16 Jul Day 20: Tailwind (Florence to Sunset Bay SP)
Waking up from a warm and soft bed this morning to go out on the road to endure a day of gloomy cold weather was not appealing at all. We had an alarm for 7AM, but didn’t roll out of bed until 7:30. Eventually, we made it out of the motel a little after 8AM to the local shipping store to send out some items we weren’t using.
Sang Hyun’s DSLR camera was the big-ticket item to be sent back because he forgot to bring his battery charger for it. It’s actually quite amazing how energy efficient his camera was with the many times he used it for the past 3 weeks. I also included my contact solution and an extra pair of contacts with the shipment. I’ve been more comfortable riding with my glasses than anything else and may get a pair of prescription sunglasses when I get back just for touring. Keeping my eyes hydrated and clean has been challenging and cumbersome so I’m just going to abandon that all together.
Next, we entered the Oregon Dunes once we left the city limits of Florence. Parks and forests on the right hand side was covered in fine brown sand for the majority of the miles that we pedaled today. We had 2 big climbs-the first came right before we made it into the town of Gardiner and the other one was right after Winchester Bay. Our legs really warmed up and got through the climbs without any issues.
Winds On Our Backs
The best thing of the day was when we reached the town of Lakeside where tailwind was so fierce that it blew us all the way into the entrance of the bridge in North Bend. It was amazing! I was in my biggest chainring in constant spin even on uphills. When we got to the bridge, we waited there for traffic to calm down before making our mad rush across the bridge. This wasn’t as treacherous as the Astoria one, but it was narrow and we had logging trucks on the road buzzing by. The descent out of the bridge was phenomenal. We finally veered off the 101 and followed the recommended path from our ACA maps and led us through the big town of North Bend, which did not have very good bicycling infrastructure. It wasn’t until we reached their neighboring town of Coos Bay when we finally set eyes on some bike lanes.
We continued on through Charleston and then found our path into the Sunset Bay State Park. This is a beautiful location where a single seal was napping on the beach while park visitors walked around the ribboned off animal. We checked into the hiker / biker site for only $5 a person which includes the best shower facilities so far. The water pressure was good, you can control the temperature very well, and it was all free. It was almost like showering at a hotel.
New & Old Friends
We also got to meet a new bicycle tourist named Portlan. He started his journey in Florence, where we had previously stayed and was on his 2nd day of riding on a longtail Xtracycle bicycle. He’s from San Diego and is planning to ride the bike back home. He actually showed up at our campsite after we passed him right before the town of Lakeside. Really cool guy who is nervous, but excited about his own adventure. We assured him that he’ll do fine and should be home by August 17th for work.
Two other familiar faces showed up at our camp later. The couple we met at Port Townsend, Nick and Jennifer, rolled in at 6PM. They had a few short days last week and was coming off of a day from Newport. Seeing familiar faces has been one of the best things on this trip. I’m glad we’re building our own community of traveling bicycle tourists as we all attempt to reach our destinations. It’s always good to hear about their ups and downs, as well as remember things we experienced through the same towns. This does not get old at all.
Tomorrow is going to be another 50+ miler into Humbug Mountain State Park. We sure hope tailwinds will be as strong, melting the hills away as it did today.