Daily miles – 75. Total miles – 632.
An earlier start was accomplished today! We managed to hit the road a little before 8:30. We started out with some climbing into a clearcut region about 750 feet above the ocean. The landscape of clearcuts, patches of remaining forest, and curving logging roads reminded me of going to Thistledew in northern Minnesota. The riding was super fun and best of all, was not on the freeway, so no loud trucks and less glass on the shoulder to worry about copping yet more flats. More on that later . . .
We made our way into Coss Bay/North Bend. Found a bike shop, but no better patch kits so only got a tube and kept going. Found a library with internet access, so I tried to upload photos. But…it appears they blocked Java script precluding me from uploading. *SIGH* – y’all are stuck with verbal rantings from M&C for now – pictures uploaded for sure in Portland in a few days though . . .
Had lunch in a cafe and made some calls, everything was looking like we were on schedule to make a pretty short day of it.
The Pacific Coast guide book, in addition to preaching the gospel of never going south to north, indicated that the bridge leaving Coos Bay to the north really sucks. We though – yeah, it might be kind of a drag, but how bad could it be? Unfortunately, the wind rips up the bay, the sidewalk is narrow, and riding on the road is prohibited. A sign said to walk bikes on the sidewalk, but a mile-long walk strolling with the loaded tandem in biking shoes did not appeal to either of us. We figured, if the wind blew us hard, the worst that could happen is we would scrape against the guard rail to the right. So, we started riding on the sidewalk. It was OK until we crested over the high point of the bridge. It was extremely hard to control, and Chandra’s ability to be totally neutral and Zen on the back was critical to keeping us in control. The problem was descending the other side. Without pedalling for forward momentum, it was like paddling a canoe at the same speed as the river – not enough control. We held it together until three big trucks passed right after the other, and the crosswind was very strong. We got totally Maytagged in their turbulent wakes, and the third on sent us into uncontrollable fishtailing – just like day 1, only this time we crashed into the guard rail sign I thought that would be better than jumping the curb down into the Winnebago/Truck/Hummer/Car lane. Crumbs! Neither we nor the bike we seriously injured, although I ripped a big hole in my brand new knee warmers, we both scraped our right sides a little, and our pride was floating out to see onthe river below us. We walked the last few meters tail between legs and, in the howling wind, regrouped and got ready to ride. The book was right – everything about this bridge sucked.
Clear of the worst, we rode on the highly littered shoulder among tons of truck traffic, and were simply delighted to hear the whooshing sound of a pinch flat as we hit a rock on the shoulder that could not be avoided.
Technically, Francesca couldn’t do anything about such obstacle, which are the responsibility of Elvin – patron saint of roadside detritus avoidance. We laughed it off, but had to change the tube in the howling wind. Some self-righteous biker going south said “have fun!”, I think trying to let us know how he felt about the wind we were heading into. I hope he enjoyed the bridge as much as we did – punk . . . we fixed the tube abd we thankful it wasn’t the previous hole returning favors. After a couple miles, though, it was flat. We got in the shelter of some kitch gift shop and saw that I made a hole in the tube with the tire lever – bonehead maneuver, but haven’t done it in a while! Chandra patched it up, and we were good to go.
From there, it was a hard push, but not nearly as hard as the previous day. We got to camp a little late, but had time for Chandra to make a jambalaya-esque soup complete with canned shrimp, we had some wine, and were able to laugh off the challenges earlier in the day.
The weather is holding – cool, but not cold. Windy but not gales. No rain, but some may be coming. For now though, it is utopic. Chandra patched up the knee warmers with a sewing kit from the hotel in Arcata. She’s crashed, and I am about to join her.