The second morning of the trip we awoke a bit stiff and with the discovery that a crafty chipmunk or squirrel had managed to wander into sealed panniers to pilfer my almond supply. I know it was a rodent and not Anthony because he’s allergic to almonds, but now that I think about it more, I suspect there may have been collusion!
We exited the hiker/biker at Devil’s Lake ahead of most of our fellow cyclists and headed straight out for our first seciont of coastal riding after the Willamette Valley heat of the day before. What a difference! Foggy, temperatures in the low 60’s: this is what I remember from my last bicycle trip through Oregon.
After covering just enough miles to recognize that we were already a bit saddle-sore, we stopped for a great breakfast at Pacific Grind coffee shop on the south end of Lincoln City. I highly recommend this spot, which featured delicious baked goods and well-prepared coffee.
As is to be expected, passing Depoe Bay resulted in several stops to whale-watch along with all of the car-driving folk. In some instances on this day and the next, though, we had only to look out to the right while riding in order to glimpse the spouting blowholes and the shape of long, smooth backs breaking the water’s surface.
At one particular lookout (which I remembered having stopped at with Johanna two years earlier), we talked with a number of fellow bicycle tourists, including two men that ride the coast every year, bringing full camping gear but rarely camping. These guys were awesome, loaded with front and rear panniers and waterproof duffels over the top of the rear rack, but we couldn’t help but wonder why they bothered to bring camping gear at all. Maybe we will understand when we are older, but I doubt it.
We also had a photo taken at a scenic overlook by a friendly man and his wife, who had done many bike tours. He left us by saying, “just enjoy it while you can, because eventually some guy will stab you in the gut and you won’t be able to do it anymore.” Apparently, this actually happened to this poor man, but maybe not the best way to end the conversation?
About 10-15 miles outside of Newport, the 101 heads up a hill, but an older iteration continues along the waterfront, providing cyclists with a natural advantage over car-propelled travelers. The secluded 101 alternate passes over Rocky Creek Bridge, which also happens to be featured on the front of the Oregon Coast Bike Map that can be found at state parks.
This bridge is worth a good, long stop, and the literature found there reveals the bridge’s history, as part of an early motor-vehicle route between Lincoln City and Newport. That 30+ mile journey took early drivers nearly a full 24-hour period to complete, while we rode our bikes the length of it in just 3-4 casual hours.
What with all the whale-watching and scenic coastal terrain viewing, we were getting a bit parched. Having enjoyed our stop at Yamhill Vineyards the day before, we decided that passing by The Flying Dutchman wine-tasting stop by Devil’s Punchbowl just as they opened for business was a sign from above. While we didn’t find the wine to quite match that of Yamhill, it was a worthy stop and we enjoyed conversing with the woman running shop.
Next up on our dazzling tour of some of Oregon’s most attractive seaside was the Yaquina Lighthouse. More whale-watching ensued along the adjacent coves and despite being mauled by large flies as we stood below the impressive lighthouse, this stop is another must-do. As we departed the lighthouse we had another sighting of the Belgian and Dutch cyclists, but onward we went, for we knew there would be beer at the end of the day’s ride.
After carefully following the coast bike route signs on the most indirect route through Newport, we passed one of only two bike shops we would see on our entire trip. Unfortunately, no new water bottles were purchased there, as the bike shop in Newport does not open its doors on Sunday!
Arriving at South Beach Campground midday (something that would turn out to be rare on this trip), we were greeted by not only the usual cheap hiker/biker rates, but also a welcome center with free coffee/tea and outlets to charge our electronics. I can’t say enough about the Oregon State Parks and the way they are set up to make campers (and particularly those arriving by foot or on two wheels) feel comfortable and well cared-for.
We set up camp quickly, because the bicycle tourists’ hunger was rearing its ugly head and more importantly, South Beach Campground is just a mile of bike path from the famous Rogue Brewery. A series of tastings, pints, and rounds of pub food ensued. Rogue hits the mark! Just make sure you get there early, because the waiting line for the small dining and bar space was 30+ people long when we left at around 4pm.