Grand Ronde, OR → Otter Rock, OR
Net Elevation gain: -341 ft. (400 ft. to 59 ft.)
Average Speed: 11.2 mph
Top Speed: 34.7 mph
Time spent biking: 4 hours 15 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: 7 hours 27 minutes
Miles biked today: 47.8
Total for trip: 3730.5 miles
Up and ready to go by 8:55, it felt good to be on the road even earlier than yesterday. It seems rare for us to get going before 9:00 in the morning. Maybe for this third half of our trip we will be turning over a new leaf?
After a few miles of biking we found a nice little pull-off leading to a hiking path in the woods, and that's where we stopped to eat some breakfast. Figs, apple and cheese, avocado, bread, and hummus filled us up for the hilly (and a bit chilly) biking that lay ahead. By the time we crested the top of the hill we were so close to the ocean, we could feel it!
We were in a good mood, and the roads were fun. There were beautiful mossy trees all around us, and the road actually went both up and down a fair bit. We do love when an uphill yields a fun downhill! After three decent climbs, with downhills in between, we weren't feeling fast, but the rest was pretty much all downhill.
We weren't the only ones heading to the coast today, though. Traffic got pretty heavy the closer we got, but because it was heavy it wasn't very fast and we felt quite safe, even with small shoulders on the road. We actually got a bit of satisfaction out of being able to bike past all the bumper to bumper traffic in a few places.
Cruising through the tiny town of Otis, we hit the highway we've been anticipating for a long time: Route 101. We headed south, leaving Route 18 behind, and we were so excited to see the ocean any time now! Pedaling into Lincoln City, we postponed our date with the ocean to check a Goodwill store to see if they had any good games or comfortable sports bras. They had neither, and we poked around the bargain food store next door before we got back on the bike. We bought some cheese and some candy bars.
Then we got to see the Pacific Ocean! We stopped for pictures at D River State Recreation Site, but it wasn't our best opportunity for spending time at the beach or photo opportunities. Instead, we took a picture or two and realized we were hungry.
Sometimes you don't get the best pictures when you put the camera precariously on a railing and set the timer, but that's the Pacific Ocean back there behind us!
Our hunger today was specifically for Chinese buffet. The area was touristy and populated enough that we figured it might just have a place for us. After passing by several restaurants we might otherwise have tried, we found one! We parked the bike, brought the laptop with us, and headed in for a meal. It wasn't the big buffet we had pictured, but it was good enough for today, and the price was pretty cheap. It really did make us appreciate the excellent Chinese buffet restaurant we have in Northampton, though!
Well fed and rested, we were back on 101 heading south when we saw a group of four bikers turn on behind us. They caught up and passed us, but we were able to keep them in our sights. While stopped together at a red light, we exchanged a few tidbits of information. They were on an organized century ride, but when they heard where we were biking from, one of them commented, “That's mildly terrifying.” Terrifying? Hardly, but “Awesome,” yes!
It was very inspiring to see them working to finish their century. They weren't dressed all in lycra or riding fancy bikes. These are normal people, just riding a long way. Now we really want to do one back home sometime! We wonder often what things will be like when we go home after three months on the road. Will we bike every day? Will we be as nice to each other, keep our good habits from the summer, and stay off the computer as much as we have on this amazingly great trip? We guess it'll be different than before, but that some habits will be hard to break, even if we haven't been in them all summer.
It was also fun to pass by people on the sidewalks and have them clap and cheer us on, saying, “You're almost there, now!” because they thought we were also doing the century ride.
Route 101 is a pretty road when not in the midst of a town. The towns are just “enh,” and too touristy for us. We were having fun viewing the ocean at times, and just riding under trees and between green hedges at other times. Then, we caught the four riders we'd seen before. They passed us again when we stopped to take pictures of sea lions (or are they seals?) lounging on the rocky shore in the sun. SEA LIONS! Yay! Add that to our mental list of animals we've seen.
While we were stopped, another touring bicyclist came along. He liked our bike a lot, and said he is riding the West Coast. He left before we did, so when we started again, we biked fast like we had been to catch the other riders. It felt really good with the sun on our faces, the breeze from the ocean and the wind behind us.
After a little while, we were starting to get tired, and ready to be done for the day. We wanted to get a good rest for another good ride tomorrow. Following our Adventure Cycling map (a different thing for us, since we made our own route across the continent), we were led off Route 101 onto Otter Crest Loop. This turned out to be a magical little road! After a little bit it turned into a one-way road with a bike lane on one side. Plus, the trees around us were beautiful and the world seemed so enchanted and quiet. It made Brett think of the people where he works at The Hartsbrook School, and how much they would probably enjoy this stretch of road. Also, it wasn't as uphill as Route 101 would have been, and it was fun to keep up with two more century riders that passed us.
Back on the highway, we went downhill quite a bit, but it was only a mile or two until we found the turn for Beverly Beach State Park. A few minutes later we were at our campsite for the night, and it was only 4:42! That may be the earliest end to any day yet on the trip! We got to eat a (big) snack of avocado, bread, hummus, cheese, carrot, trail mix, and banana, and then take a nice walk on the beach. It was really windy and cold, though, so we didn't linger too long. Also, there were these really cute kids around, who were finding all these neat paths and “forts” and “secret” places. They pretty much insisted we come and see for ourselves, which we were happy to do (once).
Brett rests. We made it to the campground so early! There was so much daylight left! Also, we had the whole hiker/biker area all to ourselves.
After our walk, it was dusk, and time to eat more food, clean up, turn in, and get some rest for tomorrow.