Tour04 Day 2 - Florence to Bandon, OR

The view from Dunes Overlook

Today was my first day riding down the Oregon coast. 101 runs inland on this stretch of coast. probably because the coast itself is covered with sand dunes add it is pretty hard to build a highway on sand! I did get to see the ocean, but only a few times during the day and, all but one time, I had to leave 101 on access roads to get to overlook points. It was mighty pretty looking out at the ocean across the dunes, but 101 was also mostly pretty as it climbed and descended its way though the hills near the ocean.

Riding into Florence

I had a good night - as good as can be expected after a 120 mile ride - and a nice breakfast at The Blue Heron B+B. As usual with B+Bs, I didn't get started riding till after 10:30 AM. That was fine with me this morning since I needed to sleep late and take it easy, but it is one of the reasons I don't like staying at B+Bs even when, as in Canada, they aren't too expensive. Tonight, in Bandon, I'm at a - relatively since this is tourist season - inexpensive motel. This allows me more privacy and more time to work on ride reports and web pages.

Looking back upriver at low tide

When I rode into Florence this morning, I was back on the 'strip' that mars much of the central part of the Oregon coast. I'm sure there is a lot of good stuff to spend money on in Florence, but I was happy to ride south and quickly get away from the commercialization. Florence is much nicer than, for example, Lincoln City, but 101 running out in the country is much nicer riding than 101 in Florence.

One of several Tsunami Hazard signs I passed today

I asked my host about the ride south from Florence. He said it was flatter than riding the northern Oregon Coast, but that there were significant climbs on either side of Reedsport, and between Coos Bay and Brandon. Usually, folks who don't ride bikes don't have a very good feel for hills, but he was spot on. There was considerably more climbing in the 76 miles I rode today than in the 120 miles I rode yesterday. I think there was a much climbing in the last 20 miles - Coos Bay to Brandon - as is in the 50 miles from Vaneta to Florence.

A river Lighthouse on the Umpqua river
and breakwaters going out into the Pacific Ocean near Reedsport

I rode to Reedsport for lunch. It is a pretty blue collar town, so I tried to stop a good working class place, but all the seating that would let me keep an eye on my bike was taken. I rode on down the strip and spotted a Subway. That was a good choice since I ate quickly and took half a 12" sub with me. I ate that half sitting outside a KOA campground/ ATV dune riding place. while I was eating, I watched a family of ATVs pass me headed for the the dunes. The little ATV for the small kid was cute, and I bet that family gets lots of togetherness on the dunes. In this part of the coast, riding the dunes seems to be the major recreational activity. The major business, other than tourism, is lumber.

The bridge over Coos Bay before North Bend

When I got to the bridge over Coos Bay, it was very windy. I had to walk my bike over this long bridge because of the wind gusts. Even walking the bike, it was hard to keep it under control in the gusty winds (I think gusting to 40 mph or so up there) blowing around the bridge superstructure. As I struggled to get over that bridge, I wondered if a recumbent rider would be able to do it at all.

When I got down off the bridge, I saw a sign for a "bicyclist rest area." A lot of folks would need it after that exciting journey! I also found a bike shop there where I bought a new pair of gloves. Mine, although they were not old, were disintegrating. I miss the clever glove removal cords on my Chiba gloves, but the new Specialized Comp gloves seem a lot more durable and they have an interesting gel pad right where my hand contact the bars when I am riding the hoods or the drops. I though it was a gimmick, but grew to like it on my way from Coos Bay to Brandon.

101's typical scenery

101's worst case shoulder with lumber yard

The riding today, as yesterday, was pretty good. There were far more stretches without a marked shoulder and some places where the shoulder was awfully bumpy. but drivers were generally good. I did have a bad experience as I sat by the road taking my last break of the day. I was sitting near the bottom end of a big hill with my bike leaning against the guard rail and my helmet sitting on the flat end piece at the end of the guard rail.

I had been sitting there about ten minutes, on the edge of the pavement, facing away from the road. My back was about three feet from the while line. As I ate I paid some attention to oncoming traffic, but because I was putting my food away, I didn't spot the truck that came up with his wheels on, or over, the white line until the blast of wind and sand hit me. It almost pushed me over and it did blow my helmet off the flat spot and into the ditch behind the guard rail.

I've noticed some truckers will place their wheels right on the white line as they pass me when I am riding on the shoulder. Usually the shoulder here is wide enough that that is not a big deal. Most truckers are very considerate about getting as far over as they can when they pass a bicycle, but some are real jerks. That one today was driving a fuel truck, large, but not a semi, and, since he pulled into the other lane - there was a passing lane where I was sitting - just after he passed me to pass another vehicle, I'm sure he blasted me quite deliberately. I've met a lot of truckers on the road and they are usually very nice people. However, there is a small percentage who are definitely not nice. One trucker told me he thought it was about ten percent, but I think it is less than one percent.

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