Thursday, 25 August 2011

Day 84: Enjoying the coastal lands-cape

Day 84
Pacific City to Tillamook 36miles

Last night I was treated to an absolutely amazing sunset. It was almost nice enough to make the whole trip worth while.

I went to the Pelican for some dinner and a drink. I make no apologies for going there again. The beer is fantastic. They have won all sorts of awards from beer festivals all over the world, with lots of medals on display in the bar. The McPelicans Scottish ale I was drinking copious amounts of I think ranks only second to Fat Tire on this trip. And it's a close run thing between the two of them!

So I was sat at the bar having a very nice bit of salmon, when I got chatting to the people sat next to me. Turns out that Joey, and his girlfriend Caitlin, both worked at the Pelican, but had a night off tonight. They were really nice, and offered to buy me a beer which I gladly accepted! Joey was actually an ex-Marine, who had done 2 tours of duty in Iraq and was now looking to do something different. We all went outside to the patio as the sun was slowly setting, and were joined by a whole load more off-duty staff. It seemed like half the population of Pacific City must have worked at the place! But had a great night, and as the sun set behind Cape Kiwanda (the big sand dune) there were some amazing colours in the sky. It was a great night to finish the celebrations of reaching the coast, and I was more than a little tipsy by the time I had to make the (thankfully very short) walk back to my tent.

Had a great nights sleep, and then in the morning had long chat with Brian, who was camped nearby. He had just started the TransAm, and was heading all the way to Virginia. He actually lives in Farmington, Missouri, the home of Al's Place – the really good cyclist hostel I stayed in that used to be a jail. Spent quite a while chatting and packing our stuff up. I wasnt in any huge rush to get off today. It was actually quite chilly today by the standards of this trip, and when I did set off I was wearing a long sleeve top and had the light enhancing lenses in my sunglasses for the first time since I cant actually remember when.

Today I past a lot of cycle tourers. Everyone I spoke to was doing the Pacific Coast route to some degree or another. Some were just staying within Oregon, whilst others were heading down into California.

And today's ride was actually surprisingly tough. I spent almost the entire day riding on the Three Capes Scenic route. Which, as you can probably guess, took in a triumvirate of coastal capes. The first was Cape Kiwanda, where I started from. And each cape came with a bit of a climb. Kiwanda was by far the smallest, easiest climb. So I was soon my way to Cape Lookout. And this was actually a really steep climb. I was in my lowest gear for pretty much the entire ascent. The good thing was, none of the climbs are that high. So this one lasted about 3miles, but I climbed around 250metres in that time. Which makes it steeper than ones such as McKenzie pass. And I did have to stop at one point just to change in a t-shirt as I was actually getting very hot in my long sleeved top.

In some ways today was like a little mini-Virginia. As soon as you got to the top of climb, you got to shoot straight back down to the same height you started from.
Had a nice, if misty view, back down the coast towards Cape Kiwanda and Haystack rock when I did reach the top though. And then on the way down I could see across to Cape Meares, the third cape on the route.
You can just about make out the giant rock in this one!

Looking north up the coast to Cape Meares

I had been told that the road to Cape Meares was closed due to a landslide, but that also there was enough road left that cyclists could walk their bikes through without needing to take a detour.

And when I got to the spot, there did appear to be quite a big hole where a road used to be!

Whiskey and Wenlock living on the edge!

But soon I was bearing down on Cape Meares, and then had another tough little climb to get over it and down the otherside. Actually gained around 100metres in just over a mile. Glad it wasnt any longer than that! Then it was just a short, flat ride into Tillamook to find a place to stay.
Some more ocean-dwelling rocks

A close up of Cape Meares

Considering it was only 36miles, my legs were really quite tired when I finished. First time I've had to use my lowest gear and actually struggle with it for a while. On the way down from Cape Meares, I even one guy pushing his bike up the hill – that brings back some painful memories!

Finished today a few miles inland, but tomorrow should be back on the coast. And back on a beach to hopefully enjoy some more sunsets like last night's one.


  1. hi Mike, am i right in tbinking the rocks in the see and the coast shots are where they filmed "Goonies"? hope your ok and we look forward to seeing you soon - Matt

  2. Goonies Rocks \o/