Cycling The Pacific Coast Daily Travels

Daily Travels: Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, OR to Bullards Beach State Park, OR

The Ride

Route: Highway 101 to Coos Bay, Seven Devils Road, Then Re-Join the 101

Distance: ~110km/68mi

Weather: Low 20s, Mostly Sunny, and First Taste of Those Sweet TAILWINDS

Terrain: Mostly Inland From the Open Coast, Solid Climbs After Coos Bay Along Seven Devils Road

Total Climbing: ~815m/2680ft

The Rest

Breakfast: Oatmeal [with cinnamon, almonds & pecans]

Lunch: Wrap & Banana

Dinner: Store-Bought Ramen with Spices

Snacks: Clif Bar

Beverages: Water, Gatorade

Previous Night’s Sleep: 9:30pm to 7:00am [9.5 hours]

Previous Night’s Accommodation: Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park

A Brief Swan Dive Into The Rare Taunts & Yells of Passers-By

Today, I received a handful of taunts and insulting yells from people in passing vehicles. To be honest, I was too enraptured in crossing a bridge or climbing a hill to absorb any of their words deeply. Later in the evening, though, the small collection of incidents did strike a chord within to think.

Why? Why berate a stranger riding a bicycle on the road?

I was never endangering myself or any vehicle. Cyclists are a periodic sight all along the Pacific coast. Occasionally, a big yellow sign informs drivers that cyclists do use Highway 101 and the many bridges the road crosses over [Many coastal towns require a short or long bridge-crossing to pass through].

Still, a half-dozen or so people independently decided to voice their displeasure at my existence on the road. For any number of reasons, that was their choice. Maybe to impress their friends. Maybe to express their anger at my non-motorized presence on a well-trafficked road; for a brief moment, I know I might be a slight inconvenience for a passing vehicle. Or, maybe they do not understand why someone would ever want to travel long-distance on a bicycle. Who would ever do that? Even if I don’t agree, I do understand any of those reasons.

No matter the reason, I feel that every negative incident is rooted in their reaction to my vulnerability and odd-ness as a slow-moving, heavily-packed, touring cyclist. An unknown, nameless one.

I appear vulnerable and odd on these roads. To any given driver, the perception might be that I am vulnerable and odd on their roads. For those few that feel compelled to roll down their windows to taunt or yell, my guess is they feel emboldened by my slight presence. No matter the initial reason for wanting to connect with me in such a negative way, they follow through on taunting or yelling because there is a nearly zero chance of repercussion.

This situation puts these vocal few into a bit of a fear-less position. Less fear of being confronted by the vulnerable cyclist. For those few, it might feel empowering to vocally belittle another.

To be clear, this isn’t an indictment of the people or towns along this stretch, or the state of Oregon. This isn’t an indictment of any place or anyone. Ninety-nine percent of the vehicles and people I’ve encountered have been courteous and, even, encouraging. Just makes me think.

Mostly, I don’t mind. Instead, I think of my connection to those people. I’m not Josh Willms. I am a nameless, unknown cyclist, imposing on their world. A brief, odd inconvenience. That’s it. That’s all. Why should I respond with anger or fear? My connection to them is not personal. It is merely circumstantial.

I’m not angry or fearful. I’m quite all right. Besides, I’d rather focus on the ninety-nine percent of courteous and encouraging passers-by. People have been overwhelmingly trusting and, oftentimes, outwardly loving. I’ll dwell on that instead.

Pictures of the Day

Campsite at Bullards Beach State Park. Along with South Beach State Park, my favourite spot to camp so far along the Pacific coast. Great hiker/biker campsites, free lockboxes equipped with USB ports for valuables, plenty of restrooms & showers, and close-ish to another gigantic beach.
The USB ports inside these lockboxes are solar-powered. Also, check the bike stand on the right side of the structure. Every Oregon State Park I’ve visited has featured some kind of bike repair station. So many reasons to love this state.
About 1.25 miles from the park to the beach. Chilly gusts from the north left this beach empty in the evening. I layered up, wandered along the shoreline, and enjoyed watching the sun slowly take another dip into the ocean. Bullards Beach State Park, everyone.

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