Soaring down the South Coast

Day 4, Bullards Beach to Humbug Mountain State Park, 37 miles

A shorter ride today, a longer time in the Bandon coffee shop. Updates to the accounting at the restaurant, and the menu, and emails to people down the road, blog updates, checking the Facebook, charging up the laptop, phone, backup battery. And resting in the morning, after such a long haul yesterday, I’m breathing deeply, and feeling at ease.

It’s one in the afternoon when I’m finally off. I spin by Old Town Bandon, gawking at the garbage art, “Henry the Fish”, made entirely of floating trash. Beautiful and horrifying, all at once. I continue south on 101 over rolling coastal plains, passing cranberry bogs and salt marshes, groves of myrtlewood and shore pine. The sky is clear and crisp, a strong tail wind aides my cranky legs. It’s ok to get a push from behind now and then, isn’t it? Late lunch in Langlois, “World’s Famous Hot Dog” and ginger lemon kombucha. Nom nom nom. As I so like to write on Facebook.

The last miles before Port Orford climb past the Sixes River, and I remember here that the ODOT worker told me years back, “Be careful, we lost two bikers today.” An awful wreck just a couple hours before, two women hit, airlifted to Eugene. I read recently the driver was charged with criminal neglect. I take more caution, staying to the far right of the shoulder. I always ride defensively, and am wary of ever interaction with vehicles. I understand the risk I take, cycling the highways. But every adventure involves risk, does it not? Onwards!

I descend into Port Orford late afternoon. I stop at Ray’s for dinner provisions and to connect with Emily back at the restaurant. Printing menus remotely. Laptop out, tethered to my phone, the marvels of interconnectivity. But you know what it means, I ask Emily. The Matrix is everywhere. If only it were a movie. Business done, I ride on, stopping at the Battle Rock overlook. The historical marker describes the “clash of cultures” when white settlers arrived, fought off initially then prevailing to found what is now Port Orford. It doesn’t describe the fate of the Native Americas who lost the battle, conquered, moved to reservations. History is written by the victors. How little awareness we still have of the genocide that this nation is built upon.

Eight more miles. over bluffs and cliffs, legs straining but strong. Somewhere along the way, my odometer clicks through to 18,000 miles. Not enough for 5 years of cycling. I vow to ride more next year!  At last I arrive at the campground nestled is the river valley behind Humbug Mountain. I join Alice and Roberta and four other cyclists in the hiker biker site. Most head down to the beach to watch the sunset, and I bring tea over the share with Alice. We talk about London and politics, the difference between royalty and celebrities. The “blood moon” eclipse peaks through the trees, the concurrence of a “Super” blue moon and an eclipse. Soon many stars appear. I bid Alice good night and head up to my tent.

A bard owl is calling, full moon makes for a good night to hunt. Late summer crickets are softly purring. I feel as home here as I ever have, anywhere. Such a beautiful night.

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