Day 2: To Winchester Bay - South Oregon Coast and Coast Range 2008 - CycleBlaze

July 7, 2008

Day 2: To Winchester Bay

It was 63F in the morning in my all-screen tent. No condensation because I'm camped under a tree canopy. Still humid, overcast, with no wind. Not too buggy, surprisingly.

Upper Smith river.
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Today's ride is mostly through a tunnel of trees. Not a single car went by for the first 2 hours on the road. Then I gradually started seeing occasional traffic and the occasional occupied campsite. Fortunately no log trucks. It is a holiday weekend, after all. A bear ran across the road 200 feet in front of me.

Lonely road through dense forest.
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I'm going downstream and the road is relatively level. No big hills. The forest is so dense that I have to be extremely close to the river before I can see it. The river could be 50 feet away but I can't see it. The trees are not especially big, though. An interpretive sign describes the 43,000 acre (17,400 hectare) "Oxbow Burn" in 1966. Three years later 900 million board-feet of scorched timber had been logged and replanted by aerial seeding. The trees are about 40 years old.

I can't see very far when looking to the side of the road.
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The temperature warmed into the 70's and the sky became partly cloudy. The humidity dropped and it became much more comfortable to me. The temperature might have been warmer still if I wasn't approaching the ocean. I took long stops at Vincent Creek campground and Smith River falls. The sun was shining and the water was nice to wade in.

Smith River Falls.
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Smith River Falls.
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The Smith river gets steadily bigger during the day. The road closely follows the meandering river. Smith River road is 3 times as long as state highway 38 to the south. Near Smith river falls I started to see the occasional house but not very often.

Bacchetta Giro 20 overlooking Smith River.
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Overlooking the lower Smith River.
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The most shotgun holes I have ever seen on a sign.
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I saw no log trucks because I was there during a holiday weekend.
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I stopped at Smith River store and the proprietor suggested that I join their potluck dinner. Fresh halibut (from a local commercial fisherman), beans, cole slaw, desserts. $5 for the best meal I've had in ages.

Now the Smith river is big. A hundred yards or more wide. And there are occasional flat valleys with hay fields. And houses. And more traffic. Maybe one car per minute. A headwind builds as I approach the coast.

Smith river near Reedsport. A big tidal river now.
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Smith river near Reedsport.
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Smith River road ends at US 101 a mile north of Reedsport where the Smith river flows into the Umpqua river. I had a tailwind on US 101 whizzing south into Reedsport where I stopped for groceries. Then I continued another 5 miles southwest to Winchester Bay, the mouth of the Umpqua river. I got a $4 hiker/bike site at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. No other cyclists stayed there. The campground is in a densely forested area a mile from the ocean. No ocean spray and there is just enough wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay. The temperature was 60F. Definitely cooler than inland.

After dark I walked 1/2 mile down to the lighthouse. It's in the middle of an active coast guard station. Not a beautiful setting.

I appreciate having a private campsite with a table, drinking water, shower, and a toilet nearby. I feel strong. Today I biked a long distance but with not much climbing.

Distance: 72.0 miles (115 km)

Climbing: 1678 feet (508 m)

Average Speed: 10.2 mph (16.3 km/h)

Maximum Speed: 33 mph (53 km/h)

Today's ride: 72 miles (116 km)
Total: 129 miles (208 km)

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