A nice chill day at a beautiful state park.
I need to preface with some additional things I forgot to mention yesterday. I was not alone in call last night. Two other cyclists arrived after I had. The first was Ray from Seattle, and the second was a gentleman who we never learned his name but learned he was from Austria.
Ray is doing the same ACA route as I am except he only has enough time off to ride to San Francisco. Our “Austrian Friend”, as we would call him, had originally planned on hiking the PCT north and then ride a bike back south. However, the presence of snow in the higher elevations are making some sections impassible so he quit the PCT to do some riding and will return to the PCT in a month or so.
I work up early but some how managed to fall back to sleep until around 8. Went to use the restroom and passed our “Austrian Friend” along the way. By the time I returned to camp he’d already left. Was kinda bummed to not get to say goodbye, but then again we didn’t get the chance to visit much. It didn’t help that English was obviously his second language.
I went ahead and got started on my breakfast and shortly after Ray was stirring in his camp. Before lung the two of us were chatting over breakfast and coffee. Seems we had both met Chad, a cyclist who I met at South Beach, which was amusing.
We discussed which routes we’d be taking near Coos Bay. From the sound of it he is going to follow the Oregon Coast Cycle Route/ACA Alternative that takes you on the west side but forces you to cross the Coos Bay Causeway followed by the McCullough Memorial Bridge, involves more climbing, but takes you on prettier less traveled roads. I’m planning on taking the ACA primary route that goes to the east of town, avoids the harrowing bridges, but rejoins US-101 earlier. Very much a give and take, but I’d rather ride US-101 and avoid the bridges personally.
Soon enough Ray was all packed up and ready to ride out. We said our goodbyes and hope that we’d connect back up later down the road.
As Ray left I figured it was as good a time as any to get my day started. I had no food at camp for lunch or dinner so that needed to be taken care of. I also really didn’t want to ride the bike and especially didn’t want to cross back over the Siuslaw River Bridge either. Yesterday’s crossing was harrowing enough as it was. I was in luck because there was One Stop Market about a mile away from camp. I set off to walk the trail to the park’s sand dunes, take the nature trail around the lake, go out to the market, and then return to camp.
The walk over to the sand dunes was kinda cool. The trail winds its way through the forest next to a small pond before arriving at one of the parking lots for the day use area. As I crossed the lot two people we coming my direction with all their fishing gear and a string full of fish. I commented, “Oohhh is that lunch or dinner?”
“It’s crab bait.” they replied.
I continued across the lot towards the face of the dunes and marched right up over to see what was on the other side. Was somewhat disappointed to see not much. There was a nice view of the lake and surrounding country but I could have seen at this from the lakeside as well. I did manage to get a cool picture of a tree in the middle of all that sand for my troubles though.
I descended the dunes to the lakeside and walked up on this older gentleman who was fishing. We chatted for a bit, but I never got his name. I took the opportunity to use the picnic table to sit and empty the sand from my shoes. I did learn that he and his wife had retired from the Midwest to the Florida panhandle to escape the snow. Then after a few years they moved to the west coast to escape the 90° temperatures and 90% humidity for four months of the year. I joked that before he knows it he’ll be a snowbird.
We had been talking while walking along the lake back to the trail and parking lot. As we were along a trail section there were three ladies seeing up to do some art. I wish the gentleman well with his shopping date with his wife and struck up a conversation with these ladies.
We got to talking and I learned they are a part of a local Facebook group named “Florence Plein Aire Painters”. They try to get together every Thursday at a different location to hang out and create their artwork. Each of the three of them, and two more who showed up mid-conversation, was using different media. One was simply sketching in a sketchbook, another using watercolors, another oils, another using graphite, and the last was knitting instead. It was really cool. The one lady drawing in her sketchbook allowed me to thumb through the pages and that is where I got the angry chicken picture. Several of them were featured in the local Florence Regional Art Alliance. A couple were even executives of the governing board. We talked about their art, my photography, my trip, one of their kids, Lexi came up. It was cool to just hang out and chat with them while they did their thing. We talked for up to an hour before I wished them the best and continued on.
I continued along the nature trail which hugged the lakeside. I snapped a couple pictures along the way with a renewed art itch. Eventually I came to the end of the trail at another day use parking lot and started out to US-101 and the local market.
Walking along I came up on this now closed restaurant. It looked like it had been open recently and several windows on the first floor were open. Their sign read “Fresh homemade cobbler” and being nearly lunch thought that would have been quite the treat.
I crossed US-101 to get to the market. As I was walking the aisles the guy behind the counter speaks up, “So much to eat, but nothing to eat huh?”. He wasn’t wrong. I’ve been thinking that despite burning a ton of calories daily I need to exercise a little more control on what I’m shoveling into my face, but it’s so hard to eat good while you’re on the road.
Anyway, I asked the guy about the restaurant across the street. He tells me that in the year he’s worked at the market he has never seen it open. I guess the landlord wants a pretty pricey lease and the leasee pays utilities. That sounds reasonable until you learn the landlord lives above the restaurant and runs four in-window AC units in the summer to fight the kitchen heat. So instead it sits empty. Kinda depressing.
With my lunch and dinner in my bag I set of back for camp. Along the way I pass a place that says “Antiques”. Curious I wonder through the driveway and see a slider with an “Open” sign. Intrigued I walk in and be damned it is an antique shop. I start browsing and I can hear someone moving on the second floor. I’m thinking here comes the owner. Instead this woman comes in wearing what appears to be nothing more than a 3XL plain white t-shirt and says “The owner isn’t here today.” I look at her confused and simply say okay and leave. I mention as I’m exiting the door and she’s climbing the stairs, “Hey did you want to change this sign?” Receiving no real response I went back to the highway and finished my walk back to camp.
Back at camp I just hung out and enjoyed the remainder of my rest day. Spent most of the time chasing the sun, to keep warm, while reading my book which I finished. Almost fell asleep in the camp chair in the process. That happened a couple times so I tried to take a nap with no success. My kit is all dry so I took down my clothesline and put it away. Lubed Shadow’s chain, changed the battery in my air pressure gauge, and topped up both of Shadow’s tires. Walked back over to the day use area in hopes of finding some sun to enjoy while eating dinner, but gave up not too long after arriving. Since then I’ve been hanging out at camp writing this in hopes of publishing it tomorrow because for some reason I haven’t had cell service all afternoon. I think it may be related to the winds, but I can’t say for certain.
I hope I’m ready to be on the bike tomorrow. I can’t believe I’m down to my final rides in Oregon. Will be in California soon enough!
New bike fund: $5.20 (+$0.05)