2.3.14 – Oregon Daily Logs

Oregon Coast Daily Logs – Raw And Uncut

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Read about our rest days in Gold Beach
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2012 Daily Logs

This post consolidates the individual daily postings Marian and I did on our tour of the Oregon Coast in 2012.  The old individual daily postings will be removed.


We used a Kindle to jot down our thoughts, usually at the end of the day.  We posted them when we had an opportunity.  I was learning to use the Kindle interface.  My fingers bumbled, and the Kindle “helped” with spelling.  Hunkered in a tent, or exhausted in a motel room, quality writing was almost impossible.

We correlated the postings with the date / time stamps from our posts to order the events in our memories.  I used the collected material to create more readable, more interesting blogs.  You may find them more interesting than the daily blogs.

I have consolidated our postings below.  With only a few exceptions, I have performed no editing.  With this consolidation, I can reduce the number of discrete posts.

14 July, 2012 – Portage from San Jose, California, to Corvalis, Oregon

We got up Saturday morning and attended to some last minute chores and then loaded our bikes and gear.  This time was a little different than prior trips.  Our son, David, is driving us up to Astoria.  He decided to camp with us at Astoria before returning to San Jose.  Our bike rack is marketed as a four bike rack.  Because the Surly’s are quite wide with their racks and drop handlebars, adding David’s bike made for a tight fit.  He is also bringing two smaller panniers, a sleeping bag, and a tent.  But we managed.

We drove up in good time, listening to one of the “Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” audio books.  We watched the scenery go by, took turns driving, and had a bonding time together.  Later on, we switched to ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE KILLER.  Someday, we will finish it.  At the back of my mind was, from time to time, the thought of how hard this ride might be.  I keep wondering how this adventure will turn out, since it won’t go the way we planned it.  It was nice to arrive at Susan and Charlie’s before it got too late.

One thing that is already different is that my front fender (plastic) tore almost off on the drive up.  I do not know if it was damaged on the drive, or if it happened at some earlier point.  I slathered on some duct tape.  Maybe that will be enough.  I hate the thought of waiting until the Corvalis bike shops open, perhaps 10 AM, making the swap out, and then making the three hour drive.  Also, it is likely the fenders are sold only in pairs.  If the tape job survives the drive to Astoria, it will probably be good enough for the Oregon coast tour.

I will post this when we find a hotspot.

15 July, 2012 – Portage from Corvalis, Oregon, to Astoria, Oregon

We spent the night at Susan and Charlie’s.   We devoured a breakfast of wattles and traded family gossip.  That is always goood fun, especially when it is your wife’s family.  We consulted the weather forecasts for Astoria.  To our unease, there was rain in the forecast, easing by the evening.  Charlie believes that, by the time we get below Cape Lookout, the weather should be less influenced by the Columbia.  Maybe that means dry weather.  (Or could it be that I am a rain God from Hitch Homer’s Guide To The Galaxy.

We drove down US 99, and other byways to get to Astoria, including Highway 26, one that we had considered after getting Mariana’s bike repaired in Vancouver a few weeks ago.  Throughout the day, we saw a number of touring cyclists. We got into Astoria at 1:30.  We have been subjected to rain off and on all afternoon.  Because we did not really equip David for this, we bit the bullet and picked a motel (queue the heavy sigh).  Hopefully tomorrow night will be better.  At least the motel is almost under the bridge.

With the car, we proceeded to do some tourist things.  Of course, we had to checkout the Columbia Bridge.  It was very impressive.  We watched one car zig zagging through the two-way traffic, raising our heart beats a little.  We also saw two cyclists making their way from Washington to Oregon.  Frankly, that was one of the reasons we drove it.  We had heard so much about this bridge, and what a death defying act it was to ride it.  It would certainly be no treat to ride it.  And there would be a sense ofnhaving done something remarkable.  But thde truth is, there was a wider shoder than we had expected.  We decided that, unless a rider is careless and unlucky, it would be doable.  Someday, I hope to ride it.

We drove up to the 125 foot tall Astoria Column, taking one ofthe steepest streets I have ever been on in a car (Marian was driving and Davidwas trusting his iphone for navigation.  I was the one who was speachless).  The Column was built to celebrate the US claim to Oregon, Washington, and parts of other Western States.  We climbed the 160 steps or so, proving that David is in better shape than we are.  As we stepped onto the observation deck, we were lashed by wind and rain.  We were rewarded with a view of fog, clouds, and rain in every direction.  I am sure that, on many other days, the view is spectacular.

I drove back down.  We dropped by the Maritime Museum, but their entry price was too steep.  We contented ourselves with wandering around, outside, taking pictures.  Four empty ships were riding at anchor.  We wondered what had become of the BCC Vermont.

Tomorrow, hopefully, David returns safely to San Jose, and we discover an adventure on the Oregon coast.

16 July, 2012 – Touring from Astoria, Oregon, to Manzanita, Oregon

Dawn came to Astoria, a grey and threatening dawn.  We were just as happy to have had a roof and heater over our heads.  We wound up taking to fellow trad sleds heading south, who stayed at one of the campgrounds we considered.  They are currently trying, perhaps in vain, to catch the last rays of the sun to try and dry their stuff out.

We bid fairwell to David, who has a13 hour drive ahead of him.  He decided to take 101 down past Seaside and go over to Portland and catch I-5.  He covered the same route we did, probably in 20 minutes to our two hours.  We trust he makes it home without incident.

We hit our end goal for the day.  The last two climbs were a grind, showing us how out of shape we have become in they layoff.  We might have to revise down our hopes for the next couple of days, until we are back in form.

We did our first tunnel today, at Cape Arch.  It was uphill, with a pretty good grade.  The shoulders were no better or worse than some roads we have been on, even today.  My biggest impression was noise, especially from the motorcycles.

We ran into five touring cyclists, and arecamping with three of them.  I will try to learn more of their stories.

The towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach were several cuts above Astoria.  Money was obvious, and the lures to get people to spend more.  They were more like what I had expected.

We are finally camping!  I confess to having no deep love for it, but it holds the costs down and lets us do touring.

I will post this when I have a good connection.

17 July, 2012 – Touring from Astoria, Oregon, to Tillamook, Oregon

The day came into being, overcast but warmer than we expected.  We slept soundly, and were pleased it had gone so well.  We really enjoyed the socialization, as well as the sense of comradarie. It was fun.  We learned that our fellow campers were a British pair (Don and Naomi) doing an around the world tour, Tom (in his 4th year of touring) from Oakland, and Emily (from BC) who was traveling alone.

The only off key note was my Garmin GPS.  I had used the solar panel the afternoon before to recharge until the sun got too low.  I checked the charge level afterwards and thoughtlessly left it on.  It was completely discharged in the morning.  My hope to use the battery pack to recharge it failed, for some reason.  I hoped to use the solar array when the sun came out – which it did not.

As we traveled, we were feeling the effects of the day before, and I did not feel like I hit my stride until later in the morning.  We enjoyed a relatively easy ride that would have very challenging if we had tried for Cape Lookout.  The road had reasonably gentle rollers.  The early ones seemed hard, but that is always true, whether they are or not.  The Nehalem River and Bay were beautiful.  We took a number of pictures, wishing the sun was out – but this is Oregon.  An oddity was that Tom, much younger and faster than us, started after we did, and wound us passing us three times.  On the last, he too was worried about rain.  We don’t know where he wound up, but I doubt we will see him again.  Also, Don and Naomi, much younger and faster than us, left before we did, and then passed us.  We think they do more side trips than we have been doing.

We got into Tillamook about 90 minutes later than we had wanted.  A light drizzle had started, so we decided to check the forecast at Lookout which was not good.  Evaluating our options short of that Cape, we decided Tillamook was the best bet.  By aiming for Cape Lookout tomorrow, we will be a day behind, but still in our sequence, although that would mean four days before a rest day.  We will relook at our options tomorrow.

With time on our hands, we elected to do a bit of sight seeing of our own.  We could have gone to the cheese factories, or we could go to the Air Museum, but not both.  Marian let me go see the airplanes.  We had to pedal five miles each way.  I will post pictures when I get a chance.  I felt $10 each was a bit much for what they had, but decided to enjoy the planes none the less.  They are housed in a blimp hanger, seemingly identical to those at Moffet Field, except they are wood.  I was struck at how small the ME-109 and Zero were, and how large the Navy Corsair, and Dauntless were, as well as the P47 Thunderbolt and the P51 Mustang (my favorite).  I was disappointed there were no bombers such as the B17 or the B24.  But I did get a chance to see a collection of planes I will not likely see again – such is a reward of adventuring.

18 July, 2012 – Touring from Tillamook, Oregon, to Pacific City, Oregon

The day started with either a light rain or a heavy drizzle.  We had slept in a bit so we did not get started until 9 AM.  Our original thought was to simply go to Cape Lookout and camp.  That would have put us back on sequence, but a day behind.  Obviously, we did not do that because of a misunderstanding of the climbs.  We had expected a 900 foot climb before the Cape.  It turned out to be immediately after.  So, because we could go on, we did.  And, with no viable landing place before Pacific City, we did.  There were no clear next stops after, so we stopped here.  Besides, we are slow, and had been in the saddle a long time today.

We spent a lot of time rounding capes today – Cape Meares near Tillamook, Cape Lookout past Netard and Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City.  Capes mean climbing and taking a lot of time and distance to go a short distance of a straight line.  I am sure we will become jaded about the coast.  But, this morning, we found Tillamook Bay very pretty, even in the overcast and occasional drizzle.

We completed one of the biggest climbs we will do in the truest hiker / bicker fashion.  We are so happy not to have to face it tomorrow.  The original sequence is probably hopelessly compromised.  And, because our likely day’s work is probably closer to 40 than 50 or 60 miles.  After we have a little more data, we will project when we would likely finish the Oregon coast, and whether we will have time before we have to break off and attend to getting David off to Wyoming to go to school.

19 July, 2012 – Touring from Pacific City, Oregon, to Lincoln City, Oregon

The morning was mild and a little humid.  As we were gearing up, the proprietor came by and chatted with us.  He had a very friendly Siberian who very much wanted to go on his morning walk.  Before he was dragged off, he told us that one of our side roads was closed for repairs.  We thanked him and set out on our fourth straight day of biking, rather than taking a rest day.

When we got to our turnoff, there was, indeed, a sign saying Slab Creek Road was closed.  That left us to go up US101, not knowing the distance or elevation to be climbed.  It turned out to be shorter and higher, with a steeper grade.  Near the top, Marian tweaked her hip.  We were able to get down the hill in good shape, but climbing was painful for her.  This made the decision to layover in Lincoln City a no brainer.  Had we not had to deal with it, New Port would have been very doable.  So, we will play it safe, and play for the longer game of getting all the way down the Oregon Coast.

On a happy note, on that hill, we fell in with a ride group that seemed to be an offshoot of Habitat For Humanity called the Fuller Center For Housing (a Christian Service Group).  Most of them were very fit kids riding bikes carrying nothing more than water bottles.  They are on a ride from Seattle to San Diego – where they will help build a house after 22 days in the saddle.  That is dedication that is easy to admire.  They had a sag wagon at the top and were extremely charitable, especially concerned for Marian.  We thank them for their water and cupcakes.  We wish them the best.

20 July, 2012 – Rest Day in Lincoln City, Oregon

We slept in, not peeking out the window of the Palace Hotel until well after 8 AM.  We saw wet pavement, of course.  What a luxury to sleep in!  There was that nagging feeling of guilt, but we fought our way through it, recharging AAA batteries, doing a little more laundry, watching SILVER STREAK, and shopping at the nearby market.  The hot tub was particularly hard duty, but we managed.

Borrowing the hotel computer, I recaptured our planned trip.  Somehow, while I had the new plan in the Garmin, I had failed to loading into the Kindle.  What I really wanted was the “Pat Scoring” numbers.  That gave me a chance to project out our planned legs, and comparing them with what we had already done.  Then we  chatted about the future legs (six of them if the plan were to hold up).  The planned leg tomorrow, down to Tugman is about 60 miles, with some serious climbing to be down.  It is the hardest we will do.  Susan and Charlie have offered to plick us up at New Port if we want to take a break.  We will make that call tomorrow, depending on when we get there, and how we feel at that point.

I was also able to use the Hotel computer to move the camera pictures to the Kindle.  Soon, I will try to do some picture uploads, but no editing.

21 July, 2012 -Touring from Lincoln City, Oregon, to Wakonda Beach, Oregon

As always, the day started out grey.  For a time today, there was also a heavy mist that almost made me put on a long sleeve pullover.  Later in the day, I was a little hot with a long sleeve undershirt, short sleeve Jersey, and bike shorts.

When we laid out the trip, we had dared to plan this as the longest ride of the tour – some 62 miles.  Even before we were watching Marian’s hip, I was curious as to whether we could achieve the distance.  We decided to call it a day when we got to Beachside State Park, some 49 miles down the line.  It was 4:30 and, had we succeeded in making it to Washburn, it would have been very late.

Over all, the climbs were on the more gentle side – less than 6% grade on Otter Crest Loop.  The difference between a 5% grade and a 7% is that you feel obligated to try and ride both.  On the slightly lower grade, you succeed – although they can make you suffer if they go on long enough.  On the steeper grade, you begin to suffer early on – and if it goes very long, we wind up pushing our bikes.  Tomorrow we will see climbs of 7% and more.

We were treated to a special ride when we took Otter Crest Loop.  It was stunningly beautiful.  The only thing which we did not get out of it was a whale spotting.  But, we got a good story. A man out for his morning hike told us of an experience he had a few years ago.  He and a friend were in a Zodiac, fishing near some kelp beds.  While there, a group of whales showed up. Over an hours time, they got closer and closer.  Finally, a juvenile whale brushed the boat, hard.  He tried to push it up out of the water.  That was enough, and the walker started his motor and fled the scene.  (I wonder if whales laugh?)

Marian’s hip is sore.  We will see how she feels in the morning.  I am feeling a little tender in my knees.

A short time before we turned in, a large group of cyclists, perhaps 15, showed up.  We started calling them the Mongol Hoard.  They seem to be a group in their 20s to 40s.  They started in Portland and seem to have drawn their company from near the Great Lakes.  They seem to ride hard, and party hard.  They were up rather late – maybe midnight.  In the morning, the number of beer, wine, and liquor bottles near their tents was amazing.

22 July, 2012 – Touring From Wakonda Beach, Oregon, to Reedsport, Oregon

The day started out grey.  Only near the end, did we see the sun.  In some ways, today was more about destination than the journey.  We had a goal – Reedsport, which we knew would challenge us.  We did over 50 miles, the longest in Oregon.  We got another tunnel, with one more to do in Oregon.  This was primarily a day of climbing.  We had the usual assortment of rollers, as well as some serious climbing.  Adventuring can be about goals, too.

We met the rudest drivers on the trip today.  As we crossed the bridge out of Florence, three or four trucks honked rudely at us – on a roadway which was very generous, with low volume of traffic,  and with us as far right as we could get.  I guess, when next we are in Oregon, Florence will get none of our business.

The scenery varied, with breath taking views from roadways perched perilously on the sides of plunging cliffs.  Other times, we were in thick forest, only yards from the ocean, but unable to hear or see it.  After we moved past Florence, the houses disappeared, and we went through US Forest Service Land.  As an aside, Oregon does it better.  We also saw a bi-plane flying serenely along the coast, out to sea.  When I get too infirm for biking, I wonder about flying.

23 July, 2012 – Touring from Reedsport, Oregon, to North Bend, Oregon

We decided to make this day a shorter one, with a possible rest day tomorrow.  The ride down to North Bend was relatively uneventful, as the north wind grew stronger.  Here, in North Bend, the wind is blowing quite strongly.  Someone said it is 35 MPH.  It reminds me so much of Wyoming.  When we rodento our motel, it was a cross wind, and I was leaning heavily to the side.  Had it stopped, I wonder if I would have fallen over.

The highlight of the day was the bridge over to North Bend.  On the advice of ACA, and ignoring the invitation to push a button for lights to ride over, we walked it.  It was a long, blustery walk.

We picked a little motel on the ACA list.  We found out there is no ice machine, washing room, or workable wifi.  This is disappointing, as al the things we normally do on a rest day involve a combination of those features.  I am not inclined to spend another night here.

We are also talking to David, our son, about picking us up in Crescent City.  His job would permit a pickup on Saturday or Sunday.  We are mapping out scenarios.  One of them might involve biking down the coast to a State Beach near Bandon, about 30 miles away.  But, we are mindful of our prior experience, when we went into a fourth day, and Marian’s hip began causing her pain.  And, my knees are feeling very tender.

24 July – Rest Day in North Bend, Oregon

We got up in the morning, a sunny, relatively calm day, and discussed our options.  In the end, Marian convinced me to stay here, rather than do another morning of riding.  We did decide that we will change motels, as we see no reason to stay in the one we were in.  So, we will do laundry, look the bikes over, and prepare for the end game.

We think it might go thusly:

24 July (Tuesday) Rest Day
25 July (Wednesday) North Bend to Port Orford and stay at Humbug Mountain) with one big and one medium climb
26 July (Thursday) Port Orford to Brookings and stay at Harris Beach) with one huge climb and five medium climbs
27 July (Friday)  Harris Beach to Crescent City and end of riding with one medium climb
28 July (Saturday) David picks us up

But, rule one of adventuring is that nothing goes as planned.  And I am sure some new adventure awaits us.

We spent the morning doing chores – laundry at ridiculous prices, lunch, a different hotel, charging bike light batteries, oiling chains, and eating ice cream sandwiches.  There was no hot tub here, unlike last time, somehow we will have to muddle through.  Rule two is that ice cream sandwiches fix almost everything.

Tomorrow, we begin what should be the end game for the Oregon Adventure.

25 July, 2012 – Touring from North Bend, Oregon, to Port Orford, Oregon

It seems like I always start out saying it was a grey morning.  And it was.  It was a grey, clingy, clammy sort of fog that persisted until 10 AM, with heavy cloud cover until noon.  We had a tail wind that was great, until we stopped.  And then it was a cold tail wind.  In the afternoon, the sun gamely almost made it free of the clouds.

The ride was a series of climbs this morning.  They were mixed in with rollers.  In the afternoon, it was rollers.  In the end, we rode 62.4 miles, our first sixy.  But we took so long that we were too late to go the final six miles to Humbug Mountain State Park.  And, from talking to the cyclists who passed us, they are probably wall to wall bikers over there tonight.  I wish we were with them.  This was so frustrating, to be so close, and unable to make it work.  It was due, in large part, because I have come up a little lame.  I’m not sure how it will impact the rest of our ride.

We met a number of interesting people today.  We briefly intermixed with a group of college students who are just starting out.  They all had little orange flags, the first we have seen on this trip.  They were just a little faster than we were, and slowly pulled away from us.  And then there was a young couple, pulling two baby trailers, with very young children.  Even I, a touring cyclist, cringed at the idea.  It will certainly be a tale to tell them, one they will hear all their lives, even though they will not remember it.  We also met Jake, who is doing the Pacific Coast for the second time – he rides with very little gear, and is sagged by his wife.  He rides as far as he wants, she picks him up, they eat and spend the night where ever they want, and she takes him back out the next day.  We also met a couple biking up from southern Chile – they might have been German or Dutch.  We also heard a cyclist was injured today – we wonder if we know them.

Based on our ride today, we are trying to decide how to finish Oregon.  We have three segments left – to Gold Beach – to Brookings – to Crescent City.  The first two are extremely challenging, and maybe impossible if we try to do them the same day.  We may decide to devote one day to each, and complete Oregon on Sunday.  We will have a better idea after we get to Gold Beach.  What can I say – it’s how adventuring goes.

26 July, 2012 – Touring from Port Orford, Oregon, to Gold Beach, Oregon

The day started out with the little hotel bathed in sunlight!!!  Looking south, up the sides of the cliff we would have to scale, everything was wrapped in shreds of fog, ghostly and mysterious.  Once we got up into it, our visibility narrowed to the roadway and a short distance ahead and behind.

The cars roared by, some giving is a wide berth, others not.  I became more than a little nervous, especially with some of the logging trucks and those huge RVs that rival a greyhound bus for size.  I distinctly remember almost being sucked into the side of an RV which passed me with about two feet to spare – and no on coming traffic to keep him from moving a bit into the other lane – he was either ignorant, or careless, or simply not willing to move out of his lane.  The end result would have been the same if I had lost control of my bike.  As an aside, Marian was talking with a skateboarder who said he had heard, on his scanner, that there had been a bike fatality to the north of us on US101.  But, if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing, sadly, I am not surprised.  Perhaps it was the.incident reported yesterday.

We rode almost the entire coast section, 18 miles, on US101, in fog or overcast.  We could see bits of the coast, but really couldn’t see much of anything clearly.  At Ophir, we turned off the coast and rode Cedar Road.  After a time, the sun came out, and we were in a beautiful valley.  Climbing to the end, we moved over into the Rogue River Valley – another beautiful valley.  We ended the day in Gold Beach, at Indian River Camp Ground.

The ride was surprisingly hard.  We were both worn down by the 60+ mile ride yesterday.  It seemed like we cimbed and climbed and climbed.  Not to speak for Marian, but I am worn down, and it seems like almost every part of my body hurts in some way.  But that is part of Adventuring.

We must decide what our next move is – do we try for Brookings tomorrow (a very very challenging ride which, because there are no bailout points, is an all or nothing ride).  If I had to ride it tonight, I would fail.   Or, do we rest?  Or do we call for an extraction?  I can hardly wait to see how this turns out.

27 July, 2012 – Rest Day in Gold Beach, Oregon

After taking stock, we decided to take a day off, and enjoy the camp ground, and Gold Beach.  We have heard the county fair is on going, and we may pop over and see some of it, if the entry fee is reasonable.

We still have not decided if we will attempt the ride to Brookings tomorrow or not.  My heart very much wants to, but the amount of climbing worries me.  We are at the library, and if I am allowed on their machines, I will consult GYPSIES and see if I can compare the amount of climbing with others we have done.  In any event, I think tomorrow will be our last day in Oregon.

28 July, 2012 – Waiting for Pick Up in Gold Beach, Oregon

We are waiting for David to pick us up in Gold Beach. We will probably try and drive back to San Jose this afternoon. We are quite pleased with our trip, cycling overn330 miles. We will do a follow up with all the numbers. I had never seen any part of the Oregon Coast, and was blessed with an opportunity to see some incredible sights, meet wonderful people, and learn more about touring. I still need to get the destination vs journey part down, but I have the rest of my life, if I want to do it, to learn that lesson.

I want to give a special thanksnto Susan and Charlie for being so supportive. And our son, David, for all the driving he has done, and our daughter, Elizabeth, for taking time out from her school to check on the pets, covering for David.

Will we do more bike adventuring? Absolutely!!!!!!!!!

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Read about our 2012 Adventures
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