September 9 - From Astoria to Tillamook
DESCRIPTION: Mileage: 64 miles. Terrain: Coastal rollers. Highlights: From rugged coastline and lush forests to Tillamook dairy country, with plenty of time to visit the well-known cheese factory.
OVERNIGHT: Best Western Inn and Suites, Tillamook (503.842.7599)
The first day of the Oregon leg began with cloudy, cool, mild weather.
Above: Hans held the bike while Harold pumped up his front tire.
Above: We lined up for a photo at the start of the Oregon ride. From left to right: Annette and Gary, Lynn and Butch, Harold, Barbara, Bob, Laura, John, and Leonard. The tandem with Burt and Gail left a half-hour earlier, and Brian took off in hot pursuit some 10 minutes later.
Above: Another angle on the same line-up. It's hard to see, but John was wearing his South Bay Wheelmen club jersey, which he does on the first day of every start in a new state.
Just after leaving the hotel we headed out over Young's Bay Bridge, enjoying sweeping vistas of Columbia River delta.
Above and below: After biking through charming coastal villages, we began to catch glimpses of the spectacular Oregon coast. During one short ascent near Ecola State Beach, we had a brief rain shower. Other than that, the day was free of rain...we even had some bright sunshine!
Above: After 35 miles of white-water views, we headed up into the coastal forests. We bicycled up two long climbs into the clouds heading toward our luncheon reward just past the summit.
Above: Some of the bikes resting by the side of the road while their riders ate another spectacular lunch prepared by Chef Sandy Green. Highlights of this meal were a large variety of sweet, ripe, fresh fruits and lemon-blueberry cake. Of course, there were sandwiches with all the fixings and tabouli salad as well.
Above: Some of the riders got ready to head out after lunch. Front to back: Barbara, Bob, Harold, Butch, and Laura. Butch's wife, Lynn, is hidden behind Butch.
Above: After decending out of the forests, we biked around two bays on our way to Tillamook. In the first, we come across a small-town Salmon Festival and stopped to gaze at the fun. Dunk-the-Sherrif was very popular! In the background, we spotted a lenticular cap-cloud sitting over the top of the hills we had just crossed; such a formation is very unusual at such a low elevation.
The Oregon Coastal Bike Trail is excellent. In most cases, there are wide bike lanes painted on the shoulder; however, we encountered far more broken glass in the bike lanes in Oregon than we did in Washington. So far, all of us have been very lucky: no one has had a flat tire during the entire trip from the Canadian border! Today is Saturday, so there was lots of traffic on U.S. 101, but most drivers are courteous, and we feel safe on the wide bike lane. The major problem is patches of broken glass that force us briefly into the traffic lanes. Another problem occurs when two wide RVs pass in opposite directions so neither can move over a little bit. When this occurs, they create air turbulence that can easily throw a biker off balance.