It’s a brand new day and my sadness about the RVs is gradually dulling, but the 101 continues to disappoint. Now I see the ocean just 5% of the time. Businesses, malls everywhere. It’s like being on Route 1 in the urban south Connecticut. The traffic is heavy, especially between Newport and Lincoln City, but surprisingly, cycling feels safe. The highway is popular among bike tourists, so drivers have become aware of us and are patient. Plus there are ample signs (“Share the road” and so on).
I’m trying hard to raise my mood and what eventually helps is concenrating on the physical process of pedaling. The sustained exertion feels good, even refreshing and stimulating. The weather is great and the few ocean views are indeed gorgeous, especially when going over a “head” (or cape).
Several southbound cyclists (or groups of cyclists) come my way. At first they are a novelty and we stop and chat. But eventually stopping gets tedious and instead I just wave hello and pedal on. Most cyclists are doing the 101 by itself, not as part of a longer tour. Some groups are all-girls. They are sweaty, red-cheeked, bright-eyed. It’s sexy.
Late afternoon. It begins to rain. Three Capes Scenic Loop veers off from the 101 and hugs the ocean shore. It’s a remote detour, but tired of all the traffic I take it and it does not disappoint. The steep and winding forest road climbs over big capes and brings back echoes of the North Umpqua Gorge scenery.
I’ll be spending the night camping in tall conifers at Cape Lookout State Park. The dark forest — hemlocks? — is inhospitable and even scary in the rainy night, but there are a few other cyclists camping nearby and I feel safe.
While locking my bike to a tree I notice that the cable has squished a big snail. I quickly move the cable aside. The poor thing is moving, but a deep crease runs across his back and there’s a big hole in his head. Unfortunately it does not look like an eye or any other natural orifice. Really sorry, little guy! I hope you survive and recover.