Riders on the storm


Day 46: South Beach to Heceta Head side trip, 62 miles

The rain seems light, and I see an exciting ride looming: cycle south, into the wind of the oncoming storm, then turn and fly back north with the same wind at my back.  I’ve done this before, from Newport to the same turning point, the overlook just past the lighthouse and tunnel.

My spirits are bright, though the sky cloudy and dark.  I start before sunrise, knowing the daylight is limited and wanting to stop in Yachats.  One benefit of a winter storm is warmer temperatures.

Riding is easy, as the wind isn’t expected to pick up until the afternoon.  Then coming over the Alsea Bay bridge I notice an extra vibration.  Flat tire!  First in over 1800 miles.  I stop and repair it in the laundromat, taking advantage of the warm space to dry the flat repair glue.

I ride on to Yachats, where stop at the Green Salmon Coffeehouse. I enjoying see the little cafe very busy on a Sunday morning.  And great coffee!  I meet two cyclists touring from Vancouver and wish them well as they head into the storm.  They seem much more optimistic than the cyclists I met two days ago in Lincoln City, also touring the Oregon Coast in the “wrong” season.  It all depends on how you see things…

As for me, I am excited as I head out again, over the most familiar coastline: Cape Perpetua, Neptune Park, Cummins Ridge, Strawberry Hill, Rock Creek, Big Creek, Washburn State Park and up Heceta Head.  Winds buffet me as I head up to the overlook.  I linger just a moment, looking across the windswept surf to the iconic lighthouse, then far below where sea lions barking in chorus.  Then I turn, and head north.

I make good time, the storm wind now at my tail.  Rain is still light.  Is this storm really coming? I don’t wait to see, riding hard to get back to camp before dark. Sun is setting before 5pm now, as we approach the Winter Solstice and the end of the world?  We will see.

I cross the Alsea Bay bridge and head up the hill.  Then just before Seal Rock, another flat!  And out in the rain, where repairs are much harder.  Somehow I manage to break the stem off the tube, so with no spare tube I am stuck.  I lay the bike down, and out goes the thumb.  Cyclist with broken bike, shouldn’t be hard to catch a lift?  Not true, as dozens of cars pass, and several pickups.  OK, I know you hate us cyclists, but I’ll ride in the back…

Then a truck turns around.  The driver says he has toured the coast, gotten lifts before and felt he should return the favor.  I relax into the warmth of the cab, chatting about my tour and glad to receive his generosity. Back at the camp I thank him and set to fixing the flat.  The storm seems to have stalled out, none of the huge wind that was predicted.  I am glad for this, and to see my tent in the grove of shore pines that is the Hiker Biker site at South Beach.


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