Today was the first day I was on a bit of a downer. This is probably when I should have had a rest day – to chill out, recuperate and cheer myself up. It was one of those days that if I wasn’t touring, I’d be going out or doing something to be alone.
Soon after leaving in the morning, Jace and I stopped off at a little ranger station to see some MORE dunes. There were 3 females rangers who were very helpful and who loved the accent. The ranger kept an eye on ours bikes as we took another tour of some dunes and it was at this point that I realised I am done with sand – they have somewhat lost their novelty. Saying this, it was a pretty fun side trip, and a great opportunity for photos. . .
Riding through Dunes City, it’s clear how it got its name. It was surreal. The Fred Meyers had a looming sand dune resting behind it. It looked as if they got the biggest diggers and pushed all the sand back to make room for the shops. A blustery wind would easily cover that shop!
Again the weather was scorching. We stopped off at Reedsport for a top-up of water, coffee and some additional bits for dinner. Although rest is always good, I was very much keen to get going again – the tarmac was throwing out so much heat that I was melting there on the spot. At least when you’re riding it you get the breeze – because we are so speedy. Keen to kick on we push to Winchester Bay.
In the distance, we can see another rider, although they seem too far to catch-up without them stopping. It didn’t quite look like anyone that we knew so this would be a new friend we could make. We take the turning to Winchester Bay to see the lighthouse there. The reason why I wanted to stop here is because Winchester (Hampshire) is the nearest city to where I grew up in the UK. By North American standards, it’s just around the corner (15 Miles). So of course I wanted to take a look. Winchester Bay was not as quaint as the home of King Alfred himself. Because of the surrounding areas (dunes) there were lots of ATV parks here. So there was a sound of quad-bikes and the smell of petrol in the air, with dogs barking at us from the trailers as we rode by. We curled up the hill and there at the top was the other cyclist.
And older gent, we got talking. He was English and was cycling from York, Virginia to San Francisco. Not only that but it was his first ever bike tour – he’s more of a triathlete. We got chatting about Winchester Bay and why I wanted to visit. It turned out that was also from also Winchester, Hampshire. So here I am, a guy from Winchester, on a bike tour in Winchester bay, having just met another guy, from Winchester, on a bike tour, in Winchester Bay. Small world eh?
Unfortunately I can’t remember his name, but we left ‘John’ behind as he wanted to see more of Winchester Bay. A nice climb was ahead of us as we left.
The next major stop was North Bend. I had my one and only incident of road rage (from me!) here. We were crawling over the bridge the joins Glasgow and North Bend. I could feel that we were slowing the traffic behind us, but that’s what happens, it’s a bridge with a small shoulder. As we neared the end this big RV was breathing down our necks.
It then continued to crawl next to us, over taking. It was inches away from my handle bars. It was one of those rental RV’s that many people had warned me about. “It’s not the trucks you need to worry about, they are professional drivers, it’s the hire RV’s – car drivers who don’t know how to drive something that big”.
We were going so slow, and therefore unstable enough to ride one handed to flick him the finger. It’s OK as I shouted lots instead. I was hoping that the traffic lights ahead would stop them so I could pull up and give them what-for. Fortunately for them that wasn’t the case and they escaped. With the grumpy mood that I was in all day fury was burning in my eyes.
North Bend is where I experienced my first and last Taco Bell. I generally hate these types of places but I was very hungry and there wasn’t much else about so I had to make a decision of just eating. Never again. Afterwards, I got some new sun glasses from the sports shop. Having never met an English person before the girl serving me (must have been about 17) was fascinated. We walked everything British – the BBC, Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch and Adele. She was throwing all her Brit knowledge to me. It was very sweet.
After navigating the city, we were only a couple of kilometres out from the camp site. Riding over the final bridge into Charlsetown I hear a BANG but no hiss
Balls – my first puncture. I take a look at my back tire and it’s completely gone. What was more concerning was the rattling noise that was all so present. A screw maybe 1.5 – 2 inches long is hanging out of the tire. THAT is what the noise was. In the given mood this was the last thing I needed for the day. We walked off to the end of the bridge and started working on it. I took the wheel off, stripped it of the tire and inner tube. I patched up the tire from the inside so that the new inner didn’t bulge out. I went to pump it up and nothing was happening. The pump wasn’t working. I was now slightly stuck as to what to do. The general stores that were there were either closed or didn’t have and bike equipment. The nearest bike shop was back in North Bend, 15k away.
Jace thought he saw a Walmart on the way in which would have bike stuff so he made his way back over the bridge to where we came from in the hunt of a Walmart. As this was going on, I was sulking and watching my bike. There was a homeless couple that seemed to live under the bridge. They had a dog with them which the guy from the couple seemed to be abusing. You could hear the dog growl and bark as he yanked the lead etc. There were a number of people with pick-up trucks that I was very tempted to ask a ride from, in order to get to camp. As I say, it was only 2 k to camp.
Jace was riding back over the bridge. He didn’t get as far as Walmart but there were a couple of Hiker Bikers that were also heading to Sunset. They gave me a matching pump. Life Savers. They head on whilst we finished up.
If I am honest – I didn’t deal with this in the best way. It wasn’t such a big deal, but with my tiredness and general foul mood I flapped a bit. Jace was chill and did a great job.
In camp everyone was there. Gen, Becca, the 2 guys with the pump, one guy from Honeyman and of course, Scott and Andy. Jace and I head down to the beach with Gen for our daily ritual of dipping in the water. It was a great evening from that point onward. It was chill and we had some good chats. Jace decided to head back to camp, leaving Gen and myself on the beach, just around sunset. Now, he denied this when I asked about him later, but I was sure that he left me with Gen with the thought of giving us space – Not that there was anything to indicate something could happening (between Gen and I) mind, but it was thoughtful all the same.
Anyway, the sunset that night was very pretty
- You can find the route HERE