Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Post script

Catherine shot this picture on my last day.

Some afterthoughts:
  • Kudos to Oregon State Parks for what I think is an excellent operation: hot (or warm) showers in their parks and yurts (with heate & electricity) in most parks with campgrounds. Harris Beach campground, near Brookings, even has a laundromat (though no yurts).
  • Weather was perfect. No rain for seven days. Fog on one day, but not thick enough to make biking dangerous. Temps ranging in the 60's in most places; in the low 70's when I was travelling inland a couple miles.
  • Best lunch spot: Otis Cafe. Turns out this place is known among bicyclists. It was crowded. Don't miss this little cafe, about a mile or two off highway 101.
  • Some of highway 101 was near perfect for bicycles, wide shoulders and smooth pavement. Unfortunately, too much of the route has no or narrow shoulders.
  • Too much crushed glass in the shoulders forced me into auto lanes. I hate to do that, but I think if government wanted bicycles on shoulders, it would keep shoulders clean. Not enough bicycle lanes marked as such.
  • Worst shoulders: in the town of Charleston on Cape Arago Highway. And, interestingly, that road had local groups adopting the highway. Worst section was adopted by the Charleston Community Policing Association.
  • Major problem: Crossing into North Bend on 101 bridge. Highway sign requests bicyclists to walk their bikes, but the sidewalk is chock full of crushed and broken glass. Guess whoever made the walk decision never actually walked across the bridge. Bicycling across is a major disruption of traffic and I'm told cops can ticket anyone holding up traffic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 7 - Humbug Mtn to the California border

Near Pistol River.

Today's mileage: 61 miles

Hooray! I made it... Lexie was waiting for me at the California border sign. Total miles biked: 389 miles.

I woke up early...maybe because I knew it was my final day on this trip. Robert & Catherine had said they'd leave at about half-eight, as Robert put it, meaning 8:30. I didn't intend to leave with them, but I seemed to be ready when they were. So, the three of us took off... first we went down to the beach at the end of the campground. We walked under the highway and watched the surf.

We left the campground around 9am, with me heading for the Calif. border and them for Harris Beach, a few miles short of my destination. More hills, but first a decision just a few miles into today's ride: whether to take the Adventure Cycling route, which leaves Highway 101 and heads up Cedar Valley Road for 9 miles, then goes down the Rogue River to Gold Beach. We all decided we liked the beaches...and so went straight to Gold Beach.

Lexie led us to a restaurant along the river. A familiar one for me. At least 20 years earlier I had been there for a meeting just before starting a five-day Sierra Club canoe trip down the Rogue. While we were eating, Randy and Nancy, showed up and joined us. I had seen them a couple times along the way, too. They had become somewhat famous among those of us cycling the coast because they're on their way from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia. They're keeping a blog at, if you're interested.

After lunch, just when I had hoped for an easy afternoon ride, we were hit by a major hill to climb, long and fairly steep. Then a quick drop to the ocean. I hit 38 mph downhill. But, we had two more steep uphills. All along the way, we watched the ocean waves pour onto the Oregon coast and I realized just how much I miss seeing the ocean. I had lived in Honolulu for 15 years with the ocean right there, then 10 years in Los Angeles and the ocean just a few miles away. I went to high school in La Jolla and college in San Diego with the ocean ever present.

Robert, Catherine and I rode all the way to Harris State Beach together, passing a handful of other cyclists along the way. They turned in and I rode through the lumber town of Brookings and on to the border with California. Lexie was there to take my picture, pick me up and drive me back to Harris. Lexie had picked up some beer, wine and an apple pie to donate to a party at Harris. We spent an hour there and then Lexie & I headed north in the car, trying to scurry home.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day 6 - Sunset Bay to Humbug Mountain

View toward Port Orford...

Biked 58 miles today.

Left camp around 9:30 and caught up with two English bikers, Robert and Catherine, on a tandem. I had ridden with them earlier but it was especially nice to find them since I spent most of the previous two days riding alone. We had several short, but very steep hills after Sunset Bay. But, we took our time and had great fun talking while riding at a comfortable pace.

We rode Seven Devils Road for about 20 miles. Very little traffic. No shoulders, but with no traffic it was just fine. Perfect for chatting. They are perfect campanions. It was another nice day. But, we spotted a barking dog ahead...approached slowly...the dog just continued to bark... until we got about even with him, then he chased us like mad. We tore off and lost him a couple hundred feet from his driveway. Boy, he could run!

We joined up with Lexie in Bandon and had a great lunch at the Bandon Coffee Cafe. Had a swell time. After Bandon, we apparently went through Denmark and Sixes, but didn't see any sign of them. More hills...

Robert and Catherine lost me as we came into Port Orford. Those two go downhill much faster than I can. At one point, they measured 50 mph on their tandem. Lexie bumped into them in a grocery store in Port Orford and invited them to dinner. I went on to Humbug Mountain, where Lexie had secured a tent site (no yurts). Robert and Catherine pulled into the adjoining site and we had a great chili dinner cooked by Lexie.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Day 5 - Honeyman to Sunset Bay State Park

Umpqua lighthouse.

Biked 53 miles today.

Cold this morning...sun seeped into the campground and our yurt late. But, I got on my bike by 10am. Stopped by the hiker-biker camp and found two other folks who were just heading out. I rode with them for a mile or two and finally left them. Just too slow for me. I sure don't know why I'm in a hurry, but I guess I'm worried I'll get to the destination, Sunset Bay State Park late in the day. My long day to Newport must have be a big skittish.

Another day seeing no other bikers, except the first two this morning. Getting kinda lonely. I know there are others on the road. I had bumped into maybe 20 earlier this week. I was looking forward to seeing Lexie at lunch. Talked to her via cell phone and we settled on Umpqua Lighthouse as the place to meet. Again, she had made nice wraps for lunch not far from the lighthouse...and beside a nice lake.

The very high and long bridge into North Bend has been rumored to be a problem for bikers. Some have said cops will ticket bicyclists who ride the bridge. I took a look at the long uphill to the center span and the heavy and fast traffic flow and decided to walk. That took at least a half hour...the bridge was about a mile long. But, I wish the folks who want bikers to walk that bridge would actually walk it themselves. The sidewalk was full of broken and crushed glass all the way.

I scooted through North Bend and headed to Charleston, just 3 miles short of Sunset Bay State Park. I met Lexie in Charleston...we got a apple fritter and I walked my bike across the road and found I had a flat. Must have just got it. We put the bike on the car and drove to the campground, where, again, Lexie had obtained a yurt.

I fixed the flat and was surprised it seemed to hold.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Day 4 - Newport to Honeyman State Park

Along the road...

Biked 56 miles today.

I left Newport, Oregon, in the fog. Light fog, but nevertheless, it was fog. That made is a bit chillier than I normally like. Just south of Newport I ran into John and Burt from Chicago. I had bumped into them yesterday. But, I left them when they stopped for an extended look at Sea Lions just offshore. Nice viewpoint, but the fog made viewing a little less then ideal.

I kept pushing on...and ultimately... I did not ride with anyone else today. In fact, I did not see any other bicyclists all day. The scenery was nice, but the fog kept coming and going. I took this shot along the road at a viewpoint near Ona Beach State Park, looking back north.

I met Lexie for lunch at Yachats. I'm not sure how to pronounce it... Anyway, Lexie fixed wraps for lunch and had found a nice little beachfront park off the highway. After lunch, I rode through the second of the tunnels on the coast... I caught up with John and Burt...and after the tunnel I continued on.

Lots of up and down cycling today. But, then that's what Oregon is famous for. The ride into Florence seemed long, probably because the town seemed to spread out along 101 for miles to the north. I rode right on through to Honeyman State Park, just a few miles to the south of Florence. Lexie had already checked in and got another Yurt. She met me at the entrance to the park on her bike.

I needed ice cream, so once I had settled down a bit, we drove into Florence and stopped at Dairy Queen.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Day 3 - Cape Lookout to Newport

Otter Crest Loop...

Biked 71 miles today.

Got an even earlier start this morning: 9:30am. Today was the toughest day so far. Three major climbs and I mean major. Two of them were so steep that I had to stop part way up to take a rest. I don't feel too bad, though, since even as slow as I was, I passed other bikers. Of course, they were carrying their camping stuff. Maybe my overweight evened out with their camping stuff.

Right out of camp this morning, I came upon two women from Bozeman, Montana, heading uphill over Cape Lookout. They both had Bob trailers and were also struggling uphill. We all stopped at the top for a breather. Lexie caught up and stopped there, too.

I biked 71 miles today...took six hour on the road. And, I am really tired. So tired, in fact, that we might stay here another day to give me some rest. While we waited, a van pulled over and three or four guys got out, pulled their bikes off a rack and got ready to head downhill. Huh? Cheating! They said they were part of a group of 15 firefighters from Vancouver, BC. And, yup, they were cheating...their cohorts arrived just in time for all of them to head downhill.

Heading through Pacific City, they all stopped at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. I found our car parked across the road and spotted Lexie coming out of a coffee place with a latte. She just wanted to be assured I was still alive. I left there accompanied by John & Burt from Chicago, riding recombent bikes. We three took another Adventure Cycling alternate and headed up Slab Creek Road & Old Scenic Highway 101. Ten miles off 101, with virtually no traffic very nice.

Next stop, lunch at Otis Cafe, a well-know spot for cyclists. In fact, as we arrived, the 15 firefighters were right behind us. Then, the English couple showed up, followed by the two Montana women. Crowded. I did a recalculation and discovered that my planned 60 mile ride would be more than 70 miles. So, I hurried along... lost my riding partners along East Devils Lake Road in Lincoln City. I was alone for the rest of that day, another 25 miles to Newport.

Boy, was I pooped when I arrived at our motel for the night after about six hours on the bike.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day 2 - Nehalem Bay to Cape Lookout

Biked 48 miles.

Got an earlier start this morning at Nehalem Bay. Good thing, too, since I had two major hills to climb. But, first I turned off highway 101 and followed the Adventure Cycling route for 12 miles to Bay City. Again, rural countryside with very little traffic.

Arrived at Tillamook and I was surprised when Lexie pulled ahead of me in the car, rolled her window down and shouted "Dairy Queen." So, I followed her another 2 or 3 blocks to DQ, where we had lunch.

Just outside town, after lunch, two cyclists on a tandem pulled in front of me off a side road. Turned out they were from England and on a trek from Vancouver, BC to the Mexico border. Robert & Catherine and I had a nice long chat after we moved off the main road onto Bayocean Highway, part of the Three Capes Scenic Route, heading to Cape Meares, thence to Cape Lookout State Park, my destination for the day.

I lost them at the top; they turned off for a side trip to Cape Meares while I pushed on, worried about all the hills that remained that day. Went through a neat, small town called Oceanside that was on the lower slopes of Cape Meares. Pop 326. Then I followed a waterfront road to my destination for the night.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Day 1 - Fort Clatsop to Nehalem Bay

Our yurt at Nehalem Bay.

Biked 40 miles today.

I had planned to start my trek at Fort Stevens, where Lexie and I had camped overnight before the start. But, I discovered that I hadn't packed my bike socks. So, I launched a phone search for socks and found them back in Astoria. We drove there, I picked up two pair and we headed off in the car to Fort Clatsop, where I started biking. Lexie, meanwhile, drove on ahead.

Before I continue I might add that while we were enjoying Fort Stevens before the start of my trip, we spotted a flatbed truck hauling huge boulders into the park. These boulders come through Anacortes from Sedro-Woolley, Wash. We see them all the time at home... they're going to a new breakwater at Fort Stevens.

The first 13 miles of my Oregon bike trip started on a nice, country road. Lots of hills, cow pastures, farmland and forest. Lexie was waiting for me when I got to 101. Seems she was worried I wouldn't make it. Pulling onto 101 at Seaside was a bit of a jolt after the country road. I went as fast as I could to get out of Seaside, heading for the lovely little town of Cannon Beach. I passed a couple on a tandem as I rode up the hill between Seaside and Cannon Beach.

Again, Lexie was waiting. We had lunch. The couple I passed had lunch at the same restaurant. I headed out of town... uphill toward the first of two tunnels. The thought of biking through a tunnel had bothered me, but it went just fine. The uphill was Arch Cape, the first of many capes I'd have to cross on this week long trip.

Lexie was waiting for me when I got to the entrance to Nehalem State Park and our first yurt. A nice change from the tent we have with us. Now we could change clothes standing up, instead of twisting and turning in our little tent. A heater, too. And, a shower over in the restroom building. We heard the ocean all night long.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ready to go

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Little Info

Here's a little info for anyone who's reading this. I've got a link over to the right for those who want to follow via RSS/XML newsfeed. I'm riding a 2005 Trek 520. This is a great bike. I've put 2,500 miles on it since I bought it in the Spring of 2005. It feels like I've already mentioned that.

Here's my itinerary:

Night of Sept. 5 Camp at Fort Stevens State Park
Sept. 6, Fort Stevens to Nehalem Bay State Park – 45 miles
Sept. 7, Nehalem Bay to Cape Lookout State Park – 50 miles
Sept. 8, Cape Lookout to Agate Beach (Newport) – 60 miles
Sept. 9, Agate Beach to Jessie M. Honeyman State Park – 60 miles
Sept. 10, Jessie M. Honeyman to Sunset Bay State Park – 55 miles
Sept. 11, Sunset Bay to Humbug Mountain State Park – 60 miles
Sept. 12, Humbug Mountain to Calif. State border – 55 miles

This is subject to change...of course.