Originally Published in my column for RoadRUNNER Magazine on: 10/16/2014 as Trans America Trail: Not Just Any Port in the Storm . . . Port Orford
Even though Big Windy spoiled our vision of rolling out of the woods into an unsuspecting sleepy little seaside community, with our dirty bikes and even dirtier selves as locals watched gape-mouthed and amazed, we are still determined to get to Port Orford, OR, tonight. It is just under two hours due north on the Pacific Coast Highway from our current location of Smith River, CA. Knowing that sleepy little towns tend to get, well, sleepy, we want to get there before things start closing up.
We arrive around 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday. Even though we technically reached the Pacific Ocean earlier today, this is the moment we have both been waiting for. We immediately ride to the end of the dock to take our official “Look, Ma! We were here! TAT photos.”
Luke takes the opportunity to discuss local fishing practices with some fishermen as they hoist a boat out of the water using a dolly dock system, where straps are used to raise boats in and out of the ocean. I take a moment to snap a photo of my helmet alongside some of my dad’s ashes. It is a solemn moment, a happy moment, and a moment of relief since, as of right now, the TAT portion of the ride is officially completed.
When Luke and I meet back up, we take some official and shameless “selfies” before heading up to the Castaway by the Sea Motel. Rockne, at the front desk, checks us in and presents us with an Amazon delivery for Luke. He even offers to go to the post office in the morning to check on another item that has not arrived yet. I tell him the story of the TAT and explain our ride and how we came to arrive in Port Orford. He mentions that he has noticed an increase in dirt bikes coming through the area, but was completely unaware of the reason.
What does the Fox Say? (Just a fun little video from when we arrived)
He goes on to warn us that the local sheriff delights in looking for tourists and writing tickets for the slightest offenses, including 2-3 mph over the speed limit. We thank him and are on our best behavior as we travel through town, gathering a few supplies before heading to dinner. We ride two miles per hour under the speed limit and solidly plant two feet down at each stop sign. We actually see the sheriff and greet him with a wave, which he does not return. He does his best to subtly follow us around, but we don’t give him an excuse to add to the local economy in the form of any traffic violations.
Next we return to the motel, throw off our riding gear, and walk back down the hill to dinner. I am still limping quite a bit and look forward to using the six-pack I purchased to quench my thirst and as an icepack after dinner. We arrive at the Crazy Norwegian minutes before their closing time of 8 p.m.* The place is packed, but they are kind enough to still seat us at the only table available.
We kick things off with some crab cakes, which begin to cure our hunger, and we tilt back a couple of Firestone Double Barrel ales in celebration of our time together. It truly has been an adventure, although it is not over. Next we are heading up to at least Portland and then eventually, but separately, through Glacier National Park on our ways home: Luke to Michigan and me back to Colorado. It will take time to absorb what has occurred over the past two months and 10,000 miles. But there will be time for that later. For now, there is still more riding to do. As the temporary license plate issue by the state of Connecticut reads, “IN-TRANSIT.”
That’s how I started, and that’s how I continue . . . In-Transit.
Stayed tuned for even more exciting adventures . . .
* For anyone traveling to Port Orford, the Crazy Norweigan is great—but be aware it now closes nightly at 7 p.m. and is closed on Monday and Tuesday.