Sunday turned out to be quite a big day, 57 miles with a lot of climbs. I was motivated though because I knew a nice friend and comfortable home were waiting for me at the end of the day.
In the morning I said goodbye to my camping, cycling neighbors at the RV park and set out down the road. One neighbor recommended a detour off highway 101, since that road was a “beautiful ride through rolling hills and avoids the mountain on highway 101.” When people tell you these things, do NOT believe them! But, my adventurecycling map recommended the same route so off I went. I was feeling good at first. The road climbed through beautiful country but not at a rate I couldn’t handle, for a while. One by one I geared down until it was in 1-1 and even then it got tougher. Eventually I was walking, and walking. Like all hills it eventually came to the top, but then I had a hair raising descent through hair pin turns and over road bumps that had me riding the brakes and thanking from the bottom of my heart the Panamanian mechanic who correctly installed my new brakes.
I know some cyclists love the descents, but I don’t need that much excitement in my life. Since this route added at least five miles to my day I was wondering if I shouldn’t have taken 101, but who knows how much more climbing and traffic I would have found there. But, I made it back to sea level and rolling hills safely, stopping at McD’s for a soda and a bit of wifi. Since they had no electric outlets I didn’t linger for long. On my way out though, I passed a homeless man and his dog with a sign asking for help. It puts things in perspective. Maybe I had a big descent which chilled me through, but I have a dollar to go into McD’s, and I have credit cards if I really need to get indoor accommodations. Homeless people are on the street no matter what the weather, and hungry except for the kindness of strangers. I didn’t linger to learn this man’s story but he seemed so appreciative that I even noticed him and stopped to exchange a few words.
The road continued on with rolling hills through Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay (one of the more favorite towns I’ve passed).
Then I had another recommended detour coming in to Newport, Otter Creek Loop instead of highway 101. This was a very interesting, scenic, one way road and though it wasn’t as high as the highway that I could see above, it definitely was another good climb.
By this time I was very happy to be approaching Newport and my destination. I was tired enough to be walking up anything but gentle hills, and was ready for a day or two off. I definitely feel like I am gradually getting stronger though. I held up well pretty much all day. I don’t know if I will ever be strong enough to ride a loaded bike instead of walking up the more challenging hills, but if I can make it up by any method and then bike on without fading, I see this as good progress. Who knows how I will be after a couple more weeks of riding.
Right now though, thanks to some very kind and generous friends, I won’t be back on the bike for a little while longer. I have been here since Sunday night, and this afternoon I will be handed off to other friends a few miles south. I hope to hang out there for another day and set out again on Friday. Rain is predicted through Thursday so this will be perfect. Starting Friday there are many days of nice weather coming so it will be a good time to resume my travels.