39.4 mi / 11.1 mph / 1728 ft. climbing
Home: Humbug Mountain State Park hiker/biker campsite
Woke to the coldest morning so far, 38 degrees. We need to keep moving south! Even as we do, the sun sets earlier and rises later each day, so it feels like a bit of a losing battle. The good news is that the ocean that keeps the coast temperatures so cool in the summer should help prevent them from falling much lower than that in the winter…we hope?
We crossed the bridge into Bandon, got on the non-101 Beach Road, and had our senses knocked backwards by the views. So many rock formations dropped into the ocean, with trails and viewpoints everywhere. We walked our bikes through much of it, and while it didn’t make the northern Oregon rocks-and-sea coast seem like garbage in comparsion, the southern coast certainly brings a feeling of wildness and grandeur that makes it distinct. It was also nice to be in a more “coffee-shop and vacation-stay” and less “sketchy-people-at-Safeway and giant-pickup-trucks” kind of place, and the first time in a while that Rett was sad we weren’t stopping for a couple days.
But I’d had no idea what a good stopping place it would have been! I was so blown away that I was convinced that Joel and I had missed this off-101 detour nine years ago, since I had no memory. But my journal revealed that we did in fact do the same route, it was just gray clouds that day rather than blue sun, so the impact wasn’t nearly as bright. Another example of the day’s weather having a huge effect on your feelings about a place.
When we crossed into Douglas County a couple days ago, we noticed that their “Welcome to…” sign had a “We Honor Veterans” appended to it. The unspoken implication I heard was “…unlike that county of veteran-haters you just left!” We realized that a form of county peer-pressure would nearly force neighboring counties to match the honoring lest they be seen as dis-honoring, and in fact, when we entered Coos County the next day, they also had a “We Honor Veterans” tacked on to their sign. We figured that eventually the performative veteran-honoring would spread neighbor-to-neighbor like a virus across the entire country (if it has not already). So then we nearly fell off our bikes when we entered Curry County today, and their appended sign read “We Honor Veterans AND First Responders”. Ok, the sign didn’t actually have the “AND” in all-caps and italics, but it sure sounded like it did! Now the big question is, when will Coos County (and then Douglas) respond on their signs? I bet it’s being discussed in highway budget meetings at this very moment!
Near the end of the day, flying down a hill at 25mph, I hit a bump at a bridge and instantly heard a pinging in my spokes. “Oh shit, I must have broken a spoke with that impact” was my first thought, and that would be bad news. After a short while I realized that’s not quite the sound of a broken spoke, though something was definitely wrong. But Rett was already well ahead on the uphill back up from the bridge, and stopping mid-uphill is no fun, and nothing seemed to be affecting my riding, so I figured I’d keeping going for the half-mile to the top and check the bike out there.
When I finally stopped, I looked down at my rear wheel, and found a short n-shaped length of cable balanced on (and hanging from) my left chainstay (the part of the frame on the back-bottom of the bike that connects the crank to the rear wheel), that had been hitting my spokes as the wheel went around. I instantly recognized it as the special 7-inch USB-C cable I use to connect my bike’s generator charger to my handlebar mounted phone. I looked back up at my handlebars, and, yes, of course it had disappeared from that spot.
Apparently the bump had jarred it loose from the charger (I’d disconnected the phone-end to take pictures), it went flying through the air without me knowing, past my pedaling leg at 25mph, and another part of my bike four feet away perfectly caught it out of the air, and hung onto it for another half mile of riding. While not nearly as meaningful, it was a head-spinning miraculous moment that rivaled Sergi’s appearence protecting us on the bridge the previous day.
After dinner in camp, I went striding fast to catch the sunset at the beach (Rett sadly but wisely decided to save her legs). I thought I was too late, but as I was passing a campground host, she said, “I bet I know where you’re going…sunset is at 6:48, you have five minutes, and long legs, you’ll get there no problem!” That’s a quality campground host. And she was right. And it was probably the best sunset so far, so I was extra-sad to not share it with Rett, but at least I brought back a million pictures.