As night rides are difficult to avoid this time of year, Hugh and I found ourselves rolling into Newport at 6:00PM to the smell of what I like to call “That really yummy colorfully painted seafood place by the side of the road” Turns out it tastes just as good as it smells, so before settling in for the night, we both decided to grab an order of clams, fish, and chips.
The next day, after the good folks of Bike Newport most generously let us use their wifi, and laundromat (available to all touring cyclists with a purchase in the shop!) we headed out of Newport, bound south to Florence for the evening.
Having lived in Florence for a year, and knowing that some of the best views on the Oregon coast awaited us, we eagerly set out, intent upon a full day of pedaling… that was until our stomachs derailed us… again. There’s something about a steaming Pot-O’-Crabs that you just can’t pass up when your nose gets scent of dead crustaceans on the wind. This would be our second visit to this wonderful roadside attraction, and I would stop there again if I ever make it back to Newport!
From the Dead Crustacean Shrine, we headed south, meandering over the gentle folds of the roadside until we finally started looking for campsites around darkness (or as normal people call it, 4:30 in the afternoon) There’s a running joke that I think someone should tell about campsites along the Oregon Coast in the wintertime, it goes like this:
Q: How much does it cost to camp at designated campsites on the Oregon Coast in November?
A: Nothing! They’re (almost) all closed!
South of Yachats, and still no open campsite in view, I decided it was time to grab some night shots.
Fortunately, the upside of all the campgrounds being closed, is that once you find one you like (for instance, Cape Perpetua) there’s nobody there to tell you not to camp there anyway.
The next morning, we visited one of my all time favorite spots on the coast – Devils Churn
On a good day, it looks kinda like this: (Thanks to Hugh for pressing the shutter! – A larger version will be available on the Images page for purchase soon!)
Gotta love that churn baby.
Biking away from the churn, we encountered my two favorite ways to get killed while biking the coastal highway.
Option 1: Dimly lit grungy tunnel. (at least they had signs!)
Option 2: The most terribly paved fog line that I’ve seen on the whole stretch of highway. You get two sub options, hang left of the 1″ gap and get squashed by RV’s, or hang right and tip over a ~200 foot cliff. Here you can see that Hugh is demonstrating option A. admirably.
We spent the next night just south of Florence, hitting some of the more woodsy parts of the coast, away from the shoreline.
I’ve always thought it was kinda funny that Surly (the maker of our bikes) called their touring model the “Long Haul Trucker”. Passing by a weigh station that still had its scale hooked up, we got a chance to put it to the test. Turns out Hugh and I weigh around 500 pounds collectively.
One of my favorite nights so far was spent in North Bend (pretty much Coos Bay, but don’t let the locals catch me saying that!)
In one of those small world moments, I had been exclaiming earlier that day how excellent it would be to catch some music, or go to an open mic night in one of the bigger cities along the coast. We stopped into ORCoast Music, only music shop in town to pick up a Uke case, and Penny Whistle. I almost convinced Hugh to purchase an absolutely gorgeous sounding Mandolin (we literally tried to caress it into my rear duffel, much to our chagrin it didn’t fit… if it’s still there by the end of the trip, I’m buying the darn thing myself!) After a good long chat, Horst – the very generous gentleman in care of the store that day told us about the open mic that happens on Friday nights. It was Friday. We were freaking going to the open mic! I’ve never actually played in an open mic before, so I was a bit nervous. Luckily Hugh was there to take photos of me in the semi-fetal position.
A special thanks to Horst, and the folks of North Bend and Coos Bay for their wonderful music, support, and generosity. They made that evening truly special.
Departing from North Bend, we wove our way up the aptly named “Seven Devils” road. It even had hellfire and brimstone. (also known as slash and burn)
Time passed, as did we through Bandon, Port Orford (where we met some lovely friends of some folks in Eastern Oregon), a night at Humbug State Park (Finally a park that’s open!) and then to Gold Beach.
Tomorrow, after ingesting a copious amount of Ibuprofen, a doctors visit for the “all clear”, and a potential bus ride to Brookings in order to help my knees heal a bit more from what I like to call “biking at Portland pace even though your bike weights a freaking metric tonne” We set saddle for California.
Till then, may the sun shine between your spokes.