Day 14 (2016-09-09): ~50 miles from Umpuqua Lighthouse State Park to Bullard Beach State Park. Mostly Highway 101 with decent shoulder.
Pardon my language, but occasionally I am just pissed off.
The first 15 or so miles were uneventful until a few miles north of North Bend when a couple of logging trucks whizzed by doing 60+mph and leaving only 2-3 feet of space, at most. When big trucks pass it creates a vacuum followed by a strong wind, so I’d prefer they doubled their passing distance. But they don’t give a fuck about us.
Unfortunately, the worst was still to come. The bridge entering North Bend is not nearly as long as the one entering Astoria but it is uphill from the start and there was a lot of traffic. We started riding with the French couple we’ve been leapfrogging but Lindsey only has one bridge speed so we left them behind.
The first truck driver to be an ass was a pickup who I heard speeding up to pass the other couple and continued revving right through us, cutting back in front of us just before oncoming traffic would have hit him. Not so bad, at least he just drove by. Of course, that wasn’t enough. That next truck asshole, a typical older white dude, got really close to me, rolled his windows down and screamed “fuck you,” and “get the fuck off the road” plus some other bullshit while driving in the oncoming lane and swerving around like a drunkard. Thanks dude! Luckily, after the two assholes a nice couple cruised behind us without getting too close and I thanked them when they passed us after the bridge.
After North Bend the day improved. We crossed a small bridge into Charleston where we we stopped for lunch (my stomach didn’t feel so great so I skipped this one) and then headed into 7 Devils. This is a series of steep climbs along an old country road. There was little traffic but some of the slopes were steep! I loved the climbing…some of the folks out there struggle with this climb because of its steepness but I love it! Sure, some spots are hard. But I can just get in a groove and go. Long climbs are a lot of fun too…I can lose myself in the hills for hours.
My stomach felt better after climbing hard and sweating a bunch but after we finally made it to the top it became all about just making it to camp. It had been a long day with a bunch of idiots on the road and a physically challenging ride. We chatted with Sarah and Amalie briefly at the top but the overtook us and we were stopping at an earlier camp so it was goodbye for now.
Dinner tonight was another pasta sides pre-seasoned packages with extra ramen noodles and a can of chicken. Compared to the pesto, this cheesey alfredo one was pretty shitty. For desert, melted and re-solidified chocolate covered bans chips with a dot of peanut butter – which I affectionately named “peanut butter poop poppers.” We walked down to the beach, round-trip about 2.5 miles. And then called it a night for some much needed rest.
Today we hit 500 miles since leaving Seattle. With a place of averaging about 50 miles per day and one rest day a week this means we are about 100 miles behind schedule. It’s a good thing we don’t have any solid deadlines!
Also, I hate this cold, windy beach! I wish I was in the mountains. So far the Pacific Coast Route has honestly been a bit of a let down. Sure, it’s beautiful sometimes and the parks are great but he riding blows!
I’d much rather ride on lonely, winding country roads with few towns and perhaps not a whole lot to look at. There is plenty to do out here but after a while it all seems like the same to me. I guess it is less meaningful to me to stop and look at the beautiful beach cliffs when that is mostly what I’ve seen for the last week. And part of the reason I bike tour is to enjoy the actual biking – hours of zen riding in the sun is a great way to lose yourself in the vastness of this great country. It’s pretty hard to get zen with HUGE RV’s and trucks whizzing by, especially when there is no shoulder. In fact, getting zen out here could be deadly.
None of this is to say I am not having fun – the trip has been great! There are just some things I didn’t quite grasp about the experience until hitting the road.
Share the road. Show some respect.