Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day Three: Tillamook to Florence

(back-dated post … actually posted on 8/3/2009 at 6pm)

A few things that I missed from Day Two:  We entered Oregon.  We visited Astoria, where the classic film Goonies was filmed.  We picked up a paper copy of the excellent Oregon Coast Cycling Map (can also try this link).  We met Lisa from Canada who was getting ready to abandon her ride-mates because they weren’t riding fast enough.

As for Day Three, we caught the southern half of the scenic Three Capes Route after departing Tillamook.  I heard good things from other riders about the northerly part of this route, too, but we didn’t go there b/c we had a hotel in Tillamook.

My dad and I parted ways at Agate Beach near Newport.  He drove back home and I got to start carrying all of my gear.  The bike definitely feels different with full panniers and a tent!  From Chehalis (mile 110) to Newport (mile 350), I’d only carried an “emergency bag” with a few tools and some extra food.  Now the bike felt like a tank.

I covered 80 miles in the “morning,” before the hand-off, then 50 more with the full load.  I arrived in Florence around 6:30 or 7 and got my first taste of hiker-biker camping.

The Oregon facilities were fantastic.  The main campground at Jessie M Honeyman State Park was full but they had a special area set aside for hikers and bikers.  I learned during this trip that such “hiker-biker" sites” always have room for one more traveler.  So you can work your way down the coast and always know that you’ll have a place to sleep.  Hiker-biker camping in Oregon costs $4 per person per night and many sites have free hot showers.  Check the aforementioned Oregon Coast Cycling Map for more info.

I also gave away my spare tire that day.  I came upon two cyclists about 100-110 miles into my ride and they were having trouble with a tire that kept getting flat.  They were going to try to get my a replacement tire eventually but I told them not to stress too much if we didn’t meet up again, as I figured good karma is always a good thing.

Here are some details and pictures.  I used my digital camera for most of the day, until its batteries died and I swtiched to the cell phone camera.  Later in the trip, I filled up the memory card on my digital camera nad had to use the cell phone full-time … except when it ran out of batteries.  It is tough to charge a phone when you are camping, but we took advantage of outlets in restaurants and in the bathrooms/showers at the campsites.

9:47am: some trees beside the road, with the ocean behind.  You can’t really see the ocean.


9:56-9:58: the beach and scenery near Cape Kiwanda, along the Three Capes Route.

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Posting these pictures reminds me that the extensive hours spent on the bike gave me lots of time to practice various “on the bike” skills – putting on or removing clothing, eating, … other tasks that nature requires … I was especially proud when I managed to remove both knee warmers while riding.  Yes, I had to unclip, but I kept rolling.

10:00am: I liked the large number of locations on this directional sign.  I also wanted to make sure to get one of the “Oregon Coast Bike Route” signs onto my blog.  They had these every few miles along the route, and they also marked every turn.  The route mainly follows US-101 but near some towns and some hills they recommend scenic and/or peaceful side routes.  I took most of the side routes and was always happy with my decision.


10:06am: trying to take a picture of Pacific City behind me.  It is a small resort town near Cape Kiwanda.  Seemed to be more activity there than in some other coastal towns – some new condos and townhouses, too.


10:09am: more pictures of the countryside near Pacific City, still on the Three Capes Scenic Route

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10:26am: back onto the 101.  More traffic, but the scenery is still nice.  Note the reasonably wide shoulder.  This tended to be the case through almost all of Oregon.  The map tells you which stretches will have a more narrow shoulder.


11:51am: I made a wrong turn while trying to follow the side route near Lincoln City.  I thought that this foggy end-of-the-road described my situation rather vividly.  For other travelers – car traffic into Lincoln City seemed terribly congested on this Saturday at the end of July.  Not a problem for bikes … but if you ever go there by car or if you have a follow car, be forwarned.


12:02pm: back onto the 101.  I guess I got un-lost rather easily.  These rocks on the beach looked cool.

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12:04pm: sometimes you just feel like taking a picture of the road.  There may have been something remarkable about this shot at the time … but I was probably just thinking, “ah, the scenery looks nice.  Sunny … lots of green … reasonably smooth road …”


12:32pm: Arch Rock, in the town of Depoe Bay. This looked so cool that I actually pulled off the road into a restaurant parking lot in order to try and get a better look.

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12:39pm: more shots in Depoe Bay.  There was a severe heat wave inland which generated a bit more fog than usual along the coast.  While our friends in Seattle were baking in the 103-degree heat, we were wearing jackets and building campfires at night to stay warm.

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1:01-1:09pm: I highly recommend the Otter Crest Loop, a side route just south of Depoe Bay.  Incredible views. The road was narrow and one-way for cars so it was a rather pleasant ride.

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1:20pm: after rejoining 101 you go past some beaches before entering Newport

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1:33pm: Welcome to Newport


2:23pm: some bridge shrouded in fog … I’m not sure exactly where this was … but there were a few very cool-looking bridges in Oregon … many had even cooler-looking bays off to the east but I couldn’t snap any pictures while riding over the busier bridges.

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2:56pm: this might be my favorite picture from the entire trip.  “Don’t you ever forget!” (Parental Advisory on the song lyrics)


3:06pm: more beach


3:24pm: more road, with another bridge coming up


3:58pm: a small town that I rode through … I think this is Yachats … the views back from across the inlet were really pretty, with the afternoon sun ‘n’at … then the side road went past some rocky beaches before rejoining 101.

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4:07pm: there are trees along the road. I should take a picture.

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4:20pm: this is what my fully-loaded bike looks like.  Behind it you’ll see more scenic beach/rocks/etc.

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4:24pm: more rocks and water and stuff


4:36pm: check out the fog rolling up over the hills


5:13pm: See sea lions on the rocks below, just after the Heceta Head tunnel.  There were also some Sea Caves nearby but I was getting very tired and didn’t want to stop.  Lame.  But the sea lions were barking up a terrific frenzy of noise.

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6pm: roll into Florence.  Of course the campground is a mile or two past town

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So on Day Three I rode about 130 miles, for round numbers.  80 without most of my gear and 50 with it.

I didn’t take any pictures at the campground, apparently.  Honeyman was a nice spot.  Very warm showers.  The hiker-biker site was separated from the car & RV campers a bit more than at some of the other parks, so it was nice to have a bit more peace and quiet.  This was probably the most crowded hiker/biker site that we camped at – 10 to 12 cyclists, IIRC.  Some of the guys had wood for a fire so we sat around and chatted a bit.  A few guys were cooking/warming their dinners over the fire. 

Vaibhav and Maris rolled in sometime after 10 and we all went to sleep, eager to start the next phase of our journey.


  1. i'm on a BOAT motherfucker

    yea that has been in my head for weeks. actually being on a boat on somewhat regular intervals is helping.

    are you home yet?!!

  2. Just got home this morning. We boxed up our bikes in san jose, flew to sea-tac, jumped on the 560 bus to bellevue ... and then reassembled our bikes at the bus stop, disposed of the boxes and proudly rode in to work this morning! Rock!

  3. Pretty awesome pics out near Cape Kiwanda. Great posting series, thanks for sharing.