Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dau Two Hundred Forty-four, 091030 - Florence, OR

Day Two Hundred Forty-four, Date Friday, October 30, 2009
Time in Saddle: 5:05
Distance for the Day: 43.36 miles From Newport To Florence, OR
Accumulated Trip Distance: 12,034 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 58’/107’, Highest: 449’ Accumulated: 2290’
Speeds: Avg: 8.5 mph, Max: 32.8 mph
Weather: 55° overcast, becoming clear in the evening
Expenditures: $14

After blogging the entire night, I left the Newport CafĂ© at 7:15am and began heading south, out of town. I stopped at a Hilton hotel to see if I could use their wi-fi to upload my blogs/pictures, but they don’t let non-guests into their system, the meanies. I continued out of town, and plugged away, but I wasn’t getting away with no sleep, this time. I was starting to wander a bit on the shoulder, so stopped at a state beach parking lot to hit the head and take a short 15-minute power (trucker’s) nap. It helped, and I continued on to the town of Waldport, where I found a Subway at 10:40am. It was a bit early in the day for lunch, so I determined that if they had, or if I could access, wi-fi there, I’d have lunch and upload my blogs. They did, and so I did ($10). I successfully uploaded the twelve (12!) blogs and their pictures that I slaved through the wee hours last night to satisfy your lust for vicarious thrills. I hope you’re satisfied! ;-) And, I did it in a bit less than two hours – amazing how fast it goes once all the ducks are lined up, ready to go. I left the restaurant at 12:45pm to continue on south, but was for sure, now, not going to make my next big target town, Reedsport. The weather was still overcast, but it was beginning to break up some, and the Sun came out after a while. I stopped along the highway to investigate what sounded like a LOT of sea lions, and it was exactly that – several hundred of them, in fact. From where I was, I could look down on them a few hundred feet below through some trees on the steep mountainside, just beyond the highway. They were barking up a constant roar, going, “or or or or!” I took pictures, went a bit further up the road and found a view pullout where you could see them better (but further away), and took more pictures. There was also a gorgeous view of a lighthouse on the rugged headlands with a bank of fog coming in off the ocean – just beautiful! A little further up the road, I stopped in at the tourist attraction called Sea Lions Caves, not to visit the caves (which are accessed via an elevator), but to just get something to satisfy a craving for chocolate. They didn’t have any candy bars, but they did sell fudge, so I got a quarter-pound chunk of rocky road ($4), and ate it right then and there, while looking around at the nifty stuff in the gift shop.
At about 5pm, as the light of day began to noticeably dim, I checked in at a park campsite north of the town of Florence to see what the rate was for a cyclist to camp. It was $20 a night – half-off if you had a National Parks annual pass (which I do), but I still didn’t feel like shelling out $10 just to set up my tent, so I moved on into northern Florence, and immediately found a possible stealth camp site: a real estate development with a brand new street, one non-activated streetlight, and no houses built on it, yet (N44 1.565’ W124 6.101’). It was a bit lower in elevation from the main road, and there was a low ridge of dirt that hid me from the closest passage of cars. I stopped there, unclipped my feet from the pedals and stuck my legs straight out onto the pavement, and rested a bit from the extra-double-long day’s efforts. I wasn’t just doing nothing, though: I was checking this site for potential problems in the way of security patrols, pedestrian traffic, or whatever, and indeed – a police car came down the dead-end road, went to the far end, turned around, came back, and stopped to chat with me. I wasn’t too worried, because a) I knew my body English said that I was too tired to be any kind of threat; and b) I figured my trike and gear further enhanced my image as a harmless traveler, unlikely to have any reason or motive to cause any kind of trouble. The cop asked if I was just resting, to which I replied in the affirmative, and I added that I was thinking of overnighting there. I asked him if he thought anyone would mind, but he couldn’t say, as it was private property. I then told him I would set up there for just overnight, and if anyone objected, I would move. He thought that was a good idea, or at least didn’t object, and left me to my business. I love cops that have that kind of attitude. Yes, I was technically trespassing on private property, but he didn’t get all totalitarianistic about it because no one lived there, yet, and I obviously wouldn’t be bothering anyone or damaging anything. He had more important things to do than harass an obviously clean, forthright, and honest fellow such as myself, so he let me be. He was a professional with judgment, and I always appreciate that. I waited until it began to get a bit darker before setting up my tent just off the roadway, on some smooth, medium-sized decorative rounded river rock (good drainage, should it rain, even though the day had cleared up). I was inside and reading, munching, and drinking soda by 7:17pm. I changed my socks and underwear, as they were getting a little stinky (I hadn’t changed or even taken any sponge baths since Seattle – you probably didn’t want to know that – sorry). Not too surprisingly, I find I don’t feel like washing down when I’m already cold and/or cold and wet. Plus, I can get away with it, as I can go a pretty long time without personal hygiene before getting overtly stinky when I’m cold. I guess, like meat or fish, I ‘keep’ longer when refrigerated. I went to sleep at 9pm with the bright Moon shining on my tent, though I rigged all my gear for the rain that I’d heard was coming.

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