Monday, June 24, 2019

OSBT Day 17-A Short One, But Kind of Stinky!

Steve and I decided (well, I decided for myself, and Steve is tagging along), to just go to Valley of the Rogue State Park about 12 miles out of Grants Pass. We’re hoping for showers. 

Because it’s only a 35 mile day, I was in no hurry to get going. I was even still in camp when Steve rolled out of his tent! And, I took time for a cup of tea. 

I needed a few groceries, and was going to wait until Grants Pass, but in Selma (4 miles into the day) there was a Ray’s grocery store, so I stopped (even though I knew I had a climb coming). Since I got a later start, I was able to eat in Selma (some yogurt from the store). 

Sure enough, not far out of Selma, the road started going up. It wasn’t bad though. In fact, before I knew it, I was at the summit of Hayes Hill. 

Coming down the other side, I was grateful I was heading north. The descent was much steeper than the ascent was!

I came to a weigh station that was closed, but the scale was on. Steve and Clement has weighed themselves with their bikes at other weigh stations, so I decided to do the same. 

I don’t think 200 is quite accurate. I think it should be about 225. 

As I started getting closer to Grants Pass, I noticed there was a bike path parallel to the highway. I hopped on, of course. 

It was noon when I spied a Red Robin. I thought to myself, I haven’t eaten at Red Robin in ages! Well, I fixed that! In fact, I spent over an hour there. It was a good lunch break. 

I left Red Robin, and resumed riding on the bike path. I knew I had to get from 199 to 99. The bike path went off from the highway onto a regular street. I thought it was no problem as I was still heading in the right direction. I came to a busy street thinking it was 99. It wasn’t. It was 238. I looked at Google maps to see the route to Valley of the Rogue State Park. At that time, I got a text from Steve saying he was there, where was I? I told him I was still heading toward the park, that I’d spent a long time at Red Robin. 

When I got to the park, I asked if they had a H/B site. They didn’t, so I said my friend Steve was here and I would be sharing a site with him. The gal had no record of Steve. I had seen he left me a voicemail, so I checked it. When he said he was there, he meant Red Robin! So, I checked in and sent Steve a text letting him know which site I was on. They only have 7 tent sites and they are full, so we are on a full hookup site for $29. At least we have electricity so we can charge our stuff. I asked the gal what would happen if they were full. She said she doesn’t know where they would put us. I told her that Oregon has a law that state parks can’t turn cyclists away. She was unaware. She said she would have to call the park ranger. But, no worries, as we have a site. 

Oh, and I had to sing “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” three times today! 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

OSBT Day 16-Out of the Redwoods, and Into the Pine Trees

I left Grassy Flat before 7:30 this morning. Even though I figured the day wouldn’t be too long mileage wise, I wanted to beat the heat, and at least some of the traffic. Steve and I made a plan to meet at Lake Selmac.

The road continued to climb, following the Middle Fork of the Smith River. There was oftentimes a bit of a headwind. The road and river were all shaded, so I didn’t stop for any photos (besides, I took enough photos of the river yesterday). 

The summit was supposed to be at 2100ft according to the map. Fortunately, they built a tunnel, so I think it was only about 1800. And, amazingly enough, it was a downhill tunnel! There was a button to push to alert drivers that a bicycle was in the tunnel. 

From the tunnel, it was pretty much downhill to the California/Oregon border. 

Not far back into Oregon, I could see a hitchhiker up ahead. At least, I thought it was a hitchhiker. Upon closer inspection, it was this.

Not a hitchhiker. 

Four miles later I rolled into the tiny town of O’Brien. There I stopped for a break and a snack. I might have pushed on had I known it was only 5 more miles to Cave Junction. 

In Cave Junction I stopped at a Dairy Queen. Little did I know, there was a Subway just a little further down the road! 

In Cave Junction, I was able to look up exactly what the park was on Lake Selmac (there are two, one is a resort, and one is a county park). Then I was able to text Steve with the info. 

There was another climb, but I turned off the highway just before. I figured I’d have to climb somewhere, but on Reeves Creek Rd., it just ended up being a relatively short, but quite steep, two hump hill. I was out of the saddle in my easiest gear. Tomorrow we will continue on this road, and get back to the route on the other side of the summit. 

Yesterday, I was talking to Steve, and he was asking about what I write in my blog. As I was telling him, it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to bring Flat Will on this tour! Instead, I have “Robert Redwood”. He hangs from my handlebar bag and gives be encouragement when the hills get steep.

Looks like he’s saying, “Go!”

So, I found a campsite at Lake Selmac, went swimming in the lake (again, a night with no showers), and now I’m waiting for Steve. It’s a little pricey here at $25, but Steve and I will split it, so not too bad.

OSBT Day 15-Out of Oregon, into California and the Redwoods

Today I said goodbye to the Coast, and goodbye to Oregon (but only for a couple of days). Just as I pulled up to the border, a couple pulled up in a car and asked if I’d like them to take my picture, then I could take one of them. Convenient!

I continued south to Smith River. A few miles past the town, I came to the turn onto 197. I said a hearty farewell to the Coast. 

Goodbye Pacific!

On 197, I was almost immediately in the redwoods. I stopped at a day use area of Jedediah State Park, and had some lunch among the trees. 

I was following the Smith River for the second half of the day (on 199 now). It was hard not to stop at every opportunity to take photos. 

I was steadily climbing, but it was never too bad. The temperature was also climbing the further inland I rode. But, I gotta say, the heat felt good! Even though I’ve had sunny days every day, it hasn’t been that warm. This is the first night I don’t have my hoody on. 

I arrived at Grassy Flat campground and got a tent site. Shortly, I realized there is no water here. That’s okay because I have my filter. There’s, of course, also no showers, so I went for a dip in the river when I went to get water. 

That oughta do me. 

Steve, the guy I’ve camped with off and on since Bruceport in Washington, is coming this way too, so we’re camped at Grassy Flat, sharing a site. He’s never done a route where he didn’t know exactly where he was going, so he’s tagging along with me. Although, he starts way later in the morning than I do, so he wants to know EXACTLY where I’m going. I think we’ll only hang together for a couple of days because he’s going to Klamath, and I’m not. 

Tomorrow there will be climbing, and I’m guessing it’ll be pretty warm. I’m going to get an early start.

Friday, June 21, 2019

OSBT Day 14-Lots of Climbing and Lots of Brown Signs

My new hiking friends, Rachel and Wexler got packed up about the same time as me. They were hoping to hitch to Gold Beach. We took this photo as I was leaving, and they were waiting. 

Gotta love Wexler’s hair!

The first stop of the day was for the obligatory photo with the dinosaurs.

A family pulled up with two young boys. Unfortunately, the place wasn’t open yet. 

It was just steady riding along the Coast until Ophir Wayside. There, I stopped for a break. 

As I was getting ready to go, I saw Montreal Mark go by. I caught up to him pretty quickly. I told him that the Old Coast Rd. would be coming up soon. It’s well signed for the bike route, so I didn’t worry that he would miss it. 

This used to be the “highway”. Didn’t see a single car. 

Crossing over the Rogue River into Gold Beach was the easiest bridge. There still wasn’t a shoulder, but it’s a flat bridge, and the wind was at my back. 

I cruised through Gold Beach without stopping. It was too early for lunch, and I didn’t see any bakery sign. 

Just out of Gold Beach the climb up Cape Sebastian begins. It’s not a terrible climb, just kind of long. At the top, I started pedaling as hard as I could to see how fast I could go down the other side. Last time, 9 years ago, I hit my highest speed ever of 49.7mph. I knew I couldn’t hit that, but I did get up to 41! It was exhilarating! I was back down to sea level for a mile or so. 

Before long, it was back up. The Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor is the collective name for all the brown signs (scenic viewpoints) all the way to Brookings. I stopped at Arch Rock for some lunch. 

Then it was on to Natural Bridges. 

Then, over the Thomas Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in Oregon. Unfortunately, they were doing construction, so I couldn’t stop on the bridge. It was down to one lane, and a traffic signal. I pulled up and got in front of a State Patrol car. He stayed behind me the whole way across the bridge. It was great!

One more stop at Whaleshead Rock, then on into Brookings. 

Since I was last at Harris Beach, they have built a bike path that goes right into the park. Because I hadn’t climbed enough already, there was one more hill to the park on the bike path. Yay...

Now I am sitting in a laundromat that is clear on the other side of town. I probably should have just stopped on my way tomorrow, but...I didn’t. Now I get to go back 2.8 miles against the wind to Harris Beach. Can’t wait!

OSBT Day 13-The Wild River Part, and a Hike to Finish

I said my goodbyes to Clement and Matthew this morning. They were going all the way to Brookings. I did change my plan, but that just meant I was going to Humbug instead of Butler Creek. 

I came back from Cape Blanco, then after a brief time on 101, headed east on Elk River Rd (aka the Wild River part of this Scenic Bikeway). I figured I’d ride to Butler Creek CG then turn around. It should have been about 22 miles from Cape Blanco. At 23 miles, I still hadn’t come to the campground, so I just turned around. 

This was a private swinging bridge for cars. I walked out to the middle, and it was swinging. I can’t imagine being in a car. 

The Elk River was really quite beautiful. Such clear green water. I suppose if I looked long enough, I could have seen some fish. 

Back on 101, I headed the few miles into Port Orford. I stopped at this colorful bakery for some lunch. 

The last few miles to Humbug Mtn. were pretty windy. Sometimes a tailwind, sometimes a cross wind. It’s a pretty section of road though. 

That’s Humbug Mtn to the left. 

Once I got my camp set up, I put on my Altras, and headed over to the Trailhead for Humbug Mtn. I hiked to the top 9 years ago, but only on the west trail. This time I did the east trail up, and the west trail down. Last time, there was no view at the top. There were too many trees. Not so now!

The mountain master???

Back at my campsite, I was preparing to go shower when Mark from Quebec came by. I haven’t seen him since Cape Lookout! Also, I was wondering if Steve would show up. Sure enough! I haven’t seen him since Cape Lookout either. 

As Steve and I were catching up, a mom and her son, who are hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, showed up. All 7 HB sites have people on them. I invited them to share my site. Rachel and Wexler (age 12) have hiked the whole Oregon Coast Trail since Ft. Stevens. Wexler is a sweet talkative kid who I thoroughly enjoyed. Rachel too, of course. I think it’s awesome that they are doing this together. She does a big adventure with him each summer. Once they finish, Rachel will return to cycling in Malaysia. 

It was a good day with 49 miles on the bike, and nearly 6 hiking. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Day 12-The Sunset (and Lighthouse

I walked back out to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse for the sunset. Matthew and Clement rode their bikes. I already experienced that wind on my bike. I didn’t need to do it again. Anyway, here’s a few photos. 

It was very cold and very windy!


OSBT Day 12-First Part of Wild River Coast Scenic Bikeway, and Goodbye to Carmen

Today was not much for photos. I didn’t feel like going to the Estuary, even though the day was sunny. Seven Devils Road was not too bad, but I did make a discovery. The two Aussies that we’re going north had both talked about the gravel part of Seven Devils. I couldn’t figure out how they ended up on gravel. Now I know. Once again, the Oregon Coast Bike Route has changed since I last did this part 10 years ago. Now, instead of coming directly out to 101 after Seven Devils and Beaver Hill Rds, there is an additional (and shorter) turn onto Whiskey Run Rd (which is an awesome downhill) which then comes back to Seven Devils Rd., then out to 101. What I discovered is that the route is not signed for people riding north. So, the northbound riders don’t know to make the turn onto Whiskey Run from Seven Devils. Instead, they stay on Seven Devils which eventually turns to gravel which includes a nasty walk-your-bike climb. They never do Whiskey Run and Beaver Hill Rds. Not signing the route north is a chink in the otherwise awesome bike infrastructure of Oregon. I know it is strongly encouraged to ride north to south, but it would be nice to at least sign the route going the other direction. 

Anyway, I made it into Bandon and found (okay, rode right by it) the Face Rock Creamery. I stopped and had a sandwich made with Face Rock cheese, and some ice cream (which is just Umpqua). I saw Carmen and told her where Face Rock Creamery was. Then I continued on, doing the scenic beach loop. I made a semi wrong turn onto Jetty Rd, but took this photo of the lighthouse. 

It was quite windy. 
When I got to the end of the road, I saw a tsunami evacuation route (looked like a bike path). Since I didn’t want to go back, then go up another hill, I just decided to go up the evacuation route. I’ll tell ya, that was a steep sucker! I was in my easiest gear, out of the saddle, pumping as hard as I could. And then...AND THEN...a snake goes slithering across the path!!! As if I wasn’t already about to bust a lung! Sheesh! Well, I survived...

I got back onto the scenic beach loop and stopped at Face Rock. 

Yep, looks the same as last time. 

I stopped at Devil’s Kitchen, but wasn’t impressed. I didn’t even bother to stop at China Creek. So, except for the fact that there was virtually no traffic, the scenic beach loop was a bit of a bust. 

I remembered there was the place where there were supposed to be world famous hotdogs. Except, I didn’t remember what the name was. I saw the sign for Langlois Market, then remembered that was the place (of course, it helped that the sign included a big hotdog). As I pulled up to the market, Serena (who I last saw with Kendra in Newport) came around the corner calling my name. I got a hotdog, and joined them. I also met a German guy going north (from Argentina). I told him about the turn to avoid gravel on Seven Devils. I was happy to share my discovery. 

Serena, Kendra, and their friend, Jackie, we’re going on to Humbug Mtn. Sadly, I won’t see them again. 

After eating, I was ready to go and I saw Carmen ride by. I chased after her and caught up. She is faster than I am, so I didn’t ride with her for long. However, as I came up to the turn to go to Cape Blanco, she was waiting for me. She was also heading to Humbug. I won’t see her again either...very sad, but I would have only had 2 more says with her if I had been going to Humbug. 

I was not going to Humbug because I was starting the first of my Oregon Scenic Bikeways, Wild River Coast. It goes out to Cape Blanco. I think I would have gone to Cape Blanco anyway because I have never been there. 

Goodbye Carmen!

The road out to Cape Blanco was okay, but the wind was brutal. Sometimes a headwind, often times a crosswind. Also, there was a huge downhill, followed by a bigger uphill (I knew this beforehand). 
I rode to the end of the road to get a photo of the lighthouse. 

The wind was so strong, my helmet with the Sa Brim was choking me! I rode back to the campground pronto!

Clement and Matthew are here too, so I still have some friends for one more night!