Bicycle Adventures Oregon Coast Tour, 2006

August 23, 2006, Wednesday

Lincoln City to Newport, OR

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Today's ride was one of the most scenic of the tour. It was a short day, 25 miles between two tourist destinations, Lincoln City and Newport. In between was some of the most scenic shoreline, probably in the world.

We would ride for a few miles then turn in to the next state park or scenic overlook. The shoreline was mostly steep slopes with jagged outcrops sticking up just offshore. At several of the stops we saw crowds of people clustered around pointing at the Gray Whales surfacing just offshore. The whales are migrating from their calving grounds in the Arctic, heading south to waters off the coast of Mexico. At one cove just north of Depoe Bay we spotted some harbor seals basking in the rare rays of sun. Despite being on a narrow shoulder next to a guardrail with speeding traffic inches away, we stopped to take a few photos.

Glass blowing demo at Alder House.Alder HouseGray Whale surfacing and blowing.
Kerie at Depoe Bay.Harbor seals near Depoe Bay.Bikes get their share of the road.

Much of the ride was along Route 101. We encountered a few logging trucks, but the traffic consisted mostly of pickup trucks hauling trailers, RV's, and other tourists. Most were respectful and gave us plenty of room, except where the shoulder ran out and we were forced onto the main lanes of the road. Unless we rode in the middle of the lane, we were given little room.

We started the day with a continental breakfast at the Shilo Inn supplemented by yogurt, fruit and cereal provided by the guides. Since it was a short day of riding, we were encouraged to take our time getting to the motel in Newport so that by the time we arrived our rooms would be ready. The first planned stop was 3.5 miles outside of town at Mossy Creek Pottery, a pottery shop owned by a local potter. The work of several other NorthWest potter's was also on display. Nearby was a glassblowing shop, Alder House Glassblowing, where we talked to one of the owners who was demonstrating the art of glassblowing while making a globe and an oil burning pot.

At Boiler Bay Scenic Viewpoint we stopped for snacks from the van and our first sighting of whales. There were several that were milling about. I expected to see them much further offshore, heading down to Mexico for the winter. Instead they appeared to be grazing on the local plankton and small seafood, passing back and forth, periodically surfacing and blowing water.

The best part of the ride was along Otter Crest Loop Road. Among the sights was Yaquina Head Natural Area, one of the few natural areas on the coast managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The 134 year old lighthouse is located at the end of a new road and the public is now allowed to climb to the top. Just before the lighthouse was a well-conceived visitors center that told the story of the lighthouse and the surrounding tidal areas, one of which was “built” by BLM from the remains of an old stone quarry. There is a ramp leading down to the tidal pools and there are regular guided tours with explanations of the many kinds of wildlife that have inhabited the area.

Another interesting sight along the route was Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area, a rock formation in the shape of a bowl that was created by wave action over many years. We saw whales here as well, just offshore.

Cape FoulweatherDevils PunchbowlBruce with Yaquina Head Lighthouse in the background.
Kerie on her chopper.Yaquina Head LighthouseKeire with Yaquina Bay Bridge in the background.

We returned to 101 for a few miles of roaring traffic but were soon on another back road, Oceanview Dr, that ran parallel to 101 and was very calm. Just before our hotel we stopped in Nye Beach to check out Stephanie's restaurant, which was recommended for lunch. Since it was closed so we headed to the motel, a Shilo Inn on the beach. It was 4:00 and we had still not had any lunch. We were starving. We checked in and gorged on the free apples and cookies at the front desk.

After checking in, we decided to continue riding to lunch/dinner at the Rogue Ales Public House in old Newport where we had good pizza, clam chowder, and beer cheese soup. We talked to a gentleman from Vancouver, BC at the adjoining table. He was down for some R&R, driving a new Smart Car, a micro car soon to be introduced to the states by Chrysler/Mercedes Benz.

Old Town Newport harbor.Sea lions in Old Town Newport.Old Town Newport harbor.

The short ride after the meal was great; the evening sun shone on the many commercial fishing boats in the harbor, the seals were calling from their perch on the stone wall, and we had a nice tailwind for our short ride along Bay Rd. (not to mention the slight buzz from the microbrew).

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