Californy’s the place you ought to be!

… so we loaded up our bikes and rode to Crescent City. It wasn’t a long ride, particularly, but lots of steady climbing right from the get-go, over Cape Sebastian and other lesser capes, until 28 miles later we descended into Brookings — which involved two surprisingly big climbs after the city limits sign — for another friendly and satisfying Subway lunch, just a few miles from the border. Another cool, sunny, lovely day.

Note the freshly washed shorts drying on the sleeping bag — cleanliness is next to godliness

At the Cape Sebastian viewpoint we had our closest encounter with the three young bike tourists from Bend we’ve been calling the “dude bros,” as we tag-teamed them down the coast from north of Port Orford.

They were as far as we could tell only on a week-long tour, or less, but they had three fat backpacks and four panniers. They were so dirty, they can’t have had a change of clothes, so we figured a tent…and, based on their habits at rest stops, a whole lot of weed. At least half the bags, nothing but skunk, we decided. There was no explanation. Halfway to Brookings they told us that was their final destination, and then they’d hitchhike back to Newport.

We did stop briefly at the Brookings bike shop, which we would NOT recommend to those who follow us, being badly stocked and managed by a kind of drunk and clueless right-wing version of Walter White, who tried to sell us the wrong kind of tubes, excusing himself when we caught him by saying he couldn’t read the text on the box. Really, this guy is who might be working on your bike? As one online reviewer wrote, unless you have a serious breakdown, steer clear of this place. Walter followed us out of the shop, and what follows is a sample of his monologue:

Friend of mine, used to ride a lot, had to get some cancers dug out of his face, all stitched up now, had it done in Costa Rica, they got hospitals down there that look like Star Wars, friend of a friend of mine has a son down there training for their paramilitary force on the border with Nicaragua, those Nicaraguans doing to Costa Rica what the damn Mexicans are doing to the US, coming over to steal their jobs and get on their welfare, you should see the guns they got down there, they get ’em from the US, they got Sigs, man, Sig Sauers, gift of the good ol’ USA!

Et cetera. We rode away while he was still talking.

Along the way we came across three deer, a couple of feet from us across the guardrail, including one fawn. Bambi raced David, adorably, sprinting and hopping, showing how fast *he* could go. That was the highlight of the day, in wildlife terms. The low point was seeing the first dead raccoon.

Like any border between states with different laws about drugs, alcohol, guns, or fireworks, the Oregon side featured the biggest marijuana dispensary we’d seen.

But like most fronteras, this border is more than a legal fiction, more than a mathematical line drawn on a map. From craggy coastline and jutting cape, the landscape quickly transitioned to sprawling agricultural, from Easter lily farms to stoop-labor field crops complete with farm workers as if we’d teleported to the Salinas Valley. The slopes above were still thick with spruce and fir, and the coastal surf still pounded the sea stacks, but we pedaled through the Smith River estuary on mostly level rural roads apart from the trucks and other traffic on Hwy. 101, smelling fertilizer, gazing across vast flats, and passing farm machinery chugging along our quiet alternate route, of which Ethel Beavers — as we’ve christened our Garmin 1030 navigational device — thoroughly approved.

Ethel, and her owners, were very happy to arrive at last in Crescent City and ride along the coast to our lodging.

The Front Street Inn here, along with the Wild Chinook in Gold Beach, has changed our opinion of two-star economical motels. Perfectly clean, if aging and low on foo-foo amenities, friendly & accommodating and grateful for your business, and costing maybe a third of a Hampton or a Hilton. Our room was a 10-minute walk from SeaQuake Brewing, all we need at present.

Today’s numbers: 61.2 miles, 2617 feet, in 5:10. Hope we’re not softening up. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day to Arcata.

Our June so far:

1 thought on “Californy’s the place you ought to be!”

  1. Enjoying the narrative and the slices of America’s finest…Pinedrop Press might be calling again!!
    Safe peddling 👨‍👦‍👦🚵🏼‍♀️🚴🏼‍♂️
    Bro Vinny


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