Leaving home again

Day 13, Yachats to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, 55 miles

I head out from Yachats after bidding Jennifer a bittersweet farewell. Our time together has strengthened our bond, leaving us wanting more time. I’m glad rains are holding back today, but the temperatures are predicted to be mid 50s. I ride over the familiar hills south of Yachats, climbing headlands with wide vistas of the ocean and rocky shore.

I feel the aching in my legs as I climb the hills. I hear the voice of judgement, why didn’t I train for this tour? The simple answer was the stress of running the restaurant and of managing the challenges on the land. I fell into old habits for coping which didn’t contribute to my fitness. I remind myself to accept what is, to adjust my riding to my current ability.

The first long climb of Heceta Head is easy, continuing past the Sea Lion Caves to the long view over the Oregon Dunes. I descend to the long straightaway and pick up a light headwind. I decide to ride past Florence and Honeyman, on the next state park at Umpqua Lighthouse. Highway 101 winds through forest and dunes towards Reedsport and Winchester Bay.

I feel my energy waning as the miles pass. My average speed is around 8 mph, slower than my prior tours. The length of the ride means I’ll arrive after dark once again. I’m feeling the chill too. Grumbling to myself, wishing for better conditions, inside and out. Nevertheless, I persist and ride on.

I reach Winchester Bay and consider camping at the county RV park on the bay. The state park is just a few miles further, and I’ve never camped there, so I decide to roll on. A few steep short hills, and I’m winding around a beautiful lighthouse, casting a dazzling show of white and red beams into the foggy night. Another magical cycling moment, I’m glad I continued to the state park.

I arrive and greet a few other cyclists in the dark Hiker Biker site. I set up my tent and enjoy a hot shower, so good after the chilly ride. Gloves, wool socks and wool hat keep me snug in my cozy sleeping bag.

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