Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pacific City to Newport

54.5 miles, 2500 feet of climbing, road kill (3 unknown animals - probably exploded squirrels, 2 snakes)

Our route today included about 52.5 miles on route plus a couple of miles of side stops (not shown on the map). We left the Craftsman B&B after a delicious breakfast shared with two other couples from Austin, Texas. After talking to them it sounds like one of the couples knew Arn's Aunt and Uncle from Austin. Small world. One of the couples was hoping for some good news about a very sick dog at home and we hope they received good news today.

After about 10 miles on 101 (and .5 miles of route finding), we turned onto Slab Creek Road, one of the two highlights of the day. We are finding that getting off 101 is always good. The traffic disappears and the views are usually even better. The scenery on Slab Creek Road was like mountain bike scenery on pavement. Beautiful forest, nice creek, and even some roadside art at one of the houses we passed (see photo).

After an enjoyable jaunt on Slab Creek Road and its continuation, our world was rocked when we turned onto a very, very busy highway 18, just a mile before it intersects with 101. This short section of 101 was one of the worst so far as the shoulder was very narrow and we needed to make a left turn (to avoid more of 101) at a blind corner. After too short a time bypassing Lincoln City, we were back to 101. We did manage to pull off though and stop at Mo's for lunch and enjoy clam chowder in a small park. Mo's is the Oregon Coast's answer to Ivar's in Seattle. Though we thought Mo's was a bit better (being hungry probably helped!).

Soon after this, we had an opportunity to award our "driver of the year" award to a truck driver. He was carrying half a house (really) and was about to cross a bridge. He couldn't cross with traffic in the other direction and he waited and signaled us to cross in front of him. This made up for lots of other bad behavior we've seen so far on the trip. Maybe we can find someone to pull a house behind us all the way down the coast?? There were far too many parks and viewpoints to stop at and enjoy the amazing views of the coast.

We were in another bad section of 101 and we found some new signs and their translations:
Safety Corridor Next 8 Miles - the next 8 miles are super dangerous, you are in trouble.
Turn on Headlights for Safety - you are really in deep doo-doo.
Sunken Grade - early grave if not careful.

In the middle of our "safety corridor," a small miracle occurred. The route takes off onto a small road that parallels 101 and is really only for bikers (and the occasional car). This route is only one way for cars (southbound) and was fantastic. Virtually no traffic, great road surface, beautiful views, and a dangerous edge - stay back!!

After a long day of riding, it is good to enjoy an ocean view and do some email. Tomorrow is a semi-rest day, heading to Yachats which is only 24 miles away - yahoo!!

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