Pacific City to Otter Rock, OR
First the bad news, And then I will get to the good stuff. I have really been having a hard time with flatting on my back tire. They are tubeless with sealant inside that is supposed to repair punctures. But yesterday day I was totally flat about ten miles in, and decided I had better take the valve off with a jerry-rigged valve tool to add a new container of sealant. I got things put together and took off and was flat in another 5 miles. The only hope was to ride try to make it another 25 miles to the motel and deal with it in a dryer location. So every 5 miles we had to pull over and try to get another 80 psi out of a hand pump (about 120 strokes if you want to know). Not only was the pumping hard, the riding was really tiring because while the first 2 1/2 miles after each cycle was smooth riding, the second 2 1/2 miles was a strain because of the low pressure.
The bothersome part about this is that we seem to be in an area that cannot keep a bike shop in business. In the last 6 days, we have found only one bike shop that was open. I thought I would find one in Tillamook yesterday, but the shop that Google sent me to, was now a mattress store. We called the listed number and and the guy told us he moved to another town 10 years ago. So not being able to find replacement parts is a concern.
This morning I took the tire to a gas station to get it pumped up high enough to find the leak. This worked and I positioned the tire so that it would receive maximum sealant. I let that sit for a while and then pumped it up to see if it would hold while we went to breakfast. When we got back, I was happy to find that it held so we were off.
I was feeling pretty good as the sun was shining and rain wasn’t expected until later. However, a mile and a half later, I had an instantaneous blow out, and found that I had a half inch slit in my sidewall. Time for plan B.
The only option was to convert the tubeless to one with a tube, and I brought a tube with me for this occasion. The hard part was breaking the tight seal of the tire to the rim. I had looked this up the night before and was advised to use a C clamp, which I didn’t have. Another one said you can get it done by putting the rim on a step with the tire hanging over the edge and then stomp on it with a shoe with a hard sole.
Ok that I have, sort of. Standing by the side of the road, I did not have a step but Jan found a big enough rock wand we got the tire off and tube in. When we started to pump it up, it became obvious that the tube would pop through the slit in the sidewall. So then we went to plan C and took it apart and then put about 4 layers of duct tape around the slit and put the tube back in.
I don’t know the end to this story, but I do know I’ll pick up a couple spare tires when we find a bike store some where down the road. I expect more holes and slits, because there has been enough of a fall that the shoulders of the road where we ride are covered with wet leaves. This creates a problems because we can’t see the surprises beneath them like rock, glass, holes, cracks, and twigs.
So nothing but good from here, in fact it’s all downhill after the next curve.
Just as I was putting the bike back together, another bike trekker stopped to see if we needed any help, Mike from Flagstaff. Mike is redoing his trip down the coast on the 40th anniversary of the first time he did it when he was 25. I told him that he was the prime example of the data I had collected from others that I met and that was the bimodal distribution of ages of people doing this trip with one mean at 20 and the other mean at 70. It makes sense as those are probably the only two periods in your life where you can take off on a two month adventure. The other demographic data point is that it is all males, except of course for JD who is just totally kicking ass on this trip.
One of the things you do when you meet another bike packer is to see if they have any helpful information. Since Mike fro Flagstaff had already done this, I asked if I should make up the hour and a half of bike repair time by staying on 101 and not doing the 10 mile detour that the guide book suggested. Mike said that I had to take the detour because it was one of the best riding experiences you’ll find in Oregon.
Even though it was not the answer that I had hoped for, I couldn’t go against his enthusiasm. So we made the turn off 101 and started riding up Slab Creek road and found a magical and beautiful land. It was a gentile 6 mile climb along Slab Creek that was some where between babbling and roaring that took us up through a dense wet forest with trees covered in moss and virtually zero traffic. Traces of sun were making it through the trees with a mystical foggy mist drifting here and there. Then at the top we knew we had a beautiful 6 mile downhill, but we paused because we almost didn’t want to leave it. Here are a few pics, that don’t do justice to this special place.
It’s getting late so I’ll speed up and let the pictures speak for themselves. We got a latter break from 101 going on Devel’s Lake road (no bonus points for getting the name of the lake right). I thought it was pretty cool that you could lice on this beautiful freshwater lake in the trees and still be 2 miles from the beach, the best of both water worlds.
Had lunch at a restaurant on a cliff outside Lincoln City, and were joined by a peeping Tom. We also met another four bikers loaded with panniers, but they were in their late 30’s and there were two women in the group. I that my theory was going to be disproven, but we talked with them and they were only doing 6 days because that’s all the time they had, further supporting my hypothesis.
After lunch, the ride down the coast was spectacular.
Especially this special section the last 4 miles in which there was a slow one road with bike lane off of 101 that had quiet and amazing views.
Steep downhill to our indoor camping spot for the night on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Our motel hand a few amenities that we found useful. I don’t know which was more beneficial bit the outdoor hot tub with strong jets helped our bodies recover, while the on site laundry meant we get to start riding tomorrow with dry shorts and socks. The room also hand an iron which was badly needed because everything I had was wrinkled…and my clothes need some work too.🥁🎶
JD’s Daily Haiku