Bicycling the Oregon Coast: Sunset Bay to Humbug Mtn – Part V

From Sunset Bay Campground to Hwy 101 there are fifteen miles of rolling hills called the Seven Devils. Traffic wasn’t too bad on this stretch, but the drivers were sometimes dangerously over-polite. They would cross the double yellow lines to give us extra space, but they would do this on sections with no visibility like the crest of a hill or a steep turn. There were a few close calls with oncoming traffic. My favorite cars were the ones that stayed on their side of the road, but sidled away from us just a few feet. Tens of thousands of cars passed us on our full journey, and all but five were considerate and cautious of our safety.

The only driver that nearly hit me was not even aiming for me. We had turned on a little side street off 101 for a beach view, and I was in front leading us back up the steep street that would rejoin 101. Fifteen feet from the top, a car turns right on the street (not a problem) then proceeds to turn left in the street and drive directly at me (now a problem). I screamed, swerved, and jumped off my bike. The hill was too steep for me to recover the lost momentum, and I didn’t want to stay clipped in and fall on my face and then get run over. The driver looked terrified. I was the distance from the front of the hood to the driver’s seat, so I got a good look at his face and I mostly saw the whites of his eyes go big. He braked and swerved away from me, then slowly proceeded to turn back onto 101 and park on the shoulder. I pushed my bike the last few feet up the hill, but now he was blocking us from turning right on 101 as the shoulder is also the bike lane. I think he originally wanted to do a U-turn, but this was a really dangerous spot to attempt it. We caught our breath for a minute until he gave up his U-turn plans and drove off.

On Seven Devils, we felt a single drop of rain from the dark gray sky. We brought rain gear, but we really hoped to avoid needing it. An hour later the sky was clear and blue. It was a really fun section of road to ride. Rolling hills and big sweeping turns are pretty perfect biking conditions My dad was the first to the top of every single hill and Aaron raced to the bottom. We noticed a weird sign that said ‘High Water Line.’ I didn’t know what that meant as we were near the top of a hill and it seemed like flooding would ever reach that level. It became clear on the following downhill stretch when we came to an abrupt stop before the flooded road. We eyeballed the depth and picked the shallowest crossing where it was only two inches and wouldn’t reach our pedals.

We rejoined 101 for a few miles, then took a coastal road through Bandon to enjoy the sea stacks. I love the way this part of the coastline looks with the jutting rocks breaking up the surf.

I don’t have video, but just before this viewpoint we saw a deer in the bushes. I said ‘Hi’ to it as I rode by and it froze. It looked at Aaron behind me, and the deer charged at him. I watched over my shoulder as the deer headed toward him then changed course and darted back into the bushes. In Yellowstone another deer stalked Aaron and a ranger had to intervene and scare it away.

We stopped for a late lunch at mile 40 in the town of Langlois. South of Coos Bay, the Oregon Coast gets rural and remote with towns spaced far apart. We bought our dinner in Port Orford, seven miles before our campground. Even campgrounds that were three miles from a town were too far for a separate roundtrip dinner excursion. Tonight’s dinner was fried chicken and it was fantastic. The greasy box and bag made for very good fire starter.

Humbug Mountain had a little creek where we iced our sore legs and rinsed off that day’s dirt. The path from the campground took us under the highway and out to a pretty beach. The only downside to the campground was the highway noise. When trucks drove by in the wee hours, it sounded like they were only feet away from our tents.

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