Canyonville, OR to Port Orford, Or – 139.1 miles
We woke up this morning both feeling like we’d been in a crash, rubbing our sore necks and backs as the grogginess of sleep faded from our heads…then remembered we had in fact been in a crash. Breakfast was delicious honey bun danishes, coffee, and ibuprofen. We snuck out of the hotel with housekeepers glaring because it was past check out time, but whiplash recovery trumps hotel regulations every time.
We backtracked to the trail on paved roads through the low countryside of Oregon. We passed through Glendale which was the biggest town we’d seen in several days. The town had a gas station AND a grocery store, separate from each other. It even had the first bit of industry we’d come across since early Nevada as we discovered where all the cut trees were going. The city’s lumber mill was making everything from planks to OSB and the smell of fresh cut timber was intoxicating.
The trail took us off paved roads and into state forest lands. We climbed the mountain on steep gravel paths excited to make our way to the coast, but were stopped in our tracks a few miles up by a giant tree and sign across the road. A logging operation had claimed the mountaintop for their own and barred all others from passing. They were king of the mountain and there was no way we could push our way on top.
We backtracked once again and took winding paved roads through the hills. It was nice to relax for a while and enjoy the ride without having to avoid the next unforeseen obstacle. The path took us through countless bare hillsides burned by fire. I found myself staring at the scenery and imagining what the blazing mountain must have looked like with its top afire and smoke hanging low through the valley. Then imagined the work wildland firefighters put in and missed my job even more.
The next turn took us into the Siskiyou National Forest where we witnessed the Oregon woods in its natural state. Giant hemlocks towered above us dwarfing everything around them. Lush undergrowth of brush and bright green ferns filled in the spaces as we twisted our throttles. We raced through the forest taking in the scenery on some of the most fun roads we had encountered all trip. It was absolutely gorgeous.
We dropped out of the national forest onto paved roads about 20 miles from the coast and my ear to ear grin grew even wider. The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway took us into Port Orford as we slowed our speed to acceptable city limits. Signs for the Pacific Ocean popped up and we followed them to the shore. Ignoring restrictions for motorized vehicles, we drove our bikes down a pedestrian walkway right onto the beach and put down kickstands in the wet footing. A couple pieces of driftwood made sure our exhausted steeds didn’t take a nap in the sand.
The previous days’ feelings of not wanting the trip to end faded and emotions of pure elation flooded my body as I watched the left coast waves crash on the shore. I remembered where we started over a month ago on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the miles through endless prairie, breathtaking mountains, and beautiful desert. I remembered the infancy of the idea for an adventure, the year of planning, the struggle through breakdowns and crashes, the pain of bruises and failures, and the persistence of a couple girls through it all. I was filled with pride in myself and Naomi for making it coast to coast on the TAT through over 80% offroad tracks. The feeling of achievement and completion of a far reached goal was more than I ever could have imagined.