We were both a little tired this morning. We had been frustrated by the poor WiFi in the hotel. Earlier in the evening, we could upload pictures. Later, things would time out or fail completely. It kept us both up later than planned.
The next morning was sunny and clear without yesterday’s fog. We had our grocery store leftovers for breakfast, then hit the road early. We had close to 75 miles to cover today to get to Bandon from Florence. As we headed south, I saw the Dairy Queen I had visited 2 years ago was now boarded shut. Our flat start soon turned into an uphill climb, starting with the bridge leaving town. We had several hundred feet of climbing in the first few miles, eventually leading into Dune City. Here, among the tall sand dunes, people joy ride in all kinds of ATVs. The mental jukebox turned it into a parody of Jan and Dean.
From there, we made our way down along the Umpqua River through Gardiner into Reedsport. From the rusted railroad tracks and several empty buildings, you could tell much of Gardiner had closed years ago. The old rail line still made for a nice picture as it spanned the river. There was only light traffic when we crossed the bridge into Reedsport. Even with light traffic, it can be a little scary when oncoming cars are sharing the bridge with a bike and a large truck towing an RV.
Even though it was Labor Day, or maybe because of it, we had difficulty finding a place to sit inside to relax and have something light with coffee. The first place we tried was closed. A few others were strictly carry out or drive through. We were about to break down and go to McDonald’s when Ron saw a sign that said simply “Cafe”. We parked our bikes just outside the door, got our masks when we heard a couple tell us we ought to try this place because it is one of the few still open today. That was good enough for us to rest, have some oatmeal and milk, and just be out of the saddle. We were 1/3 done.
We had some climbing leaving Reedsport, but our pain was nothing compared to all the holiday traffic that was backed up heading north into the town we were leaving. Our side of the road was pretty clear. We could see the edges of the sand dunes as we passed through Lakeside and Shorewood. We were getting some good tailwind as we came to the long bridge leading into North Bend and our next near death experience.
During our trek to Coos Bay, the thing that kept us going was the beer that would be waiting for us at 7 Devils brewery. I spent several stops in town double checking our location and directions. What I didn’t check, was to make sure they were open. The wind came out of our sails when we rode up and found it closed until Wednesday. We were almost out of town and Google maps was having difficulty finding a place that was open. We found a place called Shark Bites that sounded good only a few blocks away. Although Google said they were open, they were closed for remodeling. We went a few doors down and got our beer at a Mexican restaurant. Out of their normally broad selection, only 3 choices were left. We were still full enough from our second breakfast that we decided to skip the food and press on the final 24 miles to Bandon.
Now the mission was about conquering the miles and we weren’t going to let any thing, man or beast get in our way.
We had three long climbs on our way to Bandon. Luckily, we also had tail wind. After 74 miles we were tired and hungry and most places seemed to be closing early. We quickly showered, changed and made a short ride into town for seafood and beer along the dock. Then it was sink laundry, get supplies for tomorrow and get ready for tomorrow. We’ll sleep good tonight. Details of the ride are here.
The Not So Lone Rider