Well, on the last couple posts, the world now knows we have moved to the Oregon Coast. We have been unpacking, setting stuff up, hanging up photos, eating good food and yep, walking on the beach!
What hadn’t happened yet, was a bike ride.
Today that changed!
I wanted to get an early start because I promised Michelle some quality time unpacking and organizing the garage. I wanted to get on the road for a good 50 miles, and have the afternoon to work!
The alarm went off, and I groaned out loud. I just felt tired. I hit snooze and fell back asleep. It went off again and I groaned again. Then I looked at the clock and realized it was 3 AM!! No I did NOT wanna get up that early! I reset the clock and went back to sleep. I’ll admit I still hit the snooze at 6 AM, but I felt better.
I wanted 50 miles today. I pondered my routes and decided the best bet for the first ride was an out and back. Home in Lincoln City, south to Newport, wrap around the Yaquina Bay light house and head home. In my head, it sounded close to 50…
I got the bike ready last night, and laid out the clothes. No easy trick as we are still unpacking. But with a little digging, I was ready to go!
When I made the morning Starbucks run (we have one in town!) I was surprised to find out how warm it was. The car’s thermometer said it was already 49! I made the executive decision to switch to shorts and lighter gloves. This decision has bit me in the ass before, but I had some confidence.
As I headed south, I was making good time! Of course, on the coast, the wind usually blows from the north. This means I was working with a tail wind…. It also meant turning around, there would be a headwind! Oh well, I had hours before the turn around.
I am very familiar with the south route from Lincoln City. There are wide shoulders and some side road to take two get me off the highway from time to time. Better yet, there are a lot of pullouts that let you check out the water going south! I was excited for the ride.
With the move, work and weather, rides have been few and far between this year. After a week of work and unpacking, it just felt good to be saddled up! Plus, the air, being close to the ocean just smelled good! Luckily there were no bugs to get stuck in my teeth, cuz I was smiling as I rode!
I pulled into Boiler Bay (so named for a ships boiler that was once found there) to look for whales, Sadly, I struck out. But from these photos, I think you will see I was NOT disappointed in the least.
It is truly a very pretty spot!
I passed through Depoe Bay, again striking out with the whale spotting. Though, I really didn’t give it the time it needed, I was enjoying my ride!
As I left Depoe Bay, I looked to my right as I started up the hill, and noticed something you would NEVER see at 55 mph in a car. This is why I LOVE cycling the coast.
Then, as I looked closer, I spotted the harbor seals relaxing on the rocks.
Honestly this is something I only saw once or twice while riding near Puget Sound.
Soon after these guys, I pulled into Rocky Creek to once again look for whales, and once again, strike out! But I did meet Molly. A very friendly, flopped eared pitbull that ran up to me for pets when I stopped. Her owner was NOT pleased! I told Molly she was in trouble but she didn’t care! I did give her pets though.
Half a mile further, I was able to ditch hwy 101, and take Otter Crest loop up and over Cape Foulweather. In the past, I’ve only done this in the fall. But here in the rainy, spring run off season, there are streams flowing!
The views on this road are pretty as well!
Remember above when I mentioned the winds are pretty consistent? Looking at this tree, can you tell which way the wind blows normally?
With the lack of miles recently, topping the cape was tough, but I made it! I was happy to head down the other side. Just after hitting the main highway again, my lovely bride, who was shopping in Newport, shouted encouraging words as she passed me heading home! I love when we run into each other when I ride!
Prior to Newport, I stopped for this shot.
I loved sitting and watching the waves here at Beverly Beach, but I had miles to go!
I was soon in Newport, which has an excellent bike route that once again got me off hwy 101. Plus, it has great views of the Yaquina Head lighthouse. (the next ride I will ride TO the light house)
The bike path takes you to the second lighthouse in Newport, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.
When you ride the coast, this park gives you quick and easy access to the Newport bridge and points south.
It also can wrap you around and give you access to the northbound lanes. Which, for the first time ever in my cycling career, I took!
As I started heading home, it hit me. Never not once, have I traveled north on the bike. In fact, Rob and I had a rule when we rode the coast in 2016: “We pedal ONLY south! North is not an option!!” I live here now, though, so if I want to go home, I have to go north!
Well first thing I figured out is that the northbound lanes in that part of town suck! There is no shoulder, and, on a Saturday, there is a lot of traffic. However, this was NOT my first rodeo! I have dealt with towns before. In many cases, if you scoot over 1 block, you will find a road that has a LOT less traffic and parallels the main drag, This was one of those times! Using these side roads, I made to within a 1/4 miles of the wide northbound shoulder!
Editors note: On the Oregon coast, most books and websites you may read advise a cyclist to go south for 2 reasons. 1 is the wind, Number 2 is the shoulder width. Oregon DOT made the decision to give preference to the southbound lanes if they are short of room. There are times northbound that there are NO shoulders at all! I am happy to report that between Newport and my house this is NOT an issue! I had a HUGE, very safe shoulder!
However, as expected, turning north meant I was riding INTO the wind. Luckily though, at least for the most part, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Though, when the winds WERE strong, it was also damn cold! My shorts decision was a good one, but those short stretches of coldness were a bit rough.
Just outside of town, is a portion of road that had to be rebuilt after a huge storm in the 80s or 90s. I have always wanted a photo of it, but I’ve been on the wrong side of the road. Today, for the first time ever, I was close to it!
Now I have seen Smokey and the Bandit 100s of times in my life! I think if I get up enough speed, I can ride this road….
The rest of the ride was head down and keep pedaling. A second climb of Cape Foulweather was tough but I made it, and I was soon back in Lincoln City. Somehow, we ended up once again living UP a hill! (But this is good as we live OUT of the tsunami zone!) So the last mile was a very steep climb! At the end, was a kiss, a hug and a HUGE sandwich!
It was a great first ride, even though the thighs were burning some! I scoped out a shorter after work route, and the next big one. April will be about the miles!
I am a lucky guy to live somewhere that I love with a person I love even more. The fact that there is great cycling makes it even better! Be ready for a lot more posts from the ocean!