Proving myself able

Day 3: Humbug Mountain to Harris Beach State Park, 50 miles

I wake with much apprehension. Not of today’s ride, but the next, when 1000 foot climbs through the Del Norte Coast will challenge my strength and tenacity. As I head out, I feel the complaints of legs and glutes and lower back, and wrists and shoulders. Stretch while I ride, keep pedaling. Take breaks, more frequently. The first 20 miles pass, and I descend into Gold Beach.

On to the book store cafe for coffee and a respite. There I meet a friendly German hiker, who asks if I can help him transfer pictures from SD card to hard drive. I gladly do, and we strike up a conversation about hiking and cycling, about meeting people on the road. He wonders at Americans’ tendency to relocated so frequently. Seems not so common in Germany. Maybe people are less discontent, less eager to change? I share the blog with him and wonder if we will be in contact again. I’d love to host him in Oregon, if I had the space and the timing was right.

A strong northerly wind has picked up. But it’s 230 and I’ve got 30 miles to go before I reach Harris Beach, as campground just north of Brookings.The wind carries me on the straightaways, but then come the hills. First is the climb over Cape Sebastian. Long, steady pedaling yields stunning views and a thrilling descent down a 6% grade. Winds carry me at 20 mph on the flats near Pistol River, where climbing resumes into Boardman State Park. I cross the Thompson Creek bridge, where I got the bad news in 2012 that my friend Zach had died. Memories attached to places. So many.

On, and on. The last few miles to Harris Beach are tedious, challenging my mind as well. The voice of No is ringing. Stop, more water. Eat. On, there, just a couple miles left. Then the sign for the campground, and the sweeping right turn, down into camp. Victorious, again. I can do this.

After catching a beautiful sunset, I wander over to the fire that my Canadian friends have lit, where the two Brits have joined. The warmth of the fire mirrors the warmth of my heart, feeling connection and accomplishment. They as about the ride ahead, and I share what I know, of the stops, the sights. A pair of owls are calling in the dusk. Laughter from my new friends. I want to stay up longer. But I must sleep. Tomorrow, the hills!

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6 thoughts on “Proving myself able

  1. Your words and photos so perfectly encapsulate all of the emotions of cycling.

    That photo of the two Marilyn Monroes is a hoot! I noticed the fan in the background. Did you plug it in and aim at the mannequin to see if you could perfectly replicate the picture on the wall? 🙂

      1. The mini-tour was grand! From departing ferry to arriving ferry, the trip was just at 24 hours, but it felt like a wondrous eternity!

      2. I’m thinking of doing mini-tours when I get home to Corvallis. Riding out to Newport, camping a night or two, then riding back from Waldport. That way I get my coastal time as well as lots of long distance cycling.

  2. Incredible journey. Thank you for sharing your voyage, pictures and thoughts. You are inspiring, crazy, and courageous. I am challenging myself to ride (almost) everyday, not along scary cliffs that might plummet me to the depths of the sea… however just riding to work and back. Seems so piddly in comparison. Stay strong! You rock! Shelley

    1. Thanks for your encouragement And don’t discount bicycle commuting, many who commute log more miles than I will on this trip, and face perils as treacherous – the morning motorists!

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