Completing the Coast Route – North Bend to Brookings

People's Coast Classic Day Five-43
Exploring the coastline in Cape Blanco State Park.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’m back in Portland now, but I’ve still still got 114 stunning miles of the Oregon Coast Bike Route to share. We didn’t have any connection to the outside world on our last night in Arizona Beach on Thursday night. Then yesterday, after our final, 50-mile final day on The People’s Coast Classic, we had to hustle into a shuttle bus in Brookings in order to get back to Portland at a respectable hour.

So below are my photos and a few thoughts from the last two days of the ride…

Our penultimate journey began in North Bend, a working-class town of about 10,000 people that’s dominated by Coos Bay. Our menu for the 70-mile day included some of the most remote sections of the Oregon Coast — and much of it (especially with a few detours I took on my own) off Highway 101. We rolled on roads and through places with memorable names like Seven Devils, Whiskey Run, Face Rock, Devil’s Kitchen, Sixes, and Elk River. Towns along the day’s route included bustling Bandon (home of the world-class golf resort) and the unincorporated town of Langlois (known for its excellent market that featured over 150 microbrews)…

Climbing the “Seven Devils”.
Tony’s Crab Shack in Bandon.

It’s not called Face Rock for nothing.
Robert Trottmann and a sculpture created from sea trash near Bandon.

With my trusty GPS device as a guide, I opted to head off the designated route on Highway 101 to discover new places. I took my first detour on a whim, simply following what looked like a nice road and a sign that pointed out Boice-Cope County Park/Floras Lake. As soon as I turned off the highway, I knew I was in for a treat when I was started to see a gang of huge vultures feasting on a small sheep. Wild, quite, and isolated, this part of the coast is breathtaking with its empty roads, rolling hills, pioneer history, and clusters of wind-swept pines…

The road to Floras Lake.

As I rolled into Boice-Cope Park I saw a bridge over a creek that led to a sandy beach trail along Floras Lake. What a discovery! The lake stretches right out to the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by a pristine marine landscape where the endangered Snowy Plover and a host of interesting, sand-based plants and flowers thrive…

My next detour off the highway took me to Cape Blanco State Park, where I discovered the historic Hughes House, some friendly sheep, gravel roads, and several fun trails…

Historic Hughes House.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Due to my extra-curricular activities, I was the last person to arrive at our camp at Arizona Beach. When I did, I was treated to a gourmet spread of food that included shrimp ceviche, enchiladas, black beans, and all the trimmings. After dinner, riders shared heartfelt stories about how arthritis is impacting — and inspiring — them to do this ride. Outgoing Arthritis Foundation CEO Dr. John Klippel was honored at dinner with a special cake. But before we could slice and serve it, Dr. Klippel decided to auction off the right to throw it in his face. When the bidding ended, the winner Willard Chi (a lawyer from Lake Oswego) smeared the cake into the faces of not just Dr. Klippel, but also ride director Tai Lee, hospitality director Beth Miller, and lead sponsor Bill Bloxom…

Outgoing CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Dr. John Klippel.

Our final day took us from Arizona Beach to Brookings. The mist and fog dampened some of the views, but it couldn’t take away the thrill of pedaling on Old Coast Road or crossing the Thomas Creek Bridge — the tallest bridge in Oregon…

Willard Chi and Dan Kaufman take a moment to peer over the 345-foot high Thomas Creek Bridge.

We finished at a park in Brookings with a few final rings of the cowbells, commemorative medals, and of course lots of hugs and relieved smiles.

The past six days have been really fantastic. I had never been on a fully-supported, multi-day fundraising ride before, and I came away very inspired. I met some great people, learned a lot about arthritis and the work of the Arthritis Foundation, and most importantly I experienced yet another way in which bicycling is changing people’s lives for the better.

— I hope you’ve enjoyed following my trip here on the Front Page. I have more to share — including my ride from Portland to Astoria and my thoughts on ODOT and the conditions on the Oregon Coast Bike Route. You can browse all my photos in the gallery and read all my coverage of the People’s Coast Classic here.

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