Wet day so not many pictures

I had had my worst night of sleep in a tent since back in Florida. Then it had been because I was paranoid about every noise, but this was caused mainly by the security light of the church which stayed on all night and was right next to my tent. I’m good at waking up with the sun and so when it’s like the sun is coming up all night in the tent it made sleeping hard. There had also been a lot of wind and rain, which hadn’t helped, but we had found a very sheltered spot which meant that while the wind sometimes blew down the alley between the trees and the church it wasn’t that frequent.

With the wind still blowing at 20+mph from the south, we ate breakfast and packed up. There was also a visit to the petrol station across the road where C had made friends with the Indian mother who worked there. She even got us invited to dinner, but that wasn’t until 5pm which was a bit too long to wait even though Indian food is spectacular.

We headed out and were lucky that the road was a little sheltered in places which tempered part of the wind. I was also fortunate that C rode ahead of me and I got to draft behind her. I’m probably a stronger cyclist, but she’s better in the wind, which I guess is down to the weight difference, so she rides first and I ride behind her most of the time. If she’s ever getting tired of the wind she knows she can just ask and I’ll take the wind.

Climbing our first hill, we passed our first cycle tourist for the day. He was going the same direction as us, but that’s all we know. C tried to be social, I was too busy listening to a podcast, but he just blanked her and so we kept riding. Even though we were more heavily laden, we didn’t have too many problems staying ahead of him. I don’t know if that’s because he dropped back to get back to riding by himself or because we are stronger on the hills. I find we tend to hold our own without too many problems against most other cycle tourists while climbing even with our possibly excessive load.

At the bottom of the climb the rain started to get heavy, so I coasted to a stop to put my rain jacket on. My bags and improved aero position mean that I go further when coasting so ended up stopping about 100m ahead of C. I had my jacket on well before she finished her wardrobe change. I was looking round then turned back to see her but no bike and was very confused.

I laid my bike down and walked over to where she was to see her carrying bags up the verge. Her bike had been leant against a post while she changed, but a car had come past quickly enough to combine with the wind to destabilise her bike and make it and the bags roll a few metres down the verge into the blackberry bushes. She had got most of her bags up and was working on her bike by the time I got over. I grabbed the bike, being careful not to slide down the mud to where her things had lain, and pulled it up. She got her things on and we headed off. 2 minutes later and the rain had slowed down enough that it felt kinda excessive to be wearing my rain jacket, especially considering how un-aerodynamic it is. It was a birthday present from my grandparents while I was living in Japan and while it’s the right size, it isn’t form fitting. That’s fine when it’s not windy, but on days like this it slows me down more than my black Gore jacket that’s been sat in Salt Lake City for 4 months, but I’ll hopefully getting hold of it before we hit the Sierra Nevadas on our way to Yosemite.

I was starting to get a bit hungry when we went past the Reedsport Safeway, but C wasn’t eager to stop for a snack and so we didn’t until 20 miles further down the road in Coos Bay. When we entered town we stopped by the bicycle shop hoping to pump our tyres up, but found it was closed as it was a Sunday. Across the road was a tourist information office and I was interested to hear about the 2 route options ahead of us. We could either continue along the 101 or turn off on the ACA recommended detour. The wind had dropped a bit, but we were still after the easier option. I went in and found a couple that were getting advice about the local area. After they finished speaking to the lady behind the counter they turned to me and told me that they’d passed us a few times heading down the coast from Tillamook over the last few days. They were impressed with our progress and ability to keep ahead of them. They left and went to speak to Charlotte while I found out more about the upcoming road and was given a sample of a local sweet from Cranberry Sweets & More, a local sweet store that had a branch on the route we would take. It was delicious so after being told that they had lots of free samples I knew where we were going.

Heading outside I found a piece of glass in my rear tyre giving me my first puncture on my new Continental Travel Contact. I figured that it would definitely have caused a puncture on my Town & Country too and considering my new tyre definitely rolls faster I wasn’t too annoyed. I used my lovely Park Tool Super Patch to repair the tube and got back on the road. After a brief stop in Radioshack where C got chatting to some cyclists who offered us a place to stay if we didn’t want to keep fighting the wind we went to Walmart for lunch. I used the free wifi to call Sandy, our host for the evening, to confirm that it would be OK to stay with her. She is in the process of moving from Bandon to Eugene and had had to come to town at some point so used hosting us as the reason to come which was wonderful.

We rolled out of Walmart to Cranberry Sweets & More and spent the next 30 minutes making ourselves feel ill on an obscene number of supremely delicious sweets. They had 50+ samples of their different chocolates, sweets, fudges and other candies and would let you try anything that they didn’t have samples on. It was an amazing stop, but at the end of it both C & I felt like Augustus Gloop.

Barely able to cycle anymore due to our stomachs hurting, we rode off slowly on to what ended up being a wonderful ride along Seven Devils Road. It was named after the 7 sharp hills (or devils) that you had to climb and while they were sharp, they were all short enough that I could just about sprint them. The rollercoaster like feel of the road was amazing and I really enjoyed riding it. C was starting to get a bit tired towards the end from battling headwinds and climbs all day long so I sat just in front of her and had her draft off me all the way in to Bandon.

Sandy had asked us to call her again when we got into town and while I was working out how to add AT&T credit C laid on the floor and did some yoga as she was spent. We got Sandy’s address and rolled on over for a night of intriguing stories about her adventures. She is a lady whose philosophy on travelling is as follows “When I get to a place I spend time having a conference between me, myself and I to work out what lily pad to jump to next.” It gives her wonderful flexibility and is kind of the way we have been travelling, but what I think will happen even more when I’m by myself. She told of her wonderful travels in Iran where this flexibility had meant that when she met up with an Indian couple with a private driver she could tag along and see the country in a much more interesting way than an organised tour would have given her. That’s definitely a situation I aspire to be in.

Pre-ride thoughts