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Vancouver to San Fran by bike. Days 11-15

This is part 3 of my trip down the Pacific Coast, read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Day 11 – Beverley Beach to Honeyman. 99km

Last night two of the tourers and I asked a ranger for a place to eat breakfast, the answer was in the next town which lies 6 miles south of us. The ranger had said “Cafe Stephanie or Tiffany, can’t remember the name.”, the GPS found Cafe Stephanie so the three of us headed out for breakfast. This is my first non campsite meal and it was good, plus I decided to ignore my intolerances for the day which will likely give me some trouble in 2 or 3 days time. After breakfast the three of us headed out at roughly the same speed and after another 20 miles two of us stopped for coffee and then separated to ride at our own pace.

The sun was shining, the mist had cleared and the route was hugging the coastline, although there was some uphill the tailwind assisted and the steep downhills helped ease the muscle aches. The views were breathtaking and the wildlife was everywhere, I saw Turkey Vultures, Humpback Whales, Seals, Sea Lions and a host of other birds, I must have stopped 20 or 30 times. Towards the end of the ride the supermarket was Fred Meyer, you can get everything and anything but maybe I spent a little too much 🙂 During my shop I bumped into one of the guys again and he agreed it was the best day so far.

We rode to the campsite together, I led the way as the GPS helps a lot with the distances and turns. At the site the third guy came in 5 minutes later and we went off to setup. The first things in camp are to setup the tent, eat, shower and eat some more. On the second phase of eating a father and daughter came over to chat, they hadn’t been riding but the father from Calgary had done the trip a few years ago and understood the things you don’t have when touring so invited us over for a fire later in the evening. More cyclists came in tonight and some had stayed there the night before, everyone has ridden different distances, they have differing reasons for riding and some faces you recognize from the road.

Two of us headed out towards the lake for a quick hike around and saw some sand dune surfing going on. We had a quick chat with a couple from the surfing group and they let us borrow a board so off we went and after a very slow attempt I waxed up the board and got some decent speed, its different to snowboarding but very similar. After a few runs up and down the dune we head off for the fire, it was great, the family had a puppy with them and fed me wine, s’mores, marshmallows, cookies and coffee, it’s a good job I used today as a food intolerance amnesty. The family had travelled down from Calgary with a camper made in Winnipeg called a Boler, its on my list of items to buy.

By the time I left it was dark and my light was in my trailer, my friend had left earlier so I was using my MP3 player to get back to the hiker/biker site, everyone else was asleep so I cleaned my teeth and quietly crawled in to my sleeping bag. Today was the best day so far and pretty close to a perfect 10!

Day 12 – Honeyman to Sunset Bay. 89km

I tried to write this post a few times and kept losing it, being on the road makes many things challenging but you have a lot more time to deal with minor issues. I thought t was going to be hard to follow yesterday and todays ride suffered from less scenery and the route went through some urban areas and away from the coastline with few good viewpoints. The day started off well as I left with Steve and the first part of the ride was hilly but relatively easy. After the coffee in Reedsport we hit another hill and the wind started to pick up, I had headwinds and crosswinds but no tail wind. The ride carried on through some urban areas with the wind slowing my progress, I passed a number of supermarkets but decided to carry on and purchase some food at a small grocery store just outside of the Sunset Bay Park, anchovies for dinner which is fine by me.

The hiker biker site at the campground was just a big patch of grass, so after throwing my tent in a random spot I hit the bay for a quick dip in the sea. Even this far down the coast the pacific is cold so I didn’t last for long before walking around the tide pools. After my water escapades a couple of us walked to another cove which required some delicate downhill manouveurs grabbing branches, roots and whatever else you could to stop slipping down the slope. The cove was completely empty and peaceful with the early evening sun and waves gently rolling over the rocks and sand. All the way along the coast you get amazing views, the towns can be a little dilapidated so you try to ride through as quickly as possible, the more time you get to explore the beaches, all the better.

Dinner at the campsite turned into a campfire chat with another three or four tourers, including another rider from the UK.

Day 13 – Sunset Bay to Humbug Mountain. 96km

This morning I left earlier than the other tourers, the first part of the ride was over the Seven Devils Road and consisted of various lengths of climbs and descents, unfortunately the views were few and far between. I decided to take a quick break at the National Estuarine Reserve and whilst trying to ride the bike into a suitable parking a position the left wheel hit the curb an I managed to tip the trailer! Everything is still in one piece aside from the hole in the trailers cover, a small patch should fix that when I find time.

As I entered Bandon my GPS directed me to the coffee shop, it’s not just about the coffee though……the highlights of the coffee scene are, free wi-fi, free electricity to charge your phone, iPad, camera and MP3 player. It just so happens the caffeine helps you climb the next hill or ride the next 10 to 20 miles. The other benefit is the chance to take a break, check out the locals, the local papers and dry out if its raining. I can find more reasons to justify spending two bucks on a coffee, like having to avoid other food groups so I may as well have a treat every so often 🙂

As I was expecting the others to catch me up at the coffee shop I hung around for about an hour before heading outside for some photos and to call my Mum to tell her everything is going well and I am happy I quit work and took the opportunity to take on the ride. Anyway the couple from Denver came into town but had not been passed by the others so I carried on my way through Bandons Scenic Ocean route and out into the rolling fields with cows, sheep and lots of turkey vultures.

The scenery changed back to the coast after I had hit Port Orford. I grabbed my groceries and took a quick look at my left knee which has been a little uncomfortable, I put the discomfort down to some ongoing back issues from old injuries. After another five miles of riding whilst trying to rest my knee I entered Humbug state park, I setup camp in an empty hiker/biker section, showered and then packed my backpack for my afternoon activity. I set off up Humbug Mountain, hiking 7 miles on a trip that was supposed to have good view points of the coast, I guess the trees have grown since the book was written, at least I got to shake my legs out a bit.

When I got back to camp I caught up with the others and shared their bolognese on my rice noodles so I didn’t even use anything I had purchased that day! All of the others showed up at various times, one of the guys has lost his ability to speak through a medical error BUT is still taking on a journey that many others would never dream of taking on. A quick walk around the beach at sunset finished the day off.

Day 14 – Humbug Mountain to Harris Beach. 82km

The book is not very clear on what should happen today but after a quick discussion with the other tourers everyone seems to be heading to Harris Beach State Park. The three of us set off out of Humbug Mountain State Park and after a mile or two we saw a stranded couple in front of their car with no idea on how to change their flat tire, we offered to help and within 10 or 15 minutes had them on the way.

The other night I let Ritchie use my gas stove and after my other butane cylinder ran out the other night I need to find another one before I am stranded with a half cooked meal. The outdoor store in Gold Beach had just sold out of their MSR gas cylinders so we got coffee at the Coffee Dock which had a broken router so no free internet. After coffee I figured I should check my tire pressure and in the process broke the valve on the rear tire again, after taking it all apart we found the valve hole in the rim was a little rough so after sanding and re-inflating everything seemed a lot better. Off we went up a steep climb over Cape Sebastian before heading down to some viewpoints and into the campground. After setting up the tents and showering we headed into Brooking as the GPS informed us of the supermarket location, tonight three of us are cooking together and we have bean burritos planned.

During the food prep the other tourers rolled in, Rodney came in and brought his laptop over to the table to ask if he could swap some gingerbread cookies for a bean burrito, it was a good deal. The food was good and everything was eaten plus an ice cream afterwards. Ritchie came in as we finished and then we headed down to the beach to see if we could catch the seal pups that the Denver couple had taken photos of, unfortunately they had gone by the time we got down there but the sunset was good.

In the dark I managed to figure out how to tighten the wheels on the trailer, after the crash the other day they seemed a little wobbly and a quick inspection revealed a hidden nut that I tightened and in turn made the quick release tighter, a little oil on the chain and hopefully tomorrow will flow like no other day.

Day 15 – Harris Beach to Elk Prairie. 109km

Today is a milestone, crossing from Oregon into California! I set off as planned with a couple of others, after a few miles we stopped for photos at the border. As we crossed and went through the agricultural check (you are not supposed to bring fruit and vegetables into California) a guy who has been riding around the area started chatting to us and then joined us for the next 20 odd miles before leaving us at Crescent City. He seemed happy to share the lead riding and let us draft behind.

We had lunch in Crescent City where we charged electronics before having a strange conversation with a veteran who had some strong views on certain areas where we were traveling. Immediately out of the city we had one of the toughest climbs of the ride including a narrow shoulder with large trucks, the descent on the other side was fun, even with the grey clouds above. As we have been eating together our plan was to buy groceries for a curry in Klamath before the next big climb, our plans went awry when the grocery was closed and it was so small it likely didn’t have any of our required ingredients anyway. We ended up at the gas station buying mashed potato flakes, corn and a few other staples – candy and chips. Despite the lack of choice dinner worked well, maybe its because of all the riding.

I was having a minor challenge with budget management and as I was unable to get cash back from the gas station in Klamath and with no ATM in sight I had to borrow $5 so I could get a site for the test, fingers crossed my debit card will work tomorrow otherwise I will be sitting on the sidewalk with a hat and sign.

Just before getting into camp I stopped in a turnout to get some photos of the others coming through the Redwoods. The Elk Prairie campsite has a lot of other tourers who we haven’t seen and maybe the California campsites will be busier.

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