Day 6 North Bend to Port Orford
This morning’s ride
would take us for 8 flat
Charleston was our originally planned stop
Right outside of Charleston we took a left hand turn and left Hwy 101 again. Now I thought the lighthouse hill the previous day was steep, this hill was steeper. I would guess that the hill was somewhere between 13% and 15% grade, that went on for nearly two miles.
The road was worth the price of the sore quads I would have for the rest of the ride. Once we topped the hill it was a very lightly traveled road with small ups and downs and then a screaming 3 mile downhill to just outside of Bandon.
When we arrived in Bandon it was getting near lunch time so we decided to deviate from the mapped route and head straight into town. As it turns out there was some sort of festival going on in Bandon that day and the town was packed with people. We decided to roll down the road and see if we could find a place to get at least a snack and some water. Where we ended up was a cyclist lunch stop extraordinaire, not because the place itself was so special, but because it was where the mapped route rejoined Hwy 101, and it seemed that every cyclist we had been playing leap frog with for the past 5 days had stopped there to eat lunch.
After a nice long lunch break, where we sat in the restaurant and watched the spinning wheel wind socks spin madly as the north wind pushed hard on them, we headed back down the road. We were very glad to be headed south. This last half of today’s ride was unremarkable. We passed such bustling burgs as Denmark and Sixes. Denmark was such a metropolis that it had a sign post on the side of the road that simply read Denmark, on both sides of the post. That was it, blink and you miss it, literally.
By the time we rolled into Port Orford the wind was howling at better then 20mph, probably closer to 25 or 30mph. After a quick stop at the bank we rolled through town looking for a place to stay. The first hotel we tried which was up on a bluff overlooking the Port of Port Orford was all booked up.
Let me pause here and describe something that I saw at Port Orford that I found unusual. Imagine if you would a fishing port that holds maybe a hundred boats or so, the image you now have in your head is nothing like what saw in Port Orford. It appeared as if each of the fishing boats had been taken out of the water and put into a big parking lot up on dry land. No kidding, there was no set of docks, just a bunch of full sized fishing boats in a parking lot. Here is the picture to prove it.
We continued to roll through town and ended up at a little whole-in-the-wall hotel that only had 7 units. We asked the proprietor if she had a room with two beds and she said she had a room with two rooms. We took it! It was the corner unit and as you walked into it, there was a small hallway with one room at the end and another room to your right. Both rooms had a door into the bathroom. She told us the room needed just a little more cleaning, and that it would be ready in 15 minutes or so. We ran off to the local store to get beer and snacks. As we pulled up there was a rather unsavory character standing in the parking lot. It was a guy with a great big red swastika tattooed on his chest. This thing must have been 12 inches across. Seeing a racist skinhead can make you a bit nervous when you are there in your ridding shorts, at least it made me nervous. Well Keith went into the store while I watched the bike and the skinhead climbed in his car and drove off. When it was my turn to go into the store I picked up my goodies and went up to the cashier. I asked the store clerk to double bag them for me since I was on my bicycle. The guy got this funny look on his face and said “didn’t I just do that for you?” I laughed a little and said “No, that was my brother”. The clerk laughed, double bagged my stuff and sent me on my way.
After we settled into our rooms and had a beer or two it was time to go off to dinner. We settled on the restaurant just across the street and down a little ways called the Wheelhouse. The sunset that evening was fantastic. It was still warm out as the sun was setting and I just went and sat out on a bench at the front of the hotel, took a few pictures and then just watched the sun fade away into the sea.
Tomorrow would be our last day on the bike. My bottom bracket had been making an occasional ticking noise on the way to Port Orford. Little did I know that it would turn into the Chinese ticking BB torture by the end of tomorrow!