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Day 21: Port Orford to Brookings, OR


Day 21: Port Orford to Brookings, OR

Miles: 50

What I rode by: Newly paved stretch of Hwy 101 with two lanes closed to traffic but open to cyclists

This was our last day with Kristen’s dad and our second day of sun and tailwinds in Oregon. We had a big climb on a stretch of 101 where they were painting lines on the newly paved road surface. Because of this, it was a one-lane road for cars and the cyclists had the remaining two lanes to themselves (plus the painting vehicles). Considering this was a 2 mile climb, it was a nice break from traffic.

We camped at Harris Beach State Park where we finally met “the family”. We had been hearing about them for over a week: a husband and a wife, each towing a trailer and each trailer holding two kids, going around the world! We finally met them at the campground. They have a humungous, circus-like tent and generally ride 30 miles a day. Anything more and the children get fussy. They started in Vancouver BC (about a month before us), are riding to San Francisco, hopping on a plane to Guatemala, and then continuing down to Chile and beyond. How cool is that?

Nature sculpts trees with an effect known as wind shearing.

Day 20: sunshine!


Day 20: Charleston to Humbug Mountain State Park (south of Port Orford, OR)

Miles: 56

What I rode by: The headwinds and rain. Bald eagle sculpture made out of beach trash. Logging.

We finally had typical Oregon coast weather today: sunshine and 15 knot NNW winds! You could actually see the coastline. Up until now it had been like riding in a tunnel. Sunshine and tailwinds always make cyclists happy.

As of today, I can say I have a favorite road on our Pacific Coast bike trip: Whiskey Run Lane, between the towns of Charleston and Bandon, OR. It is a 2.5 mile stretch along a ridge that was perfectly rolly, empty of cars, and lined with trees (except the ones being cut down). Quite lovely.

Later in the day we came across a non-profit art studio that uses found objects from beaches (i.e., trash) for their sculptures. They had an impressive bald eagle out front and piles of sorted beach debris all over the property.

Because it was sunny, you get lots of pictures today. BTW, if you weren’t keeping track, that was seven days of rain.

Beautiful view.

Look down for tires.

My new favorite road.

Logging road.

Those wings are made out of old sandals. Children, hang on to your footwear! We refer to the women in the picture as the "white buckets".

Eagle's chest, up close.

Found beach rope.

Day 19: Winchester Bay to Charleston, OR


Day 19: Winchester Bay to Charleston, OR

Miles: 30

What I rode by: rain and more rain

Another day with Kristen’s dad, Gary, and no gear on our bikes. The day started off with more rain and we got splattered with all kinds of road grime from big trucks driving by. One reason all cars and trucks should be required to have mud flaps is to keep cyclists just a little cleaner on the side of Hwy 101.

We met another cyclist, Lorna, who is riding the Oregon coast. We walked over the North Bend bridge with her (cyclists aren’t supposed to ride over the mile long bridge which is under construction). Upon reaching Charleston for a late lunch (I ordered two meals as I commonly do these days) we decided to stop for the night and in a motel no less. We then drove around sightseeing in Gary’s car, which felt very stuffy and seemed to get us places amazingly fast.

Day 18: More rain and headwinds


Day 18: Waldport to Winchester Bay, OR

Miles: 65

What I rode by: lighthouses, little green inchworms hanging from the trees

Since Kristen’s dad was with us, we put all of our panniers and gear in his car while we rode. How nice to be unburdened with all that weight! So, we set off for a long day of riding, and often in the rain. We met up with the Canadians again at the campground and met a couple from Oregon who are heading to San Francisco. They are moving to China in a month for her to teach chemistry.

We’ve started cutting our chocolate milk with half and half.

Lighthouse on the coast.

Day 17: Rest day and crappy pants! Newport to Waldport, OR


Day 17: Newport to Waldport, OR

Miles: 15

What I rode by: Art deco bridge

It was raining when we left the campground (South Beach State Park), so much that the Canadians even came back to put on their rain gear. Today was going to be a rest day for us but we decided to ride 15 miles to Waldport to be a little further south because Kristen’s dad was driving up from Eureka, CA to spend a few days with us. We left late, took some pictures when the sun came out, and had breves with Andrew in Waldport.

We got to Waldport very early and went to their farmer’s market (remember how much I love markets?).  After we set up camp, I put on my new pants that I had bought riding out of Astoria. Guess what, they’re crappy pants! They aren’t really pants; they’re a few inches too short (on purpose), which I don’t like. I guess in my haste in buying them, I wasn’t really paying attention. Plus, after just a few days of riding, they’re now too big! Crappy pants! (The phrase “crappy pants” goes out in homage to my friend Ann who sent her son off to school in some “year-old” pants and told him they were shorts. A girl in his class commented to him, “those aren’t shorts, those are crappy pants!”, which he repeated to his mother.)

Reason one to not get a $50 haircut before a summer-long bike trip.

Reason 2

There are a surprising number of art deco bridges here.

Day 16: Lincoln City to Newport, OR


Day 16: Lincoln City to Newport, OR

Miles: 25

What I rode by: Guy in a tree

Today was a relatively short day because we planned to stop at the bike shop in Newport (Bike Newport) to do our laundry. We had been hearing about this bike shop since we hit Oregon because they cater to touring cyclists. They have free showers, laundry, and a cyclists lounge to hang out in. They also re-fixed my formerly broken spoke because the first repair was janky. While at the bike shop, we met an energetic (an understatement) Canadian named Andrew, who was also touring south. He showed up later that night at our campground, where we saw the Canadians again and met a couple from Las Vegas.

Perhaps the best part of the day was the tip we got from the bike shop owner about the butcher at the local market down the street, who happens to fancy himself as a smoker. Smoking meat and fish is BIG in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, when the Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean 200 years ago, a few lucky men got to spend the winter at what’s now known as Fort Clatsop boiling see water for salt so the expedition could cure meet. Anyway, this butcher smokes chicken and this was perhaps the best dinner we’ve had on our trip so far.

It also rained again today.

Low tide at Siletz Bay

Utility work high up in the trees.

One way road for cars. Two way road for robots.

Day 15: Tillamook to Lincoln City, OR


Day 15: Tillamook to Lincoln City, OR

Miles: ~50

What I rode by: guy in a tree, robot traffic only, “Road Closed Ahead” sign

Due to the constant rain all night, our wet tent went into the newly coined “wet bag” (formerly known as our orange dry bag). This was heavy. We had a killer headwind most of the day. I was probably a bit dehydrated.

Late in the day, we came across a road closed sign on Old US Highway 101. We interpreted this sign to read as follows: closed M-F, 8am to 5:30pm. It was just after 5pm and we wouldn’t arrive at the construction area until after 5:30pm so we were all set. When we got to the construction area, we realized that the sign really read “closed 8am on this date until 5:30pm on that date” because the road was closed. This was a few miles up one of the big climbs for the day. Well, it was still after 5:30pm so we pressed on hoping for no open trenches. And, success! We were able to ride through the short sections of gravel, up to the top, and down the other side.

We camped at Devil’s Lake State Park. At the hiker/biker site, we met three touring cyclists: a couple from Montreal who we refer to as “the Canadians” and a guy from NYC who we refer to as “Brooklyn” because we didn’t get his name. We told the Canadians about taking the closed road. We lucked out because we rode it so late in the day. Brooklyn overheard this and planned to do the same the next day (he was traveling north). We hope he made it!

One other point to note: we’ve started drinking chocolate milk at the end of the day because Kristen read somewhere that it has an optimal protein to carbohydrate ratio for recovery. It does taste good.

Day 14: Cannon Beach to Tillamook, OR


Day 14: Cannon Beach to Tillamook, OR

Miles: 42

What I rode by: Arch Cape tunnel again, mud flap, where they make Tillamook cheese

It was sunny when we left the Wave Crest Inn in the morning. We went through the tunnel again, but with less traffic this time so it seemed easier. We ate lunch at the Rising Star Café in Wheeler, OR This was by far the best meal of our whole trip! We had this amazing Cascade Potato Cheese soup and a delightful fish sandwich. We also got to play with the owner’s dog, Iggy (named after Iggy Pop). Mike “the German” called Kristen to warn us of a particularly bad pothole on the way into Tillamook. It rained on and off all day and then poured through the night.

This RV park caters to the touring cyclist. Note clouds and rain.

Day 13: Astoria to Cannon Beach, OR


Day 13: Astoria, OR to Cannon Beach, OR

Miles: 35 – 10

What I rode by: the Monkeysphere

There’s a relationship between the size of a monkey’s brain and the size of its clan. It’s called the monkeysphere. The bigger the brain the bigger the troop. Some postulate the same applies to humans. When you’re on a journey, your world becomes very small. You care about the weather, who you’re with, when you will eat next, and where you will sleep. Over the last few days I noticed myself letting less space get between me and Kristen on the road.

There are some days when your little world gets jolted. This was one of them. It started pouring down rain shortly after we left the hotel.  About 15 miles later I saw a dog get hit by a car (right next to me but on the opposite lane). I threw my bike down and watched the dog limp across the road to our side where I managed to get a hold of it. Then people driving by saw me in the ditch on the side of the road and thought I had been hit by a car. When the owner showed up, I helped him get his dog (it was an Afghan hound) up the side of the ditch and into his car. He then drove off to the vet. I, like any good American without ready access to therapy, went shopping. I needed some long pants to give my legs sun protection on hot sunny days.

Later in the day, we rode through the first of two tunnels our route takes us through in Oregon. This was the long one. From our direction, it goes up hill and bends slightly to the left. Before you enter, you press a button that turns on some flashing lights indicating, “bicycle in tunnel”. Then you ride like the dickens to get through it to minimize the number of cars that drive through while you’re in there. By the way, it’s very loud in a tunnel when you’re on your bike.

Approaching the Arch Cape tunnel.

About a mile after the tunnel, I broke a spoke in my rear wheel (the one repair we weren’t prepared to handle). We then debated about riding back 10 miles to the bike shop in Cannon Beach or at least 75 miles to the south. Just then, a man pulled onto the road from a private drive in a huge pickup truck and asked if we needed help. His name was James and he told us about his laser-guided trailer hitch company that he started. He was driving his daughter to soccer practice in the direction of Cannon Beach. We put our bikes in the back of his brand new truck and he drove us to the bike shop, where I got my spoke replaced. It was still raining. The guy at the bike shop sent us to the Wave Crest Inn where we met another touring cyclist, Mike “the German”.

Day 12: Rest day in Astoria, OR


Astoria is a working town. It has that feel to it. We found a noisy, stuffy motel near the Astoria Bridge. despite spending over 24 hours here, we don’t have much to report. We ate a lot (had three meals at this place called the Astoria Coffee House & Bistro) and did our laundry. The highlight of the day was passing a sweet old motorbike on our way to the laundromat.

If anyone needs a present idea for me, I'll take one of these.