42.6 mi / 10.4 mph / 2467 ft. climbing
Home: Devil’s Lake State Park hiker/biker campsite
The biggest climb of the trip so far woke us, 800 ft. with sections at 9% grade. It was a beast, but easier first thing in the day than last thing. There is a hiking trail that extends west into the ocean atop the pointed finger of Cape Lookout (which we had just climbed to the top of), and we had the great idea of hiking out onto the trail, finding an unparalleled view down to the ocean, and making up some coffee along with second-breakfast to enjoy the place with.
Well, maybe it wasn’t such a great idea. Or at least it sounded a lot better on paper than in practice. It was a major chore re-packing all the necessary cooking gear into a bag we could take hiking with us. Then an impassable section of mud forced us to turn around before we’d even found a good viewpoint with some space. Still, we managed to squeeze our stove and our butts onto some trailside rocks, and make a few other hikers passing by jealous, so maybe it was worth it? It was at least worth it as a learning experience about how to better plan such treats in the future.
Later in the day we had a second 800-footer, again luckily off of US-101, on quiet, less-steep Slab Creek Road, a route that had been closed when I did this route with Joel nine years ago.
But just like nine years ago, we camped at the weird state park right in the heart of Lincoln City, and walked to Kyllo’s Seafood for our first fancy dinner in a while, though it sure seemed like prices had gone up in the interim!
At the hiker/biker sites, we met a guy from Vancouver, BC heading to San Diego (much faster than us), and a couple from Hong Kong on a tandem showed up going “the wrong way” to Seattle. But we were surprised that we didn’t see our new companion Scott there, since we talked to him at a couple points through the day and he’d decided to make Lincoln City his endpoint too.
Our surprise turned to shock when he messaged us, saying that he had been hit by a car (right in front of Kyllo’s) and was in the hospital with a broken femur or hip. Later on we were somewhat relieved to learn the x-rays were negative, but it was still a heavy night for all of us in camp, as it’s something that we’re all obviously concerned about, but generally force the possibility out of our minds in order to even allow us the ride on the roads. So having our illusions shattered by reality is scary, and angering, but hopefully it also inspires us to redouble our efforts to be as safe as we can.
The guy from Vancouver had done this ride 30 years ago, and he said the traffic today is one of the biggest differences. We (along with Scott) always say that traveling this way restores our faith in the goodness of humanity, but at times like this, it makes us wonder: how is it so easy for some drivers out there to not even recognize us as humans at all?