Woke up in the Beverley Beach SP hiker-biker campsite, packed and rolled under more typical PNW skies, gray with maybe a hint of sun.
It was a surprisingly hilly six miles into Newport with a diversion from truck-heavy US 101 onto quieter, albeit hilly residential streets, until we passed local-looking Nye Beach Café and stopped for an overdue breakfast. We had been Starbucks-bound, but local non-franchise is always better.
The suburbs through which we rode featured expensive-looking homes curiously built within “Tsunami Hazard Zone” warming signs, blue painted lines on the roads indicating the anticipated level of apocalyptic inundation.
Our waitress, a little slow and forgetful, wore a “this bud’s for you” T-shirt, leading us to speculate about which jobs in the upcoming decade would be best suited for legal stoners. Not table service — maybe complaint departments, or insurance adjusters. The sheer proliferation of marijuana dispensaries along our route has amazed us, with their clever names like Pipe Dreams, Hashtag, and Token Herb. Intentionally or not, an elementary school on US 30 east of Astoria announced on its roadside marquee that students would be “Learning and Growing,” not 100 yards before a giant “CANNABIS” sign.
We finally got fed and got billed, and then rolled slowly through town, stop sign by stop sign, taking the opportunity to run some errands–e.g., after three days, we finally passed by a Walgreens for more dental floss and a photo op at the start of the longest road in the US.
South of trafficky Newport, we crossed the Yaquina Bay bridge and then moved westward again, to hug the coast all day. One more bridge got us into the tiny town of Waldport, where we had a coffee/hot cocoa break at one of the ubiquitous PNW roadside drive-through coffee stands.
Past Tillicum Beach to Yaquats, where we stopped for a sidewalk snack of nuts and energy chews, without dismounting, while chatting with a local about tail lights and bike tours. That was halfway for the day.
From there we climbed, steadily, through the Siuslaw National Forest, by Cape Perpetua. Every one of the many scenic overlooks was tempting, but we only stopped at a few. Here’s the 125-year-old Heceta Head Lighthouse:
Along the flats, at sea level (“Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone”), when the traffic quieted down for a few minutes, we could hear breakers pounding the shoreline. A rolling upward road gave us a more or less constant view of the perpetual Pacific, and eventually we flew down a steep descent with the 40-mile-long Oregon Dunes in sight….
The road flattened out again north of Florence, our target, and along with some spitty raindrops we caught an exhilarating tailwind into town and our $70 no-tell motel. Unpacked, showered, and walked into the old town for a drink (the Beachcomber Pub) and dinner (the Zebra Bar), the first non-fried seafood we’ve had this trip.
Our stats today: 58 miles, 2929′ elevation, in 4:23.
(Just for comparison, the current leader of the Trans-Am race has traveled 532 miles in under 38 hours. In 10 days we’ve traveled 580. It’s the blogging that has slowed us down.)