Day 1: North Bend Bridge to Bullard Beach SP, 25 miles
At last, this antsy traveler takes to the road! A long hiatus from touring, since my last trip in 2013. Many factors kept me grounded in Corvallis, including sagging sales at the restaurant in early 2014. I just couldn’t afford to be away. In October, after goading from Seth and Shawn, we embarked in a renovation project to replace the failed canopy, clean up the grounds, repaint the restaurant and lime wash the cob wall.
The new look brought in new sales in October, turing the tide of red ink into black. We didn’t complete the makeover until April, with a new floor finish and table tops. Then painting and re-upholstering all the chairs. The results are stunning, a beautiful new dining room. Unfortunately, the renovation project cut into my planned departure by three days. I couldn’t skimp on the schedule, because I have tickets to see one of my favorite performers in San Francisco on the 29th.
So I asked my friend Angelina for a lift to Coos Bay. Not fully aware of how far down the coast we were going to drive, she agreed to the road trip, planning to leave at 7am. But it was 1am and I still had to pack for the tour. Not as simple as I thought, I spread everything out in a big mess on the floor of the Kiva, then gradually organized and filled the panniers, my new Ortlieb bags from REI. Their first tour! Angelina showed after 8am, though I was up with the dawn. Funny how the anticipation of adventure makes sleep optional.
We threw my bike and bags in her car, and headed out the Alsea Highway. So strange, to drive in an hour, what would be a day’s ride. Then another hour, replacing another day of cycling. Stopping to see the Heceta lighthouse, I was struck how car travel nearly completely restricts the enjoyment of our most spectacular coastal highway. Of course, it also protects the motorist from the Oregon drizzle, no fun to cycle in at all! Another hour, another day’s ride replaced. By driving to North Bend, I started riding where my fourth day would begin.
Now for the ride. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit my conditioning for this tour is far from adequate. I haven’t cycled much in my hiatus, except in earnest for the last three weeks, as sort of “Bicycle Boot Camp”. But as my friend Sarah says, you can always train on the tour. Of course! So shorter rides to start, including today’s 25 miler.
The drizzle cleared as I set out, down my beloved 101. I decided to camp at Bullard Beach, an easy distance for a first day, and near the quaint town of Bandon. The first ten miles, I fairly cruised with a strong northerly tailwind. Ah, coastal touring at its finest! Then came two long hills. Gearing down, I set to climbing. Legs weren’t complaining. The Boot Camp had prepped me for this. The campground appeared, just as I was ready to stop. Two cyclists from Montreal greeted me, we chatted about the road. The hiker biker site here is brand spanking new, with lockers and solar-powered USB chargers!
A shower that seemed too hot at first (because I was too cold), then a quick spin down to see the Coquille River lighthouse. Dusk appears as I crash into my tent. Tired, but deeply satisfied. My road legs are returning. I’m ready to discover what awaits tomorrow.