It seems like Oregon has put a fair amount of effort into its “Oregon Coast Bike Route,” which, with a few exceptions, is basically Highway 101. When you first leave Astoria, there’s a welcome sign that, though a little decrepit, nevertheless has a cheery feel to it. Plus, it has free maps, doubled up in a plastic bag in a plastic box, that show the route, traffic and campground information, and all manner of things you might want to know.
Plus, as you ride along down the coast, there are lots of bike-centric signs.
I didn’t actually stop at that rest stop, though, except to take this picture, because I was so wet, and any time I stopped I got cold really fast. That’s also why even though I made a detour off the coast route to see Fort Stevens State Park, where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean actually meet, I didn’t even stop there for real, just cruised on by on my bike. I’m sure it’s a lovely place on a nice day, though–it even has a bike path running through it:)
That detour, though, off of Highway 101 to Fort Stevens, was probably the best biking of the day. Riding down the coast is quite loud. It’s always worse when the ground is wet and cars have that added swoosh of moisture flying as they go by, but there was so much traffic. Generally the shoulders are okay, so it didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, just unpleasant. As a side note, this trip actually made me reconsider my desire to bike the whole coast, Canada to Mexico, something I’ve always wanted to do. I think I’ll be okay doing something else with quieter roads, even if the scenery is less dramatic (that might have been part of my problem on this trip, too: with so many rainclouds, the scenery maybe wasn’t breathtaking enough to overcome the traffic:)
Did I mention there was a headwind? I fought it ALL DAY.
When I got up to the point where I could see Nehalem Bay down in front of me…
I actually couldn’t even ride my bike anymore. The road is super high and exposed there, and the wind was blowing me around something fierce. After I found myself suddenly in the middle of the road a few times, I took a break at a turn-out to take a breath and mentally re-steel myself. But when I tried to start up again, I couldn’t actually get up enough momentum to stay on my bike. I have never been in wind like that.
So I hunkered down and walked around that corner until the road turned a little more sheltered and I could actually ride. That was some craziness, though.
Despite the wind, I made it to Nehalem Bay State Park, and it had even stopped raining enough that I could relatively dry-ly set up a ridiculous tent-tarp contraption in the $5 hiker/biker site.
It’s a pretty sweet campground that, again, would probably be really awesome on a nice day. A short walk took me to some dunes and then a long, sandy beach. I didn’t stay out too long since I was pretty done with being in the wind (and let’s face it, I kind of just wanted to snuggle in my sleeping bag), but I did appreciate that it would have been really nice on a different day.
So overall? I’m sure this ride would have been much more awesome if the sun had been shining and the wind not blowing me all over the road. The traffic, though, was definitely a turn-off–I’m not sure if even the awesome scenery of a sunny day on the coast would have overcome that. But, as always, it’s nice to know this kind of thing is accessible to me on my little bicicleta:)