19 Sep – 30 Sep 2021
We spent three weeks in Trinidad under the solar panelled roof of our new but very good friends Danny and Elaine. We celebrated the Jewish New Year, got JB, our bike back into working order and generally had a lovely relaxing time. But it’s time to get back to riding. So on the morning of Sep 19th on a cool coastal morning we rode out and headed north again. The Willie Nelson song “On the Road Again” immediately came into my mind and we were humming along and I could only remember those four words of the song but they were just perfect for us.
Before we left we went through our gear again and tried to purge some unwanted items. We got rid of some things. And we were also gifted with some very useful gear that we need. A couple of pairs of thick woolen socks will help keep our feet warm. I got an old pair of waterproof trousers which will be very useful heading into Oregon and Washington. Unfortunately no rain trousers for Gale in her size so Elaine did a super kind thing and drove out to town to buy her a new pair! We had to insist to pay her back for them. But we have an agreement, if we run out of money during the trip we can ask for the money back. Such kindness, it is very touching and heart-warming. Elaine just couldn’t bear to send us away into the coming colder months without good wet weather gear. Thank you again and again Elaine!
Our first stop after Trinidad is Prairie Creek. We have been there before with the RV so we only stay one night this time. If you ever get the chance to go there, please don’t just stay one night. You need to take a rest day there and go walking through the trees. If you can, take a walk out to Fern Canyon, it’s really very beautiful and definitely worth taking a day off to go to see. On the way to Prairie Creek we saw a big herd of elk off the side of the highway. There were so many of them and a couple of them were males with the big antlers. It is their mating season so the antlers have grown big and they use them for fighting and to protect the females that they will mate with.
20 Sep is Mid Autumn Festival. We rode to Florence Keller, a county campground not far from the California, Oregon border. It’s a nice ride there from Prairie Creek. We do some big climbing and are rewarded after each one with a big fast descent. The road is wide and smooth and it’s a very relaxing ride. Fully loaded our bike is heavy but stable, it’s a real pleasure to go downhill. As long as the road is straight enough that I can see what’s ahead and smooth enough that I don’t have to worry about bumps on the road, we can go fast and just enjoy the ride. So far our fastest has been over 40 mph. That is fast on a bike but it feels very safe and stable. In fact it’s probably safer to go fast and let the bike just go rather than trying to keep it slow and using the brakes until they overheat. At times on some roads it’s nerve wracking to keep the speed down for corners. It’s so nice when we can just let JB fly and reach his own preferred speed.
For the Mid Autumn Festival we experienced another kindness. The family in the campsite opposite had cooked up some corn on the cob and the husband came over with two big cobs of corn for us. It was so simple but very healthy and delicious. I don’t normally eat too much of corn on the cob, but this time I ate it all and quickly. It was warm and sweet and just what I needed! After our dinner and a simple bath with a bowl of water and a wash cloth we walked out to a clear area of the park and sat to see the big full moon. It was very bright and we sat there thinking of our family and friends. Sending out our blessings and wishes to them all, we send them up to the moon and wherever they may be the moon will find them and they will receive them.
21 Sep Our bike tour finally made it into the second state. We crossed the border from California into Oregon on a bright and sunny day. Shortly before the border on the 101 highway there is a big billboard advertising the cheapest weed in the Oregon State, and not long after we enter into Oregon there is a big store where they sell weed. It’s all a bit redundant now that marijuana is now legal in both Oregon & California but it was interesting to see that being so boldly advertised.
Rather than cheap weed, the thing that Oregon has that we really need is denatured alcohol. We use it for our little camp stove as a back up for when we can’t or don’t want to use wood. Denatured alcohol is banned from sale in California because of air pollution. I can’t imagine that it is causing so much air pollution but we managed to get by with what fuel we had bought in Arizona before we could resupply in Oregon.
Our first night in Oregon we spent at Harris Beach just north of Brookings. Passing through Brookings we stopped for a bowl of Japanese ramen noodles. They were great and I was tempted to have two bowls.
The campground at Harris Beach is very well located and we could take a short walk down to the oceanside where we could see our first Oregonian sunset.
A couple of days ride after Harris Beach we arrived at Humbug Mountain. We took a rest day at Humbug and from the state campground you can take a walk across the highway and take a hike up to the top of Humbug Mountain. It’s not a very long walk but it’s a very nice walk and at the top you are rewarded with some long views up and down the coast as well as back inland. Well worth a change of pace from the daily bike riding. It was a lovely sunny warm day and we used our solar panel to fully charge up our devices and power banks.
25 Sep we woke up to a foggy morning in Humbug. Not long after setting out we found another useful item on the side of the road. We found a high visibility bike flag, which we immediately fixed to our bike which was just great for the foggy morning. Fairly soon the fog turned into rain and we pulled out our rain covers for the panniers for the first time of our trip. Our ride today takes us to Bandon, just before there we stopped for some food supplies at the Mother Natures store. Gale was chatting with the staff at the store and very happily we came away with a free punnet of fresh local strawberries. We took them to our campground and shared them with the other campers at the hiker biker area. One of the other campers also shared some food with us, so we had banana and nutella wraps with strawberries. Very tasty.
Almost all the other cyclists we see on the road and in the camp grounds are southbound going down the west coast. Many have started at the Canadian border or in Seattle and are headed down to San Francisco or San Diego. Some that we have met are even heading all the way down to the tip of South America. Heading south gives a few advantages in that the wind you get is often behind your back which makes the riding so much easier. Also along the coastline you are riding on the side of the road which has the closest and best views of the Pacific Ocean.
After Bandon we went to Lakeside, it was another long day for us. For the final portion of the ride we were anxious to get to camp. The clouds were coming in and the sky was darkening even though there was still an hour or more before sunset. That final ten or twelve miles we were flying along with barely any words spoken except for the call I make whenever we are changing gear. We reached Lakeside before dark and just before it started to rain. At Lakeside we had a first experience and to go with it a perfectly matched find. For the first time in our trip we had to setup camp and spend a lot of time in the rain and uniquely for us the campground at Lakeside has rain shelters. It was a simply perfect match that the first time we need a rain shelter we get exactly that. We could place all our gear in the shelter and still have space there to cook our meal and sit and be dry out of the rain. We hung a tarp above our tent to give us some shelter from the rain so that we could at least get in and out of the tent without the rain getting the inside of the tent wet. At night we moved Jonny Blessing into the shelter so our bike could also be dry. That was such a nice find and a perfect situation. We spent two days at Lakeside, on the second day we went out for a walk in the rain to the local store to get some fresh food and something to warm ourselves.
The third day of rain that was forecast turned out mostly dry. We were headed to Florence and we had booked a yurt to stay in. The yurts, it turns out are very comfortable and big. They have electricity and heating so booking that was great for us as we needed a place we could dry out ourselves and our gear. Soon after arriving the usual pannier explosion occurred but this time it was all up on the walls and bunk beds as we hung things to dry out.
We experienced again the kindness of strangers not long after we rolled up to our yurt. Diane, the lady staying in the RV site opposite to us came over to me and asked “Are you guys hungry?”
“To be honest” I replied “we are cyclists, we are ALWAYS hungry!”
Diane went ahead and brought over two steaming bowls of ‘dirty rice’. It is a dish made with rice and filled with ground beef, bacon, peppers, courgettes and all kinds of other tasty things. It was really delicious, all the more so for being hot and being given to us just as we roll into camp. Thank you Diane & Hank for your kindness and thoughtfulness to us!
29 Sep We met Tim and Rosa for the first or maybe second time at the Florence campground. We had been introduced to Tim and Rosa by a friend who lives near to us in Hong Kong. Given that Tim and Rosa have spent a lot of time in our village in Hong Kong it’s likely that we had met before, however briefly. No matter, friends of friends are soon good friends in themselves. They had very kindly driven down from their home in Salem to pick us up. We loaded all our gear into their minivan and hung the bike on the back alongside Tim’s bike. We were going to take a ride up to the top of a big climb not far from Florence and then we and Tim could go for a ride together, while Rosa was super patient and helpful drove ahead to a good spot where she prepared a picnic lunch for us at a beautiful place by the ocean. It is so fortunate that Rosa was nearby in the car as not long after lunch Tim got a puncture. We did consider fixing it next to the road but we had already had a good ride so we decided to just load up the bikes again and then we all drove ahead to Waldport where we would take part in yet another new experience that was for us a lot of fun. Crabbing! Tim has all the necessary permits for going crabbing and they know all the best times and places to catch dungeness crabs. At high tide Tim threw in the crab pots and we all waited patiently for the chicken bait to work. Due to the permits we are only allowed to watch, we aren’t allowed to even touch the gear for catching the crabs. So we were not being lazy keeping our hands in our pockets! That evening we caught plenty of the crabs but only two of them were keepers of the right sex and size. Tim and Rosa very kindly let us take both of them and we drove to our next camp ground at South Beach to unload the bike and gear and our two precious dungeness crabs for dinner. The crab were just small enough to fit into our little camping saucepan. We had to cook them one by one in the small pan. They were very delicious, we sat in the dark under our little camping lights breaking open these lovely big crab to get at the sweet tasty flesh. Great fun and a great new memory for us. We would meet Tim and Rosa again in a few days time as we continued riding north and finally ending up in Salem.
30 Sep we took another rest day and we took the day to ride into Newport. There we went to the Marine Science Center. It’s a very interesting place and fortunately even though we need to book an appointment to enter we could process it online just at the door and they had some vacancies for us. Of the many cool things at the Science Center the most fascinating was the octopus. They have one octopus in a large tank that was so active and so very beautiful. Being keen divers we have seen octopi in the wild but only when they are hiding in their rocky dens. It was amazing to see one so close and one being so active and moving around in its tank. After the science center we went into Newport town and saw the noisy seals resting on the platforms and enjoying the sunshine.
That evening back at the campground we met an amazing group of young ladies. Fresh out of college they had decided to take a big bike ride down the coast. It was a pleasure to meet Chloe, Maddy and Maeve. They even had a little ride on our tandem which was good fun for them.
Our wish for you three, as it is for us, is that you will enjoy your travels together. Stay safe, stay happy and keep on smiling!