47.3 mi / 11.0 mph / 1959 ft. climbing
Home: Beachside State Park hiker/biker campsite
Getting out of Lincoln City wasn’t super-fun, with the driver that crashed into Scott still on our minds. The insane level of condensation that soaked our tent overnight both inside and out was a pain too. But once packed up and out of town, we had another beautiful day of sun and sea.
It’s October, and although this is the 10th bike tour I’ve done (over nearly 20 years!), I’ve never been living outside as late as October. Since we’re not even two weeks into this thing, it still feels like a vacation, like all those previous time-limited bike tours did. I’m curious to learn when it will instead begin to feel like what it really is: our new lives. Seeing the month as a double-digit number will surely help with that.
We continue to fight a battle within and between ourselves about migrating south as quickly as we can, versus slowing down to enjoy our new lives, getting into camp early, and having time to breathe. No victor to report yet.
We’ve taken some different routes and stayed at some different places than Joel and I did nine years ago, but overall the path is largely the same, so it’s a bit surprising how very little of the path is specifically stored in my memory. I was clearly due for a refresher, which is itself refreshing.
But the Otter Crest Loop is one specific memory I had, and it lived up to my memory of being one of the best sections of bike touring in existence. A nearly empty, one-way side-road off US101, it was our one big climb of the day, but what a way to climb, with new views of rocky cliffs down to the ocean at every turn. Even the bits that wind through “normal” forest are otherworldly.
At the top we dried out our soaking tent, and had a great talk with Sergi, an enthusiastic supporter from Miami (“don’t go to Miami!”), which put us in a good mood for the ride down.
We got in an even better mood when we saw a woman constructing a giant “sand painting” on the beach far below. This must be “a thing”, but it’s a thing neither of us had ever seen before, a massive beach version of a Buddhist sand mandala, beautiful, ephemeral, and created for the moment. Perhaps some subtle advice for us on the road forward.
The hiker/biker spots at Beachside State Park are right in every way: right at the entrance, right near bathrooms, right near the beach. No cycling coast caravan here, only one other camper, on a 1980s 10-speed with a plastic tarp for shelter; it would probably be more enlightening to communicate with him than the bikers who look more like ourselves, but we’re both too selfish and nervous to take the risk, and thus, we keep to ourselves.