Have you followed this whole journey from the beginning? Follow this link to find all the episodes of our North American Cycle Tour – 2019.
Friday 2nd August: Eugene to Coos Bay (Oregon, USA): Bus
We were forced to hang around all morning until check out at noon. The bus didn’t leave till 4.10 pm and we still weren’t sure whether the driver would let our bikes on it or not.
After midday, we took the bikes to the Bier Stein again, parked them out the front in the bike racks, and sat outside and ordered some lunch and a couple of beers while we killed time.
We arrived at the Bus/Train Station early (as we always do!), thank God, because I still had the Airbnb keys in my pocket. Shazz rang them immediately, and the lady soon pulled up in front of us. If it weren’t for the fact that the bus was really late, we would have had to mail them back to her from somewhere.
Fortunately, the bus driver was in a good mood and let us put the bikes on, afterall, it was virtually empty! The bus had a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs at the back, and the driver let us use this to lift the bikes into the back. There was plenty of space as there were no wheelchairs riding today. We packed our panniers around them so they wouldn’t move and we were soon on our way.
Any time the driver had already lost was quickly made up as he drove like a maniac! We soon decided that we had done the right thing and got on the bus instead of riding the 126. The road was pretty busy and had little to no shoulder and lots of short, sharp climbs with blind bends, everything you’d not want on a ride – as well as a tunnel!
So, by the time we had reached the coast at Florence, we breathed a long sigh of relief. For some reason, we stopped and hung around at a service station for about 20 minutes and then abruptly left. I’d have forgiven the driver if he had been filling up, but when we got down to North Bend, just three miles from our destination, Coos Bay, and ran out of petrol, I groaned in disbelief.
The bus driver had stopped at a self-service gas station and turned off the engine. There was no one there, and the pumps were all locked. When he went to turn the engine back on it wouldn’t start. He tried repeatedly, but it was clear he was out of fuel. Annoyed, we unpacked the bikes and all our stuff from the bus through the narrow front door because he couldn’t use the rear hydraulic door without the engine running.
It was a mighty effort, but we finally got our stuff out when, all of a sudden, the driver got the engine running again! Staring at each other and annoyed with this guy, we contemplated loading the bikes and riding the rest of the way. It was getting late by now and cold, and the road was even busier. So, we elected to put all our gear back on the bus. We put it close to the front on the seats, and the bikes went in the aisle as only two other guys were in there now.
We were in Coos Bay at the back of a pub ten minutes later. We were met by rowdy patrons who had had an early start in there. We ignored them and unloaded our bikes once more. Another ten minutes later, our Warmshower’s host, Daniel, arrived and rode with us up to his apartment not too far away. Daniel’s apartment was a small, single bedroom one and we’d be sleeping on the floor and couch, which, by now, was no big deal to us. We soon met his wife, Margaret, when she arrived home from work. Daniel is a musician, and Margaret acts in local plays, and they are both semi-retired.
Being Friday night, we chose to go with Daniel and Margaret to the 7 Devils Brewery, where they knew the owner. It was a great night to have a few beers, but we knew we had some serious cycling down the coast tomorrow. So we settled for dinner and a single beer and returned to the apartment for an early night.
Saturday 3rd August: Cycling from Coos Bay to Bullard Beach State Park (Oregon, USA): 45kms
Ride Time: 3hrs / Ave Speed: 9.28mph
While we enjoyed some hot oats for breakfast, I plotted our route down the Cape Arago Highway to avoid a dangerous section along the adjacent 101.
We followed a bike path along the highway for some way. The road was busier than expected, but at least we didn’t have to mix it with the traffic. Most houses along the road were rustic and weather-beaten, the paint peeling off and the yards unattended. With a low-lying fog hanging around, the whole place seemed more than a little creepy, something akin to a Stephen King novel.
When we crossed the bridge over the South Slough and into the quaint fishing village of Charleston, the fog still hung there, lending a somber mood to the place. Nonetheless, we stopped and bought something to eat and a coffee and had an early lunch by the side of the road.
From Charleston, we began a long, steep climb, still shrouded in fog and having to negotiate several blind bends. We were now on the appropriately named “7 Devils Road.” It was a strange and eerie welcome to the coast and not what we had expected.
There were no coastal views to enjoy along this road. The only saving grace was that suddenly the traffic had died off. We slogged it up the mountain till; finally, we reached East Beaverhill Road, which runs across a ridgetop and back towards the 101. On top of the ridge, we could see large tracts of land that had been logged and left bare. It wasn’t the prettiest ride we’d encountered.
After reaching Humphries Road, it was downhill all the way back to 7 Devils Road and the highway. It wasn’t that far to Bullard’s Beach State Park, where we found a nice spot in the Hiker/Bike section. We said hello to some fellow cyclists heading the other way and found out they were from Anacortes and knew David and Diane, our Warmshowers hosts. We gave them one of our cards and told them to say hello for us.
Later in the afternoon, four younger cyclists from Albuquerque, New Mexico, turned up. They were headed south as well but traveling much faster than us. They had ridden into town and returned with food and beers, two of which they generously offered us. We were chuffed, to say the least!
Sunday 4th August: Cycling from Bullard’s Beach State Park to Humbug Mountain State Park (Oregon, USA): 63.5kms
Ride Time: 3hrs 51mins / Ave Speed: 10.12mph
It was overcast when we got up, perfect weather for making coffee, so we did! Everyone was gone before us, but that didn’t bother us.
We crossed over the Coquille River and took the frontage road into the town of Bandon, where we did a couple of loops around the waterfront, looking for a cafe that wasn’t full. The Sunday crowds had definitely made it out for breakfast.
We eventually found a seat on the rear deck of the Bandon Coffee Cafe near the pier. It was chilly outside with a stiff breeze, so the waitress suggested we sit inside at a table near the window that had just magically appeared.
After warming ourselves inside and out, we followed an alternative route to the spectacular Bandon Beach. Just off the shore, several huge rocks are jutting out of the ocean. Table Rock, Cat and Kittens Rock, and Face Rock all add to the rugged nature of this coastline.
We followed the coast around to Beach Loop Road and got some nice photos of the surf. The road eventually turns back onto the 101 and out into the traffic. Unfortunately, the shoulder on the 101 is almost non-existent, so this section of the road is a bit “hairy.”
At Langlois, we stopped at the local market and got a bite to eat, and had a little rest before going on. The shoulder through town was good and continued on afterward, much to our appreciation.
At the next place, Port Orford, we did a shop for tonight and stopped at The Crazy Norwegian’s Fish and Chips shop for a late lunch. As we pulled up out the front of the shop, the guys from Albuquerque were finishing off some fish and chips and a beer or two. We said g’day, ordered some food, went to a spare table out of the wind, and waited… and waited… and waited. It took ages to get our food, and only after I went inside to find out where it was. One of our orders had been sitting on the counter for quite some time and was now cold. The other hadn’t even been started yet. Needless to say, we weren’t very happy as well as being cold and hungry now!
The road out of town follows the coastal cliffs, allowing great views of the rugged coastline. We cycled through a gap in the headland and turned into the heavily wooded Humbug Mountain State Park. After finding the Park Host, we paid a few extra dollars and upgraded from the Hiker/Biker site to a powered site with our own table so that Shazz could recharge her phone.
We weren’t there long before a weather-beaten, road-weary old fellow with out-of-control hair came around and inquired if we had any spare gas that we could lend him so he could cook. Not ones to let a “Karma” moment get past us, we lent him our gas canister that was almost full, and off he went back to the Hiker/Biker site.
Not long after, Shazz and I sat down at our table in front of our tent, enjoying a beer we bought earlier, and up shows our new friend. He was returning our gas canister. Caught in the act, we had no choice but to offer him to join us for a beer (of which we had six). “Glider,” our new mate, gladly accepted our offer and took a seat at the table with us.
It turns out he was hiking the coastal trails and has walked most of America in his time. Always keen to hear stories of the road and take an opportunity to extend some of the same hospitality we had so often received ourselves, I handed out our last three beers and watched as the smile across his face broadened noticeably.
We could easily tell he hadn’t had the chance to communicate with anyone else for some time, he just kept talking! Eventually, after a couple of hours, he went on his way, and Shazz and I crawled into our tent for the night.
We’re almost finished with our ride in Oregon. Take a look at what happened next in Craggy Coast and Crusty Pirates: Cycling from Humbug Mountain State Park to Brookings.