Day 14: Winchester Bay to Port Orford

The day started late, and we had a ton of miles ahead of us. The most important thing I learned was that Google Maps and predicted elevation will lead you astray. They must average the elevation, because Google Maps had been messing up the estimated elevation the entire trip. Today it wasn’t even remotely close to giving us a somewhat true estimate. I found that the reading became slightly more accurate when I changed my preferences to kilometers, and that was confounding.

I sped ahead of Ruth and Rob so that I could get to Coos Bay with time to spare. I was eager to eat at the Kurt Vonnegut themed “So it goes” cafe. I should’ve known Coos Bay was going to be bad when I was forced to take the narrowest sidewalk I’d ever seen over a heavily trafficked bridge. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one crossing, and I was hassled by homeless men. There was no way around them, so I had to act confident and hope that they weren’t going to haggle me. It was on this bridge that I also realized there are a lot of backpackers hiking the 101. I still don’t understand this. Why hike on a highway when you could be backpacking the PCT?

I was pretty shaken up after my encounters on the bridge, and it didn’t end there. I was constantly dodging wanderers/homeless men in the rough downtown area of Coos Bay. It reminded me of our time in Aberdeen. I hid out at the “So it goes” cafe until Ruth and Rob met me there. I’ll repeat the advice I received but didn’t follow: “Stay out of Coos Bay, or get through it quickly.”

When we finally got to Port Orford we found free camping on a cliff overlooking the ocean, but the wind was heavy. It was a pain setting up and we went to bed immediately after sunset. I was so stressed the entire day that I didn’t even stop to take pictures.

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