Day One: Bandon, Oregon to Roseburg, Oregon - Oregon Coast to Kentucky WITH NO FLAT TIRES! - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2019

Day One: Bandon, Oregon to Roseburg, Oregon

As usual the night before a long tour, I didn't sleep well. I finally got up at 5:00, and started getting ready. I hadn't decided yet whether I'd cut all my hair off, something I've done at the start of a couple of previous tours. This morning I finally decided to use the clippers I'd brought with me, and buzzed it all off using the smallest guard on the clippers. I enlisted Joy in this procedure, despite her reluctance. The finished result was what I expected: Deeply unattractive, but cooler and easier to maintain.

We went down to the beach, where Joy, a stickler for these kinds of traditions, insisted that I dip my rear wheel in the Pacific. I went along with this, and even maintained my good humor when the water washed over my bike shoes when I wasn't paying attention.

Just before a wave came in and soaked my cycling shoes and wool cycling socks.
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Scott AndersonNot the most promising start to a cross country tour. You really want to keep those feet dry if you can.
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2 months ago
Kathleen JonesYeah, listen to Scott. He knows.
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2 months ago
Pete PajorHey Jeff. I was in the pace line you met outside of Gillette (I think). On any other day I would have had my Euskatel jersey on. How they heck did you come by that???

Pete from Columbus (Worthington actually) Ohio
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1 month ago
Jeff LeeTo Pete PajorA friend of mine got it somewhere years ago, but never wore it because it was too small for him. I don't follow pro cycling, so I don't know anything about the team - I just liked the color and design of the jersey.

I'll have to ask my friend where he got it originally.
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1 month ago
The bike is a Salsa Fargo 29-er. I'm carrying an Ortlieb handlebar bag and two Ortlieb panniers on the rear rack. The tent is strapped to the rear rack. I anticipate feeling guilty and/or stupid on the many days that I carry the tent but sleep in a motel or other indoor lodging anyway.
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I rode out, a little shaky on the heavy loaded bike at first. I'd done a laughably inadequate, five-minute "shakedown ride" in the parking lot of our motel in Baker City the other day, which was, of course, ridiculous, considering I was planning to ride 4,000 miles.

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A few miles outside Bandon I was already on a gravel road, certainly preferable to the car and truck traffic on the more direct route out of town. The first dog incident occurred on this section; I was a little surprised I had to bring out the pepper spray so early on the tour.

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In a while I turned onto lightly-traveled Lampa Lane. This was a great, low-traffic, smoothly paved country road. Perfect. It was where I met Dave, an 81-year-old cyclist out for his morning ride. He's very impressive - still riding 29 years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer that his doctors said would kill him within five years. I rode with him to the small town of Myrtle Point, where we went into a cafe and talked. Everyone in the place knew Dave and said hello. Dave confirmed that my route was very low-traffic, and added some useful information, specifically about a steep, eleven-mile gravel section.

Dave.
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The first 26 miles of Sitkum Lane were smooth pavement. At the very beginning I saw a loaded logging truck, but it was the only one I'd see all day. In fact, for the next 50 or so miles I only saw a handful of vehicles.

The route was scenic. No businesses, just scattered homes and farms. Surprisingly, the tiny community of Dora had a library and adjoining village hall, so I pulled in there to find that the library was closed, but an older couple was hanging around the village hall, and they offered me water. I told them water from the tap was fine, but oddly enough they weren't sure that the water from the kitchen faucet was potable, so they gave me bottled water from the refrigerator.

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The eleven-mile gravel section began. I was extremely glad that Dave had warned me about this, since I had no cell signal, and couldn't easily check the maps on my phone to verify that I wasn't lost. The route was now even more scenic. No houses, just the rushing stream and little waterfalls on one side of the road, and rock wall on another. The road got steeper and steeper. I had to push the bike up one 18% grade that was impossible for me to ride on the heavy bike with its double chainring setup. At one point I thought I might have gotten turned around, in retrospect a ridiculous notion since I was continuing to climb, and obviously wasn't going back the way I'd come. Perhaps I was slightly addled from the exertion.

A guy in an ancient rusty red Pontiac Fiero descending the mountain slowed down enough to call out, in an odd accent that was presumably exacerbated by his lack of teeth, "That musht rilly hurt them legs, haw haw haw!!!" I ignored this and stoically continued climbing at 1.9 mph.

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I was beginning to wonder if the gravel was ever going to end, when I reached what was presumably the Douglas county line, and sweet, sweet pavement. I had more miles of tough climbing to go, but it was much, much easier than on loose gravel.

The eleven-mile segment of gravel finally ended. Sadly, the climbing did not.
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They never look that steep in the photos I take, for some reason.
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Finally I got to the top of the mountain, and started the super scary descent with switchback after switchback. This was one of those occasions when I was glad I had the disc brakes. I resisted the urge to touch the brakes to see how hot they were once I reached the bottom.

After a few miles of rolling terrain, I was annoyed to start ANOTHER climb. I really should have figured out how to use the RideWithGps app so I could look at the elevation profiles and prepare myself for these climbs. Or maybe it's just better not to know.

Finally I reached the LookingGlass country store, where the young woman working there approved of my chocolate milk selection. When I asked about a bathroom, she told me that "Unfortunately, it's ouside. The outhouse." From her tone and expression, I gathered that she would never enter the outhouse, and would prefer to "hold it" all day instead.

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Very hot for this part of the country in mid-June.
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Outside the store, I engaged in some amusing banter with two friendly workingmen going home for the day, then started the last seven miles to Roseburg. One more climb, and then it was a descent all the way to the city. Roseburg is on I-5, so I picked the least-crappy looking of the cheaper interstate motels and got a room. In the lobby, there was a TV blaring the cable-news pundit that I despise the most, and after securing my room, I could not resist making a disparaging comment about the TV blowhard. If the manager who had just taken my $67 was offended, I couldn't tell.

Dinner was at a nearby Denny's, where the waitress informed me that "the truck" had not arrived that day, so menu choices were severely limited. I had my usual grilled cheese sandwich, the staple of vegetarians who just don't like vegetables that much.

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Today's ride: 85 miles (137 km)
Total: 85 miles (137 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Suzanne GibsonI'm looking forward to your adventures, and your excellent pictures as well!
Maybe when you get tired of grilled cheese sandwiches, even vegetables will look good. As they say, hunger is the best cook.
Wishing you wind from the right direction and no dogs, and of course you aren't going to get any flats anyway.
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2 months ago
Adam ZamoraGlad to see you pushing off. Bonne route!
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2 months ago
Ione JohnsonAwww...now I’m homesick for the PNW. Safe travels. I’m looking forward to the pics.
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2 months ago
Larry CourtneyJust beginning to read your trip blog. As usual, the pictures and commentary are superb! I cringe when I hear others say "I can't wait...." but in this case it is me (or is it "I"?) who is saying "I can't wait to to read/view the rest" !!
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1 month ago
Jeff LeeTo Suzanne GibsonThanks, Suzanne! Sorry it took me so long to respond.

...I did eat a salad one day on this tour, mainly because it came with my grilled cheese sandwich ;)
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1 month ago
Jeff LeeTo Ione JohnsonThanks, Ione. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I've altered the route I had planned, and will be in Iowa, at Ruth's house, for a couple of days. Do you have any tips for preventing those two cats from crawling on me while I sleep? I seem to recall you had some experience with that...
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1 month ago