed for the night. I found what was to be my cheapest motel on the Oregon Coast and one of the best.

Bandon is a wonderful town/city/village sitting on the south side of the Coquille River and by the Ocean. Originally the town was built on stumps set into the mud flats beside the river because the original settlers didn’t want to cut down the trees that grew right to the river and the ocean. Then along came ‘progress’. So many restaurants; so little time.
Sigh! I settled for lunch at ‘Brewed Awakenings’ where I was waylaid by the guy who owned the place. He had been to Australia in 2007 with whistle stops in Sydney and Melbourne and two weeks in Surfers Paradise. We had a great chat and he gave me some route advice about the next leg of the trip.

Dinner was one of those unforgettable meals; clam chowder (of course) and the best clam chowder of the trip so far, followed by mussels sauteed in sherry. God I love food! Well I had to walk that lot off so I took a long stroll around town looking at the lovely old victorian buildings and the remains of the old town.

Friday 12 June

Disaster! I decided to top up the air in the bike tyres and when I went to remove the pump the valve stem came out with it. This leaves a hole in the tube considerably bigger than an air molecule so all the little bleeders rushed out. OK, no big deal, I can change a tube! Well, getting the (rear) wheel off was a breeze gravity did most of the work, changing the tube etc was just as easy, now for the really easy part … . Well let me tell you that getting the wheel back on and the brake cable back into the puller was just so much fun I spent two hours doing it. There was no way that brake cable was going back in the puller. Finally I had to disconnect the cable etc. Note to self:- do a PP maintenance course and take the bike along with me. When I got the whole thing back together and the wheel moving around without rubbing on the brake pad I was ready to chuck the whole rig into the river and find a bus.

Finally on my way to Port Orford. There is a god; the road was a gentle climb out of town for about ten miles followed by a long 10 mile down slope another gentle climb, more downhill, all this assisted by a lovely tail wind. Langlois and Denmark fell behind me in a flash and before you know it I am in Port Orford. I had planned to stay in here but there was a dearth of camping sites and almost no decent motels so I stopped momentarily, had some lunch looked at some of the local sites and soldiered on with Gold Beach firmly in my sights.

Just before Port Orford another cyclist pulled up beside me and settled in for a chat. Lawrence was travelling light but had come all the way from Seattle. After a while I asked him if he was camping or staying in motels. He told me that he was staying with family all the way. ‘That’s great’, I replied, how lucky for you to have family all along the coast. ‘All gods children are my family’, came his reply. Oh no! Someone else about to set out to save me from hellfire and damnation. Is this the dreaded cycling evangelist? Lesson learned from Corvallis, I fell quiet and let Lawrence soliloquise, which he did for a short while till I think he realised that I was too far in the hellfire and damnation mire to be saved. With a bless you and a good luck Lawrence was off over the horizon. I suppose I can be thankful that he didn’t lean over and try to kiss me on both cheeks.

Port Orford is home to Battle Rock which has a great story attached to it. The scenery was as good as you get along the Oregon Coast. The buildings were a bit weather worn though and there were no decent eateries. A shadow flashed from my right and Lawrence pedalled furiously out of a church driveway, dashed across the street and into another church yard. I guess Lawrence is a bit of a tart when it comes to which church he finds his family in. Hey maybe he is raiding poor boxes. He waved at me as he whizzed past just as I left town after my lunch and I heard a ‘Jesus has indeed given us a glorious day’, so there must have been some decent churches in town. Huey had turned out a great day, 20k tailwind, the sun had come out from behind its veil of cloud and fog and the road had enough potholes in it to allow me to hone my cycling skills. Praise the lord.

I digress however, the road out of Pt Orford and beyond the point of no return I spied a huge monolith rising out of the sea and into the heavens (to retain the biblical tone). This was one huge mountain and no road snaking around it’s precipitous seaward flank. My legs turned to jelly, sorry Jell O, as I pondered the climb over this behemoth. Mt Humbug was, as it turned out, aptly named.

As I approached, the road sloped gently down hill and remained that way. For over half an hour I rode on a sloping to flat road under an arbour of oaks and birch trees, along two gurgling rivers until I emerged sometime later at beach level with a long straight run to Gold Beach. There was lots of oh’ing and ah’ing, many photographs. This was probably one of the most picturesque parts of my ride so far.

A long flat wide bridge delivered me into Gold Beach where my choice was, a motel in town with hot and cold running water and a huge soft bed or a wilderness camp ground up a 5 mile unsealed road and nothing but a pit dunny and cold (non potable water) and plenty of bugs. Tough choice but the motel won out so I settled in there and washed the grease from this morning’s little mechanical marathon off my hands and face. Durning my post prandial stroll I was treated to a glorious pacific sunset.

Ahhhhh!


Captions:
Near Port Orford – flowers by he road.

Looking at the beach from the saddle of my bike about halfway up the first hill out of Coos Bay.

Some of the poles that supported the old town of Bandon.

Battle Rock at Port Orford.

Typical Beach vista with sea stack and many rocks.

Left – Looking at Humbug Mountain (ok so it wasn’t really that big).
Right – Back at Humbug Mountain after I snuck past.

Bottom – Gold Beach Warf back to bridge.

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