Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Today was about bridges, rivers, lakes, dunes, forests, and - yes! - ocean again. We left our motel around 7:15, draggier than usual, and went for breakfast down the street. A bunch of other cyclists were there as well - one group of 7 or 8 with 2 support people, and 2 Spaniards. All of them were traveling south. Then we got onto 101 and stayed there all day. We soon came to the town of Reedsport and crossed the Umpqua River on another historic stone bridge. All the bridges we saw today and yesterday seem to have been built in the 1930's and had beautiful structures and detail work. The Umpqua River bridge was another great example. A little further on, still on the Umpqua River, we came to the quirky town of Gardiner, on the National Register of Historic Places. It was founded in 1850 by a Boston merchant who shipwrecked there. They had a large community park and two life-sized statues right along the road. As we left the river, we were back in the Dunes National Recreation Area, with several parks and dune buggy areas. It was also an area with 3 or 4 large lakes, one with lots of lily pads around the edges.
About midday, we came to the town of Florence, on the Siuslaw River, which we crossed on another stupendous bridge. While taking pictures of the bridge, I noticed a string of shops in the Old Town section, right along the river, so we decided to stop there to eat. We chatted with two people vacationing there from Eugene, OR, while we waited for the restaurant to open. As we left Florence, we saw a cute restaurant with parts of old cars used as decoration. A little outside of town, while we were stopped to take off our jackets, we saw 2 deer just up ahead. They were wanting to cross the road but weren't being too smart about it. We could see cars coming as one of the deer began to step towards the road, so I yelled NO in my best "bad-dog" voice and he seemed to get the message, turned around and scurried back a bit. He waited for a bit and tried again, this time at a good moment, so Pat & I gently urged him on and he nervously made his way across, followed by his buddy. We were glad to see they both made it before the cars started up again. The road signs have been making empty promises of elk crossings for the last 2 days, but at least today we saw deer.
After Florence, things were uneventful for a while until we got past the dune areas and swung closer to the ocean. Then several exciting things happened in quick succession. First, we saw the ocean again after not having been near enough for several days. Then we came to a spot where there were sea lion caves and we saw several sea lions sleeping on the rocks as well as one or two in the water. Another rock was covered with black birds which might have been oystercatchers. Seagulls were also flying around the area. There was a lighthouse, Heceta Head, on the far promontory. There were several others at the viewing area watching the sea lions, including 5 young guys biking down the coast and a tour bus full of people from all over. One of the tourists, who was from New Jersey, came over and raved about our bike and our trip, saying his daughter biked 100 miles a week. Soon after all this excitement, we went through a tunnel! It was very short and well-lit, but it was equipped with a mechanism to alert motorists that a bike was in the tunnel. I think we had to push a button to activate it, though, but Pat didn't want to stop and I didn't even get a picture of the tunnel or the signs. I think there are supposed to be more of these tunnels though so next time I should be able to get something.
We went over several other creeks, 2 of which had nearly identical historic stone bridges - Big Creek and Tenmile Creek. Then we came to Cape Perpetua, which apparently has a great viewing area 2 miles steeply up from 101, but we had already had quite enough climbing for one day, thank you, so we made do with the terrific view right at road level. The cape was made a stream that made a huge chasm in the rock going down to the ocean. There were several low-lying rocks like little mesas all along the coast there which the waves would crash against. The rocks along the edge of the chasm were worn down underneath its upper ledge so that waves from the ocean would churn under the rocks and make a huge splash. At high tide, apparently, the water often builds up enough pressure underneath that it comes shooting out a hole in one of the rocks, like a geyser. There were other interesting plaques there, one of which is pictured below. Then, at last, we came to Yachats, our evening's destination. Yachats is a quaint little town, which we saw first from the top of the hill going down into it, with all the houses arrayed on the hillside. It's name is pronounced Ya-hots (the local gays made a little ditty about it along the lines of "when you're hot, you're hot...") and it's Indian for something, but we got widely different versions of what that was. Our motel, the Ya'tel, is very nicely appointed and very comfortable, run by a friendly couple from Idaho who love it here. We ended the day at about 53 miles in a bit under 6 hours of bike time, arriving at 5:10.