good samaritans

Starting location: Pacific Sunset Motel, Brookings, OR
Ending location: The Palm Motel, Orick, CA
End of day cumulative mileage: 649.1

This morning I was awoken by the sound of Harleys revving up. 6am. What the heck. What kind of biker gang wakes up at 6am?! They were actually not a biker gang, probably just a group of guys exploring the coast on their bikes. Not unlike me. They looked kinda tough, but I overheard them talking, they were in town to watch the kite fest in Brookings. I think if I ever ride the coast route again, it will be on a motorcycle too, but probably not a Harley like these guys. I have my eyes set on an SV650, 650R, FZ6 or something similar.

I went back to sleep and woke up a little after 10. Dahhh overslept. Stupid kite watching biker “gang.” I looked out the window. Raining again. This is getting old really fast. But oversleeping has its advantages. On my way out of town I spotted the magical words, “All you can eat Mexican buffet.” Since I had overslept, it was just about to open for lunch. So I parked my bike and went inside. It ended up being one of the best Mexican buffets I had ever been to. I probably ate too much, to the point where I could barely stand, let alone bike. So I sat at the restaurant for a bit watching women’s world cup soccer before heading out of town.

The California border was just a few miles south of town. I met a couple of bike tourists here, they were almost home, heading to Eureka, less than 100 miles from here.

I asked them to take a picture for me, so here’s my sole picture from the trip with me in it.

The first city in California was Crescent City. It seemed larger than every town I had passed in Oregon since leaving Portland. Just south of Crescent City was a big climb. It also felt longer and higher than anything I had faced in Oregon. It’s true what they say, everything’s bigger in California. Oh wait, no that’s Texas. What’s California known for? Pot smoking hippies I guess. I past a few of those too, selling random trinkets out of their old VW vans by the beach.

The climb out of Crescent City was big, which made the descent really fast. I’ve done enough century rides to be used to scary fast descents, but this one was above and beyond scary, partly because I wasn’t going fast enough. Let me explain.

On century rides I can hit high 30s and sometimes into the 40s going downhill, which makes me more or less as fast as descending cars, so I can use the whole lane to corner and dodge potholes. On this descent I hit 38.8 according to my cyclocomputer, but since this was highway 101, it wasn’t nearly fast enough, traffic was flying downhill at 50+ mph. Cars were honking at me, so I had to keep moving into the rough and dirty shoulder to let them pass. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, the hairs on my arms were all standing up. My arms were covered in goosebumps, partly from the cold air blowing by at almost 40 miles per hour, but I suspect mostly from the fear and adrenaline.

Often times when I bike I’m reminded of the parable of the good Samaritan. It’s because whenever I get into trouble when I go road biking or mountain biking, there’s no shortage of help from other bikers. So whenever I’m in a position to help out other bikers I try to return the favor.

After that harrowing descent, there was a long section of flat roads. There I met a few bikers who were having trouble. I asked them if they were ok, if they had all the tools they needed. They replied that they had all the tools they needed, but not the knowledge to fix the problem. Dangit I thought. Knowledge, the one thing I don’t have. Oh wait, bike repair knowledge, I have a little bit of that. So I tried to help them out. One of the riders had a problem with her brakes rubbing. We got her brakes to the point where the brakes worked, but she had to push them back out manually. There was some dirt or rust that was preventing her brakes from returning on their own, but at least she could keep riding.

I ended up talking to them for a bit. They were three girls, college students from Massachusetts named Orlie, Allie and Ashley. They were on a crazy summer vacation. They had flown into the Portland area and were biking down to San Francisco. From there they planned to rent a car and explore the midwest. Crazy. I envy them. I wish I had done more of that kind of stuff when I was in college.

I wished them good luck and safety on their crazy journey and moved on. It was about 5 o’clock by now and I still had about 20 miles to go until my destination. It turns out they were heading to the same campsite.

When I arrived at the campsite, I found that it was full. I decided to continue on down the road to a town called Orick a few miles away. Orick was the tiniest, most rundown town I had ever seen. All of the motels looked pretty bad. The one I checked into looked like it hadn’t changed since the 1950s. It had a little diner next door which I ate at.

I ordered the special of the day, which was ribs. It  came with this mystery stuff that I thought was some sort of noodle, but after popping it in my mouth I discovered it was green beans. The ribs were dry and tasteless. It was literally the worst meal I had ever paid for. But I was so hungry by this point, that I polished the entire thing off and I found myself gnawing on the bones.

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