Cycling the Pacific Coast: What I Saw, What I Missed

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185 Miles. Out of 362. That’s how far we got on our tandem, self-supported Cycle the Pacific Coast trip. But we meant to go all the way! We made it from Fort Stevens at the north end of Oregon all the way to the Jesse Honeyman State Park just outside of Florence, when we learned our Granddaughter Ria might soon be born. And hey, this Coastline isn’t going anywhere (for now….but that’s another story, right?), but a grandchild coming into this world is quite unique, wouldn’t you say? So we packed it up, our gracious friends Ted & Sharyn being so understanding to lose half their trip too, and booked it home. The news on Ria? Well….still no  news. Still waiting.  Ha ha! Another of Life’s tricks. It brings to mind a favorite quote from John Lennon, “Life is what’s happening to you while you’re busy making plans.” I heard another yesterday,”Man makes plans, God laughs.”

Yet still, the sights we saw, the hills we climbed, the sunsets witnessed were no less remarkable than we had hoped. Down HWY 101 we got our first taste of classic Oregon coast at Cannon Beach. A very cute (& touristy) town, it had lots of great places to eat and our first taste of clam chowder. We planned to sample the chowders all down the coast, and this one didn’t disappoint! But the real feast for me was the visuals of crashing waves, huge stacks close to shore and those lovely soft clouds borne aloft by a gentle sea wind.

Canon Beach Classic

Cannon Beach Classic

We really did get lucky with our weather. The whole trip (or 1/2 trip!) was a perfect cool cycling temperature with mostly clear skies and warm sun when we needed it. The cycling was intense not only for the infamous hills (never again up Neskowin Hill!) but worse for the traffic. There were great shoulders most of the time, so it wasn’t that I found it scary so much as just so NOISY!! Cars, RV’s, trucks, and sometimes obnoxious diesel pick ups that purposely would gun their engines right next to us just for fun (theirs, not ours!)(we called them the ‘Smokers’, like the bad guys from the movie Waterworld). It had me exhausted almost more than the miles of hauling our two selves, a tandem plus an 80 lb trailer.

Pulling upppppp

Pulling upppppp

Let me put it this way. We EARNED these gorgeous views of the Pacific Coast:

Classic Views

Classic Views

It was SUCH a blessing and relief when we got to get off the main highway and onto side roads. The shoulders weren’t as great, but way less traffic and time to investigate points of interest. Lex’s Cool Stuff is a blast to wander through.

Lex's Cool Stuff, outside of TIllamook

Lex’s Cool Stuff, outside of Tillamook

Pretty much in the middle of nowhere notable (except the ocean of course), it is a quirky collection of, welll, stufff.

Lotsa Cool Stuff

Lotsa Cool Stuff – the anti-tourist shop

The ultimate reward (other than bedtime and blessed sleep) were the ocean sunsets

Romance and the Evening Sun

Romance and the Evening Sun

And a bright campfire to warm the bones

Warming the Bones

Warming the Bones (thanks Ted)

There were many iconic places to photograph, like this Lighthouse I’m sure you’ve seen before

Oregon Lighthouse

Oregon Lighthouse

I felt lucky to not only see this one, but to have the time to stop and photograph it. Leaving for home at Florence meant we would miss much of the best part the Oregon Pacific Coast has to offer. But it also means we have an excuse to go back again and finish it up for scenes like this in Bandon I took a few years ago

Bandon Jetty Scene

Bandon Jetty Scene

And my favorite, Cape Arago, outside of Sunset Bay State Park:

Cape Arego, Endless Crashing Waves and Barking Seals

Cape Arago, Endless Crashing Waves and Barking Seals

So that’s the  story my friends. What I saw and what I didn’t see on the Pacific Coast. And there’s lots more in the Oregon Coast Gallery. For even more, if you’re on Facebook you can #spiritcoast for my realtime posts from my phone, including videos as we rolled along.

I am happy to now be home during this beautiful fall season. I think I feel the urge to go out and make some images of it!


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