|Beach Breakfast - Cape Lookout State Park|
We took our time getting out on the road this morning. Yesterday was our longest day so far, and we needed the sleep. I took my breakfast to a picnic table overlooking the ocean and watched the waves roll in. We left our campsite around 9:30 AM knowing that we had a hard climb up Cape Lookout to look forward to.
The trip to the top was approximately 800 feet of elevation gain. According to my maps, this was the toughest climb we will encounter on the Oregon coast. It didn't actually take that much effort to get to the top due to our being fresh out of our sleeping bags. The long winding road down was a blast, although I had to keep my attention sharp. I felt like I was skiing a giant slalom that hadn't been completely groomed. There was rough pavement around every corner. It's not always easy to see when the evergreens cast dark shadows over the roadway.
We pedaled into the outskirts of Pacific City and stopped at the Stimulus Espresso Cafe. While locking up my bicycle, I had a conversation with a couple who were vacationing on the coast. They were interested in my adventures so far and offered to buy me a coffee. I was very pleased to accept and will look for an opportunity to pay it forward.
While sipping the freebie, I did a little research on my phone regarding general delivery to the Brookings Post Office. Armed with my information, I called the Seaside Coffee House with my fingers crossed, hoping they had my coat. They did! I gave the barista the information she needed and she promised to mail it general delivery to Brookings. I'll pick back up with the saga of my lost jacket in due time.
Later, Snelling and I had a conversation with a fellow cycle tourist named Tim who was also heading south. He has done the Pacific coast tour before and offered some helpful information. He also clued me into an idea for my 8th grade Adventure Education students. There is an old railroad grade in Washington that begins in North Bend and continues through to Ellensburg. We wouldn't have to fight traffic and could do the trip in about five nights of camping. I'll have to research the logistics of this tour when I return home.
Before leaving Pacific City, we hit the local library. I uploaded a video that Snelling took with his iPhone to YouTube. A local grocery store was in the immediate area of the library, so we stopped and bought groceries for the evening. We headed out ready to push to our campsite at Devil's Lake.
We came upon a road crew just one mile out of town. We found out that we would be traveling on gravel for the next two miles. The flagger suggested that we take an alternate route, but we decided to forge ahead. The road wasn't too bad, but the going was extremely slow. At the halfway point, I talked to another female flagger. She had been putting in thirteen hour days lately on the stretch of road we were on. I looked at her closely. She wasn't lying.
Everything changed when we hit 101. I felt like I was riding on a ribbon of silk. The shoulder was wide and smooth. Also, there wasn't any traffic to speak of. We covered several miles, then came to the base of Cascade Head. The climb was over 700 feet of elevation. It wasn't a hard climb, but it seemed as though it went for miles. We took the downhill, exited 101 onto the eastern road around Devil's Lake, turned toward Lincoln City and followed the signs to our campsite.
I chose an open spot at the top of the hiker-biker designated camping area, ate dinner and took a shower. Expecting rain, I decided to set up my tarp. There was only single trees available, so I tied off to my bicycle. I like the problem solving that comes naturally out here.
As the evening progressed, more and more bicycle tourists arrived. Before dark, there were at least fifteen of us in a relatively small area. It was enjoyable talking to different individuals and couples. One particular group of three were planning on touring for two years. One of the three worked online for the television show "The Biggest Loser." She told me that they would stop from time to time so that she could work on her laptop. She had spent the day working on it at Starbucks. Their goal was to circumnavigate the entire United States. It sounded like their plans had changed dramatically throughout the eleven weeks they had been on the road. For one, they had taken on a puppy which they were pulling in a small cart. The woman told me that he had stopped growing. This was, at best, a hopeful guess.
We cycled forty miles today.