Cycling the Oregon Coast

We had a busy summer this year, but hadn’t been on a bike tour in a while, so we decided to go out and ride part of the Oregon coast. We started our trip to Oregon by putting our bikes on Jennifer’s car and driving to Portland the day after the Labor Day holiday, where we spent the night with Jennifer’s friend E.V. Then we got up the next morning, loaded up our bikes with our camping gear, and set off towards Astoria on Highway 30 (following the Lewis and Clark Trail route). It took us 3 days to get to Fort Stevens State Park (at the northwest tip of Oregon).

Campsite at Gobel Landing

Our first night out we camped at Gobel Landing under some tents

Zach fixing flat tire

Zach had a flat tire (first of two). At least we had a good shoulder on the road, and good weather for fixing it!

Along the Columbia River

We had some great views of the Columbia River along the way

Sea lions in Astoria

Sea lions in Astoria Oregon. See also a short YouTube video Jennifer made of them

We arrived in Fort Stevens on Friday evening, which happened to be the first night of the annual Recumbent Retreat weekend: a fun gathering of about 200 recumbent bicycle riders. We enjoyed camping with them, especially the Saturday evening activities: a pot-luck supper, followed by a night-time ride through the entire campground, which was like a parade with all the bikes decorated with lights. E.V. also came out to the park on Saturday, and we enjoyed a day of beach walking and bird watching with her.

Recumbent Retreat

Zillions of recumbent riders at Fort Stevens State Park

Sunday morning, we headed down the coast of Oregon, reaching Reedsport on Friday afternoon. The Oregon coast is very beautiful and very hilly, and we had a mix of weather, ranging from sun to fog to rain. We stayed in hotels two nights (in Lincoln City to dry out and do laundry, and in Reedsport because there were not any camping options available), and camped the rest of the time. Aside from one very wet morning with torrential rain, we mostly avoided getting rained on while riding, so we enjoyed the views, and geared down to go very slowly up the hills (getting an excellent view of each fern and tree we passed). We were mostly on Highway 101, which is busy, but usually has a wide shoulder for riding on; there were a few excursions onto other roads, which provided some welcome peace and quiet too. We met lots of interesting people camping in the Oregon state parks, some of whom we camped with multiple times as we rode down the coast. One couple we met (Chris and Sophie) were cycling all the way from Alaska to Argentina. Zach found Chris and Sophie’s trip blog afterwards. Also, we spotted whales (and of course many birds) along the way!

Oregon coast

Slightly misty view of the Oregon coast at the top of a hill

Hiker-biker area in Oregon state park

Many Oregon state parks have “hiker biker” areas, where you can camp inexpensively and meet others who are hiking or biking through the area

Torrential rain in Lincoln City

It was pouring rain when we were about to leave our hotel in Lincoln City, so we waited a while, and had a very pleasant day of cycling

Oregon coast haystack rocks

Small “haystack” rocks on the Oregon coast

Oregon coast

A beautiful, windy lunch spot on the Oregon coast

Oregon Dunes

Overlook of the Oregon Dunes, near Florence. A little later in the day, we went for a hike in the Dunes area.

From Reedsport, on Saturday we turned inland on the Smith River Road, and spent three days getting over the Coast Range to Eugene, Oregon. This was a very quiet road on the weekend; on Monday, we saw a number of logging trucks, but they passed us with plenty of space. We camped Saturday night at a BLM campground at Smith River Falls, and Sunday night at a pull-out near the Suislaw River. There were a lot of egrets, a few deer, and at Sunday’s campground, many snails (one of which hitchhiked in Jennifer’s pannier all the way home!).

Smith River Road, Oregon

Cycling on the Smith River Road between Reedsport and Eugene, Oregon

In Eugene, we got to the train station on Monday afternoon, just as a northbound train was pulling out, but we found out that Amtrak would not accept our recumbent bikes on board anyway without boxing them up. However, there was a bus leaving shortly afterwards, and they took both of our bikes with no problem. So, we loaded them up and arrived in Portland that afternoon, spent another night with E.V., and drove home Tuesday.

It was a great trip! We have plans for a trip in November/December, so… stay tuned for the next adventure!

Map (note: not exact). The green marker shows the beginning of the route. If you click on other markers, you will see a note or information about that spot.


Approximate elevation profile (markers correspond to markers on the map):

Elevation Profile

4 Comments

  1. Bill Albert
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Great photos, and I love the elevation chart and of course the maps. What a cool trip – so jealous.

  2. molly chambers
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine how you were able to RIDE those laden bikes! So good for the muscles and physique all that mileage. :-)
    AMAZINGLY beautiful pix, though. One seriously reminded me of an equally beautiful view of the Pacific coming down the hill on L.J.Shores Drive…seeing the curve of that inlet….sigh!
    Thank you for sharing these!
    :-)

  3. Maro
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    You are strong bike riders, but a missed a picture of both of you riding

  4. Jennifer
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    It is pretty hard to take a picture of both of us riding, since one of us has to take the picture! :)