Summary – day 09 – Port Orford to Klamath (Saturday 3 September)
Posted by Mike
Estimate: 102 miles, actual: 100.9 miles
Avg. speed: 13.2 mph
Cumulative distance: 732.39 miles
Today has been quite challenging. We didn’t want to hang about in Port Orford, so we set off at 8.00 am. We ought to have arrived in Klamath between 4 and 5 pm, depending on how long we spent on our breaks. In fact, we arrived at 7.30 pm. Why? The wind. The bloody wind. A headwind. It’s been a horrendously difficult ride today because if it. It was a strong and almost constant southerly headwind that dogged most of our journey. Managing more than 8 mph for long stretches of time was almost impossible. What’s worse is that today’s headwind followed on from yesterday’s headwind, so we were already pretty tired.
This. Was. Not. Supposed. To. Happen. We spent some time before the trip discussing and finding out whether it would be better to ride from south to north or vice versa. We chose north to south because we read that the prevailing wind would assist us that way. Hmmm.
Apart from selfish drivers, wind is cyclist’s worst enemy – there’s nothing that can be done about it, it can wreck schedules and turn what should have been a lovely day’s ride like today’s into a bad-tempered slog. Tailwinds can be nice, but sometimes they’re not noticeable and a rider will just think that they’re going particularly well! Headwinds are always obvious and on a longish journey like today, where we were always heading south and the wind was always coming from the south there was just no respite. So my knees are feeling a bit sore and we’re both a little demoralised. A few more days like this could really threaten the success of our trip.
Otherwise, today was an incredible day in terms of scenery; southern Oregon is sparsely populated and enjoys lots of long wide beaches – with no one, or almost no-one on them, high wooded headlands and beautiful mountains. Mist was clinging to the sea and the shore early on. At one point a deer wandered across the road in front of us, paused to look, then continued on into the forest. It was magical (but not The Magic Moment of the Day).
Puncture #2 (Matthew’s front tyre had a piece of fine wire embedded in it), so we had a break in Gold Beach – just a coffee and leftover pizza from last night. Mike wondered if the town’s name was anything to do with the codename of of the WWII Normandy landing beaches – Juno, Sword and Gold. We asked a local, who said that there was no connection and the name had rather more prosaic origins – gold was found here.
We sat outside a diner while Mike fixed the puncture. The diner was next to a hairdresser’s and we could hear the women chatting inside through an open door – they all seemed nice, but then we noticed a poster in the window of the hairdresser’s advertising a fundraising benefit for the Friends of the NRA, (National Rifle Association – a very influential pro-guns lobby). Eek, we scarpered pretty quickly then.
Next stop was Brookings for our lunch. We called at a Fred Meyer supermarket, but there was nowhere outside to sit and no bicycle racks – just an enormous car park. Depressing. Safeway’s always seems to have tables and chairs outside. We decided to pack the food into our bags and ride to try to find a little park or a square where we could eat. This was a mistake – there was just nowhere nice to stop and we kept riding for hours without having anything to eat.
We were feeling quite tired hungry by now, but our spirits were raised as we approached the Oregon-California border. The rest of our journey south will be in California – only trouble is, California is over 700 miles long! (and we’re not travelling in a straight line from north to south).
Just south of Brookings a cold sea fog rolled in, but at least the wind had dropped somewhat! The white mist remained for the rest of the day – sometimes we’d climb out, then we’d be back in it. As we descended into Klamath along the coast, we could see out to sea, only it wasn’t the sea that we were looking at, it was the tops of the sea mist – is was like being just above the clouds. The Magic Moment of the Day, definitely.
The route south of the border has also brought us into Giant Redwood country – high, beautiful trees with deep ridges on their reddish brown trunks – incredible. We should see the real biggies tomorrow in the ‘Avenue of the Giants’.
We arrived at the Ravenwood Hotel in Klamath, a bit the worse for wear. The owner came out to the reception desk with a huge blue and yellow parrot on his shoulder – a real one! Matthew had a bit of a shock and went pale … he’s not good with birds for some reason. Otherwise, the Ravenwood Hotel is lovely – with two very nice, if a little camp, gay hosts: Perry and Gary. That cheered us up a bit.
It’s going to be a long, hilly ride tomorrow – let’s hope that the wind has dropped, or that at least it’s doing what it’s supposed to and helps us along.