We rose early, had a quick breakfast and latte and hit the road. We
took Cow Creek road back to the trail, a windy paved forest road with
many bridges and switchbacks. It was a quick trip back to dirt.
Most of Oregon had been the same terrain, wide roads with a mix of
gravel and dirt. National Forests and BLM properties meant they were
maintained and driven often. But this day was different. We quickly
entered unchartered territory, so it seemed. We rode covered trails
through wild forests, untouched by the lumbejacks. The ground was
perfectly soft and smooth as we dodged fallen tree trunks and kept an
eye out for head level branches.
At one fork I went up the dark, overgrown trail and quickly
dodged a giant protruding branch wanting to sever my head. Immediately
in front of me was a steep mound of dirt, a quick incline and drop but
I had to go for it. “If you hesitate, it’s so much harder,” I told
myself. What I found at the top was its twin, an immediate 5 foot drop
just to climb again; “just keep going.” Ah, but the speed was too much
for the hill and myself. I rode in to my first wheely climbing the
second hill, and almost landed it, but before it crushed me I managed
to throw the bike to the side and escape its path. I lay there
laughing as Han ran up and proclaimed how awesome it was. I was fine,
my hip a little sore from the land. Still sore actually, but I was
fine and the bike, of course, was too. We lifted her up and closely
examined the obstacle to see how Han could ride it, which he did,
without wheelying. He said he saw me go up perfectly and to both of
our surprises saw me go up again, this time on one wheel. These are
the times we wish we had a GoPro camera strapped to our helmets.
Excited and energized, we kept at it, weaving through the jagged
branches and dark trail until we eventually saw sunlight again. The
terrain turned to more civilized roads and the views were just
beautiful. Bountiful forests and more in the distance. Definitely the
best land Oregon had to offer us.
Cruising and daydreaming, I rode effortlessly. Out of nowhere a large
black cuddly blob ran across my dirt path. He trompled down without
looking at me but I saw his profile clearly, his snout sticking out
and his four giant paws. I stopped, shocked that we came all this way
without seeing one and here, near the end of our travels, a black bear. Han stopped when he came to me and he was jealous when I told him. I explained that I wanted to cuddle him but he got away too fast.
Endorphins rushed as we kept riding. Not far to go until the coast, we
realized, and pushed on. We wouldn’t have known it, except for the
maps telling us so. The forest was thick and vast. I couldn’t believe a giant ocean lay on its other side. We descended from our dark escape
and I saw a sailboat on a trailer. We must be close. We came to
pavement, to cars, to civilization. We took a left and saw the giant
wooden sign that read “Welcome to Port Orford.” We wooped and yelled
and pulled over to commemorate the moment with a picture. We rushed
on, stopping for champagne at my request and headed to the shore. Even
in the small town I still couldn’t believe we were here. Not until we
climbed a small road with giant letters reading “Ocean View” and an
arrow pointing up the hill did I feel it. We climbed the pavement and
the most stunning, anticipated view, welcomed us. A vast sea of
crashing waves lit by the sun. We drove down the dock road and parked
the bikes. We jumped and hugged and popped the bottle. We sat alone on
the beach, and sipped in silence surrounded by sand and driftwood,
meditating on our adventure. We laughed and cheered.
But of course the eternal question we couldn’t help but ask after 10
minutes of celebrating, what’s next?