Day 16: Carl G. Washburne Memorial – Sunset Bay State Park
Distance: 74.41 miles.
Average Speed: 11.1 mph.
Waking after a good sleep, at the pleasant Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, I set off at a slightly more reasonable half past 10. Conditions were cold and damp as I climbed a gentle gradient away from the campsite. A few miles later, having a passed through a short tunnel, I stopped to photograph the Heceta Head Lighthouse, carefully trying to capture the moment the light pointed in my direction, and failing miserably. At this point, another cyclist turned up, Leah, she was surprised to find I hadn’t been snapping the three eagles soaring around above the cliffs, the birds ruining my pictures. She had set off from Vancouver a few days after me, but taken the more direct route out of Canada, having ridden across the whole country last year. She plans on riding 65 miles a day, then having occasional rest days, so our paths may cross again down the road.
12 miles in, I arrived in Florence, and made for Subway, where ordering was challenging. In the end I did my best cod-American accent and managed to get some tomato on my sandwich. At around 17 miles, I passed Honeyman State Park where I should have reached last night, it already seemed like a long way today. Another five miles down the road I reached the Oregon Dunes Overlook which offered spectacular views over the several hundred foot high dunes.
25 miles in, I was struggling with the heat and felt low in energy as I battled up a hill, far smaller than those 2 days ago. I stopped and had my remaining food, a few small rolls, and decided I should maybe stop for dinner soon. I descended from the hill, then passed through Gardiner, before stopping at a bakery in Reedsport. Asking for soup and a sandwich, I opted for roast beef. The lady asked what I wanted on it, before interrupting herself to tell me she’d make me a ‘good’ sandwich. To be fair, she did.
It was now half 4 and I’d covered 35 miles so thoughts turned towards camp for the night. There was a state park at 46 miles and a KOA campsite at 54 miles, though I’d originally hoped to reach Sunset Bay before I’d dropped the miles yesterday. That would be over 70 miles for the day which seemed out of the question, especially when I struggled with a small climb out of Reedsport, and then, ascending from Winchester Bay, I had to stop. I was still too hot and felt terribly weak. When I thought about the energy I had a few weeks ago compared to now, I could only think I needed more calories per day. I’d bought a couple of donuts at the bakery, so I ate them both.
It was a glorious evening and only 6 o’clock when I passed the state park, so I carried on. Then when I reached the KOA campsite I was tempted to stop, it was 20 to 7, I could use their laundrette service. But I was feeling much better in the cooler evening air, it was 20 miles, but my GPS was predicting I would get to Sunset Bay by half 8, that would make up for the lost miles yesterday.
I was determined to make up the lost miles, I flew along to North Bend and soared over the Coos Bay bridge, then gradually I saw the time of arrival fall away, until I reached Sunset Bay campsite at quarter past 8, just as the sun set.