Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Day 82: Getting all em-ocean-al

Day 82
Monmouth to Pacific City 55miles

I was excited this morning. I knew that I would hopefully hit the coast today. After almost 12weeks, today would finally be the day when I got to the Pacific Ocean. Still not the official finish line, but pretty damn close.

And also today should be a proper bike ride. For the last two days, I had kind of felt like I hadnt really done enough. Whisper it quietly, but I am almost missing the hills! Its a bit like the scene in The Shawshank Redemption, where Red says how first of all the prisoners fear the prison walls, but eventually come to need them. Its almost like that with me. As much as I might have complained about having to do lots of climbs, they were always a great way of testing myself. The last 2 days have been flat as a pancake and only 60miles in total. I didnt really feel like I was being challanged.

Whilst I wont have nay huge climbs from here on in, today a least had a couple of short steep ones to keep me honest. Today was also the day where I really felt like I was seeing the lush side of Oregon which people kept telling me about. It was definitely much greener today. And also a bit cloudy when I set off. After so many days of pretty much unbroken sunshine, it would be annoying if the day I hit the beach turned out to be cloudy!

Todays riding was generally fine. I actually went off the route slightly to knock off around 10miles. I wanted to get to the coast, but I also wanted to both see the coast and stop for the day at the same time. By taking a bit of a detour, I would hit the seaside just as I entered Pacific City. There were a couple of steep uphill bits, but overall I was setting a good pace. I think the adrenalin of knowing the ocean was in touching distance kept me going today.

And then suddenly I was close. I got to the junction of highway 101, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway. It was only 4miles to Pacific City. I could see a large rock, which I knew was actually in the ocean. By now I was up on out the saddle, pushing myself to the sea. Even as I entered Pacific City, I still couldnt quite see the ocean, due to a bit of a sandbank in my way.
The Pacific Coast Highway - getting close!
Nestucca Bay: Note giant rock in the background

And then as I got through town, looking for my campsite, I saw it. The Pacific Ocean. 82 days, and 4,200 miles since leaving the Atlantic I had arrived. It was quite an emotional moment.
The Pacific! I have now ridden coast to coast!

After having a little bit of time to collect my thoughts, I went to a shop to get a drink and directions to my campsite. Turns out it was only a couple of hundred metres from the beach. Result! Also has lots of wild bunny rabbits hopping around the place!

As I was setting off I saw another cycle tourer on the other side of the road and went to say hi. Had quite along conversation with Bryant. He was cycling from California to Washington State, back down the coast and then over to New Orleans. We agreed to meet in the Pelican Pub (came highly recommended by other cyclists on Twitter) after I pitched my tent.

Set up camp and went to the pub. Spent pretty much all afternoon there swapping stories and gazing out over the beach. I also went for a quick paddle in the waves, just to check I wasnt imaging it!
Having a well deserved pint (or 5)

The large rock I saw earlier was right in front of us, and as the fog rolled in it did a neat disappearing act! Also spent some time chatting to a few surfers before heading back the short distance to the campsite and getting ready for the evening. Feel like a few more beers to celebrate making it from one coast to the other!



Although I havent officially finished yet, I still feel huge pride in having cycled from one coast to another. Right now I feel like a football team who has won the league, but still has a couple of games left before the trophy is presented!

Decided to take a day off tomorrow as its only $5 to camp each night and I want to spend all of tomorrow lying by the beach, and maybe doing a few coastal walks.


  1. Congratulations on a great achievement. Those beers were well earned.

  2. well done Mike, fantastic effort. Where do you do the official wheeldip?