Friday, October 11, 2013
Reedsport, OR to Bandon, OR
54 GLORIOUS Miles
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius
The riding day is done, despite a bit of mutiny from the corps.
We ride the first 23 miles in relative silence. At North Bend we approach the mile long shoulderless Coos Bay Bridge; Joe rides across despite the semis, logging trucks and humongous RVs; I opt for the safer version: walking across on the sidewalk.
We then find ourselves in North Bend; a stop at a bookstore/cafe with an accompanying latte may perhaps solidify our options.
The day is dry; we should go a few more miles despite the hills ahead.
We discuss the route; an immediate right turn is required.
We set off; Joe opts to go straight on 101; I make the supposedly agreed upon right hand turn onto 540.
We are at an impasse; a series of hand language signals ensues, becoming terser by the second.
Remember, I am the navigator and map keeper.
Joe eventually makes his way to my position, mumbling about what backroads detour I am leading him onto now. I state this is the Adventure Cycling, Oregon Coast and the Pacific Bicycling Route of choice. Joe grumbles a bit more as I zigzag through Coos Bay; finally at the last turn an Oregon Coastal Bike sign; I signal to Joe so he doesn’t think my meanderings are totally crazy.
We ride 15 miles along the bay through charming Charleston; once we cross the bridge there, the real fun begins: Seven Devils Road. It felt more like eight. The road goes seemingly straight uphill; I ride as far as I am comfortable; Joe stays in the saddle the whole way.
Joe asks to see the profile map; he asks if the profile is for 101 or Adventure Cycling? He still believes 101, 10 miles distant, is the better choice. Map reading is obviously not one of his better qualities.
We ride on yet again.
The route is a true pleasure; we ride on the crest of the highest ridge under the comforting sun and can see for miles around. Miraculously the final 10 miles into Bandon are downhill.
Life is good.
I see a bike shop on 101 in Bandon; Joe opts not to wait and says he wants a shower. The motel is one mile further on 101; nonetheless I give him explicit directions.
My brakes are down to metal; I am glad I made the decision to stop.
I arrive at the motel expecting to see a clean Joe; surprisingly, he never arrived. I call him; no answer. I text him; no reply.
I clean up and then prepare to find him in this town of 3,000; it is now an hour since we separated at the bike shop. I receive neither a phone call nor a text back from him. I am about to send out a recovery mission when there is a knock on the door.
It is Joe; he states he got lost(on 101 a mile away??– he only had to go straight ahead). It appears he asked for directions in Old Town; if so they were rather lengthy directions; perhaps a beer or two was added to the mix?
The moral to this story: It is a good thing Joe is not the designated navigator on this little journey of ours down the West Coast.
The best news: we are only 100 miles from the California Border.
As I write this at 9pm, Joe still believes we should have stayed on 101 despite the comments of every local we have spoken with. His knees are hurting him and he is worried about the 55 miles tomorrow. I have tried to explain to him these are the easy days and it is fine to walk part of a few hills for the total goal. He disagrees; this attitude may decrease our daily mileage as his discomfort and pain increase.
Joe is on maximum NSAIDs(Melixicam, similar to Advil); I am fortunate to be able to function without any anti-inflammatories. Let’s hope this turn of fortune continues.