The North Coast


Day 5: Nehalem Bay to Cape Lookout, 39 miles

I write from a tent pitched in a wooded site, just 20 yards from the beach at Cape Lookout State Park.  The sound of the surf surrounds me, and brings with it so many memories.

This velo-gypsy has lived many places, 5 states, numerous towns, too many houses.  But here, I am home.  The ocean I return to, the ocean calls me. One day, the ocean may take me away.

Migrating geese fly overhead.  Cooing raccoons poke around my bike panniers looking for treats, but I have hung my food high overhead.

The last time I cycled the North Coast was in 1985, the year I bought my Miyata 210.  I rode this coast twice that year, once right after graduation, then later at the end of the summer, after my internship with Tektronix ended and before I left for graduate school at Cornell.

My friend Mike and I were riding in the back of his parent’s pickup heading south to Coos Bay where we were going to begin our ride north, when he pulled out the book “Bicycling the Pacific Coast”.  As he read the first page “Why ride North to. South?” we groaned as the authors described the constant prevailing headwinds we would experience riding from the south.  They were right.

Later, I rode solo, down from Astoria.  I enjoyed excellent weather and the tailwinds that carried my then, and today.  20 MPH really helps when the legs are tired and the spirit weary.  So does familiar landmarks, kitchy tourist traps and free cheese at the factory.

Fog shrouded Cape Lookout as the sun set tonight, a warm wind continuing the long end of summer.  It hardly feeling like the seasons have changed.  Leaves are browning gradually, nights are getting a bit cooler.  But I am cheating Fall, cycling south to the land of sun.


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