Day 9 – Hotter than..

/ Monday, 21 September 2009 / North AmericaOregonUnited States

Days Distance: 90km
Total Distance: 933km

Shivering last night, finally zipping up my -20 sleeping bag, I found a way to stretch out, even with the food pannier at the foot of the tent. Better my feet get bitten off than my head if a bear comes along.I dreaded getting up as soon as I saw light creeping in, knowing that it would be once again a day to find a place to shake off the fly, and let the air evaporate the moisture before heading out.

When I got up, it was warm, and I even skipped placing things into the stuff sack, as I wanted to head back into Newport. I was searching for a breakfast joint, pedalling slowly on my left due to the nagging pain of my calf I slammed on my brakes and headed right into the Fishtails Cafe – the smells, the ambience, the COFFEE!!! (I still have yet to find another mug). I used this stop to my advantage to charge GPS, Camera, and Netbook, while I was graced with a beautiful waitress to serve me a 2 egg + bacon meal (4 strips!), hash browns, thicker than a republicans head sourdough toast and 2 breaded and fried oysters. I blew my daily budget a bit, but it was worth it, before I headed down the road to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Nice to see, they had bike lockers to store your things, however my bike lock didn’t work in their mechanisms, and I quickly evaluated —– Do I want to see the aquarium, or do I want to see the real science behind it…I pedalled off for another 2 minutes before finding the University of Oregons Marine Science Centre – Way more up my alley.

The facilities offered all sorts of knowledgeable information regarding responsible fishing, coastal intruders and threats (mainly due to humans not quite understanding the fragile ecosystem, and letting loose their pets or not cleaning their equipment properly from coast to coast!), and information on sound waves that normally occur under specific ranges under the sea – such as whales, earthquakes, ships.

I was in my happy place, able to keep up conversations with the volunteers and staff due to my knowledge of marine ecosystems, when I was offered the opportunity to feed both the Wolf Eel, and their Great Pacific Octopus! I snapped a few photo’s and walked out of the centre an hour later with a gigantic bulge in my lycra shorts and pedalled off down US 101 south again.

By 11am, the heat was searing – From 45 degrees to 85 degrees in a few hours, I knew this was going to be a tough day to reach my destination. I ended up riding for an hour and a half, energy diminishing before I found a corner store, that offered free wi-fi, a friendly store owner, and became tongue tied when an extremely attractive woman from Idaho came over to talk to me for a few minutes.

I sat, continued to charge my electronics and drank a Sobe A-Rush (Sugar Free! How I misssed you!) and chatted a bit online with Jen, friends, and posted more photos to Flickr. An hour and a half passed, and I realized that this store had some pretty damn good smelling burgers, so I ordered one, ate some fruit before packing up and leaving.

My leg was aching, and my bottom continuing to give me trouble – I figure I pulled my calf muscle while not wanting to sit down during my last stretch through Newport – (You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t it seems) and I commenced the long trek to my destination in the searing heat.

Luckily it was a fairly moderate day, with lots of flat stretches, and a small amount of traffic. I thought about some things in the “real world” (read: getting angry and frustrated about absurd minute things) and the miles just seemed to fly by. It was broken by frantic honking of horns, and 3 girls in an SUV, with two hanging out waving, cat calling and one even flashing me! Something about that gives me motivation to keep moving forward, no matter how tough the territory. 20 minutes of so later, again, was bombarded with cat calls, and it turns out it was the same 3 girls, from Northern California, off on a “girls trip”, stopping me to give me ICE CREAM!!!! We had a chat for a while, shared some laughs, before they U-turned on the 101 – to their destination, which was Portland.

I reached my final tunnel of the tour today at about 4pm – and finally had a decent video record of it – this time going up a steep embankment, and the prize on the other side being a deafening roar of sea lions either having a good time or a terrible time, I’ve yet to figure out what they are trying to say.

I’ve been continually stopped each time I am taking a break by locals/tourists, wondering what I’m up to – I have to say, I’ve really got the 1st layer of conversation down solid, knowing what they are going to say, and how to answer it. About every 5 conversations it veers slightly, and I’m able to guide it nicely, and every 20 it seems are just way out there, completely necessary, and thought provoking. I met a couple from Peachland who donated a fresh bottle of water for me, as I had gone through nearly my entire cache.

Passing by the Sea Lion caves (Been there, done that, Saw them closer and didn’t have to deal with darkness and smells of poo) I faced the final steep climb of the day, and took over the entire southbound lane of US 101 for what seemed like 5 minutes screaming down, hooting and hollering at the speeds and sensation. When I finally reached the bottom the entire landscape had changed…

Sand everywhere! Dunes, and bumps everywhere replacing my ocean view. 1 hour of excessive winds, spraying sand into my already sun burnt face, extremely chapped and ripped lips throwing me off kilter, while I made my way into Florence to stop and pick up groceries.

Side Note:
Maybe in about 1988, out of the many things that I remember my father doing, is:

1) giving me a small mess set that provided a frying pan, pot, lid, and a bowl (it had a mug too but meh). I never used it and it traversed through house after house, nostalgically remembered, but most certainly forgotten, until I lived with my Dad during the “great breakup of 2008” in December. He asked me if I wanted it, and I said sure, knowing I wanted to buy other MSR stainless gear…. Well it has worked wonderfully for this tour, I’ve left the MSR purchased gear at home and cooked wonders with this kit. It has held up perfectly, and I’m questioning my caution to it earlier on in the year. So Thanks!
2) Sometime about the same time, you came home with an incredible ache in your mid section, let’s just say the rear. You told me what the issue was, and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, due to a basic understanding of the word, HEMRHOID. You simply told me, “Just you wait”, while I continued my youthful giggling and laughing. I just wanted to take all that back, entirely, right now, If it will change my condition right now.
My digestive system is broken, and I’m not processing food properly. My left calf feels like it’s seperated from the rest of my leg. I no longer have feeling in my left middle finger, and my face, and my nose are scaling and trying to deal with the constant abuse of the sun I’m giving it. My bike has now decided to join in, with the rear gears 1 and 7 only working, and the crunching sound of the crank while I perform my 360 degree revolution. There are dark days ahead.

I loaded up on far too much groceries in Florence, buying useless things like milk (will go rotten!) and two bags of Pepperidge Farms cookies, that I somehow ate for dinner, after drinking the 3 big beers I brought. I met a gentleman named Barry, from Los Angeles, riding a trike where we shared some thoughts, while I realized that I needed to put more solids into my body. Starting to appreciate the tent a bit more, and making it work into my environment – it’s not the Hilleberg (someone last nite in South Park had the same tent as I) but it’s lightweight, and is home for the time being.

Tommorrow I will crack the 1000 km’s mark. It doesn’t signify much, other than ending up again in Oregon. I’ve got much more difficult terrain to cover once I hit California, and hope that I’m able to keep my health in check, rather than let it disintegrate, potentially ending the tour. Overall, after 9 days, loving it, and couldn’t ask for anything better. The rats in Jesse P. Honeyman park can go elsewhere however…….

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