Aug 30: Beverly Beach State Park to Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park (44.5 miles)

It drizzled and dripped all night but I was warm and dry in my tent. I got up for an early start to see if maybe I could go farther than my planned ride, however I was forced to deal with my first mechanical failure: a flat rear tire. I had noticed the rear tire needed regular pumping to get it back to the 70 PSI – it was often down to 40, as was the case at lunch yesterday and again when I pulled into camp last night. Well, the slow leak turned into a fast one. I used the REI-provided workstation in the campsite to hold my bike while I removed the wheel. I scanned the tire but did not see anything obvious. I then removed the tire and started looking for anything embedded from the inside. Sure enough there was a steel wire entering the tire at an acute angle. I pulled it through:

One of the hazards of riding with the debris on the side of the road. I realized it has been years since I changed a bicycle tire, but I got a new tube in and remembered to orient the tire so it rotates the correct direction on the wheel. I pumped it up and off I went into the wet, foggy morning.

Nearby, and only a mile off my route is a photogenic lighthouse, but as I approached the turnoff all I could see down the road was the white of the fog. Oh well.

I was thinking of stopping at the first town, Newport, for some warm coffee and breakfast. I found a $10 bill on the way into town, so that sealed the deal. I like a simple breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. No such thing here… The closest I got was a Belgium Waffle with bacon in it and a scrambled egg on top. It worked.

Back on the road I passed by grass covered sand dunes. You may have to just trust on this, because the weather was not cooperating with photography.

The bridge into Waldport was very interesting: a combination of steel and cement arches

The entrance to Waldport Bay was clogged with small boats sporting fishermen- I’m guessing the Salmon are running.

It started drizzling soon after I left Waldport and the fog level dropped and increased the overall humidity. If that was not enough, a north-bound headwind developed to add to the fun. Needless to say, I did not get any decent photo opportunities the rest of the day.

It was a long last 15 miles to Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, and when I arrived, I knew I was done for the day. My clothes are soaked and I’m feeling tired. A hot shower and lunch sounds good.

I set up my tent and put my soaking wet rain fly on it. I guess I’m getting the gist of rain camping. Not loving it though…

On the bright side, rain brings out the mushrooms

Thanks for reading!

Aug 29: Cape Lookout State Park to Beverly Beach State Park (64.4 miles)

Last night the fog rolled in before sunset and soon the trees were scraping moisture from it and dripping on the campsite. I now roll up the vestibule footprint when not in use to prevent water getting under the tent. It worked!

As it was still drizzling outside, I repacked my panniers in the tent and then emerged to pack up the wet tent. It looks like today may be foggy, so I may not get a chance to let it dry before having to set it up again.

My route is south along the coast on the Oregon Coast Bicycle Route. The morning ride is on quieter highways with little to no shoulder but also light traffic. I will meet up with US 101 again for some of the afternoon ride.

Although foggy the views are still pretty cool

At breakfast I met a delightful couple, Ryan and Laura from New Zealand. They are biking from Portland to San Francisco. I got to ride much of the afternoon with them before they continued on to a campsite further south than mine. I really appreciated their taking the lead and letting me draft for a while. We had a surprising headwind heading south and my legs were feeling tired..

The sun came out for a bit while I was climbing the second of three big hills today. Happily all the hills are on less used roads so there was little to no traffic while climbing and descending.

The fog returned in the early afternoon but I was still able to capture a few good ocean beach shots

I arrived at camp around 5 and setup my tent. The rain fly is very wet on the inside and outside. I’m learning that things don’t dry on the Oregon Coast- I’m used to the PCT where even if it rains things will dry on their own pretty quickly. Liz, an east-coast girl, says I need to get over my aversion o wet tents. I guess she is right, as I am inside my very wet tent, warm and dry while the fog/drizzle continues.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 28: Nehalem Bay State Park to Cape Lookout State Park (44.1 miles)

A little after publishing yesterday’s blog, I was reading a book in my campsite when I heard whistling behind me. I turned around and watched a herd of elk pass by.

How cool is that?

I also caught the sunset on trees that made them look on fire

I slept in today as it will be a low mileage, easy day because tomorrow is a 60+ miles with three big hills day. Ugh.

I was in Rockaway Beach just in time to see the steam engined Oregon Coast Scenic Railway

There are also rental four-seater, four-wheeled bicycles that run on the old railroad tracks.

The Tillamook Bay was low tide as I passed by

And I passed by the Tillamook Cheese operation as well

I ate lunch at the Pelican Brewery in downtown Tillamook. I chose the fish and chips, and one of their fine hoppy IPAs as well

I arrived at Cape Lookout in the early afternoon and explored the beach sights

The hiker/biker sites are right on the coast – all I hear is the crashing of waves!

I’ve been playing camping tag with Roger for a few days now. I finally got a photo of him. He’ most recently from Redding, Ca where he owned a printing business but decided to sell it, his house and pretty much all that does not fit on his bike. He’s been traveling this way for going on two years now! He was biking around Idaho until the smoke was too much and headed to the west coast to get better air. He’s headed to So Cal for his son’s wedding in October.? Go Roger!

Aug 27: Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria to Nehalem State Park (40.8 miles)

It rained on and off all night and the water seeped onto my tent footprint, sandwiched under the tent and then into the tent. Luckily, it was constrained to under my inflatable sleeping pad and did not get me or my clothes wet. The footprint did a great job keeping the dirt dry though!

My goal today is to cruise down 101 about 40 miles to Nehalem State Park, where hot showers and a hike/biker site awaits!

I headed out early hoping the sun would break through the morning clouds and allow me to dry my wet gear. Just a few miles down the road I got sun and a great drying rack: a fence surrounding a soccer field

I passed through the cute town of Seaside which was the terminus for this year’s Hood to Coast run, a 199 mile relay race that finished on Sunday. Work crews were disassembling the pavilions, but it was still a beautiful view

A bit further down Coast I saw a few of the many sea stacks that the ride through Oregon has to offer

Today’s ride had a few long climbs. I know full well what this sign means: we’re headed uphill!

The views from the bluffs are grand

I also got to pass through a long tunnel on one of the uphill sections. There was a button for me to turn on the “biker in tunnel” light, but the shoulder was very narrow and the echoing engine noises made it difficult to know if something big was coming up behind me. I made it through without problems thanks to patient and attentive drivers.

I stocked up on lunch, dinner and breakfast items at a local health food store and then setup camp. The sun is out and there is a nice breeze to dry off any remaining rain drop on my tent. I feel great after a shower and am ready for tomorrow.

Aug 26: Waiting out the rain in Fort Stevens State Park (0 miles)

The bigger storm is supposed to hit today and while I probably could pack up all my wet gear, bike the 50+ miles to Nehalem State Park, I decided to stay. Packing wed, muddy gear only once sounds like a better plan.

It was still sprinkling when I got up an biked across the street where the KOA has fresh coffee, a nice fire, Wi-Fi and a really friendly KOA Ambassador (greeter). The fire is continually stoked with the leftover unburnt, burnt, and even still-burning logs from vacated campsites.

I ate my granola bars and banana, updated my blog and reading my book.

This KOA is the second largest (Zion being the largest) and hosts 300 campsites and employs 90 people! Before now, I always thought of KOA as Mom-n-Pop run places.

I decided to explore some of the parks sights: the rusting remains of the wreck of the Peter Iredale which ran aground in 1906 (112 years ago!)

And take a walk on the beach

I also visited Battery Russel, built during the Civil War. Here’s the Commander’s Station

And the Battery

It started raining at 4, so I had an early dinner and climbed into the tent to read and have an early bedtime.

Aug 25: Bay Center KOA near Bruceport, WA to Fort Stevens near Astoria, OR (57.2 miles)

I donned my earplugs to help dampen the nearby camper sounds, and it seemed to work. I was asleep before dark. There is a prediction of 40% chance of rain today (and 90% tomorrow), so I got going early. Fun fact: this was the first campground where I did not hear a car alarm go off.

My intended route is to get to Fort Stevens, west of Astoria, Oregon

If rain comes heavy enough I will duck into a campsite at Cape Deception, north of the border.

I proceeded down to the south end of the Willapa Bay. Along the way down I saw my very first porcupine, unfortunately it was roadkill on Hwy 101. It started sprinkling as I reached SeaView, WA, so I stopped for breakfast at a local diner, which seemed to be the only one around. The wait was 20 minutes in the on-and-off sprinkles. Getting a hot cup of coffee did wonders for my chilled bones.

The sprinkling had stopped by the time I finished grocery shopping a block away. This is the point I needed to decide to commit to another 30 miles or roll down the road just a bit to Cape Deception. The name sounded so negative and the sky looked less threatening, so off to Oregon it is!

I had a nice tailwind and generally decent road shoulder to ride on. Best of all, there are no logging trucks and fewer semi trucks today — is that because it is Saturday?

I did check Airbnb to see what a cheap room might cost here– over $200 a night! It turns out this is “Kite Weekend” on the coast and it’s draws a big crowd, even in the rain.

So, off to Astoria! The big deal here is crossing the mouth of the Columbia River : a bridge crossing of a whopping 4.1 miles with about a 2.5 foot shoulder for bikes to ride in.

Plus, the Astoria side throws in a quarter mile 7% grade, just because. There were a bunch of fishing boats out where the current was strong– fishing for salmon, I’m assuming.

I made it to the Astoria side without incident

And I’m now in Oregon! Traffic wouldn’t let me get closer, but that is the official “Welcome to Astoria” sign. I wanted to see Astoria, but was worried about rain so continued on to Fort Stevens to get a campsite.

I arrived at a full campground but (a) the hiker/biker sites are not reservable, and (b) they do not turn away bikers. There’s one other biker camped here. What’s really cool is that REI has funded the installation of bike service areas, including bike pump, bike tools, and lockers with power! Kudos to REI!

It started sprinkling at 5pm so we ate hasty dinners and dove in our tents. I brought a sheet of aft, waterproof Tyvec to shield my bike from rain, but now it seems silly: the bike will get wet anyways if I ride in the rain and now I’ll have to carry a large, wet cloth.

It is now 6pm and raining steadily and supposed to continue to do so through tomorrow evening. Not sure if much biking will be done tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 24: Twin Harbors State Park in Westport to Bay Center KOA near Bruceport (52.3 miles)

Today’s ride is south along the coast and around most of the Willapa bay to a KOA where I can get a shower and do laundry.

I caught a tailwind heading south and east and arrived in Raymond in time for lunch. Along the way I spotted a vulture atop a dead seal,

And later the bay at low tide with people looking for clams

I found a ship that has seen better days

I passed by several oyster boats and processing centers: easy to spot by all the shells

At the KOA I learned how Oysters are raised and collected

It’s the start of a busy weekend on the bay as the tides are favorable to clamming and it’s the last weekend before starts.

Tomorrow it may rain as I continue my southward progression. If all goes as planned I’ll cross the border into Oregon!

Thanks for reading!