Day 18: Denmark – Harris Beach State Park
Distance: 66.11 miles.
Average Speed: 10.7 mph.
At points, today was surreal, as I was blown passed an outstanding coastal spectacle, matched only by the weather. It really
was a very good day for bicycle touring.
I’d hoped my early finish yesterday would give me added impetus for the day ahead, and so it seemed. I awoke early and set to work on the bike, making sure the tyres were extra hard, and reclaiming the 8 gears that had been lost in yesterday’s maintenance effort. I set off at half 9 and briskly pedalled the 10 miles into Port Orford for breakfast: the largest pile of French Toast ever to be seen. With added blueberries.
Back on the road, the riding was astonishing with stunning new views around every turn, the sea littered with stacks and boulders as far as the eye could see. The sun was beating down and the wind was at my back, it was glorious.
I quickly passed Humbug Mountain and, for a time, enjoyed a route on the Old Coast Highway, cattle grids and all. I arrived in Gold Beach at around 3 o’clock, electing to have some lunch, a very tasty Calzone from an otherwise empty bar.
Next came Cape Sebastian, a 240m climb which seemed easy with the wind blowing me up the hill. The road stayed high for a while and further climbs arrived, I passed a cyclist in despair heading the other way, uphill into the wind. I knew the feeling.
Shortly after, I crossed the fearsomely high Thomas Creek bridge, 345 feet above the water, I couldn’t help but look down. As 60 miles came and went, and the tailwind dropped I started to struggle, but eventually I reached the Brookings sign, and finally the Harris Beach campsite.
Struggling to find a spot in the campsite – the hiker/biker section was closed – I happened upon quite a little enclave of other cyclists, including Duncan from Australia and Paul from New Zealand, a couple from Rhode Island, and a little later, Leah, who I’d also passed earlier on the road. Apart from Duncan, we were all heading south, so it was great to share our rain-related tales of woe.
It seemed a fitting end to my journey through Oregon, as I am now just 8 miles from the Californian border, and should hopefully pass into the final State of the route tomorrow.