Officially Half Way!
Today we are resting our legs in Crescent City, California after two days of rafting in the sun along the Klamath River. As we prepare to continue our journey tomorrow, it is easy to get lost in our thoughts of the incredible times we’ve had this past week.
We officially passed our halfway point riding through the town of Yachats, where we took a much needed coffee break at one of the many espresso stands we’ve been passing on our route. Maud had coffee for the first time, as the group took time to refuel and warm up. Feeling recharged, the group pedaled onward along a beautiful coastal ride that took us through Siuslaw State Park and Cape Perpetua. Our campground in Honeyman State Park awaited us at the end of the 60-mile ride (our longest day yet!), with its sand dunes and lake warming in the sun. After setting up camp and eating a delectable dinner of chicken and fresh vegetables, we walked to the dunes for ice cream. Ice cream quickly gave way to racing down the dunes, crowning Dylan the dune racing champion. After watching the sun set over the lake from the top of the dunes, we sat next to the water to reflect on the day, which Ben revealed had been the best day of his life.
The following day was a 55 mile ride to Sunset Bay state park. The route took us through Oregon’s sand dunes, replacing the Pacific Ocean with an ocean of sand. The wind tossed about the waves as it pushed us along the road towards our destination. Crossing over the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge we saw a group of at least 50 seals basking in the sun. Liz was quick to find the seals that had chosen to swim in the water rather than lay on the beach as we watched them waddle about beneath us. The bridge took us over Coos Bay and into North Bend, leaving the dunes behind and taking us back to the ocean. The day ended with panoramic views of the Pacific as we rolled into Sunset Bay. As the sun faded below the horizon, Liz and Dylan took time to explore the rocks in the bay. We discovered how Sunset Bay got its name as the sky lit up bright red for another beautiful sunset.
Our next morning started off with a difficult climb over 7 Devils Road, which took us up into the mountains. The ten mile climb gained us 600 feet of elevation, with Stan and Max powering their way ahead in the front. Waiting at the top, Stan, Max, Ben, Dylan and Andoni enjoyed a game of Frisbee to rest their legs before pushing on. The road continued along a ridgeline, keeping us at elevation before a long, winding downhill. Our mountain views gave way to ocean vistas as we descended. Liz stopped to pick up a new scarf, keeping her face warm from the Pacific breeze in style. We passed through Port of Orford and Bandon, catching glimpses of Table Rock and Face Rock. Maude was quick to find the resemblance between the latter rock and a massive face emerging from the waves. Another perfect sunset awaited us at the shores of Humbug Mountain State Park. We watched the sky change colors from the sandy beach while enjoying a desert of cookies and marshmallows. The Frisbee flew threw the air once more as Andoni, Max and Stan ran in the sand to catch and throw the disc.
A Farewell to Oregon
Today was our last full day of riding in Oregon. The coast has left us with many memories of vivid sunsets, rolling dunes, massive rock jutting past the ocean waves and, of course, biking! It has been an incredible ride; however we are eager for the California Coastline, mammoth redwood trees and our upcoming rafting trip. Our final day’s ride along Oregonian coastline was a finale of sorts, bringing us a large hill to contend with halfway through the day as well as an unforgettable ride through the Samuel H Boardman scenic corridor.
We rode by viewpoint after viewpoint along the corridor, each revealing its own breathtaking view of the ocean. Dylan combated his fear of heights when we rode across the highest bridge in all of Oregon, setting the record at 345 feet! Ending the day at Harris Beach State Park, we settled in for our last night in Oregon. Liz and Maud revived the first meal we had as a group, mac & cheese with chili. The first leg of our journey came full circle around the dinner table as we ate the delicious meal. Liz, Maud and Dylan walked to the beach to catch our final Oregonian sunset, as Ben, Max, Stan and Andoni played a few rounds of their new favorite card game Kemps.
It was a short ride to the border from camp, and we celebrated with a group photo under the sign marking our crossing into California. We all felt a great sense of accomplishment having ridden the entirety of the Oregon coast. Some of the group packed up at Pelican Beach for the ride inland to our rafting site, but Ben, Stan, Andoni and Max hadn’t had enough and opted to bike an extra 20 miles into Crescent City. From there, we loaded into a van for the three hour drive to raft the Klamath. The drive took us along the Klamath and over the 6,000 foot pass over Grayback Mountain, giving us a preview of the redwood forests we would soon be biking through. The Klamath River flowed beneath us as we drove through a rocky canyon. We even spotted wildlife along the journey when a baby black bear loped across the road.
At last we arrived in the town of Happy Camp, where we would begin our rafting trip. The town, 40 miles from anything, is the home to miners and gold dredgers, who search the river for its rare golden nuggets. The town’s inhabitants insist that Sasquatch lives in the forests around them, and have even erected a giant metal statue of Bigfoot himself in the town center. That night we unfortunately did not find Sasquatch, however we did feast upon BLTs, prepared by Andoni and Stan. The whole group was eager to help out when the aroma of cooked bacon reached their noses. The air was hot as we settled down for the night, all thoughts upon the rafting trip that would begin in the morning.
The Klamath River’s Raging Rapids
The group rose with excitement, ready to hit the river. Eager hands packed bags for two days of floating down the Klamath. The morning was already warm and we were ready for the cooling waters of the Klamath. We met our guides on the river: Mike and Belle would be steering our boats, while Arden followed with our gear. The guides had us laughing from the start, and even brought along two dogs, Mel and Maeco. The fearless canines rode right in the rafts with us. It was Liz’s first time rafting, and she was thrilled by the exciting class 2 and 3 rapids we paddled through. We were greeted by amazing wildlife, including several ospreys, a bald eagle and even another bear!
After a day of splashing, swimming and floating we arrived at our campsite, a small beach tucked away at a bend in the river. The guides prepared us a feast as we set up tents and explored the area. We dined on chicken, corn and rice topped with a ginger sauce homemade by our guides. It was one of our most delicious dinners yet, and we savored the day as our legs got a chance to rest. The sun faded and the stars came out, giving one of the most spectacular shows of the trip. The Milky Way was easily visible as shooting stars glazed across the sky. Without any lights around to hide the stars, they shone brightly all night.
We awoke to the smell of blueberry pancakes and sausages cooked by our guides. It was going to be another beautiful day and the amazing breakfast was the perfect way to start. We jumped back into the rafts, eager to explore more of the river. A war of water broke out between our two rafts, and it took Stan, Ben and Andoni’s group effort to pull Leif into the river. Water splashed between the rafts for most of the day, keeping all refreshed under the hot sun. We faced our largest rapid yet, a class 4 rapid named Dragon’s Tooth! Well accomplished paddlers by now, both rafts passed through the rapid with ease, getting splashed by the wave along the way. We were greeted by more ospreys, another bald eagle and a river otter along the way as we floated towards the end of our trip.
We were sad to leave the river and our guides, but the group said goodbye to our new friends and loaded back in the van for our ride back to Crescent City. Max, Ben and Dylan prepared a dinner of lo mein upon arrival. The warm noodles were just the perfect solution to help ease us back into the colder ocean air. Once again we fell asleep to the sound of the waves.
California Here we Come!
The redwoods and coastline lay before us as we rest our legs and prepare to continue along our journey. It is amazing to think about how little time has past when reflecting on the hundreds of miles we have covered already. San Francisco has appeared on the road signs around us, letting us know how close our final destination has become. However there are big hills, giant trees and more incredible ocean vistas between us and the city, and we can’t wait to get back on the road tomorrow!