~ Day 6 – Pay Day ~

06/05/2010 – 76.7 miles

As predicted, the day started out glorious. Despite a quite horrid sleep, awoke around 8:00 to the sun beating directly on the tent. Groggy as always, shuffled out to evaluate the day and morning surroundings. The tent was dew-soaked, but the day was perfect and clear. Slowly (slowly) began packing up before having a quite awful breakfast (banana, plain bread, trail mix). I already loathe trail mix in the worst way. Packed up, brushed teeth at NFS bathroom, and was on the road by 10:00 — my best showing yet.

Starting out in shorts and t-shirt was a liberating experience, as all previous days consisted of at least long-johns and often bike jacket. Within 10 minutes on the road I realized that I had stopped at the perfect spot the night prior, because the most glorious stretch of coast that I have experienced so far was before me. This was the pay off. This was the legendary Oregon coast. The sweeping shores, the massive craggy outcroppings, clean ocean air, the continuous rolling boom of the littoral, the unmistakable pastiche of coastal Oregon’s soft light and colors. There were 3 American bald eagles patrolling overhead, and a beached colony of California sea lions jabbering and honking in the morning sun. Yesterday, I hadn’t seen the coast at all for more than 5 minutes. This was the day I had been waiting for.

Rode to Yachats by noon, stopping often, about 20-25 miles. Picked up some fruit, jerky, drink, chips, and a corn dog at the grocery and continued on to a suitable picnic area (the corndog was consumed immediately outside the store). Ate sardine sandwiches washed down with an Odwalla and potato chips, and lived to regret it. Not that the sardines were bad, just that I think I over ate on a sensitive stomach that demands excessive calories yet can only “stomach” so much at a time. I must be more careful of this, as I felt horrid the rest of the afternoon and even chucked some lunch up (forcefully). Note to self: be more careful.

The afternoon grew frustrating as winds picked up and the day cooled off. Worst head wind yet. Compounding this was the rough road and the onset of aches and pains. I am pushing myself extremely hard – I must remember that the past several weeks and months much consisted of loose mores and living carelessly. Yes, be more careful.

Rode a good distance, insisted on making it to Lincoln City, bought organic mac n’ cheese, salad, milk, and a coke (been craving sweet drinks like a fiend). Continued on down the road in hopes of finding a (very) nearby campsite, but soon realized I was on my way to Tillamook (45 miles) with nothing in between. So after some dubious prospecting, settled on a patch atop a steep embankment with the highway on one side and a pasture on the other. I love free, impromptu camping, but this is pushing it. A sign of desperation. Though there is a waterfall just down the way which suits me well.

So tired, so janky, so ready to crash. I pray it does not rain tomorrow.


~ Day 5 – Dunes country; no quarter; still not crazy ~

06/04/2010 – 61.5 miles 

Admittedly, the past 2 days have been brutal and when I awoke this morning I was expecting nothing but a continuation of this. Grey and wet and cold. A night’s drying of gear entirely in vain. The Bayshore Motel is a strange 60s style relic within a more strange town. Coos Bay seems another of those sleepy, dusty Northwest towns founded on the promise of timber and fish and industry. Today, the mills appear listless rather then frantic, scrappy rather than robust. I constantly baffle myself at how the economies of these towns persist. And yet there are new cars and trucks, literally everywhere. How do people go out to the bar or for a meal, as witnessed last night? I think we are completely over-leveraged. I don’t know.

Awoke about 9:30, another 10 hr sleep, and hopped straight in the shower. Piddled around with drying stuff, re-ordering proximity to crazily fire-unsafe furnace in my underwear, and sweating like a madman. Basically avoided getting back on the road for as long as I could. The weather channel proved entirely unhelpful, excepting the tidbit about The Goonies celebrating its 25th anniversary in Astoria this weekend. Don’t know if I can make it there by Sunday, moreover don’t know that I care. Hmmm.

Turns out the piddling paid off, as by 11:30 (when I finally got out) the rain had drew quit. Amazing. Rode uptown to North Bend (continuation of Coos Bay), found a coffee shop where purchased a small latte, a chicken pita, and what turned out to be the worst brownie Ive ever had. How is that possible? It turned out to be a “brownie sandwich” with “caramel” in the middle, and moreover proved entirely indigestible. There were no real things in there. 5 hours later I could still feel it confusing my stomach.

Rode fairly uneventfully until 18:00, excepting 2 major differences from previous days. Firstly, the bleeding sun came out! The difference is unbelievable. The second is that I feel myself getting stronger, particularly the thighs and hips. I can endure far more than I could just 2 days ago. Despite being a little disappointed in my mileage today, there is solace in that I completely gutted myself yesterday and so had more reasonable expectations today.

Currently camped in the middle of some sand dunes, illegally, a short saunter from an NFS site that wanted $20. Like hell. The host was friendly though uninformed, and could not help me with my $5 hike/bike fantasy/yet-to-be-reality. So I took a quick hike up a day path, beat off a ways, hilariously dragged my gear up a steep embankment, and found a wonderfully flat and soft spot where I am at currently camped. Took a 2.5 mile hike after dinner down to the ocean, though never quite got there. The signs were misleading. But its a great relearning exercise to hike and walk after being on the bike all day. Hiked the 2.5 miles back, with good swagger in my step. Now time to crash. I have high expectations for tomorrow, I believe it should be mostly clear skies and significantly more awesome than days prior.