Day 4 - The Barmy Bunch
Stats - Port Orford to Brookings - 68.2 miles
There was a bittersweet feeling this morning as we left our campsite around 9:30am, after taking a peek at the view from Cape Blanco State Park, the most westerly State Park in the US. It was nice to take a liesurely morning eating breakfast and enjoying coffee, but we also knew that we had many miles to accomplish today. We also knew that the biggest hill we were to tackle in Oregon lay ahead of us.
Our day started out rough, as we found the route to Ophir quite hilly. We had to take a lot of water breaks, and break for a second breakfast. The road got v.e.r.y. narrow and rough around Humbug Mountain State Park. We also had to run away from dinosaurs.
Sabrina protects Murphy as we flee from the dinosaur.
After Ophir, though, the map took us off Hwy 101 until Gold Beach. Using what we learned yesterday, we decided to stay on 101 and see if our theory was correct, in the hopes that the road was less rough. Not only was the road smooth and the shoulder abundant, but the terrain was nice and flat (and had awesome ocean views!), so other than some butt-igue, we rolled into Gold Beach feeling pretty good.
We knew that after Gold Beach was the hill that we saw on the map as the mother-of-all-hills in Oregon. It rose to 800 feet continuously in a short span of miles. We re-fueled at Rachel's Coffeehouse, which shared space with the Gold Beach Bookstore, in preparation for our climb. We really enjoyed the padded benches in the outside seating.
Don't knock it 'till you try it!
As we were getting ready to leave the coffeehouse, we were approached by an older gentleman from Portland named Johnathan who was also riding to San Francisco, but solo. He asked if he could ride up the hill with us as he was feeling pretty tired and was looking for some moral support. He offered a thanks by way of the small amount of foodstuffs in his pannier - almonds, raisins, and whiskey. We agreed to accompany him without accepting his gracious offer, although looking at his road bike and his light load we knew he'd be going at a much faster pace than us.
Gold Beach hill was actually not that bad. It was very long, but the incline was modest and we were able to make it with one water break. We weren't prepared for the "fun rolling hills" that came afterward, though. Riding those after a taxing morning and a large climb proved to be difficult. Our gorgeous view of the ocean the whole time was our saving grace, including a view from atop the highest bridge in Oregon.
Scary-high bridge, but amazing view!
Johnathan was very patient and waited for us at the top of the hills, but after a while he gave up and continued on.
We arrived at our destination in Brookings around 7pm, staying at the Harris Beach State Park. We met back up with Johnathan, and since the campground is full we are again in the hiker/biker area, punctuated by a gentleman who is riding across country and has not lived in a house in 42 years. I don't know what it is about Ben, maybe his kind eyes, but he is a magnet for these folks. We have good digs tonight, though - showers, laundry, and the ice cream truck even came by! I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end our day.
What we learned today:
1) Code words for "Big Hill" - Cape, Viewpoint, and Passing Lane
2) The "solo" riders are very social and questionably screwball. The ones riding in groups keep to themselves and are not loopy.
3) Word of the Day - "Barmy". While it literally means "full of barm" or "frothy" is also an adjective to describe someone who may be off their rocker.