Day 8 – Gold Beach, OR to Crescent City, CA
This was such a beautiful day. Dallas and I enjoyed sunshine and comfortable temperatures all day, with gorgeous views of Oregon’s coastline along much of the ride. The first half, from Gold Beach to Brookings, was awfully hilly and included some of the longest climbs of our tour so far. The descents were rewarding but were over too quickly. I felt like much of the first 30 miles was spent climbing hills at a pace of around 5 miles per hour.
Brookings is the southernmost town in Oregon, and Dallas and I spent a little too much time there. Since all the hills slowed us down, we got there a bit later than anticipated and didn’t actually get our daily dose of espresso until after 2pm. This coffee shop we found was nestled by a harbour, with several docks and a cluster of little food places right off the road. In between coffee and pizza, we spoke with Jeremy, who was staying with his girlfriend on their sailboat. Like us, he had quit his job for a more adventurous and fulfilling life of seasonal jobs with plenty of vacationing in between seasons. Hopefully we will run into him and his girlfriend again down the road.
We ordered a pizza with salad on it from the nearby pizza place, and then moved on to the place next door for ice-cream cones before hitting the road again. It was after 4pm when we finally left Brookings, and it was another 30 miles to Crescent City. We finally made it to California! So far, I think Oregon is more beautiful, but our route took us inland a bit once we crossed the state border. More coastline and redwood forests await us tomorrow, so I’m sure California will redeem itself.
Dallas and I had hoped to make it a few miles past Crescent City and into Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park to set up camp, but the sun was setting as we stopped at the grocery store, and Dallas had remembered climbing a steep hill with no shoulder to get out of Crescent City. We didn’t want to deal with that in the dark, so we’re staying in town tonight and will try to get an early start in the morning to make up for it.
Day 4 – Corvallis to Siuslaw Forest
Even though I don’t know if it was totally necessary due to stormy weather, Dallas and I were able to take advantage of our time off the bikes on Tuesday. That evening it was so nice, we went for a 4 mile run to get our legs moving (and to compensate for eating a cinnamon roll, donut, and pizza earlier in the day).
The next morning our bodies were feeling refreshed, and we finally had a tail wind! In order to make up for lost time and get to San Francisco as soon as possible, we decided to abandon the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and head to the coast straight from where we were. We made it through 23 miles of flat farmland with the wind at our backs in less than 2 hours. In Harrisburg, we filled our bellies with breakfast food at Jake’s Cafe and split a slice of bumbleberry pie. The next few miles went by quickly as well, then we stopped to stock up on groceries at Safeway in Junction City. It’s god that we stopped, because we didn’t ride by any other food for the rest of the day.
Eventually, we turned onto Wolf Creek Road, which led us into the Siuslaw National Forest. Wolf Creek Road also made me wish I had done a few more rides up to the summit of the White Pass when we were living in Skagway. The first two and a half miles of this road basically winded up a mountain. It was only a third the elevation of the White Pass, and I’m sure it wasn’t as steep, but it felt a lot harder with all the weight of our panniers and steel bike frames. We also started riding uphill after already having ridden 50 miles that day. We had been making great time all day, riding 16-17 miles per hour for some stretches. Before we turned onto Wolf Creek Road, I thought we would be able to cover 70 miles easily. Now I was having my doubts.
Fortunately, the 4 miles of downhill made up for the treacherous climb, and the next uphill didn’t seem quite as bad. This was probably the most beautiful part of our ride, and I really wanted to stop to take photos but was going too fast downhill. The sun was at the perfect angle to illuminate the tall trees on one side of the road as we descended for the second time. We had covered 64 miles by the time we found a good place to pitch our tent for the night. We have a few more climbs awaiting us tomorrow as we make our way over the coastal mountain range and to the coast.
As we lay in our tent, silence is broken by a strange, loud half-howl. There is movement outside, not far from where we lay. Maybe the spot we chose to sleep tonight is less than ideal? There’s no phone service or wifi for miles around us, so if this post gets published, then we made it out of the forest!