Today was going to be a short day. I had been up to this as my ‘well deserved rest day’. After all my knees and thighs were burning. It didn’t quite turn out like that.
I woke up I was extremely tired. I made the mistake of going to sleep at 9pm. I had done my writing, I had read enough of my book so there was only one thing to do – grow up. However, I did wake up at 11:30, unable to sleep until 2am. I was itchy from mosquito bites that I had managed to make bleed with a scratching outburst. My eyes were so puffy that I felt like I needed to submerge it in a sink of cold water. It felt like I’d been stung on the eyes. I was sulky and feeling sorry for myself for sure. Thank goodness for rest day . . .
I rode alone today. Gerald, Gen and Jace were all doing their own thing, and Becca was already gone by the time we all woke up. I probably would have ridden with at least one of them but my plans today were to stop in Newport. I chose Newport because I heard good things from Paul and Oz. They had recommended Mo’s to me. Newport is home to the original and they are famous for their clam chowder, and the billboards back them up on it. In my head I had a sleepy coastal town (in a similar vein as to what Mendocino turned out to be – but that’s for another post!), with a nice old dock where the fishing boats were.
The ride in the morning was pretty again. I took a nice side road called Otter Rock Loop. This ran parallel to the 101 but with an ocean view. There is a wood between the 2 roads so you can hardly hear or see the road. Otter Rock Loop is also for the most part a one way road – meaning it’s quite and you can really take in the views at your leisure. This was one of the most peaceful parts of the day. It was quite surreal once I was here. In my research when back in the UK I was just looking at the route on Google Maps. I went to Street View quite a few times and Otter Rock Loop was one of these. It wasn’t picked for any particular reason but it brought back memories of when this was only a dream. Now I am here
As I rolled in it was clear that this place was far bigger than I had anticipated. I went to Yaquina lighthouse, which is as you enter from the North. It was a beautiful spot to take a rest and enjoy some views. It was windy, it was fresh and there was wildlife for all to see. I saw some whales and copious amounts of puffins. I would certainly recommend a little side trip here. It’s free for bikes as well so even better.
After winding down the road back to the 101 I head into Newport proper. What I got, at least from what I saw, was ‘just another town’. The 101 ran straight through it, flanked by supermarkets, outlet stores and motels. This is very much different to the watercolour painting that I had in my mind. And it was this part of town that I was thinking of staying
In hindsight I didn’t really give the town a chance. I was sulking because I was hungry, I was over tired and I was so disappointed at what I initially saw that I didn’t go to the old town or try to find the ‘good’ part. I did stop for essentials such as camping gas. I had been eating oats and trail mix with water for dinner for the last couple of nights. So this was a WIN.
I also managed to get a new pair of cycle shorts from Bike Newport. This store had plenty of everything however I only left with my shorts. I only brought one pair with me and it was starting to take it’s toll. I know that I was among other cyclists on the road but . . . it just got to a point. At least could now rotate.
After my snap decision I sulked onto the next camp site in the book. I got to South Beach State Park but I thought I should push on. “I think Jace said he was going to Beachside”. So that’s what I did, I pushed on. Because of my mood I found it a difficult ride. It really highlights how important mood and the mind is when doing these kinds of things. It’s not as if I’m climbing K2 but you know, it all has an impact.
Finally at Beachside, I see Jace has already set his tent up. I got set-up and cooked dinner with my new gas stove – I had a dinner of champions . . .soup and the bread I got from Otis Cafe. I was living the dream. Afterwards we went to the beach. There was still plenty of sun time left so we went for a bit of a walk up. We had decided that seeing as we were athletes, we should take an ice bath. Toes in . . . it was so cold. Ankle deep was even worse. I made it up to my gonads. I wasn’t going any further. Jace with his young naivety decided to go in full shabang. He looked like he had fun at least. Walking out from the ocean made me realise that this was a great idea. It helped flush out all the lactic acid that had been building and festering in my muscles.
Jace and I got chatting. It turns out that his funny accent was from Minnesota. That’s why I had Fargo in my head (I know that Fargo is in North Dakota – but accuracy isn’t important for this!). He was 19, on summer break from University. He had been planning on going on a road-trip on the west coast with some friends but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. “Fuck it, I’m going to ride from Portland to San Francisco” was his response. Something I value a lot. He bought everything in Portland – the bike, the tent, the panniers and sleeping bag. I wouldn’t quite say that the stuff was the most suitable of equipment (Walmart tent and bag – $30 each, the bike was suspect and the panniers were pocketed material draped over the back). BUT he made it this far already
It was during these chats that I realised I was nearing the 1/2 way mark. Time had really ran away quickly. Writing this up now makes me feel like I should savoir more of it. But then again it would be boring for you!
- Route can be found HERE