where I saw
a pretty bird…
they burn the mountain
This day was mostly clear, with an unusual southerly wind blowing white streamers of clouds across the blue canvas. On the road I almost immediately reached Yachats where I stopped at the Bread & Roses Bakery and lingered over their fine coffee and baked goods. Departing I found my rear tire flat. I fixed that in Yacharts but all of this found me fairly late on the road. And this was going to prove to be one of the most memorable stretches of the coast.
The route entered the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and while the traffic was higher, the shoulder smaller, it was just stunning. I climbed for a a spell and was on these rocky outcroppings right on the wave cut edge of the mainland. The first stop would be at Devils Churn (with Devils Lake, Punchbowl and now Churn the devil is well represented on the Oregon coast). The last time I was in these parts I was running late so I just took a picture of the churn and moved on. Not this time. I walked the trails right down to the rocks and looked into the narrow passage where white water would shoot up. There was a little food counter at the info booth where I was able to get a sandwich for lunch which I eNyogen as a picnic at the Churn. On the menu for the counter they had posted a favorite quote:
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
I continued to crawl up the cape, which went up and down and had an overlook every quarter mile or so. One of these had a rocky sealevel shore with a hole in it where the wave action made a natural waterspout. Another area sealions would come in to rest. Everywhere there was these stunning views of the rocky shore, the blue ocean, and the white streaked sky.
Making my way to Heceta Head, there was the turn off for the lighthouse. This road descended right down to the water and then there was a half mile trail right back up to the headlands. “No motor vehicles” was posted but it said nothing about bicycles. So I rode the gravel trail up to the lighthouse. As I arrived the volunteer tour guides noted that was the smart way to do it. A classic lighthouse right on the edge of the coast, it cuts a dramatic figure against the blue sky. Leaving the lighthouse I found there was a back road from the keepers house to 101 that let me avoid the long descent and climb back up!
Just past the lighthouse 101 crosses a stone bridge and then goes into a short tunnel. Uphill of course! Then it hugs the coast line for a spell and then climbs up to the Sealion Caves. I was able to check out the sealions and a lot of birds before the official attraction so I didn’t go in. But from here the coast dramatically changes. It becomes quite linear and all sand dunes. 101 goes inland and I would be away from the coast for a while.
at the summit of the forest climb –
It had taken me hours to do this 20km stretch of coast so it was pretty late when came into Florence. I got some supplies and then had to really make time to my destination. The road was all through trees now and coastal forest lakes. A long stretch of National Forest Land there was quite a few campgrounds, boat launches and recreational areas. There was a good long climb through the trees which culiminated in a massive clearcuts. But then it was a descent to the Umpqua River which I crossed via two bridges into Rockport. A couple more ascents and descents as 101 cut off the mouth of the river and I came to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park where I would rest after this epic day.
as I draw near