9/3/18 – Carl Washburn State Park to Coos Bay

63.6 Miles

3025 ft Climbing

I got moving early today, expecting a 73 mile day with 3271 feet of climbing, which is a scary undertaking for this girl. Within the first four miles of my day, I blew an entire hour on my first two stops. is this some sort of conspiracy?

First, I got suckered into riding down to the beach on a super steep park road to see the Heceta Head Lighthouse. When I got down there, the lighthouse was in the trees, and there was no way to see it from the park, without taking a long hike. Ummm….not going to happen today, folks. So I read about the bridge up above, the one I was going to cross after climbing that super steep hill.

See that flash of white up in the trees on the right? That’s the lighthouses.

It turns out that bridge is historic, as all bridges seem to be, here in Oregon. In 1931, the state newspaper wrote about this bridge, “You can’t help but wonder how in the dickens the Great State of Oregon wants to make an expenditure like this to cross a little creek that isn’t more than knee deep.” We’re not talking just bridge here, we’re also talking adjacent tunnel. But cars (and bikes) need to be able to travel the coast, right? Spare no expense.

It’s worth noting that after climbing the hill, crossing the bridge, passing through the tunnel and rolling down the road a little, I came upon a scenic turnout with this view of the lighthouse. Wish I had a bigger lense.

My map told me I was coming up on Seal Rock, and signs were promoting Seal Caves up ahead, when I started to hear barking from below. Sure enough, it was more of those seals we saw in Astoria, lounging on the rocks and swimming in the ocean and tide pools. So when I came to the Seal Caves, I took a pass. It looked like another walking adventure of undetermined length, and I was conserving my time for the climbing up ahead.

In Florence I stopped at Safeway to resupply my cookies and Gatorade and to get a banana. Then it was time for my healthy lunch. If you’re on a diet, don’t be a hater. I need calories, right now. Lots of them.

The. next thing I new, I was in Dunes City looking at a huge sand dune on the side of the road and a sign advertising sand surfing. Oh my goodness–I have to try that! There were also ATVs ready and waiting for my next visit. When I am coming back to this town? I had to stop and talk to my sister Janette on the phone about this place.

Why didn’t I snap a photo of that sand dune? I guess, because I figured I would see a bunch of them up ahead, as I was entering the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

There were sand dunes through the trees, which you can’t get a photo of. There were forested areas with sand on the ground. There were lakes with lily pads on them. Just no pristine sand dunes that you can see from the road, aside from the one in Dunes City. Don’t laugh. Here is my best shot.

Fred Wahl Marine Construction, is a business that caught my eye, as I headed into Reedsport, with several large vessels in various stages of restoration.

Now I was on the quest to see yet another lighthouse, at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. More cautious, this time, I cycled into the park looking for the lighthouse. How far was I going to have to ride to see it? Let’s just say, that it was nowhere in sight, and there was no telling how long this park road was, so I cut my losses and headed down the road. Hope I didn’t miss something magnificent.

What I saw instead was this–a triangular jetty system built to cultivate oysters and mussels. Now how magnificent is that?

My last stop of the day was a Veterans Memorial, just before the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge into North Bend. I loved the quote carved into one of the granite slabs at this memorial: “There shall not be peace until the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power.” Better still was the citation: “Latrine Wall, Pleiku, Vietnam 1968”. You know, you don’t see Veteran’s Memorials as frequently, in the Pacific Northwest, as you do in the southern states. Funny thing, eh? You also don’t see US flags flying in front of houses and businesses as frequently either.

I had planned to camp in Sunset Bay State Park, but instead got a room at a Super 8 motel, so I could do laundry, have wifi and make some phone calls.

A footnote: After six or seven hours of cycling, I have to hook my Garmin cycling computer up to a battery pack to recharge it. Late this afternoon, I went to do that, and for some reason, it would not charge–its battery display hovering at 1% charge. Being addicted to data, riding without heart rate, cadence, current mph, average mph distance, grade and other data will surely make me crazy. One of my phone calls tomorrow AM will be to Garmin Customer Support. I am hoping for a miracle.

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