Day 9: Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach State Park
September 2, 2013. ~60 miles.
I woke up and slowly packed everything up, wandering down the beach the long way to get to the bathrooms. The large group of cyclists on a weekend trip from Portland were getting packed up, and the campground seemed much emptier because of that. Just as I was getting ready to leave, Shane walked by my site and we chatted for a bit about grocery shopping and how they had just bought a bunch of food that he now had to carry up the upcoming hill.
I tackled said hill, which was long but not steep. At the top, I started getting into the fog which was chilly and reduced visibility. I pulled out my wonderfully bright yellow jacket and coasted down the other side. Long descents are amazing — two miles of downhill is often worth the two miles of uphill beforehand.
There were a number of crazy RV drivers between that hill and the next town. I saw one driver misjudge his turning radius so badly that he ended up completely in the other lane as he went around a blind curve. As I was climbing a short but very steep hill into town, a line of about 3 RVs passed by so close I could have reached out and slapped the side of them. Even so, they caused the driver of an SUV coming the other way to have to pull over and wait for them to go by. I’m really hoping that they were especially bad today because they are hurrying home to get back to work after Labor Day.
There was a nice beach with views of beautiful dunes and a gigantic volcanic pillar/boulder out in the ocean. I stuck my bike along a fence with 4 others — Ellie and the group of 3 older tourers were also there.
After snacking on the beach and getting coffee, Ellie and I went on together again. There were a couple hairy bits of 101, but the route also took us on some really quiet, pretty roads when possible. On one of these detours we passed a farm that had a couple ponies, a horse, a llama, a goat, and probably a few other animals all in one field. The road past the farm was hilly, but gorgeous and so quiet we could ride side by side and chat.
Somewhere in the middle of the day, I noticed my back tire was pretty low, and was feeling bumpy. I stopped and pumped it up a bit, hoping it was just low. But it didn’t really feel any better, so I stopped and looked closer. I found a slow leak, and so changed the tube. While doing so, I noticed that there were quite a lot of holes in the tire. For some reason, I still felt like the tires were pretty new, but when I thought about it I realized it’s been 3-4 years and 5000 miles. Anyway, even after changing the tube, the tire still bumped a little every time it went around. I looked closer, and saw that the tire was bulging oddly. So… new tire? The next bikes shop is in Newport, about 50 miles away from where I noticed the problem. I decided to stop for the day at the campground just short of Newport and try to get it fixed tomorrow. I spent the rest of the day being vaguely nervous that my back tire was going to blow out unexpectedly. It didn’t.
My bike computer also cut out for much of the day. This was, of course, not as problematic as the tire, but it is nice to have the mileage record. Oh well.
I eventually left Ellie behind for the last 15 miles or so. The coast was gorgeous, but I was nervous about my tire and my neck was sore (I pulled a muscle or something a couple days ago and it is kind of hard to turn my head to the right without pain). Luckily, the route took me off 101 (I was less nervous about my tire when there was no traffic). The side route around Cape Foulweather was really neat. The road was one-way for cars with a bike lane instead of a second car lane. At the tip of the cape was a gorgeous view.
A few miles more on 101 and I found the campground. There was a small store on the corner of the turnoff, where I stopped and bought an ice cream bar and a bag of kettle chips. I then proceeded to go to the campground, eat the ice cream, and then eat about 95% of the bag of chips. Then I set up my tent and took a shower. Priorities.
There were two other couples in the hiker/biker area. One is a couple who has been in many of the same campsites as me the last few days but who mostly keep to themselves. The other is a couple from Portland out on a short tour. He is a bike mechanic, and she is in a modern ballet dance company. They had a fire going, and once Ellie arrived, the four of us spent the rest of the evening chatting and eating. Joe (the bike mechanic) confirmed that I definitely need a new back tire.
The bike shop in Newport is supposed to be pretty neat – has laundry, showers, and a lounge for touring cyclists. That’s definitely first on the list for tomorrow.