Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Umpqua to Denmark, Oregon that is...

Umpqua Lighthouse to Denmark, OR
71 miles

We packed up pretty quickly this morning and were so thrilled that we might be out of camp before 10 AM. It was 9:20 and we were about to roll out when I looked down to see I had a flat tire. We quickly changed the tire and pulled out the two small shards of glass embedded in the tire. It was 9:50! we technically got out of camp before 10, by a hair. I am also quite pleased to announce that my idea for what I like to call a "coon hang" has been successful. As you may have read from our first stay at Oregon State Parks, the raccoon problem is rampant. So I took a lesson from Yellowstone and our "bear hangs" and hang all of our food from a rope on a tree branch each night.

Now, Oregon State Parks are well aware of their raccoon issues and just warn visitors to put all food in their car or RV at night. They should think about the hikers and bikers who don't have a car. Just a side note.

Anyway, today we rode through an area of Oregon where there are tons of sand dunes. Riding ATVs is big here. We rode until we came to the bridge north of North Bend, where we had to walk our bikes over a bridge that was about a mile long. While it was slow going, I'm sure glad we didn't ride on the busy road. It actually refreshed my leg muscles to walk for a while and I had a lot of energy when we began to ride again in North Bend/Coos Bay. After leaving those towns and downing some locally made chocolate milk, we began up the Seven Devils Road. It was a very hilly road with a rather steep climb. At the start of it, misfortune struck us again as a spoke broke on Greg's rear wheel. Thankfully we repaired the spoke with a cool Kevlar emergency spoke in about a half an hour. We kept riding and near the top of this twisty road met a couple of old cyclists. One was 71 and the other was 67 and they told us they were riding 57 miles today with 2,800 feet in climbing. What a couple of badasses. We talked for awhile and they shared some stories and bike knowledge with us before urging us to get on our way if we planned to camp at Langlois. We rode into Bandon and got groceries. The town of Bandon is nice and the view of the ocean and the rocks out at sea are beautiful. We didn't get to take pictures because we were in a hurry to get to camp. Only 13 more miles, which turned out to be 16.5 miles. I was getting really tired that last stretch with my seat aching and energy very low. Thank goodness for Greg's encouragement and iced gingersnap cookies. We got to Langlois and found out that there are no campgrounds in town, so we rode to Denmark and stayed at a KOA. We even found out that our friend Eli, from Missoula, is just four days ahead of us on his bike and stayed at this place as well. We had a chili dinner with salad and fell asleep exhausted after hot showers. Goodnight!


I have learned a few things about bikes and touring so far. First, I am just way too big. I have the biggest bike frame (62 cm) almost any widely available bike companies sell, and I am really finding out how it is just too small for me. I bought a new seat post and it alleviated my knee problem, but now I am sitting much higher so I have to bend over more to reach that handle bars. To fix this would require a new hugely tall stem that would not only look ridiculous, but I would have to buy yet another part. I think I will just try to adapt to the more leaned over position. I did think that we were both fine with the tires we had (Panaracer Paselas) but I am coming to find out I was wrong about that too. They are just not rugged enough for the beating we are handing out. The tread is just disappearing on my rear tire, and as you can tell we have had a fair amount of flats. I see why $60 per tire tires might be worth it instead of $20. We will wear these out completely and then trade up. I also knew that at some point my rear wheel would give out, but i didn't think it would be so soon. I snapped a spoke off not at the elbow, but at the threads. Hopefully the Kevlar spoke will do for awhile until I can get the spoke replaced, but eventually I will probably need a new wheel all together. The original was little better than junk. Someone start making big bikes for big guys that are reasonably priced.


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