Portland – Lincoln City – Newport – Florence – Bandon – Gold Beach
After leaving Portland, our goal was to ‘reach the beach’! (It just so happens that’s also the name of a popular cycle race from Portland to Lincoln City, and we followed a similar route.) The Oregon coast is a favorite stretch among cyclists, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to the expected beauty of the rocky coastline, there are picturesque lighthouses, sea lions a-plenty, sand dunes, historical bridges, and refreshingly cool Southern tail-winds! On top of that, Oregon is also known for it’s local microbreweries and coffee shops. We indulged in both!
One thing that did surprise us as we pedaled down the coast was the number of other cycle tourers we saw – several a day on the road and at the hiker/biker campsites. On past trips, it has always been really exciting to see other touring cyclists. We’d usually stop and have a chat. Here, it’s much more common, and two cyclists even sped up when we tried to catch them to say hello! (We would have sped up too, but didn’t want to be too creepy.) The only explanation is how well-trodden this route is, and for good reason. There are so many maps, resources, routes, and campsites available to cyclists on the Pacific West coast. As we mentioned in the last blog, we’re using the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) app, which maps out every detail down to a bump in the road (almost). Ironically, having so much information takes some of the adventure out of the experience. Our touring friend, Rory, even warned us about this when he recommended the ACA. Without any unknowns, all we have to do is pick a distance and enjoy the cycle. See? It’s no wonder so many cyclists do, and should, explore this area.
Because there are so many tourers, we’ve also found that less people are interested in hearing about our trip, making the people that have reached out with random acts of kindness really stick out. When we cycled up to the Rogue brewery in Newport, a man came out and invited us to bring our bikes into the factory for VIP bicycle parking. He then introduced himself as John, and proceeded to give us Rogue currency (yes, Rogue brewery has it’s own currency), and give us numerous tips on places to stop down the coast. When we went on our brewery tour later, we started seeing John’s face everywhere. Turns out he’s the head brewmaster at Rogue, and a local celebrity! To us, he’s just a really cool guy who made our Oregon coast experience that much more memorable. Big thank you to Sam and Joan for hosting us that night with an amazing meal, the coffee shop owner who gave us a package of beef jerky the next day and the man in his van who offered us tea. Thank you for not kidnapping us and for being so awesome.
We’ve now made it into California, and will continue to enjoy the ride with our new-found perspective down the coast!