Along the Oregon Coast

Along the Oregon Coast

I finally reached the Pacific Coast!

It took me a few days because I wanted to start in Astoria, at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.  After following the Lewis and Clark Trail here and there for weeks, it seemed appropriate to ride along the Columbia River to reach the coast.

Lewis and Clark almost felt like my travel buddies

And that detour was a great excuse to meet a few other Warmshowers hosts.

Leaving Portland wasn’t the most interesting ride as there was quite a bit more traffic than what I was used to, but there was a good shoulder most of the way. The first night, I stayed with Richard and Elizabeth, who both had very interesting lives.  Richard is an avid cyclist and commutes to Portland 3 times a week from his place, a 30+ mile ride each way. He also used to climb and guide in Yosemite. Liz is from New Zealand and spent time with the Maori in her youth. I really enjoyed my evening (and the food!) with them.

Small roads are usually so much nicer than highways!

The next day, the ACA maps took me off the main highway on a lovely small road, and soon after, I took a ferry to Puget Island, a small detour, but now Laf can say he travelled to Washington! The place is very pretty and peaceful and staying with Kim and Steve was absolutely worth the detour.

Laf on the ferry to Puget Island
Along the Welcome Slough, even the name is welcoming!
We were in Washington!

Right away Kim made me feel at home in their beautiful, big house, I could relax all afternoon and work on my book project, until she invited me to a yoga class in Cathlamet, the nearest town. It felt good to stretch after so many weeks of cycling. Supper was awesome and we shared stories. Kim travelled a lot, worked a lot with kids with AIDS, and both she and Steve were involved in opening an orphanage in Honduras, that I hope to visit when I get there.

It was then a short ride to Astoria, the start of the Oregon Coast. I was welcome to stay at another Steve’s place.  This host created a little haven for cyclists in his basement. Even if he is rarely around, he lets people stay, shower, cook, do laundry and rest.

Some parts of Astoria look very Scandinavian (although I have never been there…)
Big ships on one of the most dangerous waters in the world!
Nice river on the way to Astoria

But when I opened the door, I was surprised to meet a family of 4! It was a German couple with their 2 kids: a 3.5 and 1 year old!! I was done for the day, and they were getting ready to go! I was amazed by their journey, they started in Whitehorse (and loved it there!) and have 2 years to travel as far south as they can.  As I watched them pack, I realized that I wouldn’t last a day. I can’t imagine how they deal with the cold, wet, the weight, not to mention the diapers… Makes my trip feel very easy.

Steve’s basement, designed to welcome tour cyclists
Lots of nice houses on the hills in Astoria
There is hope
View of the long bridge across the Columbia River, from the hill above the village

The next few days I rode into small villages, some nicer than others, most with small shops and cafés, was hosted by Ann in Seaside, the daughter of yet another kind host. That day, I walked more hours than I rode, but I enjoyed the beach and visiting the art galleries.

On the way to Tillamook, where I visited the cheese factory, there was spectacular scenery and lovely villages (Cannon Beach being a favourite). As I was eating some Tillamook ice cream, I met 2 other young tour cyclists and we chatted for a while.

Stunning view in the morning light
One of two tunnels on the Oregon Coast
Long beaches
The cheese factory where I learned that a cow eats 100 lbs of food each day. I don’t even eat that much!
The free cheese samples counter!
A cow brush! Maybe this can work with dirty tour cyclists too!
If I ever think that my job is boring…
I think there is an air museum in Tillamook…

Bruce was my next host.  A man with a very gentle soul, and a big, friendly family who came for supper.  I had a wonderful evening there, the German family was also being hosted, so I was once again in awe about what they manage to do. Bruce helped me with adjusting my bike once again, and sent me off with delicious cookies and burritos for lunch. It’s often hard to leave.

The next day I was  hosted by the father of Erin, one of my Warmshowers hosts I met in Bend. It was a long day to get there, but so worth it! Richard and his wife let me stay in their beautiful apartment above their garage and invited me for a delicious dinner, pancake breakfast and Richard and I went for a walk before I left the next morning. I had such a great time with them.

Another sign that I liked
Calm ocean and beautiful beaches
Near Depoe Bay, where Richard and Sydney live
Where we walked in the morning and saw some grey whales

And from there, more beautiful scenery along the coast, long beaches, lighthouses, sand dunes, and many, many campgrounds.

Richard told me about this hotel where writers found inspiration. Maybe it will help me with my book?
Had to stop at the local market in Newport, a cute town with lots to do
Leaving Newport
Riding along the ocean
Hard to beat!
Lighthouse in the distance
Morning fog over the dunes
So peaceful
Can’t get enough of it. I must have stopped every 100 meters!
Dunes, more dunes…
Same dunes…
One of the cute cafés in old Florence, where I met 2 women from Quebec and the same American tour cyclists that I had met in Tillamook

The best campgrounds are the State Park campgrounds that have hiker-biker sites, which cyclists can use for a discounted fee ($8 including a shower!) without reservation.

This hiker-biker campsite even had a little bus stop shelter! Nice when it rains…

I am still waiting for those promised tailwinds, but the next few days I may not even move much, the forecast is for LOTS of rain and very high headwinds.  That might work just fine as I want to visit an art gallery in Bandon that is closed Sunday to Wednesday.

Unrelated picture, but the best yogurt I ever had, almost as good as ice cream

And, as per the tradition, my favourite sign of the day…

8 thoughts on “Along the Oregon Coast

  1. Thanks for taking me south. This morning it is windy with sleet. I still have a couple of outside chores but am almost ready for winter to close in on us. Take good care, thanks for the update.

  2. Allo Catherine
    Après les montagnes dans lesquelles se succèdent les paysages grandioses aperçus du sommet et les frissons de descentes ressentis dans les virages, voilà la côte océanique et son alternance de plages et de rochers percés par des tunnels. Quelle palette d’images pour rêver de voyages!
    Merci de les partager avec nous. Une vraie richesse, qui ne t’appauvrit pas, au contraire!
    Est-ce que tes photos de paysages sont un peu floues, cette fois-ci? Ou est-moi, dont la vue n’est pas “focus”?
    Bisous
    Fernand

  3. Awwwe Catherine. You are travelling through one of my very favourite places. My grand-mother lived in Newport for many years before she passed, and I visited her there … for love … and wonder-ful exploring. I sure appreciate your blog … it gives me the feeling I’m riding behind you on Laf (ha!ha!ha! impossible) seeing all that you see. Wishing you continuing safe and beneficial travels dear Catherine.

  4. You have made such amazing progress since leaving Portland! Will and I miss you a ton. I hope the weather forecast improves for us both!

  5. What an awesome awesome journey. Thank you for sharing and taking time to stop and take photographs for all of us following your progress. I love reading the comments that you receive in French, because I don’t understand French at all, but get to imagine the praise they are sending you, and the words seem so exotic. Anyways, I’m glad to hear you made the detour to Astoria, and are now on the Pacific Coast; it looks amazing!!! I’ll be in Yosemite the second week of November and would be stoked to meet up again if it’s possible. Have a great time on your adventure. Hope you find those tailwinds…

  6. Cat, wow, those photos of Oregon are amazing, I can just imagine you pedalling for a while, then stopping to take photos then pedalling, then stopping, etc! The best part of your journey is that every day you have just the day to do!! Pedal, stop, eat, walk, sleep, write, any or all of the above. Love your blog and the photos. Sounds like you are meeting so many wonderful people, the German couple with the kids blows me away! Continued safe travels and keep those photos and interesting stories coming, it is always appreciated and especially at this time of year in the Yukon, kind of a “shoulder” season, when summer and fall are over, but winter hasn’t quite arrived.

  7. Magnifique récit encore une fois ! Je pense à toi très fort ! Continue de profiter de la vie comme ça, c’est merveilleux ! xxx

  8. Hi Catherine,
    thanks for this blog. I’ll do this bike trip next year. So it’s good to read about your adventures and see the nice pictures.
    How did you create the website for this blog? Have fun travelling with your bike.
    Reiner

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