06/02/2010 – 56.5 miles
Woke up this morning groggy and busted. And confronted by the rain. I thought not much of it at first, as I got up to brush teeth + stretch and such. It was not until returning to camp that I realized this was a seriously persistent downpour. Decided to pick up all contents of my site, 3 trips in total, and move to a nearby covered picnic area to dry things out, breakfast, and get effectively organized. I strung up the 3 sections of my tent (fly, tent, footprint) to the rafters of the sheltered area in hopes that they would dry sufficiently so as not to weigh down and be uncomfortable later tonight. Of course, the effort was useless. I got out onto the road by about 10:30 (after waking at 8:00) and was 100 percent entirely drenched, gear and all, within 5 short minutes. Holy jesus. This was a serious, serious torrential downpour.
Now I have been concerned with the weight on my back end since day one, so this extra carriage of rainwater just added to the worry. I estimate that the total effect of rain added 8-10 lbs to my already heavy load. I could immediately feel the additional drag. Just starting out the day, I thought, for how long could I maintain this? Cycled 15 miles to the state line, snapped a quick drenched picture, then immediately bolted for the Crissey Field Welcome Centre. There I found a beautiful new building with all sorts of free literature, maps, etc., and kind but not impressively knowledgeable folks. Said the storm was expected to last through the weekend (its Wednesday), had never seen anything like it before. Yeehaw.
After spending about an hour there shivering and wondering at my options (should have solicited that Spanish guy heading to Vancouver for a ride?), finally built the courage to head 8 miles north to Brookings, OR. Found the public library (just past the Dairy Queen) and headed for the internet (5 days w/o seemed like a long time). Spent an hour and a half contemplating what to do next – no buses at all along the coast? Storm persisting for next several days? Really should have solicited the Spaniard. Hitchhike? At the end of my allotted time I resolved the only thing to do was find a cheap motel in town and reevaluate tomorrow morning.
So I set out again, shivering mercilessly at first but eventually getting warmed into a groove. It was at this point that I made what I deem to be my proudest decision thus far. Just before peeling into any old motel parking lot – there were plenty of them – I decided, fuck this, motel after 25 miles of cycling? Fuck that. Instead I stuck to the highway and gutted out the additional 26 miles to Gold Beach (it was 16:30 and pouring walls of rain at this point). Got into this town around 19:00 after a massive last push through a final mountain pass. Hills are gonna happen.
Found this glorious 4-bed room in Motel Chippy Cheeks for only $25. Keepers are incredibly nice, clearly folks with humor and sensibility that makes me think of home. Poor man busted his head and broke his neck a few weeks ago wrestling a fridge down some stairs, but still got up to get my Fanta out of the broken machine. Glorious shower (first in 1 week), immediately started drying everything, and did some much needed laundry while waiting for my XXXL pizza to arrive to my door. I fear the same weather situation for tomorrow. Tired and happy.