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Day 121: A Rare Sunny Day

38.74 miles

Bridge across Yaquina River, Newport, OR

Bridge across Yaquina River, Newport, OR

One problem with staying in motels is that sometimes you have noisy neighbors.  Last night we had a guy next door yelling at his kid to “lie down and go to sleep!” because the kid was bawling his head off.  This father of the year actually told the kid that if he didn’t stop crying they’d all leave and he’d be left there alone.  I can’t imagine why that threat didn’t lull the kid to sleep.  Anyway, the weather was nice this morning as we left Newport.  We were riding on busy highway 101 most of the day, but I didn’t notice the traffic too much.  I guess the shoulder was wide enough to give me some peace of mind.

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Day 120: Oregon Coast Aquarium

One reason why I booked our room here at the Comfort Inn in Newport was because they have a laundry room on-site.  I didn’t want a repeat of the day in Astoria where we wasted time running to the laundromat when we could have been sightseeing.  Last night after we arrived we did our laundry at the hotel to ensure we had today free.  We both were looking forward to visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium here in Newport.  There’s another marine research facility in town that also sounded interesting, but they’re closed on Wednesdays, so off to the Aquarium we went.

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Day 119: Newport

Otter Crest Viewpoint

View from Otter Crest looking south

30.2 miles

It rained hard overnight, so I was very glad we shared the yurt with Allison and Kameron. They left early, but we waited out the lingering showers this morning while we had pancakes for breakfast. Our ride was not too difficult today, and at one point turned off of US101 onto the old highway. I enjoyed the ride up a big hill with a dedicated bike lane and road traffic paralleling us only in the southbound direction for about two  miles to the top. We stopped at the Otter Crest Wayside at the top to take in the view and enjoy a dark chocolate bar reward. In the distance we could just see Yaquina Head Light through the mist.

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Day 118: Columbus Day

44.57 miles

There were six bike tourists, including us, in the hiker/biker area of Cape Lookout State Park last night.  We all traded phone numbers last night in case we wanted to meet up later today to share a yurt at Devil’s Lake State Park near Lincoln City.  The weather forecast was calling for rain so nobody wanted to deal with camping in the rain.  A couple guys got on the road before us and then we left camp before another couple who are heading to L.A.  We had to climb several miles right at the start to get up and over the ridge near Cape Lookout.  Then we had a fun descent down into Pacific City.  As we rolled into town we noticed two other bike tourists up the road ahead of us.  It wasn’t the guys from camp last night because they were sitting at a sidewalk cafe nearby.  Must be a couple other bike tourists heading south.

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Day 117: Point Lookout State Park

38.8 miles

Near Wheeler, OR

River Bonsai

We left the Bunkhouse Motel this morning under cool, cloudy skies. We traveled south and inland a bit around Nehalem Bay, where a few boats were out fishing. I think the salmon are running, because there sure have been a lot of boats on every river, bay and tributary that we’ve seen along the coast. We also saw a cool ‘life size bonsai’ in the river. An old tree trunk beached in the river has become its own little ecosystem. We had second breakfast in the tiny town of Wheeler and then pushed on south towards Tillamook.

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Day 116: Starting the Oregon Coast Bike Route

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Looking back at Washington across the Columbia River

43.1 miles

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.

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Day 115: Where does the time go?

5 miles

Astoria Riverfront

Astoria Riverfront

Ah, a rest day.  How we were looking forward to relaxing and taking in the sights of Astoria, Oregon.  We slept in kinda late, which might have been our first mistake if we were hoping to get any sightseeing done today.  We went downtown for a “quick” brunch which ended up taking much too long and before we knew it the morning was almost gone.  Crap!  And we still had to get some laundry done today.  We went back to our motel to get our bikes and ride the couple miles to the nearest laundromat.  Along the bike path I was careless and smacked one of my panniers into a wooden post and broke part of the mounting hardware.  Double crap!!

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Day 114: Foggy Crossing to Oregon

48.8 miles

Willapa Bay mud flats

Willapa Bay mud flats

When we looked at our route for today, there wasn’t much at all along the way.  We were going to have to ride almost 50 miles to reach Astoria, Oregon.  And there’s only one very small town along the way with a possible grocery or convenience store.  With that in mind we made an early departure from our motel in South Bend, Washington.  The morning was slightly foggy and looking out over the mud flats of Willapa Bay gave the eerie impression that the earth dropped away past the expanse of mud.

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Day 113: Around Willapa Bay

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Willapa Bay Tidal Flats

33.67 miles

After cereal for breakfast, we left the Walsh Beach Motel in the cool fogginess of the morning. The shoulder wasn’t very big, but it was comfortable enough for us and the little bit of traffic and the few logging trucks we encountered. The fog lifted pretty quickly and the sun warmed us nicely as we cruised along Willapa Bay, passing through the Shoalwater Indian Reservation. We caught glimpses of open tidal flats all the way around and upriver to the town of Raymond. Raymond is another town whose fortunes have come and gone with the lumber trade. According to our guide book there were once as many as twenty timber mills on the river in Raymond, but now there are only one or two. We crossed the Willapa river and picked up a bike trail for a short way west again to South Bend, and the Seaquest Motel for the night.

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Day 112: A Foggy Day

23.86 miles

Thanks to a shot of Nyquil before bed, we both slept very soundly last night.  It was rather foggy in Aberdeen this morning, so we stayed in our room doing some writing until almost 11.  By then the sun was shining and we stopped for groceries before saying goodbye to Aberdeen.  Given the sad state of this town, I’m not surprised to learn Kurt Cobain is from here.  It makes me wonder what kind of music he might have created had he been from somewhere less depressing.

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Day 111: Short Day to Aberdeen

14.8 miles

Yesterday, I mentioned to Alan that my throat felt a little scratchy, and he commented that he felt the same. We both woke up this morning feeling under the weather, stuffy heads and sore throats. Needless to say neither of us had the most restful of nights in the tent, so we decided to do a short ride to Aberdeen, and stay the night indoors in a motel there. Camping under the trees at Lake Sylvia resulted in a very heavy dew overnight, and it took a while for the sun to penetrate the trees and shine on our tent to dry it. We didn’t leave the campground until noon, a very late start, even for the two of us!

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Day 110: To Lake Sylvia State Park

41.2 miles

After breakfast we biked out of the Shelton Inn and onto some local roads, aiming for the town of Elma. There was a steep bit of climbing right away, but then the road leveled out and we had a nice ride without too much traffic. We arrived in Elma and thought we would camp at the Travel Inn RV Resort, but after giving it some thought, we decided to press on to the town of Montesano and Lake Sylvia State Park. We had to give it some thought because going this way takes us off the ACA Pacific Coast Maps for a little while, to allow us to take a more direct route to the coast. Instead, we’ll be using a book called Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall as our guide. We’ll link up the the ACA route again farther down the coast in Astoria, Oregon. We found a park in Elma to have lunch and discuss the route change. We both wanted to get to some more scenic riding and we agreed that making a beeline for the coast using the book route was the way to do it.

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