Day 1 – Coos Bay to Gold Beach – 09/20/2013

I woke up at 6 AM and checked the weather outside. It was partially cloudy, and the ground was dry. Good! Then I checked the weather forecast on my ride, 40% to 70% chance of rain, depending on the time of day and location. OK! Still promising.

I set my aim to go all the way to Brookings, some 115 miles down the road. I knew I could easily do that, because I was familiar with the road, and knew the effort level required. Going that far would provide me with an early ride, and calm morning winds to Crescent City.

And off I went. As soon as I left the motel I was greeted by a gorgeous sunrise. I, of course, took the mandatory picture, and continued on looking for a breakfast place. Yes, the motel offered “breakfast” but I did not think much of it – some prepackaged industrial pastries served with what they called “coffee” and creamer. I passed that in order to have a better stronger breakfast somewhere else.

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Sunrise in Coos Bay

Rode a few miles looking for breakfast and completely missed the spot I wanted to stop at. Argh! Oh well, I knew I could get some last chance breakfast at Charleston. There I had two sausage biscuits with eggs, cheese and some chocolate milk. While I was having my breakfast a fat cat came to solicit some food. I gave her some of my sausage. The cat ate the sausage, thanked me with a meow, and slowly moved away.

After breakfast, I went back on the road and faced the Seven Devils. This was my favorite stretch of the way, because of the way how the roads are named. We go from the Seven Devils, into Beaver, and then to Whiskey. I don’t know about you, but I insist that there is a movie script there somewhere!!

While on the Seven Devils, I met a chiropractor from Los Angeles, and his daughter, a nurse from San Diego. We rode together all the way to Bandon, where I found a bike store. I needed oil for my chain, remember? The shop was still closed, and it would open in about 10 minutes. I stopped and waited for them to open.

While waiting I met a Canadian guy that had lost the nut that holds his crankset together, and a  Danish guy with a flat tire in need of a pump. The Canadian had to take the bus back to Bandon from Gold Beach, and was going to take the bus all the way to Brookings to avoid the impending bad weather.

As we waited for the store to open, the weather went from fair to heavy rain in no time. We could actually see the wall of rain coming towards us. It started to rain heavily, and the wind shifted from NW to SW. In other words, from my back, to my front. And a strong wind it was. Once the shop opened I got the oil, and then waited for 15 minutes to see if the rain would ease up. And it did, thankfully.

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Scott, Alyssa, and I during a coffee break in Bandon

I went down hill to downtown Bandon, and stopped for a cup of coffee and some pastries at a local cafe. There, I rejoined the father/daughter team, and met an Australian couple that was riding all the way to San Diego. We chatted a bit, and after a while, we noticed that the rain had completely stopped.

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Downtown Bandon after the initial rain

We said our goodbyes and went back on the road. Scott, the chiropractor, asked me where should we be heading to. I had a map and he didn’t. So I told him to follow me, and I would ride with him all the way back to 101. We started to chat on our way, and we ended up setting up lunch at Port Orford.

In the meantime the rain had resumed, and it was very heavy at times. We slowly pushed against the wind towards lunch, and after a lot of rain and headwind, we finally arrived at the Redfish restaurant in Port Orford. I was so wet I could not dry my hands. Worse, I was able to squeeze water out of my hands. Now that’s what I call soaking wet.

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View from our lunch table in Port Orford. Rainy and windy.

After finishing lunch I realized that we had left a puddle of water around the lunch table. Scott had decided he had enough of the weather, and that he will be staying overnight in Port Orford. He thanked me for being an inspiration to him, because, according to him, I pushed him to ride the farthest he had ever done in one day during his trip.

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Somewhere along the coast between Port Orford and Gold Beach

I, on the other hand, was still set on pushing as far as I could, so I would be as close as possible to Crescent City. I left them at the restaurant and headed back on the road. The rain was still coming down hard, and the strong wind was demanding a lot from me. I calculated that I was losing about 3 to 5 miles of speed due to the headwind.

After an arduous effort, I made to Gold Beach, where I decided to seek shelter, get dry and warm up. I found a motel and called it a day.

While I was removing my wet gear and drying my panniers, a Canadian guy with a bottle of wine approached me. He asked me about my ride. He told me that he was slowly making his way to San Francisco, averaging about 30 miles a day. He offered me a cup of wine, and I promptly accepted.

This day was longer and harder than I had anticipated, all because of the weather. I did miss my target by 28 miles. No problem, I still had time to recover, and the weather was forecasted to improve.

After eating a delivery pizza and no beer (sadly), I called it a day and fell asleep to the sound of the rain, and thunder.

I had done 86 miles and climbed 6561 feet in terrible weather. My moving time was 7 hours and 18 minutes, and my total travel time was 10 hours and 38 minutes. I was soaked to my bones.

Total distance: 85.84 mi
Max elevation: 620 ft
Min elevation: 3 ft
Total climbing: 7162 ft
Total descent: -7067 ft
Total Time: 10:37:12

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