October 27, 2006
I’m packed and riding just after dawn on this cool, cloudy morning. Here toward the southern end of the Oregon Coast, I assumed I’d already seen the best that it had to offer, but today’s stretch will prove me wrong.
The opening 17 miles hug the shoreline with dramatic rocky viewpoints, and early-morning mist creates a great effect for the first hour or so. The road bends for two miles around the 1,756 foot Humburg Mountain, which is a essentially a huge block of rock that sits on the edge of the sea.
I turn inland along Cedar Creek, winding through yet another tranquil valley. The road is all mine along an empty golf course, small farms, and quiet wooded properties. There’s a short hill, then a fun, curving descent to The Rogue River, and Gold Beach. I hunt down the library, but no dice on uploading pictures.
Out of Gold Beach I pass a young guy with a backpack on the side of the road, holding a piece of cardboard that says “Crescent City” in black marker. Behind sunglasses I throw him a bearded smile, and flash a gloved peace sign as I pedal by.
There’s a steep climb, and at the top somebody’s painted “Nice Warm Up” on the shoulder. I’ve been seeing a few clever little messages like this for cyclists all along the Oregon Coast. Another one I remember is “Let the fun begin!” at the beginning of a descent south of Astoria. This message I see today is my favorite so far, and yields a chuckle.
On the way down the hill, all of a sudden I turn a bend to see the ocean and more beautiful rocky scenery in plain view again. The coast stays like this for 25 miles all the way to Brookings. I spend so much time today stopping along the road for pictures.
In Brookings I check into a motel, calling it an early day at something like four or five o’clock. There’s a library practically next door, but this one won’t let me upload pictures either. The room has a refrigerator and microwave, so I go to the Fred Meyer store in town (Like a Target) and pick up all sorts of good treats for mass consumption in bed in front of the TV. Life is good.