The End Of The Trail – Waiting In Gold Beach For Our Pick-Up
|Read about our ride from Port Orford to Gold Beach|
We awoke to our twelfth day on the Oregon Coast. We awoke at our normal time, and made breakfast. We discussed our plan. Brookings lay ahead of us, with Crescent City beyond. If we kept to our sequence, this would be our third day of riding.
Ahead of us lay Brookings, with a hiker / biker campground, 28 miles away, with 3156 feet of climbing. That scored as 8.8. That was a little harder than our ride from Port Orford to Gold Beach. Crescent City, California, was 32 miles beyond Brookings, with a mild 1237 feet of climbing. Combined, the score was 14, higher than any we had done.
I suggested we take the day off. Our time on the Oregon Coast had worn me down. I had slept poorly. And my body was beginning to let me down. Marian was good about agreeing to take a day off. I crawled back into my sleeping bag and promptly went back to sleep, something I normally never do. Marian later told me she knew I was in a deep sleep, as I had snored quite loudly.
The night was longer, and less restful than I had expected. We had chosen a spot near the showers. And, to protect ourselves from the light pollution, we had rigged a tarp to block the light. What we had no answer for was a barking dog. Immediately across the stream from the campground was private land. It is not hard to imagine that home-owners were less than eager neighbors of a campground that was there, before they built their expensive homes. So, they might not have felt any remorse at letting their dog bark, while they were away. We heard other campers grumbling about it the next day.
Our home in Gold Beach was campsite 15. We were conveniently near the restroom / showers, and water During the day, we put our panniers in the tent and trusted to zippers to protect them. We chained our bikes to the table, and carried our valuables with us.
Later in the morning, over second breakfast, we considered our options. David was ready to pick us up, Saturday or Sunday. Somewhere, out there, that 400 mile marker awaited, as well as the California State Line. We also knew a long climb awaited us, immediately outside town, as well as weekend traffic, complete with RVs. What we did not know was that the shoulders were non-existent.
Since we were staying another night, we pedaled back into town, did grocery shopping, and took in some of the sights. We found the local library, and the promise of free wifi. It sat atop a surprisingly steep hill. We lounged around, reading, and relaxing. The owner of a python snake was doing a show and tell for a large group of curious grammar school children.
We coasted down the hill and found a Subway for lunch. We thought about riding to the other end of the small town, to the County Fair. However, we worried about our bikes, and decided to take a pass, instead going to a large book store. Marian was eager to browse the used books. Still less than 100%, I wandered around for a time, feeling no tug from any of the titles. I finally took a seat in their coffee shop, and watched some of the Summer Olympics on their TVs. We did not take them up on $2.00 / hour wifi. We swung by the local market, and picked up food for the evening.
We lounged the rest of the afternoon. It wasn’t necessary, but we did laundry. We spent time in the excellent Campground Lodge. Marian saw a poster she really liked. We tired, when we got home, to find a copy on the internet, but could not. We read, watched the Olympics, and used the wifi.
We met to an interesting person in the campground. We first noticed that he was moving about in an electric scooter. He also had two dogs, both well-mannered. It turned out that he was a handyman. He had taken up residence in the campground for the summer. Oregon law required the campground to recharge his batteries, free of charge, while he stayed there.
It turned out that he had used his scooter to travel from the interior of Oregon to the coast. He had also come down the Rogue River valley from I-5. Looking at the map, we have tried to figure out his route. We wonder if he came from Roseburg, over to Myrtle Point, and south to the Rogue River. Even on a bike, such a route would have been adventurous.
We also considered the mental challenge of such a trip. Going up hills, he might have been faster than our bikes, but would have been much slower coming down the hills. The net result would have been a much slower journey. And, what would he have done to occupy his mind? Cycling requires considerably more concentration than piloting a scooter, and we found our minds begging for distraction at various points of our travels.
He was quite friendly, and very personable. He asked about our experiences, and told us that many bikers came through the campground. We discovered that the Mongolian Hoard had come through the day before we arrived. He offered us a beer, but we decided to pass, as we would have had to go back into town to replace what we had consumed.
Late in the afternoon, we walked across the road to the Rogue River. Stepping into the dense foliage, we entered another world. Trees grew close together. The dense greenery deadened all sound. Mere feet from the road, and a stones throw from the river, we found ourselves in shaded mystery. We were mindful of poison oak, not wanting to end our trip that way. Nor did we wish to turn an ankle on the damp, and sometimes muddy paths.
Once we reached the bank, we got an appreciation for the size of the Rogue River. While it was not the Columbia, it was still quite large. For hundreds of thousands of years it had carved out the valley we were standing in. Beyond the flood plain, the bridge stood as mute evidence of the steep banks.
For being so close to the Mother of all Oceans, it seemed so tranquil. Except for the current, we might have been on some peaceful lake, far in the interior. Fishermen took advantage of the peaceful river, slowly trolling for their catch. We waved. Either they did not see us, or they were intent on their mission. They did not greet us. The Rogue River is a tourist magnet. For a price, the adventurer can experience jet skiing, boating, and fishing. We noticed a dog on his boat, seemingly poised to jump into the water. Since we heard no splash, or human commotion, he must have held to his station, resisting temptation.
The walk along the Rogue River signaled the end to our Oregon Adventure. We were in no hurry. There were no more climbs. There was no need to calculate the time and distance to our next rest stop. We could enjoy the rustle of the wind through the trees, the birds crying out overhead, and the gentle gurgles of the river.
We were of mixed minds on ending our Oregon tour in Gold Beach. On one hand, we wanted to continue. On the other hand, we were reaching some physical limits. Still, we realized this was not our last tour. And having ridden the coasts of Washington and Oregon was a dream realized. It had been, spawned somewhere between the offer of a RIF from Lockheed, and retiring in January.
Saturday morning came. A late arrival, in the next campground, had opened and closed their van cargo door many times, before settling down. Sometime during the night, the dog had stopped barking. It was bright and sunny. We welcomed the warmth of the sun. We ate a leisurely breakfast.
Our new neighbors managed to start a smoky fire with wood chopped from the nearby brush. There were four of them. One was a harassed father, perhaps a single parent. There were two bored teenagers. And, finally, much younger, another child. I brushed aside irritation at their noise and complaining. It was easy to take pity on the father, clearly trying hard to do something with his kids. Generosity came easily, now, that they stuffed their gear in the van, and departed.
Once again at peace with the world, we took our time with hot showers. We broke our camp down, taking time to get as much sand out as we could, and wiped down the tent and drop clothes. We packed our stuff, for the last time, in the panniers.
Late in the afternoon, David picked us up. He had driven up from San Jose, and wanted to return that night. We crammed our panniers in the trunk, and loaded the bikes. Mindful of the speed limit, we drove through Gold Beach and up that hill. It was, indeed, impressive. It was long, steep, and the shoulders disappeared. We would not have enjoyed dancing with the Saturday morning cars and RVs. What took us mere minutes in the car, would have taken an hour or more to climb.
Coming down over the hill, we talked a little about our adventure. David listened, patiently, as we recounted our adventures. Before our tour, I had never seen any part of the Oregon coast. And I had come within 28 miles of biking it completely, from north to south. We had seen incredible sights, met wonderful people, and learned about ourselves. Given time, I hope I can learn to embrace the journey, rather than the destination.
I am proud that we rode almost the entire length of the Oregon Coast. I wish I had ridden the last bit, on down to Crescent City. Perhaps, one day, we will do a “revenge tour”, whatever that means. And we will ride those pieces of Washington State, and this last bit of the Oregon Coast, and then be able to say, we rode all of it.
|Read our daily posts for the Oregon Coast|