Day 123: Traffic Stress

49.09 miles

It was drizzly this morning as we left Florence and it didn’t help when a car honked at us as he passed us on the narrow bridge out of town.  As if the few seconds he was delayed in getting around us ruined his entire day.  Poor fellow.  On the subject of cars passing us and road shoulders, I’d say that road shoulder widths can be classified as follows: too narrow (or nonexistent), just adequate, and comfortable.  The shoulder on the bridge was nonexistent which forced cars to wait until it was clear before passing us.  More on shoulders below.

Oregon Dunes

Oregon Dunes

One interesting thing about today’s ride was the large sand dunes we saw in a few places.  The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches for many miles along the coast here.  The dunes were usually hidden behind trees or hills, but in a couple places the side of the road was one large pile of sand that was at least 30 feet tall at times.  Apparently it’s a popular area for people to ride ATVs on the dunes.

I was feeling pretty hungry today.  It seems like cold cereal just doesn’t keep me full as well as an oatmeal breakfast.  We stopped in Reedsport where we bought a quart of chocolate milk to wash down our usual peanut butter sandwiches.  Soon after Reedsport we had our second significant climb of the day.  The shoulder up the hill was just adequate, which is almost worse than a too narrow shoulder.  That’s because some drivers pass with hardly any room to spare, I guess because us cyclists are completely in the shoulder.  They don’t realize that when you’re struggling up a hill on a loaded bike, a large car or RV passing very closely can scare the crap out of you.  Not to mention the blast of wind knocking you sideways.

Bridges into Coos Bay

Bridges into Coos Bay

It was after too many closely passing RVs that Caroline started to get frustrated and stressed out and so we stopped to rest on the side of the road for a little while.  I gave her a hug and tried to reassure her, but I feel bad that the RVs stress her out more than me.  I guess I’m just more used to the traffic, plus the fact that I also have a higher fear threshold than her (as evidenced from our time skiing and rock climbing together).  She felt better soon and so we continued towards Coos Bay.  The wider, more comfortable shoulder later in the day helped.  There was a KOA close by, but we both opted to ride further to get a motel room in town.  It was our reward for riding almost 50 miles today (and in case it rained tonight).  Once at the motel we ordered pizza and did some internet research about catching a bus to take us a bit further south.  Both of us are eager to get south of the almost daily rain that seems to be the typical weather in this area now.

Oh, we also went over 3000 miles of biking today.  Woot!

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