The rest of Oregon

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After waiting out the storm in Coos Bay, Oregon, I continued down the coast.  The next few days proved treacherous: road debris, downed power lines, 20mph headwinds, and the thickest fog I’ve ever seen.  Occasionally I was able to steal a glimpse of the coast when the fog would yield.

After three days the rain stopped and I was graced with a welcomed 20mph tailwind.  The riding was easy and the vista’s beautiful.  Great cycling weather.

The route was fairly easy; I followed highway 101 all the way down.  Each morning I checked the map for a location around 45 miles away and started riding toward it.  Around 3pm I would start asking around about campgrounds and somehow I always found something.  There’s something very entertaining about not knowing where you are going to sleep each night.  On the days when I couldn’t find a campground I would check into the cheapest hotel I could find.  If I found a hotel to be too expensive I would ask which hotel in the area was the cheapest, sometimes using the phrase “scabies-special” to much success.  I found that you can almost always get a discount just by asking.  I usually ask for the “[soggy|tired|cold] cyclist discount”.  One time I negotiated two discounts totaling $50.00 off.

Cycling the Oregon coast was really quite fun.  With so many opportunities to get water, food, lodging, and camping, it made things very easy.

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Holed up

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After a week and a half in Philomath, Oregon, eating performance enhancing Thanksgiving pie, I was back on the road. While in Philomath I took care of some more dental work that I needed done and with a lot of help from my brother-in-law Alan and my sister Tamara, gathered remaining gear that I neglected to purchase before leaving. I also found time to have some fun with my nieces, Juliette and Fiona, and my nephew Logan.

I also visited the school which Logan and Juliette attend. It’s the King’s Valley Charter School’s first and third grade classes. I talked with them about the trip and answered the many questions they had. The first grade class didn’t have many questions but was excited to hear I would take Flat Stanley along and get some pictures with him. I explained the details of my trip to Logan’s class, the third grade, and answered any questions they had. Here’s a rough account of a portion of the Q&A exchange:

Student: “What if you see a rattlesnake?”

Dave: “I will probably try to avoid it as it probably won’t mess with me if I don’t disturb it. There are actually quite a few different varieties of snakes to worry about on the trip other than rattlesnakes. Central America has the Bushmaster, Horned Pit Vipers, and the Fleur de Lance to name a few.”

Another Student: “What if there’s a snake in the road?”

Dave: “I will wait for it to pass or encourage it to move from a safe distance.”

Another Student: “Ok, if the snake is here and you are going this way and you go around it like this, what would you do?”. The student pantomimed the snake’s location and my bicycle barely skirting the edge of it with his fingers.

Dave: “I would try to avoid disturbing the snake if possible or get help as soon as possibile if somehow bitten.”

Teacher: “Let’s ask some questions about something other than snakes while we have Dave here.”

Student: “What if you are in the desert with no food and no water and your friend dies and freezes in the cold. There’s no town nearby and no way to get food, would you eat your friend; because he’s dead already you know.”

Dave: “I hope it will never come to that but if I was in the desert with no food or water and starving, I would try to find a way to get a ride or communicate that I needed help.”

Teacher: “Let’s ask only appropriate questions please.”

Student: “What if you ran over a snake with your bike and it bit you?”

I spoke with them for about 30 minutes. They had many other questions as well but I found this portion of the exchange the most entertaining. I must have had 10 questions about snakes; a popular topic. I’m glad I had the chance to talk with them, it was a lot of fun. They will be following my trip as I go and might study some of the sights along the way.

After a week and a half, I headed down the Oregon coast. These three days were the best riding of the trip so far: gorgeous views of the cliffs, massive rainstorms rolling in off the sea, sun breaks, one small amusing snow flurry, and mostly dead calm.

On the third day the wind picked up and I learned that a large storm system would be rolling through bringing 60mph winds. My Grandfather used to say: descretion is the better part of valor. Riding with a headwind isn’t too much fun but 60mph can be dangerous. Honestly I was more worried about a driver avoiding me in those conditions than myself being blown over. I looked for a campground near my current position but didn’t find one. So, I’m in cheap motel with a warm shower until the winds become reasonable. It’s been reported that gusts have reached 100mph in the area, the strength of a category 2 hurricane. I think I made the right choice regardless of what my wallet is telling me.

With this extra time I will dry out my gear, work on my Spanish, and catch up on communications. I hope you are enjoying the snow in Seattle, sled down something waaay too fast.

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