As anticlimactic the border crossing was, what Oregon impressed me most with was its coastal beauty, which, in part, I think even rivals Big Sur. That and that its headwinds are even stronger than the ones I encountered in California.
After staying with the mother of a friend of mine close to Brookings (which is just across the border), I moved north but got stopped in my tracks in Gold Beach. The headwinds were too strong, I was tired and needed a break.
Following a much needed rest day for me and my bike, I had the most enjoyable ride just north of Gold Beach after starting at first light, at 5:30am. A reasonably flat stretch of about five miles on a two lane road, little to no wind and practically no traffic. Pure riding bliss.
Snobs and Alcoholics
Close to Bandon, at the Face Rock Viewpoint, I bumped into Chris, who has been traveling on his mountain bike for 2.5 years, originally starting from North Carolina. He more or less zig-zagged around the US with no particular end destination in mind. In his mid-twenties, he travels until the money runs out and then works as a bartender for a while until he has enough funds together to get back on the road. He was also very open about his addictions.
“People seem to offer me weed everywhere I go. I normally don’t smoke, you know. I am an alcoholic, but not a dopehead.” He also bolstered that he had visited over 300 breweries so far on his trip.
That, plus the fact that he was looking at my bike and gear a little too closely, raised several red flags. He told me he would stay at Bullards Beach State Park just north of Bandon. “I’ll probably be the guy who is drunk,” he gave me a tip how to find him there.
In Bandon proper I was greeted by lots of real estate wealth, “vacation rental” signs almost everywhere along Beach Loop Drive heading into town. The crowd seemed to be made up of wealthy retirees and visitors with money, the cloud of snobbism hanging over every encounter.
The alcoholic plus the snobs were reasons enough for me to not linger around for too long. I decided to move on further north, made it to Bastendorff Beach County Park in Charleston and had the whole hiker/biker area to myself, which was actually quite relaxing and peaceful.
My only priority the next day was finally getting to Florence, the beginning of the TransAmerica Trail, and kissing this annoying headwind goodbye. I couldn’t even be asked to stop at the Oregon Dunes, which so many people told me about. I just wanted to get to Florence and finally, after more climbing than anticipated, and an interesting stop in Reedsport, OR, for a late lunch, I got there around 4pm.
My Warmshowers host however had forgotten to tell me that his house was actually located south of town which, it turns out, I had passed about five miles before Florence. So I had to do the painful backtracking including some additional climbing.
In the end, it didn’t really matter. I reached the first milestone of this trip, close to two weeks after I had left the Bay Area. Eastbound from this point on and (hopefully) the wind in my back.