Monday, August 17, 2015

Update from the road: Days 7 - 10

Today is day 10 and my second rest day. I spent the day at a windsurfer and kitesurfer camp. I took another wrong turn and ended up at a campground that has WiFi and the surfers invited me to stay, covered my camping fee, and gave me a ton of food from their potluck. They really saved me because there was no way I was going to make it back to the 101 and down the road to the state park with the $5 hiker-biker sites and I was going to just sleep on the beach.

I was dead tired and low on food and money. I thought my nearest bank was an 85 mile round trip, but the surfers found one for me that is just 23 miles down the road. I learned today that most of the towns on the coast are 23 miles apart because that's how far the stagecoaches could travel in a day.

The camp host is an old army vet who brought me over a bag of food and offered me money for the shower. I was invited to cake and ice cream tonight to celebrate a surfers 69th birthday! I have not had ice cream in days, I can't wait!

It's been a few days since my last blog and things have been wonderful. I made it to the coast, camped four miles south of Florence at a hiker-biker site at the state park, and met a couple from Canada. The girl's father had prostate cancer and she shared some of her feelings about what it was like for her when she found out. Her partner's uncle has the same cancer as me and I was able to give them some brochures that will hopefully be helpful.  Maybe, when I get to Calgary City, I can talk them into an interview.

I got up early and headed out for the next campground planning on only riding 30 or 40 miles, but one of the bikers I camped with passed me and the race was on. We were planning to camp together on the beach, but I lost him after going over the bridge north of North Bend.  Wow, was that a fun bridge to cross! I lived in North Bend for a few years as a kid, and I stopped to look in the mall I used to terrorize and the movie theater that we stuck into and watched movies at all summer. I looked for my friend's mom's house, but could not find it and it was getting dark. I needed to get to Red Sunset Bay to camp. This was a hard 65 mile ride and I arrived at camp super late and had to set up in the dark. The campground was great with a super hot shower that I had to abuse for a long time!

I got up in the morning and was completely exhausted, but felt the need to push-on and ended up riding the hardest stretch of road so far, Seven Devils road from Charleston to Brandon. I was so exhausted I had to walk up every hill. The night before the sign said 44 miles and I was really not looking forward to another long day, but when I got to the road the sign said 22 miles and my heart filled with joy.  Even having to walk up every hill, I was happy!

When I reached Brandon I was done! Real done! I even tried to call and message a few friends about renting me a cheap motel room, but the cheapest room I found was $85 and that was at a special rate just for me. I kindly thanked the man and headed down the road to find a campsite. It was nice that he treated me with respect.

I stopped in town to investigate better cellular service because T-Mobile has almost no coverage on the coast and went to buy a sausage on a stick for two dollars.  I expected a whole sausage but, when the guy cut me off a two inch strip, I kindly asked for my money back and started heading out of town. I rode around old town just for fun and really wish I could have afforded a crab-cake.  I talked with a motorcycle biker who had cancer and then ended up meeting a fellow cyclist whose friend had just died of cancer. We talked and shared our stories of pain and loss and I left him in the dust, fully expecting him to pass me down the road. I was heading for a park where I thought there would be camping and got about a mile down the road before realizing that I did not want to ride back up that hill. When I got back to the 101, I noticed that there was a small sign stating that there was no camping at that park! I was so happy I had turned around!

The next sign I saw showed tent sites and free WiFi with the state parks logo so I assumed that they had hiker-biker sites but they did not. They were charging $15 dollars a night and all I had left was $20 until I made it to a bank and cashed a check. I was about to leave when I was chased down and invited to a potluck. I explained that I was heading down the road looking for a hiker-biker site and this nice lady said not to worry about it and just set up my tent. The camp host let me stay two nights for free. I really needed the day's rest.

I've been having a hard time connecting with hosts because T-Mobil has horrible coverage on the coast. I'm going to have to buy a new phone with Verizon or someone else so I can manage my affairs better. I hate to keep spending money on technology. My GoPro crapped out, hopefully it is just a problem with the update I installed before leaving Portland and someone with a computer can help me get it healthy again. I lost a lot of recording time between Eugene and here. Makes me kinda sad. I really wanted to record the whole trip and play it in fast forward for all my followers.
I ended up at Floras Lake Windsurfing and Kitesurfing campground south of Bandon. Once again, people opened their hearts to me and shared their food, fire and good music with me. It was by far my best night so far. Once again I had rode too far and hard.  It was nice to sit in a camp chair and listen to people's stories.
The next day I retrieved my electronics after my new friends charged them for me and ended up talking with a man who is a kitesurfer, currently has prostate cancer and has already has it removed and treated with radiation.  His tests still indicate cancer, but today he was out flying across the water with his kite sailing high. I'm still hopeful I can talk him into an interview.
I made a new friend named Josh and helped him repair his kite.  All I really did was hold it down and he helped me take some great photos for my daughter. It was awesome watching him get his kite up into the air!
I'm heading for Gold Beach in the morning to cash my check and to get another day closer to California! A song by David lee Roth comes to mind! The sun is setting and I might be missing ice-cream and cake, so I'm off to see if anything is left! I'll update next time I get free WiFi. This Word program only works if I have WiFi!