Four days cycling the Oregon Coast part 2 – Manzanita to Depoe Bay

[Check out the beginning of my trip in yesterday’s Part 1]

Although it began with a small hill and ended with a big one the next day was actually the chillest. On my way up and out I clipped in attempting to take the hill without stopping and couldn’t clip out in time not to take a slow sideways fall. Luckily only the recumbent guy saw me and, besides and pretty gnarly bruise, I was none the worse for wear. The rest of the day I coasted through Wheeler and Rockaway Beach, stopped for fresh oysters at Pacific Oyster Company and smiled as I passed the Tillamook Cheese Factory, though I was too full for any curds or ice cream at that point.

I took the alternate and meant to go around Cape Meares but my most intense hill of the day was right before the turnoff and there was no shade anywhere so my sun addled brain was unsure of which way to go and there also seemed a chance the road was flooded or somehow else impassable. I think it technically was open to bikes but TBH I had a tough time with that hill and cutting off those miles was probably good for me as I headed into a really tough next day.

But before that I got visit a fancy salt factory (Jacobsen’s) and make camp at what most people consider the coast’s best hiker/biker site, Cape Lookout. Each site is nestled in it’s own beautiful forested bluff complete with picnic table and fire pit with grill. I had plenty of time to get settled and then roam the beach below as the sun slowly sank over the waves.

I also saw two of my compatriots from the previous night. The American couple, strangely, were not there though I had played leapfrog with them throughout the day and they said they would see us that night. Nor were the Irish couple, who were taking a rest day in Manzanita/Nehalem Bay.

I’d been kvetching all week about Cascade Head, which was a mighty hill I would encounter the next day. For some reason pouring over the route maps and blogs a million times I saw this as the biggest, and kind of only, really big mountain pass. But not only was it not the only one on the trip, day 3.5 actually began with an uphill climb only a suffer junkie could love. But once again the view was stellar and this nice couple took a sweaty picture of me.

The top of the hill after leaving Cape Lookout
Then I had a fairly chill time in passing some weird sunken ships, old rundown corner stores in the middle of nowhere, racing down a hill with the wind in my hair and sand dunes on either side. I ran into the American couple again in a weird little municipal park with a very cranky steward that clearly wasn’t keen on us grabbing a snack at his picnic tables without paying for parking. The couple had taken that alternate I meant to take a got stuck before the campsite with the sun sinking too quickly for them to make it. But clearly they had caught up and surpassed me, as they had been drying their clothes in the sun for awhile by the time I got there.

Finally, I stocked up on some fancy bread and cheese before tackling the mountain I had been dreading for weeks. And though I had encountered many other hills on the trip so far it was indeed just as bad as I had expected. It was shady, at least, but there were portions where the shoulder was slim to none and you know I was walking up those sections (as evidenced by my 8mph average speed).

Lookout spot just south of Lincoln City
Initially, I had been hoping to make it to Beverly Beach just north of Newport, but there was a hiker/biker site in Lincoln City that I just couldn’t pass up (it would have been like another 20 miles). This very close in site was a little odd and looked more like a neighbor of the state park had rented out their lawn but recumbent guy was there so I felt ok about it. When he went into town and came back with a 12 pack for all of us to share I was really ok with it. I let myself have a few because I knew that I would be seeing Vanessa and putting my bike on a car rack at some point the next day.

There was on older couple on their first trip together that also rejoined us at this point after a scary ride on Hwy 26 from Portland (not recommended). They started doing an on/off buses trip, which really is a good option if you’d prefer to only go about 10-15 miles a day. We were later joined by some townies who looked like they kinda roamed cheap and free campsites and squats but they were nice enough and built a lovely fire.

I woke up the next day both sad to know that my trip was coming to an end but also fairly ready. Four and a half days for a first trip seemed just about right and despite all the chamois cream I’d been slathering 5 days in the saddle is tough on a newbie’s tender parts. It might have been a good rest day if I was continuing and I’ll have to keep the rest day factor in mind as I embark on my upcoming trip.

I was still quite a ways from Newport, where I had thought to meet Vanessa and her mom Mandy, but they still had some more sightseeing to do as well. So I sort of lazily continued down the 101 until I came to a nice lookout spot and we agreed to meet at a coffee shop just a few more miles down in Depoe Bay.

I had just enough time to grab a coffee and reflect when my girlfriend, beaming with pride, burst into the pirate themed coffee shop and Mandy took us to a beautiful late lunch overlooking the ocean. First though, V made me take a really cheesy finish line picture holding my bike above my head.

I had done a few less miles than anticipated, but accomplished everything I truly wanted, while having so much fun even…even if some of it was type 2…

Bike trip triumph
For even more pictures hang in there for a tomorrow’s photo gallery.

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