Have you followed this whole journey from the beginning? Follow this link to find all the episodes of our North American Cycle Tour – 2019.

Monday 5th August: Cycling from Humbug Mountain State Park to Gold Beach (Oregon, USA): 38kms

Ride Time: 2hrs 47mins / Ave Speed: 8.49mph

This morning’s ride began with blind bends and no shoulders. Not long after, we began to climb a two-mile-long hill. The experience was very scary – our slowest first ten miles ever! The road meandered through heavily forested hills close to the coast, continually rising and falling like the ocean beneath us.

Thankfully, after quite some time, we got onto the 555, the Old Coast Road adjacent to Otter Point. This road basically runs alongside the 101 all the way to the bridge entering Gold Beach. It is a pretty lumpy road, but there was next to no traffic whatsoever. Pity it was only five miles long.

The Rogue River at Doyle Point, Gold Beach.

The Old Coast Road brought us to the Wedderburn Bridge which crosses the mighty Rogue River and drops you right into Gold Beach. Unfortunately, there was no way we were going to ride over the very long bridge as there was no protection from the fast-moving traffic. There was, however, a narrow footpath for pedestrians, so we pushed our bikes over. The views out over the river’s mouth to the ocean were pretty nice, but we were keen to get across safely, our loaded bikes being very awkward to manage on the raised footpath.

Our next challenge: The Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge into Gold Beach.

We rode up the highway through the center of town till we found Motel 101, where we’d be spending the night. It was the ubiquitous type of place that we fully expected it to be, but the door and windows locked, and the bed was comfortable, so hey, win for us!

We walked the bridge into Gold Beach to avoid the traffic.

Hungry, we returned to the main part of town and found The Barnacle Bistro open. The specialty – mussels and fish, so that’s what we had, and they were great. We washed them down with a couple of beers.

We walked back down the street and passed by the Sea Star Spirit House. As it turned out, this peculiarly named place was the local dive bar. The name alone was enough to warrant a visit, so we headed on in and took a couple of stools at the bar, and made ourselves familiar with the locals.

Behind the bar, pinned on a notice board, was the daily Trivia question. As of yet, no one has answered it correctly. It was a geography question and had all the locals stumped – not us, though! The correct answer earned us a free beer, which impressed the local crowd. Not wishing to “hit N run,” we stayed for a few more beers, eventually meeting Josh, a local “Weed Farmer” who told us all about the problems of legalized Marijuana that plague the state now and his business! Now he had to compete with licensed operators who could underprice him and drive away his clients. I guess I’d never looked at it from that perspective before.

Afterward, we went to the nearest supermarket (Ray’s) to get some heat-up meals for dinner and take them back to the room with us. Neither of us was particularly happy with the riding conditions on the 101 anymore, so we sat down to discuss what we could do.

The next day we organized a ten-foot U-Haul truck to drive from Crescent City (just over the California border) down to San Rafael, a two-day ride above San Francisco. U-Haul said it could take three days to deliver it to San Rafael. This would give us plenty of time to see the giant Redwood forest of northern California and a few other places along the way.

Wednesday 7th August: Gold Beach to Brookings (Oregon, USA): 49kms

Ride Time: 3hrs 28mins / Ave Speed: 8.98mph

The rest day served us well. We headed straight into big hills just out of Gold Beach. The going was pretty slow, but at least the shoulder was decent today, and we had a bit of a tailwind.

It was pretty hilly out of Gold Beach.

We rolled slowly past a lot of stunning coastal scenery, stopping at the many viewpoints. Pistol River, Arch Rock, Spruce Island, Seal Point, China Beach, Whales Head, and House Rock Viewpoints provided a great opportunity to appreciate this wild and ruggedly beautiful coastline.

Some pretty nice scenery along the 101.
The sun came out and cleared the early morning mist away.
There are lots of places to pull over for a rest and admire the scenery.
Making our way down to Brookings.
The Oregon Coast has some fantastic beaches.
Giant rocks like ancient shipwrecks dot the coast.

Arriving at Brookings, the last town before the California border, we stayed at the Riverside RV Park instead of at Harris Beach State Park as it was much closer to the town center and meant we could walk instead of taking our bikes with us.

We arrive in Brookings, the last place we’ll be staying in, Oregon.

We bought some KFC, and a quick visit to Fred Murray’s had us stocked up with some beers as we made our way to Riverside. Debbie, in reception, an amiable lady, reduced our fee from $30 to $27 a night. We had four days till we needed to be in Crescent City to pick up the truck, and we’d read and heard that Crescent City wasn’t that nice. So we decided to stick around here and have a look around.

The Riverside RV Park alongside the Chetco River in Brookings.

Later at the campsite, we met Tim and Gayle, who convinced us to stay till the weekend and visit the “Pirates of the Pacific” Annual Festival. They came up every year for it and had a stall there selling pirate paraphernalia and knick-knacks.

We spent the evening out the back on the riverbank, catching up on the diary and researching places to stay and things to see in northern California.

Thursday 8th August: Brookings, Oregon, USA

After a rainy night, we awoke to gloomy skies. It was the first rain we’d seen in a while, so we couldn’t complain. We were just happy we were staying put today.

We took our cooking gear back to the riverbank and made some coffee for breakfast. Taking our time, we eventually got motivated enough to head into town and look around. Our one-mile walk began with a very steep climb out of the RV Park, something we weren’t looking forward to doing with fully loaded bikes when we left.

The town center is up another long hill. It’s as if our legs haven’t worked enough lately! We passed through the main section of town and headed down to the Bi-Mart store to see what they had – no cold beer, for one! So, not wishing to go any further, we walked across the carpark to the Superfly restaurant/distillery to check out their menu. Reasonable prices were all it took to go and find a seat inside. I had the mussels again, done differently this time, but still pretty good.

Checking the phone with Google Maps, we found that the Chetco Brewing Company was just a couple of blocks down the road and worth visiting. We sat at the bar and met Nik, the barman, who guided us through the healthy selection of beers.

Settling in with a flight of Chetco Brewing Company’s best.

While chatting with Nik, another couple of touring cyclists came in. Engaging them at the bar, we found out they were from San Francisco, heading north. This was good as we could swap information about the road ahead and avoid any bad parts. One of the first pieces of advice was to give Crescent City a miss. Apparently, it had a prison and was populated with people visiting, had stayed, or staying in it. We have no choice, though. We’d have to stay at least one night to give us an early start with the truck the next day.

Yep, that didn’t take long!!!

Being from San Francisco, they also showed us a good cycling route into the city. However, we would be heading directly to the ferry at Fisherman’s Wharf from the Golden Gate Bridge around the shoreline, a route I’d already planned.

On our way back, we called into the Oxenfrē Public House to break up our walk. On the bar sat two boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards. That was all we needed to stick around for a couple more beers and antagonize each other with extremely difficult questions. Best of three turned into best of five, best of seven …

Catching up on some news.

The next morning we whiled away the time with showers, laundry, and writing some more diary entries. Thoroughly bored, we eventually threw everything back in the tent and walked back up the hill and over the bridge to the Pirates of the Pacific Festival by the harbourside.

We needed to cross the bridge to visit the Pirate Festival.

There’s something about Pirates that want to make people dress up and raise the Jolly Roger. Today was no exception. Pretty much everyone had donned the distinctive livery and were thick and fast with the obligatory “Aaarrhhh.” There was live music, beer, mead, mermaids, plenty of things to eat, and lots of knick-knacks and souvenirs. We visited Tim and Gayle’s stall to say hi, but we didn’t buy anything. We have enough to carry on our bikes as it is.

Everyone made an effort. Open-Carry for the Day for Pirates!
Aye, aye, me hearties!
No shortage of Jolly Rogers!

After a lap of the place, we sat down with a beer and got something to eat while listening to the band. They were really good too, but we decided to head back into town after a couple of beers.

We decided to call into the downstairs space of The Misty Mountain Brewing Company. It was a small taproom with just a few people talking quietly with each other in the dark corners. We took a couple of stools at the bar and began a conversation with Hannah, the owner. As it turned out, Hannah’s parents are from Norway, the home of my father’s parents.

With plenty of light left, we revisited the Oxenfrē Public House for another Trivial Pursuit challenge. This can keep us occupied for hours as we try to best each other.

Overnight the skies opened up again, and the wet weather seemed to set in permanently. It was still raining at 10.00 am.

We talked on the phone with our nephew, Luke, who lives in Oakland. Sharyn had arranged a few housesits around the Bay Area while we’d be there, and we needed to know if he could mind our bikes and gear while we were there and if we could crash at his place in between sits. Our first would be in Alameda, just below where he lived. Being able to come and go from Luke’s place and have somewhere to store our bikes was integral to our movements for the next two months. He had no problems at all with our request and was looking forward to catching up again – so were we!

Nik from Chetco Brewing Company gave me a look around out back.

When the rain finally eased up, we returned to Fred Meyer’s to get something for dinner and breakfast, calling into the Chetco Brewing Company again on our way back. With our beers ordered, we sat at the bar and began to plan our road trip with the U-Haul truck down to San Rafael.

Just one more ride to go in Oregon. Read about it in – Sleepless in California: Cycling from Brookings to Crescent City.