Day 9 – May 24, 2015 – Sunday
It’s Sunny! We load up our bikes and carry them down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor, and ride over to the store. I get some Gatorade and snacks while dad waits at the picnic table on the lawn outside. The store is busy! We load up, put on our riding shoes and are on our way at 8:08 am.
The map reads an uphill start and that we can anticipate a steep 400 ft climb soon. The girls in the office mentioned the impending uphill when we checked in. Our first turn is a left on Slab Creek Road. We see a small sign, it comes quicker than I expect. We turn left. The road is supposed to be 10 miles, but it’s only ½ a mile of very poorly maintained road that curves back to Hwy 101. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m not too concerned because we are back on Hwy 101. We ride a little further and see a bigger sign reading Slab Creek Road. Well, here we go again. We turn left. We’ll see where this Slab Creek Road goes. We ride a bit and see a sign that reads Neskowin Scenic Drive through the Siuslaw National Forest. The forest smells wonderful through here. The riding is enjoyable, the road curvy, but not much traffic. We pass a pretty sign that says Silver Valley and has a scene with an elk painted on it, we get a downhill ride of 600 feet to sea level, a view of a white horse laying down, which I take a picture of because I’m sure it will add some excitement to my journal later (it doesn’t), and we pass a guy in a car sitting beside the road.
We are riding at a fast speed so the car stays behind us until we hit a straight stretch where he passes safely. I love considerate drivers! We ride through Otis. It’s tiny, but has a few buildings and a Café with people outside it. I imagine they are meeting there after church because there is nothing else to do.
We turn right onto SR 18 and ride for about a mile then bear left back onto US 101. Traffic is getting busier. Up ahead is NE East Devil’s Lake Road (no “NE East” is not a mistake) and we need to take a left but the traffic is busy and moving fast! “Dad, what do you want to do? We need to get across.” “Yeah, I know. Maybe we can walk across early and walk up the wrong side of the road till we take that left.” He says. “Sounds good.” I agree. A car passes and it looks clear. We walk across quickly and walk up to the stop sign on NE East Devils Lake Rd.
A truck pulls up next to us, trying to take a left onto the Highway. We stop and wait because now we need to get across to the right side of the road, but there are trucks turning onto and off NE East Devils as well as speeding by on the Hwy we just crossed. “Dad, maybe it’s this busy because of Memorial Weekend.” The guy in the truck has his windows down and says “I live here and it’s always this busy.” “That’s crazy!” I reply. The driver sees an opening and screeches into the highway traffic. We clip our right feet onto our pedals and get ready to speed across from the left side of NE East Devils to the right side of the road. We see an opening in traffic and take it. “That was crazy!” I say. Riding around the lake is taking longer than I thought it would and there are lots of hills just steep enough to make following dad with his shifting problems a pain. It’s wearing me out. The view is still enjoyable though.
I have to go to the bathroom so we stop at an outlet mall on the tail end of Lincoln City. It’s busy here! We cross the road and enter the packed parking lot, which is way too small for this much traffic and all these stores! We start look for a bathroom. It’s an outdoor mall and I see signs asking not to ride bikes on the sidewalk. Ugg, we get off and start pushing. Push, push, push, walk, walk, walk. We can’t find a bathroom! I ask this lady if she knows where the bathroom is and she says “I only know because I had to use it yesterday. I think it’s this way.” Push, push, walk, walk. She doesn’t remember. We follow a restroom sign, hoping this one might actually point to the bathrooms, and FINALLY find some double doors promising public restrooms.
I open the double doors where I am met with a long hallway. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I say. I pass vending machines for toys. “This is ridiculous! How far away are these restrooms?” After an eternity of walking I use the restrooms and get back to the bikes. Then Dad begins the trek. It literally was a five-year mission and I finished a box of hot tamales while he was gone. Well, I might be exaggerating a little, but only a little. We push our bikes back to the parking lot and navigate to a stoplight where perfect timing lands us right behind the first car, guaranteeing the light will change, and we turn left onto Hwy 101.
I love this Hwy, especially on a bicycle! Its parts of the ride like now that are so perfect! The ocean is so close! It’s so beautiful! We ride through Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach. Suddenly, this car swerves right in front of dad and onto a side road heading behind some houses. The jerks! It was two younger morons, posing as human beings. I am not sure if they didn’t see him at all or just thought they could make it and didn’t care, but they cut him off. They could have run him over from the side! I’m not sure if he had time to even use his breaks. They never put on their breaks once! I am wishing I had a paintball gun to shoot their car with. Is that wrong?
The edge of the road is wide, and there is a sidewalk that goes for miles. We ride on it. It’s relaxing to be out of traffic but sidewalks tend to have repetitive bumps, unnoticed by walkers, but I definitely feel them. Thump, thump, thump. After about 10 or so miles I have to go to the bathroom again, yeah, no surprise there. All the gas stations are on the wrong side of the road so we pull into Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint. We are directly hit by a freezing wind coming off the ocean so I decide to put my hat on after we stop. Dad and I need a break though, so we ride to a picnic table. There is a table with a better view, but it’s busy here and there is a van with a family at the table I want. Bummer. I eat while dad walks to the bathroom.
There are a lot of paths that don’t want bikes on them, “just for pedestrians,” but these paths usually are to the bathroom or shower, so sometimes we ignore them. You might think that rude, but here’s how I justify it. The clips on our shoes make it hard to walk, so we have to change to walking shoes anytime we want to walk for an extended time, and that can become a whole event when all I want to do is just pee quick. What do I mean? Here’s an example of what happens every time we stop. I’m riding my bike and I want to stop. I twist my left foot to unclip my shoe. I stop putting my left foot down. I unclip my right foot and swing it high over my bike while holding up my bike which has 40 lbs or more of packs on it. I have to find a place to lean my bike because we don’t have kickstands (they are sort of uncool in the bike world). Then I take off my helmet and clip it on my bike frame. I take off my gloves and put them in my handle bar bag. I unhook my camelbak and bring it in front of me. I get my camera and valuables out of my handlebar bag and put them into my camel back. Then I put my camelbak back on my shoulders. I go to my packs and get out my walking shoes. I stand unsteady on one clip/bike shoe while putting a walking shoe on, repeat on other side. I put my bikes shoes on my bike somewhere. Then I get out my lock and lock our bikes together. Then I can shop or go to the bathroom or whatever. If Dad stays with the bikes then I can skip locking them up, but you see how it’s a whole ordeal to do anything. Then I have to do everything backwards to leave with the addition of balancing our bikes sometimes as we add things to our packs. So as long as we don’t block handicap accesses or traffic jam entry/exits – some signs get ignored.
I put my hat on and take some picture. Dad gets back. We eat snacks. Dad says “Are you about ready to go? Well, I better go check out the view before we go.” I take some pics of him looking at the view.
Dad’s shifter is giving him real trouble today causing me to lag behind or ride right on his butt, so it’s hard to pace ourselves. Also both of our bikes chains are noisier than I like, and I’m having visions of us clunking up to the bike shop, losing pieces of our bikes all along the way and finally we stop at the front door of the shop and they just fall to pieces! Haha. We pull over at the Whale Watching Center. I’m a little confused about which road to take because uphill says Newport and we want to go to Newport, but it seems wrong somehow. Sometimes viewing a sign from a car and a bicycle are two different experiences. A guy and woman pull up and get out of their truck. We ask them which road to take to Newport, the guy says the lower road and tell us that it’s very narrow and he wouldn’t want to ride it so we should be careful. He also says the Devil’s Punchbowl, just down the road, is worth the stop and we don’t want to miss it.
We pass a port-a-potty in the parking lot and a guy/hiker/bum sitting on the corner by the road leaves his stuff and uses the port-a-potty. I wonder if he worries about his stuff getting stolen. I know for me the things on my bike are all necessary for the trip, so it’s all very valuable to me, even if it might not look like it.
We are riding downhill and see the Devil’s Punchbowl State National Rec. Area sign. We stop at the turn. Dad says “Do you want to see it?” I look down the road, it’s downhill and there is no telling how far to the viewing area and I know Dad is having trouble with his gears making riding more difficult so I say, “I don’t really need to see it.” He says “Me neither.” As we start to take off, this guy pull his truck to the sign in front of us, he is coming from the attraction and says something with more hostility than persuasion “You guys are on a long trip, you can afford a 1/2 mile out of your way, you don’t want to miss it.” Dad says, “What do you think?” I say “Well if it’s only a ½ mile.” Dad says “Okay, this better ‘WOW’ me.” We take a right and ride a ½ mile then hit a fairly steep downhill. We pass a lot of vehicles and people and a few buildings, one with a sign that reads “Mo’s West.”
We park our bikes at a fence and look down into the Devil’s Punchbowl.
I am impressed with how little the people exploring inside of it look. Seeing them gives me more perspective on how big it is. It’s not “WOWing” dad, however, his bicycle gearing trouble, causing knee pain, and the fact that we have been riding past equally or more beautiful places for days doesn’t help. We leave and Dad has to shift really low to go up the steep hill since the gears he would normally use are not working, so I go ahead of him, but he catches up quickly because as soon as it flattens out he has to shift to high gears. Oy!
Traffic starts picking up as we near Newport. I take a picture of Dad entering Newport. It’s one of my favorites!
I see dad and the slow sign and the arrow and can’t resist, but the van with the “Life’s Good” spray painted on the back is a surprise and makes it perfect! It sort of sums up the whole trip so far. We are slow, but while we are riding, life can’t be anything but good!
We eat at Subway. When we are leaving we see one of those happy air dolls they have at car lots that continually flap around and dad says “I’m thinking about buying one of those.” We shop at the Thrift Mart for food. While we are locking up our bikes a lady parks her bike. Our bikes and packs are bulky and take up most of the bike rack. She is nice and says she lives in town and rides all over. She says the guy in the bike shop is really great and does good work and tells us the park is nice and describes the road ahead a bit.
We ride through town and stop on the Yaquina Bay Bridge. It says if we use the sidewalk we have to walk our bikes. This bridge is very long and as almost all bridges this one is half uphill and half downhill so we decide to huff it. Walking the bridge is taking a long time! We stop and take some pictures. On the downhill side of the bridge we have to use our breaks! It just feels so wrong to be walking my bike and using my breaks. Dad takes a picture of us with the bridge behind us.
About a mile south of the bridge is the South Beach State Park. We get a hiker/biker spot for $6.00 per person. I pay for us for tonight and tomorrow night. Tomorrow is Monday, Memorial Day and we decided not to ride in Monday’s traffic. Also the bike shop won’t be open until Tuesday and we can’t leave until Dad’s bike is fixed.
We set up our tents and dad goes to shower. I talk with Marc on the phone about using up our minutes faster than we thought we would, and ask him about an unlimited minutes card. He says we can get one at a Wal-Mart.
The weather has been great today, sunny with clouds, still, it’s getting significantly colder suddenly. I need to go take my shower.
I get back from my shower, and Dad and I share a can of chili and a hoagie roll we bought back in Pacific City. It is yummy. There is a couple in a tent near us and the girl’s sister is visiting them. She brought her little baby and it’s so noisy! I’m thinking what a complete pain it is going to be trying to sleep with that noisy baby next door. Then the sister says “Well, I’ve got to go now” and I’m suddenly so happy! Then she says “See you tomorrow” and I’m thinking “Oh Lord, I hope not.”
I’ve decided not to drink anything after dinner because the bathroom is further away than I want to walk in the middle of the night. I also had a few ideas for the book I’m working on.
Time: 5:18:07 Dist: 49.44 Ave: 9.3 Max: 34.0 Odo: 328
Day 10 – May 25, 2015 – Monday – Memorial Day – Rest Day
I wake up around 7:30 a.m. with a completely dry tent! We’ve encountered so much rain lately that a dry tent is wonderful! No wet grass to walk on first thing in the morning. No wet tarp to fold up. I’m not folding my tarp up today anyway, but you get the point.
Dad says a bird woke him up because it was pecking at the bag of peanuts he left out on the picnic table. I notice the man neighbor snores weird. It has to be the man, girls don’t snore. 😉
I walk into the bathroom and it’s like camp in here. Girls everywhere, bags and curling irons on all the benches, plugins full. Aww, to be young and care about putting on makeup while I’m camping because there is someone to impress. The last time I put on makeup, my dad told me “It looks like you’ve been punched in the eye.”
I’ve been thinking we passed a Wal-Mart yesterday at the beginning of town, but it would probably be 15 to 20 miles (round trip) for me to get there, so I think I’ll ask Marc to buy the unlimited minutes card and just give me the numbers and I’ll refill the phone that way.
I like this park. It’s nice, cheap and there is a long paved trail you can ride your bike on.
Bored, Bored, Bored. I think I will take a walk to the beach. I walk towards the bathrooms and take a left on a beach trail. The path is surrounded by trees. I take shadow pictures and selfies. Educational pictures of informational signs and artsy pictures of the trees from different angles. There is a sign that says “Welcome to the all-accessible interpretive boardwalk.” Interpretive boardwalk? Does that mean it might not be a boardwalk? Or maybe it’s like an interpretive dance, the path is unclear and you’re lost half the time? I pass signs painted on the ground that say “1930 Shoreline was here – Know why?” and then “1940 Shoreline was here – Know why?” I take a picture of the Yaquina Bay Bridge from far away and see a little dog on the path. I take pictures of the sand and waves as always. There is a fishing boat and surfers and a big hotel surrounded by fog that makes me want to write a scary short story!
There is a girl with two dogs running on the beach and I take some airplane pictures from below. I start to leave and take one look back at the beach and I see two dogs walking away from each other with two girl in between. I think that’s cool so I take a picture.
I’m enjoying the walk back and suddenly these huge mosquitos are out and in force! They seem as big as small hummingbirds! I put my sunglasses on so maybe the mosquitoes will think I’m a mosquito sister, but it doesn’t work. I pick up the pace. I take a right onto the road back to my tent and I’m momentarily confused because most of the motor home spaces are empty. They were filled when I went to the beach. This place is clearing out faster than a gold digging woman from a poor man’s house!
11:30 am – I get back to camp and dad is talking with some guy. After the guy leaves, he tells me he talked with a couple who lived in Carmel. He asked the standard question “Do you know Clint Eastwood?” They said they didn’t know Clint Eastwood, they had only seen him around town, but they did live next to Doris Day. Dad said “I had a crush on her when he was little.” The guy said “yep, I did too.” Dad’s always talking with someone, but I’m still loving the alone time. I remember once I heard the theme song for “Cheers” the line “You wanna go where everybody knows your name” and I remember thinking “really? I wanna go where nobody knows my name.”
I get inside my tent. I look down at my feet and see the sand from the beach getting into my sleeping bag. I smile. Most people hate sand in their bed, but it just reminds me of the beach and I love the beach. Sand on my feet is one of my fondest memories as a kid.
12:40 pm – I write some notes for my book. I listen to an audio book and take nap.
4:46 pm – The sun bursts out and shines directly onto my tent and it gets so hot I have to get out. Outside the wind is really cold. Dad fixed us Teriyaki from a bag for dinner. I get cold and forced by mosquitos into my tent, where I eat dinner. I eat an orange which put a weird film on my hand, so I take a picture. I snack on hot tamales.
Dad decides to take a walk to the beach. I say, “Do you want to take my camera?” “Yeah, I’d better.” He replies.
The store didn’t have all the stuff I wanted yesterday so I bought some lemon fiber bars. I eat one and YUCK! Apparently my home town isn’t the only one where the stores can’t keep anything in stock, thus I tried a substitute and experienced a horrible situation forever known as “the lemon bar fiasco.”
6:44 pm – Just got back from a shower – bored, bored, bored.