Monday, July 27, 2009

Day Five: Sunset Bay SP (Charleston, OR) to Harris Beach SP (Brookings, OR)

(back-dated. actually posted on 8/3/2009)

This was our first really ambitious day together.  I was a bit nervous about whether we’d reach San Francisco on time if we kept doing 55-60 miles/day.  Two reasonable options for the day’s endpoint were proposed: Humbug Mountain (about 50-60 miles) and Harris Beach (100-105 miles).  There aren’t any state campground between the two but each of these has hiker/biker and showers.  So should we go a bit short or a bit long?  You already know the answer.

I think that we woke up at 6 and hoped to leave camp by 7.  We didn’t miss these targets by much and were soon enjoying the Seven Devils.  I think that I inadvertently started discussing the devils a bit prematurely on the Day Four write-up.  Oops.  Old age will do that to a man.

We had a quick snack or pre-breakfast at the campsite and planned to stop for our real breakfast in Bandon.  We found an excellent spot there and I had to order my french toast, eggs, bacon and muffin separately because there wasn’t a single menu item that incorporated all of the right elements.  Vaibhav really enjoyed seeing my four plates to his one.  I wondered out loud how he planned to ride 100 miles on such a small breakfast!

Our other big stop for the day was Gold Beach.  After crossing the Rogue River (I wanted to find the Rogue Brewery, assuming there is some correlation) we stopped at a little tourist mall and had snacks & ice cream.  The ice cream was a surprisingly good value as I got a huge scoop for $2.50 and Vaibhav got about the biggest yogurt I’d ever seen for about $4.

Gold Beach sits at the foot of what appeared to be the most intimidating hill yet on our route.  It climbed from near sea level to about 900 feet, spreading the gain over 3-4 miles.  Vaibhav trotted out his trusty phrase, “I might have to walk my bike up that one.”  He got a lot of mileage out of this phrase over the course of the trip but never actually walked his bike.  You could say that he talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk, eh?

After cresting the hill together, I rode ahead in order to set up camp and buy groceries and hopefully do some laundry in town.  I also wanted to sneak in an evening run as I hadn’t run at all since leaving Seattle.  This to-do list meant that I couldn’t spend much time in Samuel H Boardman State Park in southern Oregon.  This looked like an incredibly beautiful area from what I did see in person and in the guidebooks.  There were a few natural bridges and archways that you could hike to, some of which had viewpoints a mere quarter-mile hike from the main road.  But I wasn’t sure exactly which viewpoints to check, and I was worried about time so I just tried to get some views from the roadside viewpoints.  Lame.  If I ever go again I would definitely allow more time here.

I got to camp and found that the hiker/biker section at Harris Beach has named sites for each group of hikers/bikers/  Nifty.  They’re all still within chatting distance of one another but are removed from the RV/car campers.

When I checked in I was super-psyched to learn that Harris Beach State Park has a laundry facility. Woohoo!  I’ve never been more excited about laundry.  Awesome!  It did close a bit early, like maybe 9pm … so we had to be a bit quick with things.

I went four about a four mile jog, covering all of the trails in the park.  I made it to the top of a butte and had a gorgeous almost-sunset view of the coast.  Then I ran down to the beach, took of my shoes and ran in the sand along the water line.  There were some huge boulders down there – it was very Oregon Coast.  I wish I’d brought my camera on the run.

After the run I threw some clothes in the wash before riding the mile or so into Brookings to grab dinner.  I found a Fred Meyer and was surprisingly excited to buy my usual salad fixings (pound of spinach, dried cranberries, bleu cheese, pecans) and some macadamia nuts and a few items for Vaibhav and an 8-piece roasted chicken dinner for me.  Yum.

Back at camp Vaibhav and I hung out with Lisa from Vancouver, who had ditched her slower-moving friends by now; and Andrew from Australia, who would become our riding buddy on Day Six.  Lisa planned to stick around in camp a bit later in order to do laundry.  I saw her riding in as I left for the grocery store and she eagerly yelled back, “shut the front door!”  As in “shut the f*** up…” maybe you had to be there.  I thought it was pretty funny.

On to the pictures:

11:43am: on the road after breakfast in Bandon


12:13pm: a river that we biked over.  it was less blurry in person. I must have been riding really fast.


12:30pm: entering Port Orford


12:43pm: more sights and sounds of Port Orford, without the sounds.  Apparently I have this obsession with logging trucks.

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12:51pm: some rock outside of Port Orford, shrouded in a mysterious fog.  Isn’t it a bit late in the day to still have this much fog?  I guess that is the Oregon Coast for you.

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1:12pm: it is a bit sunnier now, and still pretty.  I think this was on the descent to/near/from Humbug Mountain.  It was in the Humbug Mountain State Park, IIRC.

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2:09pm: I waited for Vaibhav at the bottom of the descent near these dinosaurs.  Apparently I’m a really good descender, at least compared to guys who don’t race.  It’s a start.


2:18pm: more scenery near Humbug Mountain


2:27-2:30pm: we ride along a beach


2:39pm: some kind of river empties into the ocean here


2:46pm: the road and the beach


3:30-ish: the view into Gold Beach, looking at the mouth of the Rogue River.  There was a lot of fog on the descent but then it was clear at the bridge and in the town.  The bridge looked pretty cool.  The town had a few food options but we just stopped at the first place that we saw.


After these pictures, we rolled up and over the big climb and worked our way into camp. 

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