41.5 mi / 9.8 mph / 1953 ft. climbing
Home: Sunset Surf Motel
We loved Astoria so much, we just needed to find a way to stay a little longer: morning laundry! And hey, even the laundromat was top-notch and modernized, with a credit-card computer that would let you start your machine directly from the panel. Fancy!
Ok, seriously, we knew we wanted to wait a bit longer for the rain to fully clear out as forecasted in the afternoon. And the strategy worked for a while. We had clear-ish skies pulling out of Astoria and across another long (but not nearly as epic) bridge. Rett did a good job of keeping a steady pace into headwinds on a loud and boring section of US-101, with a stop at Grizzly Tuna for a roadside lunch in Seaside (who got an even higher rating from Rett than her beloved Doug’s in Skaneateles!)
We’d had a false-alarm from my radar app showing rain coming at us that made us put on our rain jackets, and I briefly thought “too bad, it would be good for us to get some rain, just so that we aren’t so scared of it, and so we can test out our current gear and make sure we don’t have unexpected leaks”.
Well, ha. Just as we finished up lunch, the rain came for real. Heavy, driving, completely non-Pacific Northwest-style rain. While we were toiling up the headland that divides Seaside from Cannon Beach. Sheets of water flowing across the road, with cars and trucks spraying wakes as they plowed through. It would stop, we’d partly dry out, and then start again.
The good news was that it was definitely a test of our gear! And beyond Rett’s waterproof socks filling up like buckets inside (exactly the sort of learning we were looking for), everything basically worked, and we stayed comfortable and dry-ish.
It meant that we skipped the offshoot that added extra 350ft of climbing to visit the “Twilight” and “Goonies” beach at Ecola State Park; although we’d seen it before, seeing it again on our bikes would have of course been cool. And then we almost decided not to turn into Cannon Beach to get our first view of the ocean either, since we’ve also seen Haystack Rock, both in person and a million movies. But that would have been dumb, because when it appeared to our right breaching out of the ocean, it took our breath away in a completely unexpected way.
We were then even able to dry out a bit in some sun at the very same bench Joel and I had sat at when we rode the Oregon Coast together 9(!) years ago. It will be interesting to feel the nostalgic echoes of that trip; already it has been fun to be the “tour guide” for Rett on this section just as Joel was the “tour guide” for me the last time.
A couple more big hills finished off our day, with the last 500-footer nearly finishing off Rett, but the reward from Neahkahnie Viewpoint would be worth climbing a 5000-foot hill. Endless waves far below crashing into Manzanita, a view Rett had never seen, and something I was thrilled to hear echoed again.
Then a roll down to Manzanita, and another strategic motel stay, to dry out and stay dry. What I didn’t realize was the motel I had booked almost purely on price was literally at the beach, had tons of room for bikes inside, and capabilities to do grocery store meals. This planning-on-the-fly thing is giving me pretty positive feedback so far!