Monday, July 11, 2016

Biking and sketching the Pacific Coast from Coos Bay to Arcata in 5 days (with one morning of unintentional cyclocross)

Here is a day by day map of the biking tour along with the food we consumed to power us up the coastal hills.

Day 1: North Bend, OR to Port Orford, OR

The Pacific coast cycling and sketching adventure started at this sleepy Southwest Oregon regional airport. As I am sketching the airport building and the bridge behind it the gusts of wind are so strong I let the wind move my hand and watch it draw lines on paper.

Of course I could not help myself and not a do a super quick sketch of my neighbor on the airplane–flying from Portland to North Bend, OR–the whole 40 minutes in the air!

Loading on raw fish protein in Coos Bay before 60 miles of riding. This is a cyclist equivalent of pouring premium fuel in the tank.

Only about 3 miles away from our final destination for Day 1, when the anticipation of food, rest, hot bath, and other creature's comforts grew all the more incessant I get my first (and luckily last) flat of the trip. Here is a "Fixing a flat tire in 7 easy steps tutorial". Biking along highway 101 one has to ride over tons of shattered glass, gravel, truck parts, animal corpses, and nails. Getting a flat is pretty inevitable.

Redfish Marine Reserve

This view and a glass of wine is a fantastic reward after 60 miles of biking the coastal hills.

Day 2: Port Orford to Harris Beach Camp Ground

First time trying tayberries (from the local Co-op)—more tart and softer than marionberries. I used their own juice to draw them.

Off to bike another 57 miles but first we are grabbing some lunch and doing a quick sketch of this couple from Mendocino–both retired public school teachers–who are here for some kite surfing.

Day 3: Harris Beach to Crescent City, CA

Clifford Kamph Memorial Park, CA

Cycling Pacific coast adventure continues. Some "helpful" people at this camp site decided we were carrying way too much weight on our bikes and decided to take our tire pump to make our load lighter.

Staying with Patree in Crescent City, CA

She made us a raisin pizza for dinner and fed us lots of home made bread for breakfast Patree is a tattooed 50 something year old liberal leaning retiree in predominantly conservative Crescent city, California. The main employers here is Pelican Bay State Prison and a giant Wallmart. Patree rents out a room in her house, listens to NPR, commands Alexa (the Amazon voice robot), and collects giant red lips and other brick a bracks.

Day 4: Crescent City to Prairie Creek Redwood Park

Tallest, some of the oldest, and most graceful living beings on earth–the majestic redwoods. Biking through these beauties made biking up the highest hill of the trip (1250 feet) almost pleasant.

Prairie Creek Redwood/Murrelet State Parks

Camping surrounded by elk, mosquito swarms, and bears, drinking water out of the creek, and eating half raw noodles with a knife because we didn't pack any utensils.

Day 5: Prairie Creek to Arcata

The day started out with some unintentional cyclocross–the path that was supposed to get us in and out of the coastal edge of the Prarie Creek park was really not that bike friendly. We had to carry our bikes over the giant fallen trees had blocked the path in 4-5 places. Additionally, crossing multiple creeks, steep and dusty gravel roads that had to be shared with giant SUVs all made for a long and tiresome trip out of the beautiful wilderness area where we spent the night.

Fortunately, the rest of the trip that day was incredibly scenic–passing Humboldt lagoons, sweeping vistas of the ocean and the cliffs, and finally the last 11 miles of mostly off road trail (Hammond trail) that took us straight to Arcata.

Final point on the Pacific coast cycling and sketching tour—the funky and sweet town of Arcata, CA with its hippy feel and old houses like this one.

Windy sketching conditions