From Pacific City to Lincoln City, Shortened By Injury
|Read about our ride from Tillammook to Pacific City|
Our fourth day on the Oregon Coast opened to sunshine and humidity. We were 68 air miles from Astoria, our starting point, and 237 air miles from our planned destination, Crescent City. Our original plan had been to bike for three days, and then rest. We had already biked three days, but were not happy with our motel in Pacific City. For what it was, it was quite expensive. We, could find no reasonable camping earlier than Lincoln City. We had one set of bike clothes left, so we decided to press on. We planned to bike to, at least, Lincoln City, and had thoughts of trying for Newport. Unfortunately, Marian became dehydrated on a very long climb, and we decided to stop for the day at Lincoln City.
Our ride from Pacific City to Lincoln City used the ACA Route, with Vicky Spring as a guide. We learned, just before we started, that Slab Creek Road was closed, due to bridge construction. Our detour took us up US-101, over a very steep hill. Our route was straightforward: 0.0 miles – Start on Brooten (PACIFIC CITY); 2.5 miles – RIGHT on US-101; 9.0 miles – (NESKOWIN); 10.2 miles – STRAIGHT on US-101 (not SLAB CREEK ROAD); 17.5 miles – LEFT on East Devils Lake; 21.9 miles – RIGHT on US-101; 21.2 miles – End (LINCOLN CITY)
We climbed about 2000 feet to get from Pacific City to Lincoln City. The largest climb, about 750 feet, started just past Keskowin, about 11 miles from our starting point. The remaining climbing included rollers before we got to Neskowin, and short, steep rollers on the east side of Devils Lake, just before we got to Lincoln City.
The morning opened, sunny and humid. Had we found a camp site the night before, it would have been perfect for camping. We were starting our fourth day. Our original plan was to rest every fourth day. We wanted to make it to Lincoln City, more than 30 miles away, and, possibly, Newport, 52 miles away.
We had to wait for someone to unlock the door. That someone was the proprietor. He had a Siberian Husky. I compared his dog with our Samoyed, Sierra. Other than the obvious, a black-grey-white dog with white, the Siberian was all business. He was impatient to get on with a morning walk. Our dog would have been all over whoever we were talking to, becoming their best friend. The proprietor told us, during the brief, leash tugging conversation, that bridge construction on Slab Creek Road meant a detour along US-101. I knew this shortened our distance. I had no idea whether this added climbing to our ride. In fact, either climb was about the same. Slab Creek Road was five miles longer than US-101, and would have been less steep.
As we rode out of Pacific City, two riders passed us. They were the ones we had seen braving the Megler Bridge in Astoria. They were not very communicative, intent on their ride. They quickly rode away from us.
When rode several miles to US-101, the highway had wide, clean shoulders. Traffic was light. We climbed a range of hills to Neskowin. Along the way, we stopped to talk with another cyclist. He was heading north. After exchanging pleasantries, and tips on the roads, we parted.
After Neskowin, we came to signs, saying our intended road, Slab Creek Road, was, indeed, closed. For as far as we could see, the road was straight. We had no idea how tall the climb was, or how long it was. I ride known hills differently than unknown hills. When I have ridden a hill before, I can gauge how hard I will need to work. If I chose, I can use energy, pedaling. Or, I can push my bike. With an unknown hill, I tend to ride until I cannot, and then I start pushing. SometimeIs, I remount. Other times, I do not.
The further up the hill we went, the less bike friendly US-101 became. The shoulder narrowed to little more than handlebar width. Guard rails took some the remaining space away. We re-learned that, on inside curves, cars and RVs like to swing down low,. With poor sight lines, that practice made it uncomfortable.
During the climb, other riders began to pass us. They wore team jerseys, but I had no idea what they were. They were riding with minimal gear. That meant a supported ride. We asked one or two how long the hill was. But, they didn’t know either.
As the ride went on, I dismounted, to use different muscles. Pushing over 100 pounds of bike and gear up a steep slope was no treat. As fatiguing as it was for me, it was worse for Marian. Her surgically repaired hip cramped up. She could no longer pedal, and pushing her bike punished her. I offered encouragement and moral support. I considered riding to the crest, hiding my panniers, and coming back to get hers. As it turned out, we were near the top. Heroic measures, on my part, were unnecessary.
At the top, the riders who passed us cheered us on. They were from the Fuller Center for Housing, on their west coast ride. They were mobbing their support van. They greeted us like long-lost members of the family. They expressed amazement out the weight of our gear, and our ability to climb the hill. They kindly did not bring up the hiker part of our climb. In an act of charity, not limited to Christians, they treated us to water, chocolate cup cakes, and electrolytes for Marian’s cramp. It was nice to spend a few minutes with them, as more and more of their group showed up. They were using the ACA maps. They varied in age, but most were 20 somethings, and rode a broad array of bikes. Road bikes were most prominent. They carried no cargo, only water bottles.
We researched the Fuller Center for Housing. Millard Fuller, the original founder of Habitat For Humanity, also founded the Fuller Center. This Christian Service Group was in the process of doing a fully supported ride from Seattle to San Diego. After they complete the ride, they will help build a house.
We pushed off, ahead of them, and were only passed by two riders. On the down-slope, physics was on our side. Being far heavier than they, we were able to reach higher speeds, although I seldom ride more than 25 MPH. Often, the wind resistance holds me down to that. At the bottom of the hill, we turned off of US-101, following the ACA route. We had heard, through others, that US-101 through Lincoln City had no shoulders, and was not bike friendly. We fully expected the Fuller team to thunder past us, but we only saw one other rider. For several days, as we rode further down the coast, we would see occasional blue arrows with FC. I trust they reached San Diego without any mishaps.
On the east side of Devil’s Lake, we ran into a series of short, steep rollers, often 50 to 100 feet high. We were trying to make it to the south side of Lincoln City. It was lunch time, and we were also running low on energy. Marian’s hip continued to hurt her. As we rode, we made some decisions. We were playing a larger game than riding to Newport. We were riding the entire Oregon Coast. We set aside Newport. Further, Marian’s hip injury made sleeping on the ground unwise.
We continued on East Devils Lake Road until we reached US-101. A Burger King sat at the intersection. Needing food, we settled in, and mapped out our plan for the rest of the day. We selected a motel nearby. It was on the smaller side, tidy, and had interesting artwork in front. At first glance, we took the figures were Native American totems. It turned out that they were Korean wood carvings called changseung.
These carvings may have been on display in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. We had no idea what journey that must have taken to arrive in Lincoln City. The day clerk was Asian, perhaps Korean. The motel was family owned. We think they moved the figures to Oregon, as evidence of their ethnic pride. We certainly found them unusual, and interesting. Marian just frowned at me when I, idly, wondered, how hard they could be to carve with a chainsaw.
We settled into our room. Marian rested her leg. We worried that she had injured her hip, again. She hydrated and rested. After a time, she recovered enough that we biked over a mile to a pizza parlor. She fully recovered during the rest day.
|Read about resting and healing in Lincoln City|