Day 14, Umpqua Lighthouse to Bullards Beach State Park, 46 miles
In the morning light I meet my neighboring cyclist, John, who’s been on the road over a year and a half. Retired, sold his house, he’s been across Canada, through the Rockies, now heading down the coast to pick up the Southern Tier to New Mexico for the winter. I’m warmed by our conversation, though the early air is brisk.
My ride today is long and challenging. I’m feeling sore in the saddle, lonely from the long miles through the forested dunes highway of the central Oregon coast. I put on some music to help with the pedaling. I’m stopping a lot on hills, along straight flat stretches. Resting, looking about, paying attention. Breathing in the clear air.
Miles pass, then I’m at the approach to the McCullough bridge at North Bend. I opt to climb up it on the sidewalk, not wanting to experience the harassing horn blasts or profane curses of the locals on the long ascent. Such an inspiring work of engineering and aesthetics. I pause at the crest to take in the view, before crossing and descending into town. Then on to Coos Head Food Coop, a regular stop. I pause for lunch, then resume the rest of the day’s ride, twenty more miles to Bandon and Bullards Beach State Park.
I’m chilled when I arrive, now the persistent experience of this tour. I greet John once again, the only other cyclist in the Hiker Biker site. Past years this camp has been bustling. I set up my camp, then head to the shower. The hot water is divine, a wonderful close to a cold day.