10/28/19 – Brookings to Klamath

Distance: 48.12 mi

Climbing: 2310 ft

As we headed out of Brookings, this morning, we passed several statues, which made me think statues just might be our theme of the day.

But then we hit the California border, I stopped looking for statues and started paying attention to signs. Instead of being marked by Oregon Coast Route signs, we were now following Pacific Coast Route signs.

This is the first California beach we encountered. Bigger waves than we ever saw in Oregon and smaller sea stacks.

One other change was the increase in roadside funk. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I like roadside funk. It’s one of the many things that make me want to go on these long bike rides. (Note: 2 of the next 4 funk photos are statues)

I have a confession to make. Having only our phones to play games on has turned us into Ticket to Ride phone gaming addicts. At the end of the day, after we check into our motel, get cleaned up, run errands and eat dinner, we play at least one game. And that often turns into 2 or 3 games. I only post the score screen below, because today, after being annihilated twice by Steve, I booked my highest score and highest number of completed routes ever. Is that an accomplishment or what?

Tomorrow, we head to Fortuna–maybe. The rolling PG&E power outages are knocking the power out along our route from about 20 miles south of Klamath to just before our planned destination for the day after tomorrow. The outage will last 2-3 days.

We are closely watching the Sonoma County fires. Smoke inhalation is a concern, as we ride down Highway 1, if that is even possible. Beyond that, the entire county has been evacuated. Our lodging will be without electricity or closed down, when we arrive in Bodega Bay, and we won’t be able to jump in the car and head down the road.

Keep the people of California whose lives are being impacted by the fires and power outages in your prayers.

10/27/19 – Gold Beach to Brookings

Distance: 27.82 mi

Climbing: 1965 ft

Sleeping in, this morning, was amazing! Steve schmoozed the front desk into giving us a late checkout, so we had time to go to church, clean our chains and take our time packing up. As a rest day, we had a short, leisurely ride ahead of us.

The scenery of the day was sea stacks. Big ones, little ones, little families, large congregations–all kinds of configurations. Sea stacks and pristine unpeopled beaches. I wish we could have spent the day walking the miles of sea stacks, but it was frankly quite cold out, all day long, so that wouldn’t have been much fun.

Below, can you see the wet sand being blown by the heavy winds? Heavy tailwinds pushed us down the route today. What a treat.

Before long, we arrived Brookings, the most welcoming town yet, in terms of welcome signs. Tomorrow will be another downsized recovery day, so we can rest up for a sequence of long hard days.

10/26/19 – North Bend to Gold Beach

Distance: 86.39 mi

Climbing: 4252 ft

Whoa! Have you looked at our stats? Why does it look like we’re going so slow? We’re bicycle touring. I stop for everything worth looking at, and Steve is stuck with me, so he stops too.

About today, let me just say up front that the two best parts of our day, were the nonstop tail wind and having our 2-way Terrano radios back working again. Hallelujah!. Life is good! We love being able to talk while we ride.

We were so glad to be out of North Bend. Not our kind of town. Once out of there, things turned nice really quickly. As we crossed the draw bridge into a nearby little fishing village, we had to stop for a selfie, and that’s when we discovered a bunch of harbor seals frolicking, turning summersaults, and looking at us longingly.

We are loving our bike-packing setup. Still perfecting loading up and getting going in the morning, but we’ll have that down soon.

Once out of the fishing village, the road turned sharply and immediately became a very steep and windy road. Something didn’t seem right, so we checked our maps, and sure enough, we were on Seven Devils Road. That explained everything. My memory of the road, from my previous ride, was that it was an immense and unnecessary suffer-fest, but riding it on lightly packed road bikes, it was actually fun. Definitely one of the highlights of our day.

Once off Seven Devils Rd., we were headed for Bandon, where just a little over a year ago I started a letter in my blog, “Dear Man of My Dreams….” (See https://livingourbucketlist.com/2018/09/05/9-4-18-coos-bay-to-port-orford/). Things have sure changed since then. On this trip, the man of my dreams is my riding partner. BTW, Steve was just as wowed by the sea stacks as I was.

This driftwood cyclist was in a front yard driftwood sculpture garden we passed. Now THAT’S art.

After passing through Langley and Port Orford, we caught up to mile marker 301. Just yesterday, we passed 200–proof that we are really cruising.

After Bandon, we followed the waterfront most of the way to Gold Beach, except for a couple of sections where mountains jutted out to the ocean, forcing the highway to circle up, over and around them. The scenery in those mountain passes was spectacular.

Our crossing to Gold Beach was another really long, cool bridge. Our motel had hot cocoa in the lobby (hey, it was a long cold day), a hot tub and a light show. Definitely love that place. After 4 really long days in the saddle, we decided to change our schedule to split the ride to Klamath into 2 days of riding. That way we can sleep in and go to church tomorrow morning, before a leisurely ride to Brookings. It will be like a day off–kind of.

10/25/19 – Waldport to North Bend

Distance: 89.33 mi

Climbing: 5112 ft

We were up pretty late last night, taking care of business, and didn’t get that early start we had hoped for. After a resupply run to a little market and a trip to the post office, we didn’t get out riding until 10:30 in the morning. It felt like we were catching up all day long.

About that trip to the post office, it was all about sending things home that we don’t need–to save space and weight and to make room for the things we really do need. Last night, Steve spent quite a bit of time sorting through his gear to send home enough stuff that he could also send home his day pack. Some of the things that went home were my comb, eyeliner and blush, a full sized metal can of bag balm, a 4 oz tub of coconut oil, a 14+” hand massage roller, and the full sized tools we used to assemble our bikes. Steve says it’s a lot more convenient not having to lug the backpack around. I’m glad to see him assimilate to the touring mentality.

On to our travels, Oregon has some of the coolest bridges you’ll ever see, and there were a lot of them today. Here’s the view from our hotel of our first bridge of the day. Pretty cool, eh?

Arriving at the Spouting Horn blow hole at high tide, we were actually able to see it spout.

We passed at least 3 lighthouses, today and would have loved to have ridden or hiked out to them, but after turning off the 101, the roads leading to them looked steep and long–two things we had no appetite for. We were able to get pretty close to the Heceta Head lighthouse without cheating death or breaking any rules, so I snapped this photo. Hopefully, one day we’ll be able to drive up here in the RV and take our time enjoying the sights and outdoor activities.

This the only seal we could see on Seal Beach.

Of course, Steve needed a photo of mile marker 200 on Highway 101.

The Oregon Dunes follow the beach for miles. Someday, when we bring the RV up here, we need to bring an ATV and some kayaks and the grandkids. This place really looks fun!

We ended our day in a dumpy little town named North Bend. The motel clerk who checked us in for our stay told us we could walk to fast food and a Safeway store pretty quickly, because they were only 1/4 mile away. It was windy and under 50 degrees when we embarked on our 1/4 mile walk to the store. A half hour later, we finally made it to the store, which was well over a mile away. We were frozen.

One thing our motel desk clerk did get right was safekeeping a package for us that was delivered to the motel by Amazon. After almost a week of riding with a broken radio and hence, only one-way communication, we were thrilled to have a new Terrano XT radio waiting for us when we checked in. After testing our old radios with the various components of the new radio, we narrowed the problem down to the cradle of my radio. With the cradle replaced, we are really looking forward to tomorrow’s ride, as we head to Gold Beach.

10/24/19 – Tillamook to Waldport

Distance: 89.33 mi

Climbing: 5112 ft

Today was–well–busy.  Facing a pretty long day with lots of climbing, we woke up earlier and got out the door earlier.

The Pacific Coast Highway, up in Washington and Oregon, is US Highway 101, and it was getting busier and more congested as we rode south. So we were thankful to be able to turn off the highway in Tillamook and ride on little side roads for a good part of the day.

Starting out on the Three Capes Route, the super climby spur I skipped on my solo trip due to its long 9-11% grades, the scenery was amazing. First we passed through miles of forrest canopy, then transitioned to clear cut hillsides which were followed by sand dunes. (Don’t ask me what sand dunes were doing out in the forest?)

After passing through some lush farmland with grazing cattle, we spent the the rest of the day meandering through little beach towns as the route clung to the beach.

Below, you can see the road we should have been on for a few miles, but missed, due to a navigational error by moi. Instead of beachside scenery, we slogged up a steep hill climb and sucked up exhaust from rush-hour vehicles on Highway 101.

We don’t have a bike pump with enough pressure to air our tires up to the level of pressure we prefer, so we’re stopping every day or so at bike shops along the route.

At the end of the day, we splurged on the Jacuzzi suite at a little resort hotel. There were mirrors everywhere, but no disco ball. We enjoyed the heck out of that jacuzzi, but after dinner, there was work to be done, including gear adjustments, clothes to be of laundered, a few days of lodging reservations to be locked in, sorting out gear to be mailed home, and of course updating the blog. After a couple of games of Ticket to Ride, we settled in for a late niter.

Tomorrow will be another long day, as we head to North Bend, which is just short of Coos Bay.

10/23/19 -Seaside to Tillamook

Distance: 50.89 mi

Climbing: 2612 ft

You know, I used to be a morning person and a night person, but that has all changed, and I may have corrupted Steve. Getting going in the morning is sooooo hard! We did a lot better today, but then our fateful stop at Safeway tripped us up. We needed to pick up a few snack items and some breakfast, but it was 46 degrees outside, and We weren’t budging.

Once we got going, the scenery was spectacular–pristine beaches with no people on them, sea stacks, dense forests, and windy hilly roads that must have crossed over 100 bridges. Steve loved all the hill climbing, and once it warmed up a little, we were loving that ocean air.

We passed through a bunch of cute little resort towns and fishing communities, and ended up in Tillamook. And, by the way, we did not stop for the Tillamook factory tour. Both Steve and I have been there / done that, and are avoiding major tourist traps as much as possible. Ironically, our last stop of the day was Safeway–to pick up dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast and snacks. Avoiding that stop in the morning just might eliminate our excuse to goof off.

I forgot to mention our cheap motel. I think the front desk hates cyclists. If you zoom in on the rightmost end of the building, you can see Steve getting ready to climb 3 flights of stairs to get to our room. It was a blast (heavy sarcasm) hefting our loaded bikes up them.

Our room had a lot of nice touches. Like the towel and soap display, the paper seal on the toilet seat and 3 garbage cans. We are living in luxury!

Thought you might like to see what happens when a place gives us 2 beds. Sorry motel maid.

10/22/19 – Test Ride (NOT) Cape Disappointment, WA to Seaside, OR

Distance: 57.41 mi

Climbing: 1850 ft

It sure is hard getting going when you’re starting a 1400+ mile bike ride. It took way too long to jam all our gear into our little tiny bike-packing bags, this morning. We were glad to break out of our motel and finally see the sky again, after 7 days of rain and gloom.

Remember, today’s ride was just going to be a warm up for our legs and a test ride for our gear, but Steve got to thinking that maybe if we went just a little further, we could ditch our dive Motel 6 in Astoria and stay in a better Motel 6 in Seaside. Great idea, Steve.

But first, before we could leave out, we had a little off route business to take care off, including stops at the Social Security office (only in Astoria would there be no other customers waiting), a copy store, the post office, a bike shop, and Subway Sandwich Shop. During our errands, we discovered that our two-way radios weren’t working–a major malfunction. By the time we finished all our running around and tried everything we could think of to get the radios working, it was almost noon.

The late start wouldn’t matter, because this as going to be an ‘ easy’ ride, right? The plan was to cross the Megler-Astoria Bridge, cycle out to Cape Disappointment–on the Washington side of the bridge, where we would find out what was so disappointing about the place, then head back across to the Oregon side and on to Seaside.

The ride out to Cape disappointment was a little disappointing–no pun intended. We ended up with a headwind, and there was quite a bit of unexpected climbing involved in the little loop road around the cape. On the positive side, we did figure out where the name came from (read below), and we had a lovely tailwind most of the way back to Seaside.

The highlights of the day? That tailwind and the Megler-Astoria Bridge. As the longest (4.1 miles) cantilever through-truss bridge in the world, it is one heck of an engineering feat. Supper cool!

The low light of the day? Discovering that our two-way Terrano XT radios had become one-way radios, and then not being able to fix them. What a bummer. We are used to talking to each other while we ride, so today’s silence was deafening. Amazon will come to our rescue on Friday, but till then, we’ll be suffering immensely.

Tomorrow will be our first real day of riding, as we head past Cannon Beach toward Tillamook.

10/14/19 – 10/21/19 Final Preparations for Pacific Coast Reprise Bike Tour

The final week leading up to our bike ride has been hectic. On Monday the 14th, Steve and I flew down to Phoenix with less than 14 hours to complete all post construction cleanup, then move furnishings and personal items back to their places in 4 rooms of our home there. The project to repair damage from numerous water leaks was mostly complete just hours before we arrived AZ. After visiting my daughter and grandkids in Queen Creek for a few hours, catching a quick dinner and picking up a couple of items from the store, we had 10 hours to take care of everything that needed to be done to prepare the house for guests arriving just a few days later.

After a grueling all-nighter, we headed back to the airport at 4:30 AM to catch a flight to Eugene, Oregon, with a load of baggage that included bikes and gear for an 18 day tour of the Pacific Coast and two day packs with the clothes we would need for a 5-day visit with Steve’s son Joshua and his family.

Late Sunday evening, after 5 fun filled days with Joshua, Jayne, Vera and Blanche, they dropped us at our first cheap motel–the Astoria Motel 6, next to the Megler-Astoria Bridge, and headed back to their home in Vancouver, Washington.

Steve and I had agreed to delay the start of our ride until the rain and south westerly winds subsided on Wednesday. It turned out that after long days of hanging with family, playing games, and exploring National Monuments, beaches and other tourist attractions, we needed at least a day to relax, properly assemble our bikes and organize our gear.

Steve’s Gear

Eileen’s Gear

After a long relaxing day, we were now thinking clearly. Why rush into long hard days of hilly coastal cycling, when we hadn’t ridden a bike in the 10 days since the end of the Huntsman Senior World Games? We need to ease into our trip with a test ride across the Megler-Astoria Bridge, a little more sightseeing, and a little more shopping. That’s the plan for tomorrow, then on Wednesday the real riding will begin. I swear.