Day Mileage: 77 miles
Total Mileage: 940 miles
Day 15 began like all others except this day, I wanted to head out a little earlier so I packed up and was on the road just shortly before 8am. I stopped in Orick, 5 miles down the road, for breakfast. I got a hold do Holly Partin’s aunt Sally. I had never met this lady but she was going to nice enough to put me up for 2 nights in what I thought Eureka. We got a hold of each other and I got her address…. 25 miles further than expected. I needed to get going.
The trip into McKinleyville, Arcata and into Eureka wasn’t terrible, just miles that needed to be ticked off. I stopped in for lunch… 50 miles under my belt and still 25 left. I knew I had a rest day coming so the next 25 wasn’t so daunting, I headed out and went off route to get to my destination. The good thing was to get back on route the next time I needed to, it wasn’t putting extra miles on.
I pulled into Fortuna and knew I was close. I got a drink and took off for the final 5 or so miles. Luckily, as with most days, you can never end a day on a downhill. I climbed and climbed and finally reached my destination at 5pm. I was greeted with open arms by Milton and Sally. I got showered and Milton prepared a home cook meal for me with several items from there garden. It was delicious.
From there, I hit the sack pretty quick. 77 miles, a great meal and a real bed…. Which bedtime came super early that night. Rest day…. sixteen.
Day Mileage: 67 miles
Total Mileage: 859 miles
I got out near the same time this morning and stopped for my first bad meal of the trip at a local diner in Brookings. I knew it was only a few miles to the California border and that made me excited to start the day. After breakfast, the road was flat but again very foggy so the ocean view leaving Oregon left much to be desired.
I finally reached California, the last of three state borders to cross. It gave me a little boost and the rest of the morning miles into Crescent City were a breeze plus we finally saw the ocean again thanks to the lifting fog. I met up with Alan in Crescent City and we decided that we’d stop in for a bite before tackling one of two large climbs left in the day. Heading out we knew we’d be at different paces but expected to be at the same spot again tonight.
The climb was the biggest yet. It took 50 minutes to climb up to 1200ft from sea level. The downhill was a very nice 10 minute coast. Hit a few more towns before having to climb the last one of the day which seemed brutal because only 7 more miles were left to camp. After the climb it was literally all down hill and through the Redwood National Forest. These things are incredible. So big.
Tomorrow, Eureka for a rest day finally.
Day 14 Bonuses
Herd of 30+ elk in a field
Day Mileage: 58 miles
Total Mileage: 792
The day began considerably warmer than the previous couple of days, drier too. I knew i had a big climb to start the day since I was at mount humbug and have yet to climb a mountain. I put on my shorts and shirt and got on the road right around 9 am. The sun was out and I figured I’d be in for a great day and it would be my last full day in Oregon.
Once, on the road, I indeed had that large climb. It was hot. I was sweaty but the higher I got, the more mist was on the roadway and the fog got thicker. The downhill of this mountain was fun. It would have been even more fun had I not been freezing for the entire way. Once I got to the bottom, I stopped, put on my long sleeve and continued on my way…. Only to find sunshine and mild temperatures. I reached Gold Beach and stopped for lunch.
The rest of the day was a mix of cold and hot but still mostly foggy. The vistas weren’t worthy of stopping for because one could only hear the ocean, not see it.
When I reached Harris Beach, I was only a mile to Brookings. I set up camp, grabbed all my dirty laundry, read laundry, and made my way to the laundromat. I did my one load and headed back. I could not wait to sleep in fresh clothes.
Day 13 Bonuses
- cedar valley rd. picturesque, dogless, flat
- long sleeves – those downhills are cold
- ice cream trucks that roll through the campground
Day Mileage: 58 miles
Total Mileage: 737 miles
Today, began a bit wet just the same. But that quickly went away just as I set out. I said farewell to the father and son I had been talking to the past two days and said goodbye to the guy from Vancouver. He took off a bit before me, but planned to meet back up at Humbug.
The first twenty miles went by smooth and I was hungry as I came through Bandon. This was the first port town that seemed very quaint and very awesome. I made my way to the closest breakfast place and enjoyed eggs and pancakes and then I was on my way again. I then pulled into a scenic overlook not too far out of town and the Vancouver guy, Jörn, pulled in behind me. Again, we made plans for the next town and set out on our own pace.
The next town before Humbug was Port Orford. It had an incredible overlook where you could see whales coming up for air. Pretty surreal. I hung there a bit before going to meet up with Jörn for dinner. It was in a Port Orford that I met a guy who was from Langhorn, PA taking 3 weeks to go from Florence, OR to San Jose where his son and grandson live. Allen is from the same town near Philly that my family friends are from so it was fun to talk to him. He was also staying at Humbug so we made plans to meet there as well.
Humbug State Park was fantastic. Each hiker/biker site was on its own platform so you could pick and choose on how high you wanted your site. The beach was quite a hike, but well worth it. This was the first beach that was sunny and warm (not the water) since I could remember, probably Cannon Beach.
Day 12 Bonuses
- the couple from the night before that I talked to for some time was heading south like I was. I didn’t think much about them after that morning because it wasn’t like I’d see them ever again…..
Turns out, I come up this long hill and turn the corner to head back down this long stretch of flat land and I see this car parked on the side of the road with two people jumping up and down, yelling and cheering. It was them. I stopped to talk to them, forgetting to take a picture, and I was back on my way. It truly made my day that they took the time to stop and wait for me, just so they could yell and cheer. It was awesome.
Day Mileage: 57 miles
Total Mileage: 679 miles
Yesterday was wet. All day. I woke up in Honeyman to a nice consistent rain. It didn’t stop until 1 or 2pm. It’s not like the rain back home rather it’s just always present. My gear was soaked but I could only figure one thing to do… head south.
The day was going to be short because of the rain. The scenery didn’t change much. Just a wet Oregon basketball court all day long. The miles went slower too. I can only assume because of what I just stated. As I pulled into North Bend and Coos Bay, I stopped to have dinner. I spoke with a lady that lived in OKC for 8 years. All the coastal towns I’ve hit haven’t been much since Cannon Beach. All real towns I suppose, unlike touristy Cannon Beach.
The fun started once I got to camp. The hiker/biker site was small so it was awesome. I ran into the same father/son team from the night before. They lived in Portland and were holding out today to wait for another member of their party. I also ran into a guy from Vancouver who started the same day I did and I had camped with 3 days prior at Cape Lookout State Park. We all chatted for a bit that night and I wandered away talking to this couple from Chicago. They were on a road trip and I had seen them the day before at South Beach State. Fun story to come about this couple.
So today, my plan is to make it to Mount Humbug State Park.
Day 11 Bonuses
- a wet and foggy lake
- finally, the sun!
- camp and all the people I met
Day Mileage: 54 miles
Total Mileage: 622 miles
I thought it was supposed to rain last night so when I set up camp, I set it up under an awning/canopy of sorts where I’d stay as dry as I could if it did rain. Luckily, it didn’t and I was still dry. The day ahead of me was going to be a light one compared to the previous two days. I knew that and took my time this morning. I made oatmeal and coffee and then wandered around the State Park to discover a fun little trail leading straight to the ocean. I got back, packed and was on the road right at 9am.
The sun was beginning to poke out as I made my way south of Newport. I could only hope for it to stay out the rest of the day. My plan was to stop in Waldport but I spoke with a guy who ran a not-for-profit bicycle shop and he told me Yachats would be my best bet for a good meal. It was 8 miles down the road and would put me at 24 miles before 11am. All good things. When I pulled in, I was met with general questions as I usually am from locals about my trip. This time, a 21 year old kid was really inquisitive and wanted to know everything. It was awesome talking to him and to learn about his hopeful trips in the future.
I was nearly halfway complete with my planned mileage for the day when I took off from Yachats. From that town until Florence, I stopped at every vista and scenic byway that I passed. I rode along the coast for the majority of the remaining miles which made today’s riding the easiest out of all the days. Anyone with a pulse would have loved bicycling the route today. With breathtaking views that the Oregon coast had to offer, putting in miles is an easy task today.
Tomorrow calls for an area known for sand dunes and sand buggies.
Note: Couldn’t get more pictures to upload…. I’ll upload when I can.
Day 10 Bonuses
- views, views, views
- roughly 9 miles of downhill. No pedaling downhill. 30mph downhill. I’ve given up braking downhill
- late starts and “light” mileage
- camp being close to a town. Cell phone service and IPAs
Day Mileage: 76 miles
Total Mileage: 567 miles
I slept incredibly well last night. It was the first night that I was in tights, long socks, long sleeve and I even wore a jacket to bed. I’ve been impressed with my ability to 1) sleep with clothes on and 2) sleep zipped up in a cocoon sleeping bag. I woke up at my now apparent wake up time of 6:30am and began to pack up. I now have a system in place that makes things go a bit easier in the morning. I know what pack needs what, and where each item goes. Kind of exciting to have a system down.
I was on the road at 8:01am and I knew immediately out of the park, I’d have big climb. It seemed to take forever and to make things a bit worse, I had my rain gear/wind blocker on because it was cool and near misting when I left the park. It felt like I had the flu all day today but on a bike. I was hot going uphills and extremely cold going downhills. I couldn’t find a comfortable temperature. Today was also the first day that I didn’t see the sun which is crazy considering I’m in the Pacific Northwest.
I stopped in Pacific City to grab coffee about 20 miles in. I was making good time and knew I could make it to Newport by evening. After coffee, I went on ahead and about 20 minutes later, I stopped. Bike problems. My shifter wouldn’t stay in the gear I needed it to be in. I’d shift up into the bigger cogs, making it easier to pedal but the chain wouldn’t stay there. I thought maybe my cable had become loose and didn’t quite fit where it needed to be. After 25 minutes of fiddling, I discovered that all I needed to do was tighten a screw on the actual shifter. Problem solved….. Blah.
I got back to it and hit a few more towns. I knew my goal was South Beach State Park just south of Newport. After my shifter incident things seemed to accumulate. It got colder. It got windier. And the distance seemed to become greater. I had on my rain/wind gear but it just wasn’t working. I was either way too cold or way too hot. I also didn’t plan the day out very well. I bonked for the first time while riding. Energy wasn’t there and I knew I had more distance to cover. Luckily, I packed some Cliff Blocks that I used during my Ironman training and took a few of those. It did the trick along with some water and I was on my way again to cover the last 10 wind-blown miles.
Tonight, I’m in camp and I love Oregon State Parks. Free, hot, untimed showers with hiker/biker sites that are choice. No ocean waves tonight but we’re expected to receive rain so there’s that.
Tomorrow ….. Florence.
Day 9 Bonuses:
- Oregon State Parks – so legit
- my mirror that is attached to my sunglasses. Key word sunglasses that are only used when the sun is out…. Which didn’t happen today
- watching my neighbor in camp roll a smoke. 9 days in in the PNW, and that’s the first sighting
- cool weather to make sleeping outside even better. Like 46 degrees cold
Day 7 began with an early wake up even though it was my planned rest day. I stayed at the Norblad Hostel in Astoria. It was right in the middle of town and really nice compared to my other hostel experiences in London and Portland. I went and found a coffee place. Exchanged a few bills for quarters and began doing my one load of laundry. Once that was complete, I found my way to the movie theaters to see TMNT. Michael Bay does not deviate.
The day got later and I needed to study the map or Oregon since I didn’t even open that up when I first received the Adventure Cycling maps. Turns out, I didn’t really need to study. I pretty much wake up every day and head south on 101. Pretty simple stuff. So that’s what I plan to do.
Day 8 once again began early. 6:30am, I pop up. I had a gift card to the local coffee shop because I man needed the bottom bunk so I offered to move up top. After breakfast, I came back and got cleaned up and began packing up. My roommate for the previous two nights was heading into Portland on his bike that he took from Key West to Vancouver, then is heading home to just outside of Portland. His tan lines were killer. My goal was to make it to Bay City about 60-65 miles away. I had some stops to make but knew that was at least doable.
I headed out of Astoria and for about 15 miles was inland a little bit. It wasn’t until I rolled into Seaside, OR did I catch my first glimpse of the Pacific. I couldn’t help but smile and only then did I realize what I had actually done the previous week. I made my way down 10 more miles and was back to where I traveled to back in January, Cannon Beach. I made my way through town and wound up at the beach access to see Haystack Rock. It was a great day to view it and it was also low tide so it made for great pictures and sights.
I didn’t stay terribly long because I didn’t know what was ahead of me so I got back on the the road with a few more checkpoints to hit. I made my way down the coast with some impressively steep climbs only to be rewarded with great views of the cliffs, waves, and haystacks that scatter the Oregon coast. Those hills were easy knowing what I had waiting for me up at the top.
I continued on, hitting Manzaneta, Bay City, where I originally planned to stop and then to Tillamook. I was feeling good and looked at the map. Cape Lookout State Park had an awesome name and could only expect the view to match it, so I pushed 6 more miles to camp making it my longest day so far in my trip. I’m glad I did too because it am currently writing this entry from the beach looking out into the haze with the sound of waves crashing onto shore.
Today was very exciting and I’m looking forward to the rest of Oregon.
Day Mileage: 82 miles
Total Mileage: 491 miles
Day 8 Bonuses:
- seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time this trip
- stopping to talk with a guy that was walking from Seattle to San Francisco. He was 3 1/2 weeks into his trip.
- camping with the sound of waves in the background
- Cannon Beach
- fresh(er) legs
Day Mileage: 79 miles
Total Mileage: 409 miles
Yesterday, I reached my first milestone. Completion of the first map of the Pacific Coast Route. It was a fun moment.
I packed camp up really quickly around 6:45am. I was camping on a river a little bit away from the bathrooms so I made the decision to get everything loaded up before heading for the showers. I made good use of the free, un-timed shower and was able to charge some of my electronics. I had great motivation for the early start because Astoria was within reach, 80 miles or so.
I didn’t know the terrain and that was going to be a large factor rather I reach Astoria. The first little bit of the day wasn’t terrible with only a few steep climbs but no long ones. Once I reached Coal Creek, I had twenty miles left until I entered Oregon. I could see Oregon but still had to reach Cathlamet before taking the ferry over to Westport, OR.
It was 12:23 and I had just reached the ferry. I had 26 miles left to Astoria. I needed to wait for the 1pm ferry and still needed to get lunch before making the final push. When I crossed into Oregon, I don’t know what I expected, a parade maybe. But nope, just an little old road sign that read, “Welcome to Oregon” on top of a stop sign. I looked to right and all I saw was an incline that didn’t end. I chose left and got a bite to eat.
I had already done 53 miles for the day and it was nearing 2pm. I had 26.5 left and what looked like some big hills ahead of me. Turned out it was my largest climb yet. From sea level to 676ft. It was about 3 miles of uphill and it took about 40 minutes. I’ve had a good outlook on these hills as the week progressed. First I usually curse them. Then I go for it. Doesn’t make sense to stop pedaling so you just keep going, mostly with your head down, and you slowly make progress. Eventually, about an hour and 50 minutes later, I reach Astoria and smelled the water in the air and I was able to check off map 1 in my journey.
Day Six Bonuses:
- water, both to drink and see
- deer and wildlife I’ve seen on the road
- David Gray’s “Slow Motion” mocking me as I go up the biggest climb of the trip
- real pillows and rest days
I’m glad I waited to rest in Astoria and not Elma, WA.