Friday, October 30, 2009
Port Orford to Brookings
Captions from the top: Greg feeling the power after a great descent to the ocean in the sun, Pedaling out on the coast, Staci this pressure canner is for you!, Whale spouts, Pretty ocean shots, Us posing for the camera, and another beauty shot
Port Orford to Brookings OR
We had a beautiful day of riding today. The sun was shining for the entire day and we actually stopped about fifteen minutes into the ride to change into shorts and tee shirts. We joked that we might even get a sunburn if we were lucky. We rode through Humbug Mountain State Park, where the road left the coast for a little ways and wound through a narrow, beautiful canyon. We made great time and were at Gold Beach before we knew it. Immediately after Gold Beach we had a large climb from what it showed on our map. The climb ended up being high, but very gradual and it didn't wear us out. We even had a guy in a minivan coming from the other direction turn around and follow us back down the descent and then ask us if he could take our picture at the bottom. Our fan club I guess. The descent was awesome and it felt so good to feel the warm air and sunshine on our bare legs.
We rolled into this gorgeous section of the coast with beaches and jagged rocks like monuments. Soon after we stopped at a pullout to take pictures and a man also looking out told us that there were whales out there. We waited and watched and then finally we saw spouts. We watched for about 20 minutes and I would guess there were probably five or more whales. We think they were Grey whales. It was really cool because it the Greg's first time seeing a whale. The whole day had great scenery and we got into Brookings and our campground around 5:20PM. It would have been even earlier if it were not for a flat we got about a quarter mile outside of town. Tonight we celebrated our first five-hundred miles of the trip and our first two weeks on the bikes at Pancho's Mexican Restaurant. We had some really filling dinners and some drinks and slept really soundly that night. The trip distance on my bike reads 550 miles today.
Another note about southern Oregon: cranberry production is the #1 economic driver. We saw many cranberry bogs and fields and many were scattered along the roadway because this is the cranberry harvest time. We even saw a machine harvesting from a flooded bog.
More on the cranberries, it was pretty weird riding along and seeing all of these red marble sized orbs on the roadside. We realized they were cranberries after a large old dump-truck sputtered out in front of us along the highway. The back of it was heaped with just harvested cranberries. They blow off the top of the truck on the way to the processing plant. They were fun to see on the road and I purposely tried to line my tires up so I could squish them as we rode by. Ahh the simple pleasures in life. Cranberry squashing! The bogs were interesting to see. Each bog has a berm neatly dug out around it that acts as a dam. Then the bog can be flooded and the berries float to the top for harvesting. Cool.
Another crazy thing happened today... Dani mentioned in the earlier post that we saw some other bicycle tourists, and we ran into them and another couple in the same day. It is odd knowing we are not the only ones out here riding our bikes down the coast. We had been fooled into thinking we were the only people riding bikes down the coast and it made us feel a bit like crazy pioneers. But, it is also nice to know that there are others braving this wet fall weather and we are not completely insane.
Right before we arrived in Brookings, we saw whales! The first time I have ever seen them. We didn't really see the whole whale or anything like that because, obviously, they are in the ocean, but they were very close to the beach. They were at least five of them and we could see glimpses of their backs and tails and they swam around, but the easiest way to spot them was their spouts. When the whales exhale their breath hits the cold ocean air and creates a steam column 10-15 feet tall that looks like smoke. We are no experts, but we think they were probably grey whales. Very cool to see.