Day 5 – July 24th – Grayland Beach SP to
Fort Stevens SP, Oregon – 141 kms
Yes I made it to Oregon! Today was a long day in the saddle, but relatively easy riding on fairly good roads and after an overcast start to the day, good weather too. I was determined to get the long bridge over the Columbia River over with today, otherwise tomorrow morning I would have had to join all the vehicles heading into Astoria – the morning commute – busy, busy! As it was, the southbound traffic was pretty light when I crossed and I had a tailwind to help me across the three to four miles of bridge deck.
Fort Stevens State Park is the most northernmost SP on Oregon’s coast, I stayed here before on a previous venture down the Pacific Coast, so I’m on familiar territory now – for a while! The campground was full when I arrived, but the hiker/biker area was empty once more – lucky me, and only $4.00 for the night with free showers – I love Oregon!
I only got a few glimpses of the coast on today’s ride with some good views around Willapa Bay; of course, the Columbia River provided some scenic vistas together with sightings of Herons and Cormorants fishing the shallows. Second breaky was in the neat town of Raymond – very much small town America – nice clean downtown with some well-kept older buildings and pleasant, friendly people.
I haven’t met, or seen any other touring cyclists, other than on my first day, where I met some that were returning to the States on the Port Angeles-Victoria Coho ferry after riding around Victoria and area. I spoke briefly to one young lady from that group and that’s it, apart from a couple of recreational riders that I spotted on the other side of the road a couple of days ago. I should see quite a few more cyclists on the Oregon Coast Bicycle Route though – in fact another fellow has just arrived in the campsite, I’ll have to tell Basil to be on his best behaviour if we want to attract company later!
Well, I’d better cook up my pasta before I tire out and get sleepy!
Oh! I saw a good name for a beach-side cottage today – Clamalot – I like that!
Day 6 – July 25th – Fort Stevens SP to Cape Lookout SP – 128 kms
Another overcast start to the day; it was noon before the sun poked its face from behind the clouds/mist, but once it comes out it can be quite a broiler!
I had some wonderful scenery today, with many views over the spectacular Oregon coastline. But quite a few hills to negotiate before I got those views though; thankfully with a tailwind for most of the day I’m not going to complain about a bit of climbing. After Cannon Beach the road climbs to about 1700 ft – now that was a view!
Second breaky was in the very touristy town of Seaside, Richard – the cyclist that I met at the park last night – was also going to have breakfast at Seaside, but seeing as he was still in his tent when I left, I didn’t think that a chance encounter for breakfast was possible. The normally busy beach was deserted this morning with a heavy mist hanging over the scene.
After filling my tank at the Pig ‘n Pancake house in Seaside, I continued heading south down the coast and rubbernecking at all the sights. The weather brightened up and all was well until just outside Tillamook…
I was riding well within the shoulder, when I glanced in my mirror then felt something brush against my panniers, hit my elbow and my then mirror shattered! – Yes, that’s how close some jerk in small pick-up truck got to me! I still don’t know how I managed to stay upright and suffer no injuries – other than the mirror. The truck’s mirror did hit my elbow very slightly and I felt the body of the truck rub against my panniers. I think if the panniers weren’t there, I would have lost my leg! It all happened so fast that there was no chance to get his license number. All I saw was the passenger waving out of the window as the truck sped off – almost like it was a planned event – I was shaking for the remainder of the ride to Tillamook. Nothing to be done though, so I looked around for a replacement lens for my mirror – luckily the bracket was still intact as it swivelled out-of-the-way when it was hit. The bike shop didn’t have any mirrors other than a helmet mounted one, so I found a cheapo mirror at a hardware store and cobbled it into the remainder of the broken frame. I resolved that I would have to wait for another town until I found a decent bike shop that might stock an exact replacement for my preference of mirror lens. This all happened on Highway 101, about five miles north of Tillamook. I was just glancing in the mirror when it disappeared! That’s how quick it happened! Lucky for me too that I was sitting back a bit and my hands were on the tops of my bars and not at the side!
Anyhow, I’ve seen and talked to a lot more cyclists today – there’s one big group heading down to California, they have a van to carry all their gear – wimps! – Just kidding! But there are lots of other ones and twos drifting into the hiker/biker area right now – should be an interesting evening. Basil’s never seen so much Lycra in one campground before! I told my tale of being sideswiped to a few of the large group of cyclists; the fellow driving their SAG van couldn’t believe that the driver who hit me didn’t see me, as he told me that he had passed me earlier and that I was very visible from the rear, with the two fluorescent stripes on my Serratus pannier and my small yellow safety triangle showing up very well from a distance.
Well, I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking in my mirror for the next few days – a little paranoia goes a long way!
Regardless of today’s mishap, this park is in beautiful beachside location – and the mozzie situation seems good so far. I didn’t stay here on my last trip, so I made a point of camping here this time. Tomorrow I’m also aiming for a park that is new territory for me.
I passed through lots of small towns today, and visited a few small bakeries for some nourishment – yum, yum! While I rode through these places, I had some memories of my last trip down this coast – I don’t think that I could ever tire of the wonderful views of the ocean no matter how many times I get to see it. I’ve got a good spot to watch the sunset tonight too, and later, the sound of the surf will lull me to sleep – together with a couple of brandies to dull the memory of today’s close call!
Saying for the day – outside a church that I passed – “This building is prayer conditioned.”
Day 7 – July 26th – Cape Lookout SP to South Beach SP – 115 kms
Another awesome day in the saddle for ocean vistas, and some good hills were conquered too! Every hill that I rode brought forward the phrase, “Yeah! I remember this sod!” Anyhow, that’s the worst of the coastal hills behind me, one more day on the coast then all I’ve got to do is a couple of days riding before I climb up to Crater Lake at over 7000 ft.
Today started sunny from the word go, and continued to be so all day, but the coastal winds still keep the temperature cool, especially on an evening. I shouldn’t complain though as I know that I’m going to cook when I head inland after Reedsport.
Other than the beautiful scenery, an uneventful day – second breaky in Pacific City – what a whopper of a breakfast – Basil didn’t know that I could eat that much. I did stop in Lincoln City expecting to find a bike shop or two where I could buy a replacement mirror – but nada, zip, nothing! I couldn’t believe that a town of that size didn’t have one bicycle shop! Luckily, further down the coast in Newport I found an excellent bicycle shop with all kinds of goodies, including an exact replacement “Mirrycle” mirror – beauty, I installed it immediately and was thankful for the vast improvement in rear vision from the cheapo flat mirror that I had Mickey-Moused into the remains of my holder! The shop in Newport was called simply – “The Bike Shop,” – highly recommended!
I’ve got another nice campsite at a South Beach State Park and other travellers are rolling in again. One fellow that I met last night is here too – Daniel from France – his English is a bit sketchy, but my French is worse – we’re doing all right though! Daniel’s heading down the coast to Los Angeles, but apparently his time is limited and he doesn’t know if he’ll make it on time. He was telling me that he finds it cold here, as he only brought a thin sleeping bag and the nights on the coast are still a bit cool yet. He lit a small fire to huddle around from some branches that he scrounged up; I didn’t have the heart to tell him that collecting fire materials is not allowed in the State Parks – nobody caught him though! I also explained that the nights should get warmer the further that he travels south.
By the way, this campground, just as last night’s was, is also full – I haven’t passed an Oregon State Park yet with any room for regular campers – I guess it pays to book ahead, as many of the people in these parks seem to do. At least there’s always room for the hiker/bikers – smelly or not!
Other than Daniel, the only other camper in this area is a homeless guy – I wonder what happened to all the cyclists that I saw yesterday?
Day 8 – July 27th – South Beach SP to Reedsport – 118 kms
Even though the sun was out this morning there was a chilly breeze off the ocean. I poked my head out of the tent and there was Daniel – the French guy – huddling over some more burning twigs in the fire pit – he said he was cold again last night. I think that he was expecting warm California type evenings for his whole trip from Seattle! I told him once more that it would be a few more miles down the coast until that probability happened!
Anyhow, after my quick breaky, I said “Bon Voyage” to him and wended on my merry way. I can’t believe how cold and strong that wind really was this morning though – good job it was at my back, but it really chilled me after a quick sweat up some of the hills. Right about noon it warmed up considerably and now I feel like there’s a heat wave here in Reedsport.
Lots of great sites again today, the dunes start right after the town of Florence and even the sides of the road have blown in sand in many places. This will be the case for quite a few more miles down Highway 101, but this is my last night on the coast and from here I’ll be taking Highway 38 east for a while tomorrow.
I’ve opted for a motel tonight – a good chance to visit the Laundromat and wash some stinky bike gear too. Also I’ll be able to watch the final stage of the Tour de France tonight – hmmm, pizza and beer sound good too 😉
Second breaky was in Waldport, lunch in Florence, ice creams in Reedsport! Food glorious food! Well its fuel really for me, honest, even the ice creams and bakery goods!
I hate the thought of leaving the wonderful coastal scenery tomorrow, but I’m sure that my final destination will make up for the inland trip there.
Well, gotta go, laundry’s done – and I’m hungry!
Day 9 – July 28th – Reedsport to Roseburg – 121 kms
Wow, that was one hot ride! When I arrived in Roseburg the temperature was 102°F; now at 5:00 p.m. it is 104°F! The ride itself was thankfully on mostly flat roads and curved back and forth following the course of the Umpqua River. Any hills that I did encounter were a real grind in this heat though. My Gatorade and the water that I carried and drank were definitely unpleasant at those temperatures – I could have made tea with the water! I drank it anyway as I have to try to keep hydrated in this heat, so any chance at a store or restaurant, I gulped down some cold drinks. There weren’t too many opportunities though, and tomorrow I feel that there will be even less. I start into the mountains tomorrow with some serious climbing due later in the day, when the heat will be peaking – perhaps I’ll have to shorten my planned route and duck into a campsite somewhere shady!
Today, I quickly ducked into an air-conditioned motel, there’s no way I was going to even try to camp after a day in that heat when I don’t have to.
Apart from the heat though, it was a fabulous route today, nice views of the river for many miles and relatively quiet roads too, especially when I left Highway 38 at Elkton to travel on Highway 138. At one point along the riverbank, I came across some kayakers shooting the rapids – they were having a blast! Then as I continued on, some massive rock formations began appearing on the opposite bank of the river. One was named “Eagle Rock,” and sure enough, there were a couple of eagles soaring above it – too far away for a decent photo though!
Once I reached Sutherlin, I thought that I had to ride south for a few miles on the busy freeway – Interstate 5 to Roseburg, but a quick stop at the visitor’s centre furnished me with information as how to get onto the old highway that parallels the I5 between Roseburg and Sutherlin. Funnily enough, it was the road directly behind the visitor’s centre! What a treat to glance over at all that traffic on the I5 and not be riding with it!
The last 20 kms from Sutherlin to Roseburg were a real drag on my resources though; with that extreme heat, I was truly glad to get off the road. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow to try to beat some of the worst heat – wish me luck, and cold drinks!
At some point today the odometer clicked over 1,000 kms – I couldn’t see exactly when, as I had too much sweat in my eyes!
Saw a herd of elk today, but they were a little too far away to get a good photo. Also saw some Canada geese, Basil figured they were lost, so he wanted to tell them which way was north! – Silly goose!