Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 9! Tears, Tubes and Lots of Good, Too

I was awoken this morning by the sounds of Anthony and Davan both scrabbling for the bathroom at the same time. Davan won. By the time I got my turn, I was doing the potty dance. LOL

We packed most of our stuff up, while leaving a few still not quite dry items hanging, and headed off for the continental breakfast. It was the typical hotel spread of cereals, apples and iffy oranges, pastries and bagels. There wasn't a lot there that falls into my usual eating habits, but we did all manage to eat enough for a first meal, at least. Anthony got quite full, but he is happy to eat refined grains when given the opportunity where as I avoid those, if possible.

Then it was back to the room to finish the packing and roll out around 8:30. We passed an old car show and peddled around there, checking out the interesting cars, mostly for Anthony's sake, but we all enjoyed it.

Our first break (like actually getting off the bikes) came after a climb up to the Umpqua Lighthouse. Davan developed, over the course of the trip, a real interest in light houses, but things kept conspiring against us actually going into one. We'd made a point of planning on seeing the Umpqua Lighthouse, even if it was early in the day for a break. We got there at 9:30, but the visitor's center didn't open until 10:00. So, we got out snacks. Davan and I were hungry already.

The live in caretakers of the visitor's center and tour guides (but not lighthouse care takers) were nice enough to start our tour right at 10:00, even though they usually wait until 10:30, making it so the three of us were the only ones on our tour. Davan looked a little bored on the tour, but later was very enthusiastic and spouted off many details she'd learned on the tour. I guess she was just concentrating.

Off to peddle some more next breakdown. We'd ridden 15 miles for the day and I was growing increasingly more frustrated with the fact that my gears were hopping around on me. They have adjust on the go dealies right on the handlebars, but those didn't seem to be making any difference. We'd done some work of me adjusting while riding in front on Anthony so he could see what was going on and that'd helped for a while, but they were getting worse, no matter what I was doing with them. So, I went to Anthony for help. And he patronized me. I broke down crying and yelling, "I've tried that!!!!! It's not working!!!!! That's why I'm asking for help!!!!!!"

We stopped and he rode up and down a side road for quite a while, trying to fix the shifting. He was very contrite especially when he tried to make the adjustments, thought it was good, then the gears started hopping again. Between a couple of stops, though, we were able to get them to a point where they weren't jumping. Whew.

On the plus side, we had some nice fast miles in there, both before and after, on our way to Coos Bay, where we stopped after a long bridge for another rest stop. Davan was so worn out from all the riding that she could barely move even though we were at a park:

Or not. We stopped in at a bike shop across the street before peddling on. Coos Bay went rather on and on. At one point, we passed a Walmart, but didn't need to stop for groceries, so on we went.

I was having a good afternoon and was, unusually, out front, feeling strong. A few miles from Sunset Bay, our destination for the day, I realized that The Beast wasn't behind me. I stopped to wait. A few minutes go by. I get out my cell phone and turn it on. We've got service. Excellent. They'll call if something went wrong. A few more minutes go by. No call. No Beast. I start riding back. Shortly, here comes Anthony and Davan, riding the unencumbered tandem, waving me to continue in the direction I've been going. They turn around and pass without a word, riding fast.

I'm thinking, "Well, they're both okay. That's good. It must be something with the trailer. I'll just ride back and see."

Sure enough, they'd gotten a flat on the trailer's tire. I had the tool kit, so they'd been unable to fix it without me there, as the trailer's wheel needs a wrench to remove it. They'd decided to come after me without the gear to get there quickly. With me there, we set about to fixing the flat.

There was a big 'ol staple in the tube, so the hole was obvious. Anthony patched it and put it all back together. He pumps doesn't hold air. There's another hole. Again with the dismantling, with Anthony berating himself for not checking before putting it back together. Patch number 2 goes on, but it's still not holding air. Yikes. Guess which is the only wheel we didn't have a spare tube for?

We make a plan that he'll keep trying to fix the tube, but I'll start riding back to Walmart, 5 miles back, we were thinking, to buy another tube. As the trailer's wheel came off a BMX bike, Walmart was a good choice for a replacement tube. I took my cell phone, in case he was able to fix it before to made it to Walmart, and wallet, but none of my gear so I could make better time and started riding like a demon. Or, kind of like a slow rider trying hard.

After about 15 minutes of riding, a car pulls over and waves me down. We had a good Samaritan moment. Linda, a Coos Bay resident, previous bike tourer and wife of a cross country tourer, makes it her mission to help bike tourers in need when she comes across them. She'd come across Anthony and Davan and offered help. Anthony sent her to give me a ride. She put her rear seats down in her station wagon, helped me load my bike in and drove me to Walmart, which turned out to be further than 5 miles, sharing some of her stories.

Just as I was standing in front of the tubes, noticing that the only tube in the size we needed was a self sealing one, Anthony called. He'd gotten it fixed, they'd loaded the extra panniers in the trailer and were ready to set off, but please still pick up the spare and another patch kit, too. I did, plus got us a little treat to sooth ourselves after our trials and Linda gave me a ride all the way to the campground, where Anthony and Davan had gotten to by the time we caught up. Thank you, Linda! While it maybe wasn't immediately needed, we woke up to a flat the next morning and really needed that spare tube, which lasted us the rest of the trip.

We'd been thinking we were going to get in early - like 3:00 - with plenty of time for Davan and I to get to the beach to play while it was still sunny and warm, but the clouds moved in during this whole tube event and, of course, time passed. With Linda's help, though, we were still in camp by 4:00 and Davan and I still went to the beach to play, after, of course, eating the Kashi cookies I'd picked up. (We later discovered these weren't totally vegan, a fact I'd missed in my hasty perusal of the ingredient list, but it was a minor infraction and, while we didn't buy more after realizing that, we didn't beat ourselves up about it, either.)

After the beach was dinner, whole wheat pasta and marinara with sugar snap peas, eaten at a shared picnic table with the Canadian couple in their 50's whom we'd last seen at that dune overlook. We'd met back up, not only with them, but with everyone else, minus the hitchhikers, who'd shared the camp at Honeyman. After dinner, it was still early enough that we shared in the campfire, getting to know these people a bit.

The Canadian couple had toured in Italy before and had driven to Vancouver, B.C. They were riding down to San Diego and had plan tickets to fly back to Vancouver on October 15th. They're still on the road somewhere. I hope your travels are going well!

Another Canadian couple, also in their 50's or so, we dubbed "the loud couple." Both just had very loud speaking voices and were the ones keeping us awake two nights before. We didn't talk with them much.

There was a guy who'd been a triathlete before and this was his first touring adventure. He was trying to tour on his tri bike with racing wheels and had a really hard time with spokes breaking left and right. He was ready to toss his whole bike, but a bike shop a couple days before had set him up with a new wheel and he was doing much better. One of the loud couple said, "Rough transition from tri to touring, eh?" I'm thinking it was just a gear issue, not a fitness issue like was implied by the question, but whatever.

Then there was Stanford. We never did learn his name, but we talked with him quite a bit. He's a graduate student at Stanford and had flown up to Washington and was riding back down in time to start back up at school. He'd done the coast a few times before. He was a nice guy who we continued to see at camp and in between until we left the coast.

This night, when we left the campfire for bed, everyone else decided it was time, too, and we all hit the hay on our schedule which made falling asleep much easier. :) It had been a 39 mile day.

1 comment:

  1. When my friend and I were on our trip, I lost her to a flat as well. She came walking up the mountain to the rest area which was conveniently situated. I changed the tire out rather quickly so it wasn't too bad. It is nice to have good Samaritans along the way. It is neat you ran into some of the same people along the way too.