Sunday, 28 August 2011

Day 86: No room at the Inn (unless you're a cyclist)

Day 86
Tillamook to Manzanita 29miles

Another nice late start today. Although I was woken up very early in the morning today. But that was fine. My girlfriend had just been presented with a trophy for winning a local running league that we take part in, and I wanted to see her with her trophy before she set off to the airport to fly out. I was actually quite happy to come in the top 20 for the mens competition, despite not having run since late May! Anyone who enjoys running and fancies doing a free, friendly, well organised 5k run on a saturday morning should check out for their nearest one. Definitely something I would recommend.

Anyway, after going back to bed at about 2.30am, when I woke up properly I spent some time having breakfast, watching a bit of football on my laptop and generally pottering around before setting out at 11am.

Again quite a short ride today, to the town of Manzanita. On the way I actually started to pass road signs that had the distance to Astoria on them! Including this one which puts me less than 50miles away. Clearly, if I had needed to I could have got there today. But I have till tuesday so can continue to take it easy. Hopefully the last few days havent seemed like a bit of an anti-climax for people reading this. There was no way I would want to have arrived into Astoria late, so I needed to get close with enough days to spare to know I would make it on time. And anyway, after riding almost 4,300miles I deserve a bit of an easy finish!
Getting close now!

Today's ride was pretty simple. A nice ride along the coast, and then a bit inland around a couple of small bays. Stopped at Rockaway Beach for some breakfast.

Even this late into my trip, I am still finding advantages to being a cyclist. Today is a saturday. Its summer and during the school holidays. And every town I went through today is on the coast. Subsequently, the “No Vacancy” signs were out in force today. I think every motel, hotel, campground and RV park I rode past today was full. The people who work there probably wouldnt be able to give a room to their own mother if she wanted one today!

Thankfully for me this isnt a problem. My destination today was the Nehalem State Park, actually about 1mile south of Manzanita. As I approached I saw signs saying “Campgroud Full”. I wasnt worried. They had a hiker/biker area set aside and so I was able to pay my $5 and get a lovely spot in the trees to pitch my tent. In a country where the car is king, there are some advantages to travelling on two wheels (or feet if you're a a hiker).

Set up camp, probably for the last time on this trip. Then went for a bit of a walk along the beach. Today I had encountered a few headwinds when near the coast. I think it's why everyone seems to do the Pacific Coast route north to south. With such short distances now, I dont really care about them. But if I was still doing 60-70miles a day then it be more of a problem. But if the winds on the road were strongish, the ones on the beach were ridiculous! They were so strong, that even small birds were having trouble flying north. As soon as they took off they were getting blown backwards! Definitely a beach for the kite-flyer rather than the sun worshipper. Although I had a lovely walk up and down, taking a few photos.
"So how far would I have to cycle to reach Hawaii?"

After that I showered and went into town for some food. When I came back the hiker/biker site was much more busy. I think there is 8 or 9 tents up at the moment. And its very sociable. Everyone talking about their different trips and where they have stayed etc. We even had a campfire going as it got dark. I guess that is the one thing I have missed on this trip. The TransAm route is so long, and probably only around 300-400 people do it a year, that you can go long stretches without meeting anyone to ride with. The entire Pacific Coast route is less than 2,000miles (although many people I have met are only doing shorter parts of it), and seems to have a lot more riders doing it. Since getting to Pacific City I must have passed at least 40 people who were doing some sort of bike tour, long or short. Throw in the huge number of State parks on the coast, and you can pretty much guarantee to meet other people. I'm very proud to be able to say I have cycled solo across the US, but sometimes it was a bit lonely! Maybe I'll do the Pacific Coast route one summer, with the winds behind me the whole way, and with a bit more experience, I reckon I could cover the 2,000miles in about a month!  

1 comment:

  1. Good for you Michael! Aren't those Oregon state park beaches wonderful? i remember the same thing from 20 years ago - everything full and bikers just slide right in ;) And such wonderful wide beaches.

    Congrats on your trip!! Come back again. We met a retired German Navyman, Gunter, yesterday, who is zig-zagging to visit all the state capitals. 10K miles & 36 capitals so far!