A day for the ages – the Oregon North Coast.
This day featured 250+ miles of pure, unadulterated Oregon coast along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. While it was not the longest distance ride, it was one of the longest time-wise given the frequency of photo stops, and slower speeds through coastal towns. It was about as close as one can get to experiencing the coasts of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and one of the best days of the trip. I’ll do my best to describe it.
The Oregon Beach Bill (1967)
In 1967, the Oregon Beach Bill was passed. It established public ownership of land along the Oregon Coast from the water up to sixteen vertical feet above the low tide mark. Put another way, “thank you” to the Oregon legislature for sharing the state’s entire 363 mile coastline to the public.
The previous day, I’d experienced the Oregon South Coast, which was beautiful. This day, the experience along the Oregon coast would be raised to an entirely different level.
Bandon to Newport
I woke before sunrise at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. I packed up the bike, and walked around for a bit, capturing some pictures at sunrise. The ride through the resort and along U.S. Route 101 (Pacific Coast Scenic Highway) was magical. The sunlight colored the dark expanses of redwoods with a surreal hue.
The first stop was at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, which overlooks the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. I met a retired couple who lived a few miles down the road. Their daily routine is to park at the lighthouse, then hike the trails along the cliff and shoreline.
I stopped at Tahkenitch Lake and took a number of pictures of the serene setting. The journey from there to Heceta Head Lighthouse was spectacular – high cliffs overlooking the ocean, amazing rock formations, and every shade of green one can imagine. I was taken with the site of the lighthouse. Its white color and red roof pops against the dark greens and blues.
Next up was Newport and its striking Yaquina Bay Bridge. I stopped in the harbor for lunch at the original Mo’s, world-famous for its chowder. It was cardiac arrest in a bowl, so good. When the monster bowl was placed in front of me, it had 6 1/2″ thick pats of butter floating on top.
Newport to Tillamook
Rolling (literally) out of the booth at Mo’s, I headed out under increasingly overcast skies. The continued ride along the coast stayed consistently amazing. I made a quick stop at Cape Lookout State Park, then continued on to Cape Meares State Park.
Cape Meares is gorgeous. The ride along the sides of the peninsula are jaw-dropping. The lighthouse road was closed, but I was able to park about 1.5 miles away and hike in. I clearly was not thinking about my attire, as I hiked in my full riding gear – jacket and overpants – with my normal clothing layer of jeans and a t-shirt underneath. The hike was so worth it, amazing views. By the time I made it back to my bike, I was soaked through with sweat. I stripped down and threw on a new t-shirt, then shivered my way through the ride to Tillamook.
Tillamook to Astoria
I stopped at Tillamook Cheese‘s visitor center. I noticed a newer Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide parked outside. It had what appeared to be an oxygen tank cylinder attached to the rear rack. I met the rider when I walked in. He was from Alabama, and was on a “four corners” ride through the continental 48. He was an Iron Butt motorcycle member, and had ridden 19,000 miles in the previous 5 weeks. To say he was a character is an understatement. The tank was actually an auxiliary fuel tank.
The next stop was Ecola State Park, arguably considered the jewel in the crown of Oregon state parks and located in Cannon Beach. Ecola is home to “sea stack rocks”, the most famous being Haystack Rock and the Needles.
From Ecola, I made my way to the wonderfully unique Cannery Pier Hotel in beautiful Astoria. The hotel was my favorite hotel/overnight stay of the trip – I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing experience to stay on a pier on the mighty Columbia River, with sweeping and direct views of the bridge.
The Day : Weather
|Location||State||High (F)||Low (F)||Precipitation (in)||Max Wind (mph)|
The Day : Images
The Day : Video
The Day : GPS
|Avg Speed||20.7 mph|
|Moving Speed||36.0 mph|
|Elevation Max||937 ft|
|Elevation Min||(3) ft|
|Elevation Gain||23,298 ft|
|Elevation Loss||23,399 ft|