Florence!

9/18/21

Wowww, this coastal town is breathtaking. My Florence host lives in the most magical forest, with narrow winding roads leading through towering trees. Most of today was rainy, so we stayed in, listening to the rain land on the roof and watching it soak the lush greenery out the windows. I felt so grateful to have “timed” the weather so perfectly! All my cycling yesterday was dry, and then all day today when we were inside—and then driving around to see some scenery—that’s when the sky opened up.

We first went to see the Heceta Head lighthouse, just north of town on Hwy 101. (You can just barely see it in the photo above.) The misty, winding road along the rocky cliffs reminded me of Marin County, California. The views were amazing. I’m so glad I got to visit the Oregon coast, at least in this one spot, on this trip! I can see why people love Florence.

My host graciously drove me into town again in the late afternoon to catch the Eugene-Florence Connector bus. I was nervous, right up until the bus arrived at the stop, that the driver might not allow me to board with all my bulky accoutrements. (Their website explicitly prohibits such, since bulky items might block the aisle, and it’s a small bus.) A wonderful Eugene friend had offered to pick me up in Florence and bring me back if I were to be denied entry to the bus, so that helped me to relax, but I was really hoping the bus would work out.

And it did. The driver was initially frowningly skeptical about “how we’re going to make this work,” but he ended up being very helpful, and engaged the lift gate for me, which was a lifesaver since the trailer really is quite heavy and unwieldy to lift.

I met a woman on the seat behind me who was tickled by my rig and journey, and we chatted off and on during the ride. The scenery along Hwy 126 was just as beautiful as 36 had been on my way out. It was nice to have some variety by taking the bus back.

I arrived back in Eugene shortly after 7, and pedaled over to my Warmshowers host’s house. He recently bought a folding bike as well: a Eugene-made Bike Friday, which he found used at a bargain price at a local bike shop. We talked about some of his extensive bike touring experiences domestically and overseas (Mongolia!) and then said goodnight.

I’m listening to the rain outside again right now, and feeling gratitude once again for shelter, and for the kindness of so many people who are sharing their homes with me.

Tomorrow I will attempt to outfit my trailer with some puncture-resistant tires. Many bike shops do not carry Brompton-sized tires, so when I saw that one here in Eugene did, I wanted to jump on the opportunity. (Someone in a Facebook Brompton touring group, who has the same bike-and-trailer setup as I do, cautioned me to replace the trailer’s standard tires with puncture-resistant ones within a month of starting my tour, to avoid persistent flats going forward. I appreciated the tip from someone who knows!)

Afterward, I’ll meet a friend for lunch, and then in the late afternoon, I’ll board the Amtrak Coast Starlight train for Klamath Falls!

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