Day 16: around Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Day 17: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Sawyer Rapids RV park – 33 miles
Day 16: around Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Day 17: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Sawyer Rapids RV park – 33 miles
(Moss hanging off the trees that is supposed to look like 11…)
Reggie hits the coast
Day 13: spent in Florence
I’ve reached the coast – not quite the 1,000+ mile cycle it should have been to get here but never mind!
Two major incidents of note on the way: being chased by a chihuahua and witnessing a car crash of sorts.
It’s common to have dogs bark at you as you cycle past so when a chihuahua came running out its driveway not barking, I slowed down to engage in what I thought would be a friendly greeting but no, the baby-faced assassin was out to get me, running alongside, growling and snapping at my heels. I expected to easily out-pace it but blimey, these things can SHIFT! A frantic turn of pace saw Reggie hit double figures and all I could hear was the whirring of wheels but when I looked down, I saw the Mexican was still on me.
The cold dead eyes of a killer…
It was getting to the stage where I thought physical encouragement might be needed to get him to retreat but when on a bike it’s hard to control a kick and how much force there’ll be on contact. Get the execution wrong with a chihuahua and what’s meant as a gentle warning nudge could easily end up as “I’m terribly sorry, I’ve just killed Pepe”.
Stamina eventually won the day and we parted ways with my ankle still intact.
The incident with the car was odd. I’d pulled over to the side of the road in Triangle Lake, a tiny lakeside town that’s an excellent example of why inbreeding is not a good idea. Shortly after, there’s a squeal of brakes and pieces of wood fly up in the air followed by a cloud of dust. My fellow kerb dwellers and I ran/pedalled round the corner to see if anyone was hurt and a blatantly bra-less woman, overweight and under-supported, parents quite possibly cousins, was running around arms flailing with a car now parked in her garden. It had driven straight through the wooden fence and was just sitting there with 2 guys slowly climbing out of it trying to avoid the splintered planks that littered the place. No one was hurt in what turned out to be a local dispute, a carefully planned yard raid rather than an accident. The car would have had to do a sharp 90 degree turn to get from the road to its resting place.
The dunes are amazing and go on for miles inland so it’s quite a trek to reach the sea which is maybe why many people seem not to bother so it’s just you, gulls and plovers on miles of otherwise empty beach.
There are loads of cyclists on the coast going down highway 101 which is mixed blessings: lots of people to hang out with but, conversely, locals aren’t that interested in talking as you’re not the exotic species deviated from its normal migratory path that people elsewhere treat you as. Here I am just a pigeon.
Plus I think a lot of the cars and RVs are tired of having to shift over to give cyclists some room so I don’t feel particularly welcome on this section of highway (although I’ve only done 20 miles of it) and am looking forward to returning inland via quieter roads and my more natural habitat.
Day 6: day off in Sisters waiting for the doctor’s surgery to open the next day
Day 8: Cold Springs campground to Scott Lake campground – 20 miles
The quality of these photos – both visual and, for the day numbers, content – deteriorates as:
A) the adaptor to get photos from my camera onto my iPad has stopped working and I’d only downloaded a couple of days worth. The rest are photos I took with my phone of the back of my camera display screen
B) there aren’t many wild flowers for me to illegally pick and there’s only so many fir cones anyone wants to see, so I’ve had to be a bit more creative with my day numbers and some aren’t immediately clear
Day 1: Best Western, Boise airport to end of the Boise spur – 32 miles
Day 4: Cliffside campground to Sisters campground, dropping car off in Redmond on the way – many miles in the car, 21 miles cycling
A good sign to see on a Saturday
If you injure yourself and have to hole up somewhere for a couple of days, there’s a lot worse places than Sisters. One of them is the Triangle Lake Park where I am now. Dear God, please let the night pass quickly…
As well as eating multiple donuts from Sisters bakery, I got my leg seen to after initially being told they had no free appointments and I needed to go to the walk-in clinic in Bend. That was at 8am with no buses until 4pm. A very nice woman I’d been chatting to you in the queue who knew what had happened offered to drive me the 40 miles after hearing I was being turned away. This act of warmth seemed to defrost the doctor’s receptionist who ‘miraculously’ then found a free slot at 2pm. So several hours later it was confirmed that I have a hole in my leg and was supplied with various bits of kit, including horse bandage. I have no idea what that is but it sounds good so I’m writing it down.
Unfortunately, no one has stolen Reggie yet despite me repeatedly leaving him unchained in public places so I had to cycle, not drive, over McKenzie pass. It is a gentle 2-3000ft climb which on the Great Divide you’d do to warm yourself up in the morning before stopping to have a snake for breakfast, wrestle a bear and then carry on to hit the REAL hill of the day but in my current state, I definitely noticed there was an incline! It is beautiful though and lives up to the claim of being one of Oregon’s most scenic roads and a couple on their way to Sisters’ folk festival handed me a bottle of ice cold water at the top which was very welcome.
The next day turned out to be an unintentionally long one. Despite there being no campsite or motels marked on the map for some distance, rather than calling it a day, I carried on thinking “there must be somewhere“. Confidence buoyed by a day back on the bike and feeling fully in the swing of things, I saw myself as some sort of Crocodile Dundee character who can instinctively ‘read’ the land for where one might find food or shelter.
Turns out I am not Mick 😦
For the record, there is naff all accommodation opportunities for about 30 miles east of Eugene, so I had to plough on for ages before I found somewhere and it was a motel way too close to an exotic dance venue for my liking but needs must!
After spending a ridiculous amount of time titting around the next morning getting out of Eugene (post puncture I might add despite spanking new tyres!), I hit the 36 to ride to the coast. Time to even out the cycling short tan lines and explore the dunes!
(No photos for now as the device that gets photos off my camera and onto my iPad is broken)
Long story (which I did write about in some detail but decided not to post it as I found it majorly dull reading it back and I was actually there!) but mission aborted on the Idaho Hot Springs loop. A combination of roads closed in both directions, injuring my leg and my heart not really being in going up MORE hills (as last year’s trip suddenly felt quite recent plus I’m not fit at all) meant that when I was at the decision point to continue or not and I was staring failure in the face, I gave him a quick kiss and we eloped back to Boise for a wonderful night in a Motel 6.
For the record, I did do the full 32 miles of the Boise spur and each one felt very hard-earned and then had to do 32 back the next day which was pretty depressing. I did see a Pronghorn antelope though, and a snake and some turkey vultures feasting on the dead remains of the Chinook salmon run.
I think it was Shackleton who once said ‘in the face of adversity, hot foot it to the Hertz rent-a-car desk’ so I did just that. The loose plan had been to cycle North west from Boise after finishing the Hot Springs loop to join the Trans Am route. I would have been fit post-loop and done it in about 3 days. But having skipped the loop and not yet being fit, it would have taken me forever and wasn’t on a great road for cycling on so I rented a car and went up highway 26 then along the Oregon Scenic Byway to Redmond.
The drive was via a Walgreens as, seriously, my leg is pretty bad and I needed some more bandages etc. as I’d used up the ones in my first aid kit and I discovered the use by date on the antiseptic cream was 2007. I have some photos of the gash (first action in an emergency was to take a leg selfie) but they are disgusting so I won’t post them. Let’s just say it’s down to a layer of tissue I’ve not seen A-level biology rat dissection class. Moreover, it’s a really unflattering angle of my calf that makes it look like serves 12 joint of ham.
I also went to REI to pick up some camping gas and, after hearing what had happened, the assistant said “if you’re ever in trouble, come into an REI and we’ll look after you”. I could have cried.
After ditching the hire car and a massive bottle of TCP equivalent (which I had to buy as they don’t seem to sell antiseptic wipes – come on America, get with the programme!), I cycled west to Sisters. It’s Labour Day weekend so I was a bit worried about everywhere being full but the town campsite has a hiker-biker (i.e. you just show up) section which I currently have all to myself whilst the RVs are nestled bonnet by grill.
I might be joined tonight by a Pacific Crest Trail hiker – trail name the White Knight – I met in the launderette making his brown T-shirt white again. We clocked each other as non-locals by the fact I was wearing a down jacket with nothing underneath and he was in his rain jacket, whilst all other clothes were in the wash. The choice of down jacket was naive as nothing makes you hotter than wearing one in a room of 12 washing machines and dryers pumping out heat!
The current plan is to spend a day or two in Sisters sleeping and recharging all kinds of batteries before heading over Mckenzie Pass (i.e. over the Cascades to the strip of Oregon in between sea and mountain). In theory, that shouldn’t be that hard but, right now, it feels more like a spirit-sapper than a lung-buster so I think I might split it into two and spend the night halfway up.
The good news is that Reggie made it, albeit in a very battered bike box, and the weather forecast is good so (hopefully) that’s a sign of things looking good from here on in!
Although they did cruelly edit this to make it look like I thought it might be the right answer rather just saying something for the sake of it. (Please see minute 11.29, person standing on a box behind the desk so the contestant skyline didn’t look too jagged) .
The correct answer is Boise (and even CJ, evil Egghead, wasn’t too sure about that). I’m here in Boise because it’s one of the entry points to the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, 500 miles of forest roads that take you past 50 hot springs, 10 of which are commercial and the rest aren’t so you can just hop in on your way past.
That was the idea but we have a Code Red and REGGIE IS MISSING!!!
My bike was last seen in transit at Phoenix airport and is apparently still there, due to arrive in Boise at 11pm. After years of successful travel (bar thinking I didn’t need a visa to get into Vietnam – turns out I did…), I feel it’s ‘my time’ for a hiccup and, all being well here on in, will set off tomorrow as planned.
I’m currently holed up here waiting for Reggie:
Never happier than when in a cheap motel with a Denny’s next door:
If anyone knows how to set up a new blog category using the Word Press app, please let me know as I should file this separately from my other posts but not sure how – thank you.
Bye for now!