Mini-Tour Day 1: Corvallis to Newport, 67 miles
With the Farm-to-Farm Century looming this Saturday, I decided it would be best to warm up by riding my bike, fully loaded with touring gear, out to Newport, then down to Yachats and back via the Alsea Highway. It was a good call.
I left Corvallis late, after a hair cut. 1pm is much later than I like to begin a long ride. But the sky was clear, warm breezes, and my spirits lifted once I got underway. Easily pedaling through familiar bike paths, then out the Newport highway. Long hills, but gentle grades, I made easy time to Blodgett. I asked the clerk whether I should take the Summit Highway or stay on 20, and she asked, “Depends on how much dodging you like to do!”
So Summit it was. Turns out that decision lead me onto 20 miles of back road delight, an even gentler grade, and it follows the railroad. Cool shaded stretches, farmland, and the heady aromas of fir and decomposing leaves. I was in bicycle heaven.
But heaven couldn’t last, and at Eddyville I rejoined Highway 20 for a harrowing 10 miles with no shoulder and moderately heavy traffic. I jumped off the road a couple times, and was glad to take a dinner break at the Chitwood covered bridge.
Following the Yaquina River from a lazy stream, all the way to the wide Yaquina Bay, I contemplated how humble beginnings can lead to grand expressions. I turned onto the Bay Road at Toledo, which added more miles and the reward to a stunning sunset cruise with the Yaquina Bay Bridge in the distance.
I arrived on the bay nearly eight hours after leaving Corvallis, not tired, rather inspired, with a ride over the Bay Bridge before I would reach my camp. Construction gave me a clear lane on the Bridge, a rare treat to cycle the massive engineering wonder unhindered by traffic.
I set up my tent after dark, then enjoyed one of the best perks of staying at Oregon parks: a free hot shower! Tomorrow: back to Yachats.