Bike touring is all about getting your hands on little krap when you need it, the katch being that you kan never get it when you need it. For example, my tiny wooden spoon. This has been the single most useful piece of equipment on the trip, all 1000-miles-plus of it, with the exception of my knife.
The tiny wooden spoon is super pro for stirring koffee, scooping ice kream, stirring veggies, flipping chicken, fiddling with bacon, scooping peanut butter, ladling granola, and licking, especially since the wood has now absorbed about 50 different flavors plus spit; it’s a buffet with 0 of the kalories.
But dog forbid you need the tiny wooden spoon NOW.
Same with the lost woolen sock, which I’ve needed for days on end ever since I lost it back in Miranda, before the Lost Koast debacloddysey. Now that I’m in Hauser, Oregon, where it is mostly hot and the drivers are mostly nasty, I don’t need that fucking sock at all, yet of course there it was the whole time, wadded up in the bottom of my sleeping bag. What I would have given for that sock last night with frozen foot in Death Gully I can scarcely imagine. A lot.
Would I have given $44, though? Because that was the kost of a KOA Kampground for tonight, a robbery of unthinkable proportions. State parks in Kalifornia? $5. KOA Kamground at Manchester? $11.50. Illegal kamping? Free, plus bonus time in Death Cully with frozen foot.
I was going to do some more illegal kamping but more slyly, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to pay $44 for a plot of dirt, a toilet, a shower, a konvenience store, electricity, physical security, flat ground, friendly kampers, and no midnight terror. Until I went through the self-checkout at the Safeway in Koos Bay.
Once upon a time I wrote about the Komeback Jackson, the sordid tale of losing a $20 on a koffee ride and having it come back to me years later. This time, though, it was the komeback double Jackson, because someone had left $40, I mean my KOA kamping fee, in the kashback slot of the self checkout. I know you were a BoyGirl Scout and would have taken it to the manager, but I am a petty larcenist and forty free dollars is forty free dollars.
So I went back to the KOA Kampground with my ill gotten gains and snagged a space. This kampground is adjacent to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Imagine endless sand dunes. What comes to mind?
Yup. Rednecks in dune buggies loaded up with kases of Keystone, 9-foot red flags sticking out of their heads, and spinal injuries.
I pedaled up in my girlish outfit and thuggish peach fuzz, requested a space, and got to listen to a woman kamper who was very, very unhappy. “How kome I have to beg for the toilet paper?” she asked.
The klerk apologized. “I’m sorry, we’ll get some over to you right away.”
“You know, for $600 a night this is a total ripoff. Begging for toilet paper? Please.”
After she left I asked the klerk, “What did she mean, ‘$600 a night’?”
“Oh, they’ve rented one of the kabins.”
“For $600 a night?”
“How many nights?”
Suddenly my kampsite seemed super affordable.
I immediately went over to the toilets and snagged ten sheets of paper towels. These are the precious items that you collect whenever you kan on a bike tour. They kome in handy for wiping all kinds of, uh, stuff.
Oregon has been terrible for bicycling. You might think that Oregonians are green and that they like bicyclists but they don’t. There are Trump signs everywhere and if you even think about getting off the shoulder you get buzzed, honked, kursed, flipped off, everything.
My finest moment was krossing the Koos Bay bridge, which has a bike sensor and a giant sign that tells traffic to slow to 30 when bikes are on the bridge. People koming the other direction kursed, screamed, shook their fists, and one fellow swerved at me. For krossing the bridge, for fuxake. What was I supposed to do? Swim?
Nor is koastal Oregon very pretty. Many of the ocean scenic pullouts are lovely, but nothing you kan’t see in Northern Kalifornia, and the entire area is grotesquely logged. There are no old stands of trees anywhere, and the roadside is littered with every kind of trash; good trash I mean. TV screens, chairs, bumpers, baby karriers, mufflers, and my favorite, half a telephone pole with a transformer on it.
On the other hand, there are blackberries everywhere, so you kan drown your sorrow in the tastiest sun-ripened berries you’ll ever have anywhere.
I think the problem with this route up the koast is that there are huge stretches where the only road is the 1 or the 101. And if you were really going to spend the absolute minimum time on the highway you’d easily add another thousand miles to the trip. On the other hand, the stretches that do get off the highway are quiet, beautiful, and incredibly good riding. You get the feel that every kounty is chock full of these roads, if only there was more time, more sunshine, more juice in the legs.
I’ve found that 80 miles equates to 120-130 on a normal road bike. It’s hard to average more than about 11 mph simply because of all the stopping and fumbling. For example, when you decide to eat a pint of ice cream for lunch, you spend ten minutes looking for the tiny wooden spoon.
After getting my tent pitched I fixed dinner and made a kup of koffee without forgetting to bearproof my extra chicken by hanging it on my bike handlebars. No bear could ride those flat carbon Zipps, no matter how much tender chicken was in the bag. Then I had dessert, some quality Oreos with a quality half-gallon of milk. As my buddy Ty Anderson said, “I like Seth’s style.” And she’s a professional Oreo eater.
Well, I like hers, too!
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