From Bears to Beavers

Pre-Post: This is open and honest version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check out our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now. You can also check out our photos at www.facebook.com/10legswilltravel .

We ended up leaving Crescent City pretty late in the day (around 2pm). We had some errands to run and wanted to take advantage of the kitchen we had and cook some food. Overall our experience at the church was pretty positive. Katie, our primary contact, was incredibly loving and friendly, exactly what you hope for from a human being. Unfortunately, two of the other people we encountered were fairly rude and had an air of superiority about them that is all too common among some religious (at least in my experience).

Our ride that day was fairly easy, we had some rolling hills into the the of Gasquet and found out from the locals about a free campground on the Smith River… They also had my favorite beer. We do love anything free. The campground itself was actually a river access point that allowed people to stay for up to 7 days. If you drove by you would have no idea that camping was allowed and the local information really paid off. We had the entire place to ourselves and the river was a stone’s throw away. Despite the cold water we decided to skinny dip in the river, this was my first time skinny dipping and the cold water made it a short venture. It was more of a genital dip than anything because the three of us just kind of shuffled into the river until the water was up to our thighs and then plunged our groins into it. Talk about shrinkage…

That night we got some pretty good sleep and had a lazy morning. Some people from Indiana happened upon the river access as we were enjoying breakfast. They had stopped to take pictures of the Smith River because of how clear and beautiful it was. Part of me takes for granted growing up in the northwest, I am used to clear rocky rivers and greenery all around. Anna and Hans, being from St. Louis, are used to muddy and unclear rivers. I’m looking forward to the day when I am awestruck by something that they have had around them their whole lives.

We knew we had a rough day ahead of us because of the 15 mile, 2000ft hill we had to climb first thing, our highest climb yet. We had narrow roads, trucks flying by us, and sheer cliffs dropping into the river on our right, but we made it to the top. We were exhausted and a little sunburnt, but luckily there was a rest area right at the top of the hill and we had an opportunity to rest. I even took a little nap in the shade.

The next four miles were a piece of cake. We coasted (fairly quickly) down the hill and crossed the Oregon/California border. This is our first border crossing and really made it feel like we were making progress. Intellectually we know that California is a big state but it is nice to hit a milestone like this. So we are leaving the Bear state for the Beaver state, which I approve of because I think bushes are sexy. I was also raised in Oregon so part of me feels very comfortable and almost “at home” when here. After crossing the border we knocked out another dozen or so miles and found ourselves in Cave Junction, the city we wanted to sleep near that night.

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Oh man, Cave Junction turned out to be awesome. We arrived just in time for the end of a Farmer’s Market so we decided to check it out. Quickly we were approached by a girl with dreads who seemed really excited about us arriving on bicycle. It turns out Cave Junction is kind of a hippy area. We chatted for  bit and before she even learned our names she offered to try and find a place for us to set up a tent at her friend’s house. It didn’t end up working out but she told us we would be safe at a local county park.

Technically camping isn’t allowed at the park but Cave Junction keeps voting down additional funding for law enforcement so there is nobody working on the weekends except state cops. We talked to a few more locals and found out there is a strong distrust of government here and they prefer to handle problems on their own. Everyone in the community knows each other and they keep track of bad apples via Facebook and exercise vigilante justice if someone is violent or criminal. One of the reoccurring themes throughout the west is a sort of practical anarchy where many communities operate on their own without the state whenever possible.

After getting some gifted food and more information about the city we went off to the park to sleep. We awoke the next morning to find a park ranger wandering the park and doing general maintenance. He came over to us and let us know that the park is technically day-use only… and then told us about the cool rivers nearby and said we can stay all day if we wanted. He clearly didn’t give a fuck that we were there and actually asked us if we heard any parties or had any problems throughout the night. There were no parties but I did see some sort of giant cat that was about Higgins size, so maybe 50 lbs? I didn’t get a great look because it was dark but I think it was a bobcat.

We ended up staying most of the morning but hit the road again. The locals told us there were a couple of big hills ahead of us. It turned out they were greatly exaggerating and we actually handled them pretty well. Sometimes local knowledge really isn’t applicable to cyclists, especially when you have legs as impressive as ours. We arrived in the Grants Pass area in the mid-afternoon and found our way to the campground.

Things at the campground didn’t really start off smoothly though. I had researched campgrounds online and ReserveAmerica.com where you make government run campground reservations said that tent spots were “first come, first serve”. Not a big deal because there were a dozen or so still available. When we arrived to the campground there was a sign that said “reservations only” for tent sites. We were baffled. Apparently the only way to get a tent site is to ignore the website and make a reservation by phone… something nobody has any way of knowing. Strangely, you don’t need a reservation to get an RV site. I have no idea why you can show up and get a place for an RV (which requires electricity and water) but you need an advanced reservation to put up a tent on a chunk of grass. So, we were forced to get an RV spot for our tent.

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The woman working also didn’t know which places were reserved or not for the next couple of days and she told us they  may need to have us move if someone shows up for a reservation. I’m not exactly sure what all the job entails when you work the front desk at a campground but I assumed part of the job was managing the reservations. Apparently at this county park it is a fucking free-for-all. Oh well, we got settled in and relaxed a bit. The campground itself was actually really nice and right on the river.

The next day was a standard errand/work day. Anna knocked out some stuff at McDonalds (the only free wifi we could find) while I did some planning and Hans doing some shopping and such. Again we just brought Higgs into the restaurant and he slept under the table. So far we really have not bothered by staff or anything when we bring him in. I guess minimum wage employees really don’t care. Hans went back to the campground a little early and was able to sunbathe by the river. We definitely all need time to ourselves when possible and it is good to separate once in a while. I hit the campground next, hung out on the river, and then when Anna got back we got cooking and drinking. We really need to cut back on the drinking a bit because of finances but, as always, we decided to start that on another day. The three of us had a great evening cooking on the grill and getting pretty drunk (as anyone who is my Facebook friend could probably tell).

After some sleep we hit the road again and it was really fucking hot. In fact, it was so hot that the ladies declared a new weekly holiday, Sports Bra Monday, to add to the really popular Nipple Tuesday. Personally, I’m looking for the official announcement for Topless Thursdays, Free-Balling Fridays, and Bush Saturdays. Luckily we got some bike paths and even got to hang out by the Rogue River for a bit and have a picnic. After about 40 miles we got to Medford around 6pm. We are staying with my friend Adam and his wonderful wife Julia. I’ve known Adam since 5th Grade… so about 20 years. Shit I’m old. It will be absolutely wonderful to see him, catch up, and spend a few days relaxing and working. Oh man, this trip is the tits.

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