Tour04 Day 3 - Bandon to Gold Beach, OR

The Oregon Coast at Port Oxford

I had another short day today. Starting from Bandon, I had planned to ride to Brookings, some 90 miles down the coast. The weather was dreary, even a little misty, when I headed out, but improved after the first 20 miles or so. Then, after about 30 miles, it went back to quite dreary and rather cold. It was cold enough that I had to stop and put on a knee warmer under my tights because my bad knee, which is cold sensitive, was hurting. Later I stopped to add a wind jacket under my wind vest (and over my long sleeve jersey) because my shoulders were aching from the cold headwind I'd been riding into for several hours. When I reached Gold Beach at about 5 PM, I decided against going on to Brookings, some 30 miles further down the coast. It is a beautiful coast, but I wasn't going to be able to appreciate it if I rode any further today!

The Oregon Coast at Bandon

I started my riding day by heading off 101 into "Old Town" Bandon. This is the sea front commercial area with shops, restaurants and galleries. It was nice, but not nice enough to stop for <grin>. I rode to the beach front and took the beach loop for Bandon south along the coast to 101. The first few miles of this was very nice indeed, cruising along a beautiful rocky beach, and the last few miles were pleasant riding through a wooded area.

101 south of Bandon

Where the beach loop ended at 101, there was a country store / restaurant so I stopped for breakfast. Two tourists riding rented MTBs and towing Bobs were already there. We visited a bit about the wind - they were riding north, definitely the wrong way at this time if year. Then rode on on 101. I should have suggested they take the Beach Loop! I had a good soup and sandwich special with coffee for a very reasonable price, then rode south, with a good tail wind, on 101.

Sheep near Denmark, OR

The dreary weather improved and the road opened up into what felt almost like riding in Colorado just before I reached Denmark, OR. Denmark seems to be a collection of farms/ranches rather than a town, but it has a road sign. It was pretty there and it remained pretty most of the way to Port Orford.

The wind warning sign just before Port Orford, OR

I stopped at a nice cafe in the middle of Port Orford for a bowl of Chili and some coffee to get ready for the, very rural, 30 miles to Gold Beach. I didn't realize how spectacular, or how challenging, those miles were going to be until I saw what the coast line looked like south of Port Orford. I knew it would be windy because the sign warning of high winds for the next 27 miles at the north entrance to Port Orford. That sign wasn't flashing, so the winds weren't dangerous, but they were cold and they were coming from the south!

Humbug Mountain, just south of Port Orford, OR

The road heading out of Port Orford was nice, but hilly with lots of rough repaired section which had apparently been damaged by earth slides. Looking ahead, I could see Humbug Mountain and, not far south of town, 101 entered Humbug State Park. From Port Orford, it looked like 101 went around the seaward side of Humbug, but, thankfully given the wind, it went around the landward side instead.

The road around Humbug Mountain

It was really nice to get out of the cold headwind after the road turned inland just before Humbug. It was also very pretty! I was cold, even though the sun was still shining at this point, so, when I came to the Humbug day use area, I enter it to take a break. I rode into the parking lot, across a foot bridge, and right up to the bathrooms - with running water. After using the toilet, I walked my bike down to the creek and over to another adjacent picnic area. It was so nice, and so sunny, that I stretched out on the grass and daydreamed for a while. There was one couple eating in the first picnic area I rode through, but they were gone when I rode back. Humbug also has camping, hiking, etc. A very nice park!

The picnic area where I napped

When I left the day use area, I rode around the back of the mountain and gradually up hill. I was back riding into the cold wind and my bad knee started hurting. I finally figured out that it would help if I could warm it up a bit, so I stopped and dug - literally since they were near the bottom - a knee warmer out of my clothing pannier. It helped as I continued to crank up the gentle hill into the wind. There is a long descent back to sea level which made me realize that I had climbed several hundred feet going around the mountain. The highest hill I've encountered so far was about 600 feet above sea level. It was followed by a 40 mph 500 foot descent a few miles north of Bandon. Heading south from Gold Beach, 101 ascends to 750 feet at Cape Sebastian. not to far south from the California border, it climbs to 1100 feet.

Beautiful, but cold and dreary, climbing south of Humbug

As I rode the 20 miles south from Humbug to Gold Beach, the sun went away and the wind got colder. It was pretty country, but not fun riding because of the cold headwind. I averaged less than 10 mph for this stretch, stopping to put on my wind jacket before I reached Nesika Beach. Just after Nesika Beach, I turned off 101 onto the Old Coast Road. That was fun riding!

A view of the Pacific from the Old Coast Road

An incredibly flagged tree near the coast - what a windy place!

When I reached Gold Beach, I rode through town to see what was available, then rode back and stopped for supper and some thinking about going on. I had spotted a promising looking motel not far from a grocery store and, after supper, I went back to the motel.

Later, walking to the grocery store to get supplies for tomorrow, I jay walked across 101 near, but certainly not in, a crosswalk. A semi with a dual trailer stopped and motioned me to proceed across ahead of him! I smiled and laughed and he smiled back as I motioned him to go on. I've seen several examples of this almost Canadian like politeness on the road in Oregon. Drivers sure don't behave like that in North Carolina!

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