Bicycle Adventures Oregon Coast Tour, 2006

August 24, 2006, Thursday

Newport to Florence, OR

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Each day of this trip seems to top the last as far as the scenery encountered along the route. The ride, from Newport to Florence, was mostly along Route 101. Despite the fact that there was a lot of traffic and in some areas logging trucks and a few 18 wheelers, there was some great scenery and riding along the way. Fortunately along a long hilly section of 101 most of the trucks used parallel I-5 to avoid the hills.

After a decent breakfast at the Shilo Inn, we headed out along the Newport beach road, past Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area, and onto Route 101. The first obstacle of the day was the crossing of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, which had no shoulder. We went as a group, with Kim just ahead of us. We were fortunate that there wasn't much traffic. I took the lane so that what little traffic behind us was forced to slow down.

The first stop was at mile 10 at Seal Rock State Recreational Site where we walked down to the tidal pools to wander among the small crabs and star fish below Seal Rock where comorants and seagulls were nesting. Back at the van Alisa was fixing Keith's bike while the various "experts" gave their opinions. Before too long she told everyone to get lost, in her very subtle way.

Kim crossing Yaquina Bay Bridge.Beach at Seal Rock State Recreational SiteBruce with Seal Rock in the background.
Crossing Alsea River Bridge. Road leading to Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site.

It was nice to have a 15-20 mph tailwind for most of the day, making for a high average speed. We breezed along to lunch at Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site near the town of Yachats. A few miles before lunch the road became smooth. During the early part of the day the road had been fairly rough, making for sore hands and loud noises from the passing vehicle tires. Dan was busy making lunch as we arrived, so we walked to the beach observation platform and soaked in the warm rays of the sun.

The picnic tables were in the shade and the cyclists were all sitting on the grass in the sun, so we made the tablecloths into improvised picnic blankets. Lunch tasted great; smoked salmon, guacamole, and cream cheese on bagels.

We headed out mostly together after lunch to do battle with the traffic on 101. We didn't like the looks of the cue sheet “Caution: Start of 1.1 mile uphill along busy road with narrow shoulder.” It was good that we had a light lunch. After the above-mentioned climb, Kerie and I chose to ride the optional climb up Cape Perpetua Viewpiont, a two mile ride on a winding, relatively steep two-lane road. There was little traffic and it wasn't a bad climb. Six of us made the trek and we took a group photo at the top.

The downhill run from the top was ill-timed as we caught up with the slower cars ahead of us. We waited for them to get further down and we descended again. At one point I had to brake hard to avoid going into the oncoming lane. Not knowing the road, it was difficult to judge some of the curves.

Kim, Kate, Justin, Melissa, Joanna, Kerie, and Sandy.Atop Cape PerpetuaCape Perpetua Crew (Joanna, Darren, Kerie, Bruce, Kate, Justin).
Logging truck on Route 101.Haceta Head LighthouseView of Haceta Head Lighthouse from 101.

We returned to 101 to contend with more logging trucks. After another 10 miles or so on 101 we came to a parking lot at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. This is the most photographed lighthouse on the coast. It's visible from 101, and there are several good angles from above and below the lighthouse from the hiking trail leading there. After the lighthouse we gathered at the entrance to the next tunnel where Alisa used the van for a running roadblock as we raced through.

Just beyond the tunnel is a viewpoint from which we saw nearly a hundred sea lions basking in the sun on the rocks and beach below. The final run into Florence was fast along a newly paved stretch of 101 with the wind at our backs. We made one stop to see the Carniverous Plant Exhibit at Darlingtonia State Natural Site, then sprinted for the motel. We had a room on the beach at the Driftwood Shores Resort, facing the wide, hard-packed beach. We cut short our walk on the beach because we were freezing and windblown from the fierce north wind.

Sea Lions north of Sea Lion Cave.Darlingtonia State Natural SiteDarlingtonia sign.

That evening the guides hosted a wine and cheese party. They also handed out Bicycle Adventures hats or t-shirts to the riders. Steve and Sharon had stopped along the way and found some unique gifts that they handed out to the guides. We then headed to Bridgewater Restaurant in Old Town Florence for our last meal together as a group. Fortunately the guides had taken our orders a few days earlier, so we avoided the dreaded bike tour dinner marathon.

Tomorrow is a short day of about 30 miles before we shuttle to Eugene.

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