Today’s tale begins and ends on beaches on the Oregon Coast seperated by 60 miles of pedaling. The first beach was Cannon which I walked for a half an hour or so before I checked out of my hotel. It was beautiful on the beach with scattered clouds and yes, sun. Already throngs were on the beach, they always seem to be pretty crowded. After my short stroll I checked out of my hotel. I’d taken full advantage of being in the hotel and left it washed, rested and with my tire changed. I rode down onto Cannon Beach and visited the bicycle shop there. I felt I should replenish my tube supply though I still had several. I wasn’t able to get my exact size but I grabbed a smaller one just in case. I walked around town a bit eating a most delicious blueberry scone and drinking a very well made cappuccino. The cafe where I’d gotten those had Anchor Porter on tap, if only it was a bit later in the day! I didn’t linger in Cannon Beach as I had a full days riding ahead: I needed to make up those lost miles from yesterday.
It had clouded up again and it was cool and pleasant with no wind to speak of. The road was rolling hills for a few miles and then I came upon a tunnel and the road tilted upward. The tunnels aren’t much of a good time, they have little shoulder, they’re loud and all in all nerve wracking. This one was pretty short but uphill which added to the pain. The hill continued on and on past the tunnel, probably over a mile. Then a descent followed by another mile plus climb. Thus ended on a bluff that overlooked Manzanita, which I had stayed at for 4/5 days a couple years ago. It was downhill past Manzanita and a couple miles later I rode through Nehalem, which was the farthest south I had gone on that aforementioned trip, I was now in territory I hadn’t traveled since I was twelve on a family trip down the coast.
The clouds were breaking up and it was becoming quite nice. The roads were mostly nice, this was a good day of riding. I stopped for lunch at the Parkside Coffee house in Garibaldi where I had a very good veggie sandwich and a fruit smoothie, that was really tart which I quite liked but also super cold and kept giving me cold headaches. Back on the road the nice riding continued with the sun fully out, but the earlier clouds sufficed to keep the heat down. The road turned eastward as it wound around Tillamook Bay and I enjoyed a mild tailwind. The miles went by and I was at Tillamook where I stopped to check out the Tillamook Cheese factory. Tillamook makes s great aged cheddar as well as good yogurt and ice cream. So I’m a fan. But the factory was packed with tourists do I didn’t spend much time there. I did get a wild mountain blackberry cone though, which was excellent.
Leaving Tillamook the route leaves 101 on the Three Capes Scenic Route. This was heading west at first so of course there was a headwind, but this was the only headwind of the day. That being said this scenic route was my favorite riding of the tour so far. I was thrilled to be off the highway as I’ve tired of the constant traffic for one thing but most importantly it was filled with great scenery. It began with nice country riding through pasture land mostly owned by members of the Tillamook Cooperative. Then it hugged the edge of the water running flat and constantly winding. The road was in terrible shape but the traffic was light. Leaving the coast the road then climbed for nearly a mile and half. This was pretty soul crushing: bad roads, curves, no shoulder, a good grade and seemingly endless. Luckily the traffic was light. Finally reaching the top I turned in at Cape Meares and immediately descended. Cape Meares had an interesting lighthouse, a tree like an octopus and most importantly water. I spent some time there recovering but was itching to get to camp.
The last ten or do miles were rolling hills with one fantastic bit right on the water. The bump in the road that is Netarts had the nearest store to the campground so I stopped there for the nights supplies. A few miles later I was at Cape Lookout and checked in. The hiker/biker sites in Oregon are US$4 compared to the US$14 they are in Washington – a great deal. They used to be this cheap in WA; I wonder what happened? The hiker/biker site is fantastic as well, in this little copse of trees right above the water, with a dozen or so seperated sites. I set up camp, ate dinner and then went to watch the sun set. Absolutely stunning, streaks of cloud lighting up as this big red ball sunk into the crashing blue surf. I stayed out until it was completely gone and then went back to my camp. Right before I was about to retire, a fellow touron came to my camp and we ended up talking touring for a bit. He was from Capitol Hill in Seattle (small world) and was doing a south to north ride as part of a loop where he rode the eastern side of the Cascades. Epic riding he was doing, most days well over a hundred miles. The insects started getting bad so shortly we retired. All in all a great, though tiring, day filled with sights and beautiful scenery throughout.
Miles ridden today: 63.1m
Total distance: 338.31
A few pictures from this day can be found here