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Cycling the Northern Oregon Coast

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Oregon has these Hiker / Biker campsites that are set aside for people like me. They can’t be reserved, they are cheap, have flushing toilets and hot showers. My plan was take full advantage of these all the way down the Oregon coast. I would set off each morning not really knowing how far I would get and or how often I would stop along the way. Serendipitous cycle touring.

I started the journey south along the Oregon Coast from the Hiker / Biker campsite at Fort Stevens State Park about 10km from Astoria. There were several other cyclists there for the night. I spent much of my time working on my bike. I’ve had a rather bad run with flat tyres lately. 5 flats in 5 days. On each occasion I have pulled out a small piece of wire from the tyre which punctured the tube. I had run out of tyre puncture glue and had to borrow some from from other bikers at the site.

I set off to the first available bike shop at the town appropriately called Seaside to stock up on more glue before continuing to Ecola State Park which has some super steep climbs to a lookout over Cannon Beach.

Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park looking over Cannon Beach

I stopped just short enough to catch my breath before heading for fish and chips at the resort town of Cannon Beach. I spent some time people watching until I received a phone call from Melissa another cyclist I met several months ago while cycling in Australia.

We met up at the same campsite later that night at Nehalem State Park. Shortly after calling it a night I discovered a new animal of the night that loves human food, Racoons. They tried to get into our panniers looking for food, unlike Bears, they are easily chased away!

Cycling through tunnels, push the button to activate the flashing lights
Cycling through tunnels, push the button to activate the flashing lights
Riding through tunnels with lots of traffic. Drivers have been very considerate
Riding through tunnels with lots of traffic. Drivers have been very considerate, so far.
Its all downhill from here to Nahalem Beach below and camp for the night
Its all downhill from here to Nahalem Beach below and camp for the night, did I mention the awesome weather!
Oregon Coast at Nahalem Beach
Oregon Coast at Nahalem Beach
Racoons love getting into food panniers
Racoons love getting into food panniers

Cycling the Oregon coast seems to be such a well traveled route that I met some of the same cyclist that were at Fort Stevens the day before, the Bellingham group. Considering the rather remote areas I’ve previously been this is all very social.

I think I’ve seen more cycle tourers in the last couple of days than in the last couple of months. As luck would have it the notoriously bad weather of Oregon was on hold and it was difficult not to sweat bucket loads and get sunburned.

The following day Melissa and I set off to Tillamook which is well known in the area for its cheese and Ice Cream factory. The Bellingham crew arrived not long after us. American cheese is crap. It tastes like plastic, but there was a cheese sampling area and I now know which cheese I need to choose.

As a hungry cyclist I samples more cheese than was possibly appropriate, but Melissa went back several times for samples. So is the veracious cyclist appetite. A triple scoop serving of ice cream served as first lunch or third breakfast until we made it to the coast to again eat. At this point Melissa headed inland as her 30000km journey around the world is into its last days.

Cycling the Oregon Coastal Cycle Route
Cycling the Oregon Coastal Cycle Route
Following the Oregon Coast with Melissa, perfect weather.
Following the Oregon Coast with Melissa, perfect weather.
Cheese and Ice Cream
Cheese and Ice Cream
How many samples of cheese is considered reasonable?
How many samples of cheese is considered reasonable?

I continued a short distance to Cape Lookout State Park for my beachside camp and hot shower. As the weather is still sensational I spend the last moments of the day watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Well, not really sunset, more like coastal fog rolling in.

Rolling fog at sunset on Cape Lookout Beach
Rolling fog at sunset on Cape Lookout Beach

Portland to Clatskanie = 105km

Clatskanie to Fort Stevens State Park = 72km

Fort Stevens State Park to Nahalem State Park = 71km

Nahalem State Park to Cape Lookout State Park = 65km

Next : Cycling the Central Oregon Coast


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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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