Day 43, Gold Beach, OR to Crescent City, CA

A beautiful view, but check out the fog bank
It was chilly, and often damp on the Oregon coast today

When I left Gold Beach this morning, after an OK breakfast, and a stop at grocery store for bananas, bagels, and apples, it was reasonably warm, the wind was from the north, and riding south was, except for some construction and the big hill just south of town, quite good. Long before I got to California, that had all changed. It was cold and damp with a moderate headwind for most of my riding in Oregon today. That changed again after I got into California, but changed back when I was on the freeway section of 101. I entered Crescent City riding into a cold wind and with my bad knee hurting, despite two kneewarmers, because of the cold.

Just after a construction section, we are climbing a long hill south of Gold Beach
The other half of the we is just visible ahead of me in this image

I had an interesting encounter with another bike tourist this morning. I had just ridden through some construction when I saw him ahead of me. I'd seen his loaded bike in Gold Beach, complete with a couple of musical instruments and a tennis racket on one side in the front, shortly before I stopped at the grocery store. He passed me while I was in there and I'd caught up to him due to the construction. Now he was headed up the big hill south of town and I was following him.

He gradually pulled away from me while we climbed, but, when he stopped to strip off some of his clothing - it was a warm climb - I caught up with him and we visited for ten minutes or so. He lives in Santa Barbara, but had spent the winter in Portland and was now heading back south. I told him I had spent six weeks at UC Santa Barbara as part of a NEH seminar back in the 90s. He asked me what the seminar was about and I sold him 'Late Antique and Medieval Conceptions of Heaven' and then thinks got a bit strange. Yes, I admit the seminar was also a bit unusual, but it was one of the most important summers of my life. Among other things, it got me back into bicycling.

He told me, at length, that he was this century's equivalent of the Buddha (or Christ) and that he had achieved enlightenment through aesthetics. I could handle that, but when he said he was now working on enlightenment through tennis, I told him I thought that was a bit much. Maybe bicycle touring, but not tennis!

We talked a bit more, but it was getting repetitive so I suggested we ride on. We rode together to the top of the hill - quite a while, it is a big hill - and parted when he stopped near the start of the descent. I knew I would leave him behind on the descent since I had a much more aerodynamic riding position and I like fast descents, but I expected him to catch up with me later in the day. I never saw him again.

Pretty rocks

More pretty rocks

Riders - equestrian variety - on the beach

After the great descent down the other side of that big hill, the road stayed near the water f0r a while and then climbed, and descended, a series of smaller hills. Then it went through a long valley that had recently had a big fire. Traffic was stopped as trucks were being loaded with debris from the fire, but I was allowed to ride through. The cars and trucks that I left behind didn't catch up with me for another fifteen or 20 minutes.

I think it was in this section, shortly after I got out of the burned area, that I pulled over to rest and snack and discovered the Oregon Coast trail that sometimes paralleled the road.

Near the end of the burnt section

An entry to the Oregon Coast trail later in today's ride.

The fog coming in over the road

It was hazy almost all day today, and. as I got nearer to Brooking, fog was rolling in above, and sometimes on, the road. The wind was from the south and riding was getting quite chilly. I wasn't fast enough to realize that my bad knee was going to get cold, and therefore sore, in that cold headwind. When my knee started hurting I put a second knee warmer on it and kept my wind vest on even going down hills. Before I got to Brooking, I put armwarmers on my arms as well. I was finally staying warm enough, but riding was still unpleasant into that cold wind.

When I finally - it was only 29 miles but felt much longer - made it to Brookings, I stopped for lunch to warm up as much as to eat. I ended up eating with a local who pointed out that Crescent City could be as much as 20 F warmer than Brookings. I remembered learning about micro-climates on my last ride down this coast and was encouraged to continue on to Crescent City in hopes of a better climate. The weather actually improved almost as soon as I got to California, only a few miles south of Brookings ;-}.

Entering California

The road from Grants pass is where I probably would have reached 101 if I hadn't visited Wayne abd Michael

Only 350 miles to San Francisco

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