Today was amazing. Woke up with the intention to ride and cover some ground. And ride and cover some ground I did!
It was hard saying goodbye to my trusty cabin at the KOA in Lincoln City. But once I was packed up and ready to go I was more than eager to hit the road. My plan was to bike about 9 miles to a little coffee shop called "Pacific Grind." After many days without, I was really in the mood for a delicious cup of coffee. I managed to negotiate the extremely up and down nature of E NE Devils Lake Road and find my way back to trusty Route 101. After a little less than an hour I made it to my destination. I ordered a 16 ounce coffee and a croissant stuffed with ham and Tillamook cheese. That thing disappeared fast. So good!
Once I was fueled up I pedaled off to my next destination - the Yaquina Head Light House. The light house was a good 20 miles away so I decided to take my time. The ride today covered some extremely beautiful territory. The first scenic place I hit was Boiler Bay. It was gorgeous. And there was a little group of people gathered at a particular place on the fence pointing and looking at something. And it was whales! I could see whales from the scenic overlook! There was a little whale watching tour boat and sure enough, right next to it, was a whale. It was so cool to see a whale from the shore.
After Boiler Bay I pedaled on towards Depoe Bay. And again, I was struck with a gorgeous overlook of the ocean, the waves, and all kinds of rocky outposts. Every time I pass a particularly scenic vista I stop, get my panoramic photo rig out of my pannier, and take a quick spherical shot. And every time I stop someone inevitably asks me about my ride. At Depoe Bay a couple stopped to ask me about my solar panel. I've had quite a few people ask if it actually works and what I use it for. Always fun to strike up random conversations with strangers. Every time it happens I'm wished a happy journey. I've heard many people say, "good for you!" It's nice to get those little slaps on the back every now and then.
After Depoe Bay I had been alerted of a special detour off Highway 101 I should take. Otter Crest Loop runs parallel to Highway 101 and has a wide bicycle lane and hugs the cliffs of the ocean. It was amazing. Almost immediately after pulling on to the side road there was another gorgeous scenic outpost. I stopped, unloaded my photography gear, and went about setting my stuff up. And, as soon as I was set up, a group of travelers let me know there was a whale right there in the bay in front of us! This time the whale was super close. It was amazing. Another cyclist (from the area) stopped to take a look. I asked him about the whale and he told me it was a gray whale. I asked if they were migrating right now and he told me that there's a pod of about 15 or 20 gray whales that pretty much hang around Cape Foulweather, Depoe Bay, and Boiler Bay year round. So this particular whale was likely to be a local :)
I stayed there and watched the whale for a long time. It was amazing :)
Eventually, I saddled back up on my bike and pedaled up a very long uphill road. The climb was worth it because at the top there was another incredible view of the ocean and the shore. From the top of the climb I could see the Yaquina Head Light House way off in the distance. My next destination.
Once I made it to Yaquina I was a little shocked to see the road blocked and a sign that said closed. As it turns out, the light house was closed today on account of the current government shutdown. I opted to hop the fence and proceed on foot, but as I was running out of time decided to get back on my bike and pedal to my third destination - Bike Newport.
At Bike Newport I bought a pair of gloves (when I started riding this morning it was about 40 degrees outside), and one of those straps you tie around your ankle so your gears don't eat your pant legs. My pant legs have been a little destroyed so far on the trip.
I asked the dude at the shop about the ride to Waldport and whether it had many hills. More specifically, I asked him, "what's the elevation profile like between here and Waldport?" To which he replied, "it's flat. Mostly flat." Which when translated from Oregonian to English means, "mostly hills."
I also asked him for a good place to eat and he pointed me in the direction of the Lighthouse Deli for the fish and chips. "Best fish and chips on the coast." I made a quick detour at the Rogue Brewery - pretty much just for the photo op. Then hopped back on my bike and hustled to the Lighthouse Deli. At the Lighthouse I had to pick what kind of fish I wanted with my fish and chips. Having no idea what to do I asked for a recommendation. And the dude there suggested the halibut and chips. And a cup of clam chowder. And, wow, it was all incredible. Fresh caught halibut. So good!
I ate as fast as I could. It was already 4:30 and I wanted to make it to my cabin before dark (sunset is at about 6:50). And I still had 14 miles to go. And if you factor the ginormous Oregon trees, sunset is actually at about 6. So I hopped on my ride and flew off to Waldport. And encountered many, many hills on the "mostly flat" road. Ouch.
About half a mile from my cabin I stopped at the BayMart Deli and Cafe to mostly pig out on junk food. I bought a huge Alaska beer, some Little Debbie cupcakes, a banana, some banana bread, and some cookies. After a long day on the bike I was ready to treat myself.
Finally, I made it to the KOA! And this place rules! My cabin has a TV and a fridge!
Very happy to be here. Gonna crash and sleep hard tonight.