Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: Back to Portland

Finally caught up with the blog posts of the Oregon Coast Ride. The night went OK. I setup the tent at dusk behind some trees out of sight from the street and neighbors. I was a little worried about the neighbors not knowing what was going on but nobody bothered me. I got up and tore down the tent at the crack of dawn and left the area. For the morning wash-up I stopped by the public restrooms at the tourist information again.

At the bus stop and Porter Stage Lines office quite a few people gathered to ride the bus. Quite a bit of the discussion was about the bad economy in this area and that the logging restrictions/environmentalism is the major cause of it. It was surreal riding on the bus and seeing how quickly we rode through most of yesterdays ride. In Eugene I purchased the Amtrak bus ticket to Portland and had a delicious brunch at the Morning Glory Cafe right next to the station.

The next week I spend mostly working with my team at the hotel but I did get some nice rides in. One morning I did a loop along the Willamette River. Another morning I rode up to the Japanese and Rose Garden and looped around Washington Park and Hoyt Arboretum.

Portland Rose Garden

Oh, and for my next adventure I'll probably start writing daily paper blogs and then publishing them after the trip. Writing blogs on an android phone is near to impossible and I can't upload full resolution photos with labels. Also tweeting caused me issues as so many tweets failed to be send. So I ended up writing most of the blog a couple weeks after the ride which is not ideal. I guess low tech is the way to go in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: No Room at the Inn

Bennie and Julie invited to ride with them today. Our speeds are fairly similar. The only times I lagged behind was going down hill. At around 16 mph I top out with pedaling and rely purely on coasting. My bike also didn't seem to coast as fast as theirs but with 16 inch wheels I really didn't need to go any faster. From my GPS track it looks like the top speed was about 28 mph on the monster hill of Thursday.

Julie and Benny.

Quite a bit of today's ride was away from the ocean. Either through the forest or behind the large sand dunes.

Sand dune.

Ben and Julie on highway 101.

At the end of the day we had to cross the Coos Bay bridge. We pushed the bikes along the narrow sidewalk of this huge bridge. At the middle of the bridge I dropped a flower and watched it's way to the water. It was amazing to see how long it took because the bridge was so tall. After the bridge I bid farewell to Benny and Julie as they continued on to the next state park. I kind of envied them for being able to continue on, especially since the next section would be away from highway 101. But I needed to head back to Portland tomorrow and attend to the real business of my trip to Oregon. Yes, I'll have to do some real work.

Obligatory bike route sign photo.

Julie and Benny checking out the monster bridge we need to cross.

Getting a bus ride is apparently quite simple.  You just pay the Porter Stage Line driver and then get the Amtrak ticket in Eugene to continue to Portland.

The tricky part is that the bus leaves at 7:15am and all state parks and campsites are pretty far away.  The RV park right next to the Casino in Coos Bay doesn't allow any tents.  Neither does the city in any of their parks.  Hotels are all full with the exception for some suites that have prices that should pay a taxi to Portland.

Arrived at Coos Bay

Tugboats in Coos Bay

When asking the pastor at the local Catholic church if he knew a place to pitch a tent, the church had a pretty nice grassy courtyard, he suggested the local shelter.

After having been turned down by hotels and the RV park I was going toward the shelter.  On the way I rode through a residential area and saw Tim working on an inflatable boat in his yard.  I tried my luck and asked him if he'd knew anywhere or anybody that would let me pitch a tent for the night.  I told him my story about having ridden down the coast and catching a bus at 7 in the morning.  He offered the open lot across the street.  I asked if it's really OK with the owner and he assured that it is.

I went back to downtown and the boardwalk where I could use the public restroom and cooked my last freeze dried meal for dinner before heading back to the open lot at sunset.

Day 4: 75 miles
Carl Washburne State Park to Coos Bay

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: Surfing USA

Today I rode by myself again.  In the morning I passed a surf shop that wasn't open but had a photo-op place outside by the road. Today's ride was pretty nice as the road goes close to the ocean.  I set a pleasurable pace and stopped here and there.  I once went out on a sandy beach, wanting to push the bike along the beach for a while but I just got the bike sandy.  The tide was coming in and the beach wouldn't have been great to go a distance along it.  So it was back to the road again.

Brompton out on the surf.

Siletz Bay.

The Pacific coast.

Self portrait.

I'm not sure if Depoe Bay does really have the smallest harbor, it still looked kind of big to me, but it has an impressive narrow entrance through rock walls over which the 101 bridge spans.

If the sign says so it must be true.
The Otter Crest Loop south of Depoe Bay was the best stretch to ride.  It runs parallel to 101 and due to it's narrowness is primarily a one-way street.  Barely any traffic was on that road and no trucks or RVs.  The scenery and view were gorgeous there as well.  I wish the whole Pacific route could be like that.

One way street parallel to 101 and the best
section I rode.

More Pacific coast.

Look at that, the laundry got dry.

Cycling along highway 101.

Not only did I meet up again with Bennie and Julie at the Carl Washburne state park but I also met Christopher ( who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The ride along the Pacific is quite humbling. No matter how huge of an adventure you think you're undertaking it's puny compared to other people's.  This is especially so on the well traveled Pacific coast route.  But it's also quite exciting to meet with these people and exchange stories after a day of traveling.

Hiker/Biker Camp at Carl Washburne State Park.

Day 3: 63 miles
Devil's Lake State Park to Carl Washburne State Park

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: Jungle Trees

With the fog over night nothing dries. Even my helmet pads that were dry in the evening are soaked in the morning thanks to the salt deposits from sweat. Not much one can do about the helmet but to dry clothing you'd just have to hang them out on your bike and become a moving clothing line.

Daily clothes drying ritual.

Views along the road while crossing a monster hill.

Devil's Lake state park is quite neat as it's nestled in the middle of Lincoln City by a lake.  Right across the street (Hwy 101) is the ocean.  So after setting the tent up I headed over there to stroll a little along the beach.

Lincoln City beach.

Message to home.

Proof that I was really there.

At the campsite I meet several other cyclist.  A guy with a trailer did down and up loop along the coast and was on his way back home.  He considered this a training ride for a bigger and more remote ride to come.  That at least was his excuse for hauling way more than needed.  Surprisingly he slept in quite late the next morning.

Two college guys from Eugene, OR were on their first little tour.  Hey went ultra light, as they didn't bring a sleeping mat or tent.  They just rolled their sleeping bags out and slept in the open.

Also at the camp site were Bennie and Julie which I meet earlier in the day. They are riding from Portland to San Fransisco. We rode together up and down the monster hill of about 750 vertical feet. Surprisingly it wasn't as bad as I'd expected and we did the up and down in about 35 minutes. All of that on US Highway 101 since the Slab Creek Road route is closed.

Hiker-biker campsite at Devil's Lake

Day 2: 58 miles
Barview County Park to Devil's Lake State Park

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: What a Wreck

Frank cooked me oatmeal and tea before we headed for the Peter Iredale shipwreck right at the Fort Stevens state park.  A nice asphalt trail leads to it as well as the rest of the park.  Its a really nice park and wouldn't mind to spend there a long weekend with the family.  The kids would really like it.

Video of the shipwreck in eerie fog.

Onboard the Iredale.

The remnants show the size of the ship.

I rode with Frank a portion of the day. We stopped together for lunch in Cannon Beach and went through the Arch Cape tunnel.  Frank decided it was better to push the bike through the tunnel.  I looked for a large gap in the traffic and rode quickly through the tunnel.  Only a couple cars passed me at the end.

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach.

Frank emerging from the Arch Cape tunnel.

Apropos traffic, it's horrible on highway 101.  There was lots of traffic especially midday when the weather was nice.  Nobody is giving any room to bicyclist or slowing down.  Drivers ignore you totally and would run you over if you're in their way.  Trucks and especially RVs are the worst because of their size.  Sometimes they themselves barely fit on the road.  Certainly not a bicycle friendly route even though it's marked as such and a major Adventure Cycling Association route.  The road itself varies from smooth wide shoulder to no shoulder and ruff and patched road.  It's certainly not as nice and relaxing as riding Iowa rural highways.  In the morning and evening the fog reduced visibility but traffic was lighter so I actually felt safer during those times.  I could bitch quite a bit about the traffic but I won't just as I had to focus myself on the other things during the ride as not to get into a crappy mood throughout the ride.

The loaded Brompton taking a rest.

View of Nehalem Bay

Highway 101

Due to a bad knee Frank took it slow up hills, often pushing his bicycle.  The reduced gearing on the Brompton did exceptionally well on the hills and I lost Frank soon after the tunnel.  I stopped at the top of the second, the highest hill of the day, to wait for him.  But after writing a postcard and enjoying the view I decided to continue on.

I stayed overnight at Barview Jetty county campground and I didn't like it as much as any of the state parks that I stayed during the trip.  The hiker/bikers campsites weren't together so it's not easy to socialize with each other.  The campsites themselves were sandy which is quite messy.  Also you have the extra cost of the showers, which are coin operated like a car wash.

Sand sledding hill at Barview county park

Sandy camping site.

Day 1: 55 miles
Fort Stevens State Park to Barview County Park

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oregon Coast Ride: Reached the Coast

Portland, Oregon is where I will spend a week for work.  To spice the trip up a little I added some personal days up front to ride my Brompton folding bike down the coast.  This is the first of several blog entries about the bike tour.

Flying always seem to cause a long day. Got up at 4 am to catch my flight out to Portland and after a long layover there I made camp at Fort Stephens State Park at about 10pm.

Bike in hard shell, T-bag packed and ready to go along with
tent and sleeping mat in other suitcase. Oh, yeah some stuff
for the work part of the trip as well.

At a park in Portland where I killed some time.

On the bus to Warrenton I meet Frank with whom I rode in the dark to the hikers/bikers campsite.  He's from California riding the coast for nine days south to California.  There I also met Anders ( from Sweden who rode his bike across the US and will finish soon in Seattle.

High tech schedule board at the Amtrak station in Portland.