Bicycling and hiking in northwest Oregon, page 2

Page 1: Columbia River Gorge and biking to Seaside
Page 2: Biking from Seaside to Cape Meares
Page 3: Museums, Forest Park, and Mount Saint Helens

Monday, September 4

This was simply a relaxing day in Seaside. We walked the boardwalk, played in the sand, and I had to chase Daniel every time that he tried to run into the ocean. It was cloudy all day but we could see that the clouds existed only over the coast - there were strips of blue sky over the mountains in the east and over the ocean in the west. In the evening we all played in the pool and soaked in the hot tub. Overall, today our vacation seemed so - normal. This is how other families vacation, not us! I guess I'd better get used to it, because "adventure" vacations will get more difficult to do as Daniel grows over the next few years.

Tomorrow we will pack up early and bicycle down the coast to Tillamook. With any luck the prevailing winds will give us a tailwind for most of the day.

A cloudy morning over Seaside.

Evan and Daniel fell asleep in our bike stroller while we were walking the boardwalk.

Playing on the beach again.

Playing in the heated pool at the Worldmark resort. This resort was the fanciest vacation lodging that Kathy and I have ever used.

Tuesday, September 5

Distance: 50.3 miles
Riding time: 3 hours, 56 minutes
Average speed: 12.7 mph
Maximum speed: 38.6 mph

The fog was thick this morning and our bike was soaking wet - but not because of the fog. Yesterday I accidentally locked our bike up next to an in-ground sprinkler head, so the bike got watered overnight and I had to re-lube the chains. By the time we had eaten breakfast, packed and checked out of the resort it was almost 10 a.m., which shows that resorts can be just as time consuming as camping. The extra space available at a resort can tempt you to bring more stuff, and it takes a lot of time to unpack, use and pack that stuff.

The fog kept us cold and obscured our views for a while, but the fog moved offshore after about an hour and then we had fantastic views. Much of the shoreline had steep cliffs, and in some places rock spires and mounds rose out of the ocean.

Rock spires off the shore of Cannon Beach, a small resort town.

Rock and beach in Hug Point State Park

The Oregon coast is a popular bike route, and we met 2 bike touring groups and 1 solo tourist today. Everyone rides from north to south to take advantage of the prevailing winds. One tour group was organized by a touring company, but the other was a group of 14 friends (mostly couples, I believe) who are biking the whole coast of Oregon while taking turns driving a support truck. Kathy and I would have trouble finding even one friend to go on a bike tour with us, let alone 12 friends. Our social circle doesn't include many bike enthusiasts. The solo bike tourist that we met today, Ken, lives in Boulder and he is on his second trans-America tour of the year. He crossed the southern U.S. during the winter, and he's crossing the northern U.S. now. I didn't ask, but he must be in retirement. I hope that I still have the energy and passion for bike touring when I reach retirement - and I hope that Kathy still wants to come with me.

We encountered another tunnel on the road today, but we didn't have to walk through on the sidewalk. There was a sign above the tunnel that said "Bicycles in Tunnel", and a button just outside the tunnel activated flashing yellow lights around the sign. We pushed the button and rode through the long, uphill tunnel as fast as we could. No one honked at us this time, which was better, but partway through the tunnel we heard the rumble of a big truck behind us and I thought, "Please don't tell me that's a logging truck." Soon a gigantic logging truck was passing us in low gear about 6 feet to our left, and the noise from its diesel engine would have drowned out any car horn. Amazingly, Daniel wasn't bothered by the tunnel noise this time.

We checked into our hotel in Tillamook at 4 p.m. and then ate at a nearby family-style restaurant. Daniel's crib is next to our bed, so we'll go to bed early to avoid keeping him awake - and that's fine with us.

A few of the bike tourists that we saw on highway 101.

Taking a short break at Oswald West State Park.

Rocky shoreline in Oswald West State Park.

Looking down at Neahkahnie Beach from an overlook in Oswald West State Park.

Crossing the Nehalem River.

Checking on Daniel by Nehalem Bay.

Rocks rising out of Tillamook Bay.

Wednesday, September 6

Distance: 10.4 miles
Riding time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
Average speed: 9.4 mph
Maximum speed: 25.7 mph

We planned to bike about 60 miles to Gleneden Beach today, but mechanical trouble cut short our ride and the rest of our tour. It was cold and foggy this morning while we ate breakfast at our hotel, but the sun and blue sky appeared shortly after we started riding. The Tillamook area has a big dairy industry, and we saw lots of cows on our way out to the Cape Meares lighthouse. On one steep hill we decided to walk part way up, and when we got back on the bike to pedal the bike made a terrible clicking/grinding noise and we lost power. I wasn't sure what was happening, so I let Kathy walk to the lighthouse while I checked the bike. Another bicyclist, Dave, stopped to help me and we figured out that my hub was not engaging. Unfortunately, that's a problem that most bike shops can't solve for us, especially little bike shops on the Oregon coast. Our tandem uses a relatively rare hub that will probably need to be specially ordered.

Dave generously volunteered to ride back into town and then pick us up with his truck. While we waited we walked around the lighthouse, which has a great view of the coastline. It was pretty, but a little harder for me to enjoy while knowing that our bike trip had suddenly ended. Dave owns a pharmacy in Tillamook, and one of his employees (she may have been his wife) gave Daniel a little stuffed bear. Sara was planning to meet us in Gleneden Beach tonight, but she met us in Tillamook instead and drove us to Gleneden. It was a beautiful day, and I would have loved bicycling. Our mechanical problems led to other problems because, at some point during the loading and unloading of our bicycle gear, I lost my sunglasses. Kathy handles these situations better than I do. I may try to get our bike repaired in Portland, but it probably makes more sense to spend the rest of our vacation hiking, and fix the bike at home.

Dairy cows near Tillamook.

A beach between the Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Bay.

The Cape Meares lighthouse. It was commissioned in 1890 and decommissioned in 1963, and it still has its original fresnel lens. When it first began operating, light came from a 5-wick oil lamp mounted inside the lens.

Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, an important nesting area for seabirds. The rocks were made a wildlife refuge to prevent boaters from shooting the birds for sport.

Tall rocks off Cape Meares.

Loading our broken bicycle into Dave's truck.


Page 1: Columbia River Gorge and biking to Seaside
Page 2: Biking from Seaside to Cape Meares
Page 3: Museums, Forest Park, and Mount Saint Helens