Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We had a lot of misgivings about today. Our map showed us having 3 big hills in the second half of the day, 2 back-to-back and 1 near the end and lots of little ups and downs all the rest of the day. We had a late start, too, what with having to wait until 7 to get our bike out of the storage room the motel insisted we keep it in, and breakfast not being open until 7 as well (and then we ended up with the most disorganized waiter ever, so not a good start to the day). It had rained a little overnight and the morning was cool and cloudy, not foggy though. We finally set out around 8:30, knowing we had about 25 easy miles until our first climb. We left the town of Tillamook, passing marshy fields with pastures behind them, and tree-covered mountains behind them. Very pastoral. We also passed the Tillamook Cheese factory, a large building with a lovely ship parked in front. We hoped to see the Tillamook Ice Cream factory, but didn't come across it.
Our route took us past the huge Tillamook Bay, which at low tide had enormous mud flats as well as a lovely water-filled area. Like yesterday, we went through several small towns that were part fishing villages, part resort/vacation towns. One such town, Garibaldi, we could see at one side of the bay, but we had to go about 4 miles around one tip of the bay, formed by the mouth of the Miami River, to get to it. It was a charming town, with a maritime museum and a statue of Captain Robert Gray, who discovered the Columbia River in 1792. We left Tillamook Bay and came out to the ocean for a bit, going through another charming town, Rockaway. We stopped for some Tillamook Ice Cream and marveled at the 60 flavors of salt water taffy they had. When we got to Seaside, though, we saw a place that claimed 170 flavors! Then we swung back eastward to go around another large bay, the Nehalem. The little town of Wheeler was along this bay. We were nearly past the Nehalem Bay when we came to the town of Manzanita, where we stopped for lunch. We had come about 27 miles and had just begun climbing the first hill.
The first hill was not nearly as bad as we expected. It was about 2 miles long but the grade wasn't bad at all. We were rewarded with a terrific view of the ocean from the top as well. Just about at the top, we saw a couple of bikes stopped on the other side of the road - a young couple were just getting back on their bikes after a rest stop. It turned out they were going the same direction as we were and had just stopped for a rest. They soon passed us and then we stopped to take pictures. We then flew down the 2 miles on the other side of the hill and started the next hill. It was also not too steep and only about 1-1/2 miles long. We were surprised to see our young friends part way up the hill, stopped for a rest again. This time we stopped for a longer chat. They were from North Carolina, had just started their trip the day before, and were heading up to Vancouver. They were finding the hills pretty tough. We went on ahead, expecting to have them pass us again on the uphill, but we didn't see them again. Hope they made it to Seaside ok. At the top of the second hill, we had another spectacular view of the ocean and got to chatting with a couple from Iowa - Holly and Mike Welch. Holly is getting into photography and had an impressive camera with her; she took our picture and said she'd email it to us. Then we flew down that hill and came to a tunnel at the bottom. Unfortunately, I still didn't get it together to take a picture, but there was a button just before the tunnel and flashers went off when I pushed the button. This tunnel was darker than the first one, so I was glad we had stopped to turn our rear light on and hit the button. I was glad to see the flashers still going when we came out.
The rest of the journey was rather uneventful. We went through a couple more towns and were by the ocean most of the time but couldn't see much of it with the houses and trees along the road. We went up and down a few small hills and then came to our third big one. This one was even shorter (a little over a mile) and about as steep as the other two, but it seemed a bit harder, probably from our being tireder. We crossed the little Necanicum River and began to get close to Seaside. We started seeing references to the Lewis and Clark trail even before we got to town. We reached the street we were to turn off for the center of town and followed it to the end, turning right onto a walking/biking trail along the ocean, called the Promenade. There were several people on the trail, on the dunes, and on the beach next to the ocean. Shore houses lined the walk along one side. We continued down the trail to Broadway where there was a plaza with a statue of Lewis and Clark, marked End of the Trail. Seaside is where they completed their Northwestern journey, and where they spent a few weeks preparing for the trip back. One of their primary activities here was boiling sea water to make salt. We had two nice people take our picture at the statue and we took a number of pictures of the beach and the statue before heading to our motel. We lucked out again on the motel, the Hillcrest Inn - the owner was so impressed with our rig and our trip that he gave us a free upgrade to a room with a jacuzzi-type tub and some bath salts for it. It is a very comfortable and very friendly place. We strolled into town, a lively resort town, for dinner and then headed back to the Promenade again for more pictures.
Seaside is the End of a Trail for us as well. It marks the end of our Pacific Coast segment, which we'd been on since May 12 when we hit San Diego. Tomorrow we'll head for Astoria, making a bend eastward. This will be the start of the Lewis and Clark segment of our journey, ending in St. Louis, MO, from which we'll make a beeline for home. We will stop in Astoria tomorrow night - we decided to make it a short day to get our route back in sync and also to stop at what we hear is a very good bike shop in Astoria, to get our bike checked out for the next lap. We have updated our route page, by the way, so the distances and stops are reasonably correct now. Although, we'll still go along the Pacific Ocean for a while tomorrow, we're considering tonight our farewell to the coast and the last picture below is our farewell shot. We went 50 miles today in just under 5-1/2 hours of bike time.