Alan and I got up and moving reasonably early this morning: we actually had the bikes loaded up and were leaving the Columbia Inn, in Astoria before 9:00 am. On our way out of town, we stopped under the Astoria bridge, which was completely visible today, all 4.2 miles of it back to Washington. We decided to follow the Oregon Coast Bike Route on US101, south towards the town of Cannon Beach. The ACA route wandered a bit inland, and I felt like we should make faster progress south. Supposedly the route is well-signed, and for south-bound travelers, the shoulder should be a little wider. We’re expecting a few days of steady rain coming and it seems like we might stay drier the farther south we get.
At first it was pretty level biking today, and we took a diversion to get off of US101 for a little while, biking through a lovely beach front community. We biked into the town of Seaside to have lunch at a little coffee shop. Seaside is a beach tourist town, reminding me of places in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We rode through town to get to the beach front to have a look at the ocean and found a statue commemorating the End of the Trail for Lewis and Clark’s voyage. The statue depicts the two men, as well as Lewis’s Newfoundland dog, Seaman. Apparently he was the only dog to make the entire trip, even surviving a beaver bite requiring surgery, as well as capture by Indians. I only know this because a woman at the coffee shop quizzed me about it while we were eating lunch. I failed, of course, but Wikipedia has brought me up to speed. The surf on the Pacific Ocean was quite big today and the weather service had issued a warning for sneaker waves. I never heard that term before and we looked all day for the elusive sneaker wave, running up the beach to snatch somebody, but never saw one.
After Seaside, we were back on US101 and started the first big climb of the day, up and over about 500 feet to get to the town of Cannon Beach. We saw more lovely views of the ocean and spotted Haystack Rock. A sign told us that tufted puffins nest there, but with the distance to the rock and no binoculars, we couldn’t have spotted any, even if there were puffins to be seen. After Cannon Beach we stopped a few more times for beautiful views of the ocean and more sea stacks, those broken off bits of the coast that stand out in the ocean. After Cannon Beach we had two more big climbs of about 500 feet each, and both had fun descents, but traffic was pretty busy today. I’m hoping that during the week it will be a bit quieter. We also rode through one of the longer tunnels on US101. We hit the button that trips flashing lights that alert drivers to the presence of bicyclists in the tunnel and then hustled through. Which was uphill!
We stopped near the top of the final hill before descending into the town of Manzanita. There was a beautiful place to pull out overlooking the ocean, and we rested there, soaking in the views before finishing the hill. At the bottom of the hill, we pulled into the north end of Manzanita to find a place to stay for the night. We struck out with a couple places we tried by phone, but then found that the Bunkhouse Motel had some openings. It’s a tiny motel, with maybe 10 rooms, but they are quite nice and there’s a restaurant on site where we had dinner. There’s also a candy shop at the end of the row of rooms. I poked my head in to find the man who runs it working on wrapping caramels. We bought some fudge and a caramel for Alan and called it a night. Tomorrow we’ll continue on south, probably taking a scenic side route for more time on the ocean.