Día numero 6 started out great. I woke up early, let Alex sleep a little longer and by the time she had awoken coffee and oatmeal were on the way. Even better, the sun was showing its pretty face on the horizon so we were ready for a nice day of riding towards Astoria. Unfortunately that meant a whole lot of strenuous ups and downs for 18 miles from Gnat Creek Campground into town. Once there we made a stop at Fort George Brewery, a recommendation from an Oregonian friend (thanks Katie!). The good burgers and delicious brews put the bounce back in our step…errr, pedal.
Bellies full, we left town on the 101, which brought us all the way past Seaside into beautiful Cannon Beach. The weather had worsened at that point (what a surprise!) so we decided to stay at the closest possible campsite. The managers were not the brightest (Alex dubbed them the Real Housewives of Cannon Beach), but we made do. Spaghetti with basil tomato sauce and extra goat cheese made for a great dinner and to top it all off we even got another 24 ounce beer to share, to remind us of home.
On the morning of day 7 we decided to leave the camp stove cold, opting instead for a walk into town for coffee and a stroll on the beach. And what a glorious sight it was! Blue skies, enormous pillowy clouds and a stiff breeze showed off Cannon Beach in all its beauty.
After that interlude we continued on our way down 101 towards Manzanita. Alex had arranged for us to spend the night with Mr. Dow, her high school chemistry teacher. In terms of mileage this would mean the shortest ride of our tour thus far, but it also consisted of the biggest hill climb yet. Luckily one week of riding had toughened us, so ascending the coastal hills turned out to be more fun than we had expected, especially thanks to the drop dead gorgeous view at the top.
Down we rolled into Manzanita and were warmly greeted by Mr. Dow. After a long and hearty welcome he showed us around town, then took us on a short hike to Oswald West State Park. The park featured old growth forest full of incredible Sitka spruces, and a secluded beach where we dipped our toes in the water and took in the spectacular vistas. Back at the house I didn’t miss the chance to change into my swim trunks and fully submerge myself in the waves of the Pacific Ocean. I was reminded of hopping into the Baltic Sea back at home during the autumn storms when the waves come crashing down on you and you just feel giddy with joy. A big thank you to Mr. Dow for the great day in Manzanita!
The next morning brought a thick wall of ugly grey sky and a strong wind from the south, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Not too inviting. 2 hours and only about 11 miles later we wished we would have stayed in the warmth and comfort of Manzanita. While pretending to browse for books in a tiny roadside library (AKA warming up and drying out), we quickly came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t make much sense to continue wasting our energy battling massive headwinds. Instead we turned in at Barview Jetty County Park just south of Rockaway Beach, soaking wet and pretty grumpy. The rest of the day was spent listening to the rainstorm while snuggled up in the warmth of our sleeping bags and the safety of our tent. Alex took an extended nap while I relaxed with some Charles Bukowski. Pizza for dinner helped to block out the incessant rain.
The night was rough. Both Alex and I kept waking up because the storm continued louder and stonger, so there was not much sleep for either of us. However, by the next morning things were looking up. No more rain and way less wind brought back some of our spirits. We rode the remaining 15 miles into Tillamook and stopped at Starbucks, where we loaded up on caffeine and a very old lady told me I had nice legs (score!). On the road again, we had a rather unpleasant encounter with two vicious attack dogs, who chased down my bike snapping at my legs. I outrode them, but when they turned on Alex she simply used her dominance and shouted those beasts into submission. I hope we won’t have to go through that anytime soon again.
Our day ended in Cape Kiwanda, just outside Pacific City. After a delicious round of beer and fries at the Pelican Pub and Brewery (thanks again Katie!) we decided to spend the night at the RV resort right at the beach. And what a great call that has been! Indoor swimming pool, warm showers, free Wi-Fi, and all of it for almost the same price as the joke of a county park from the night before. What more could we ask for?