Day 27: Beverly Beach to Beachside State Park, 27 miles (plus 15 mile side trip to Cape Perpetua)
I take a lazy start, resting longer in my cozy tent. All right, pack it up, get to town for coffee and a pastry at Panini Bakery in Nye Beach. I bid my new touring friends from last night a safe journey, and off I go. A gorgeous sunny day, rolling down 101 towards Newport. Nicer than the last time I did this, late November. So cold then! I swoop down the Agate Beach Loop, the official “Oregon Coast Bicycle Route”, enjoy the hills and relative quiet away from the highway.
I’m flooded with memories, of Zach playing at Cafe Mundo, such an amazing talent on the fiddle. So young to die. A reminder to live each moment, to cherish every day. I’m thankful for the wind at my back, for blue skies, for the warmth of the sun, and for Sumatra coffee and a blueberry muffin at Panini. Yum! I climb up the hill to visit Oceana Food Coop, here I enjoy lunch from the beautifully stocked buffet. I dally, reading and lingering. A relaxed pace, something I don’t practice much while I’m in the thick of the tour.
At last, time to head down 101. Miles fly with a steady wind and lightness in my feet. I pass familiar landmarks: the Yaquina Bay Bridge, South Beach, Lost Beach, Ona Beach, Seal Rock, Waldport, then I arrive at my final destination of this tour. A little campground nestled between the long easy beach between Waldport and Yachats. Beachside State Park. My home beach.
Beachside. I camped here as a child so many times. Visited as a teen, as a college student, young adult, middle aged adult. The camp is next the 101, but traffic is lighter here, since the terrain to the south is the rugged rocky coast between Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head. One of my favorite rides, too. Arriving here always brings memories, tied with the scent of pine and sea and campfires. Long days, breezy beaches, gorgeous sunsets. Heartache as well as joy. And a deep deep peace of mind and heart. That is why I keep returning.
I set up my tent, then ride down to the Yachats, a quick side trip further to Cape Perpetua, the high bluff to the south. The surf is roiling today, whipped up by the offshore winds. The energy is infectious. I feel enlivened, strengthened. My strides are strong and confident. Then back down the road, into the wind now, back to Yachats, for an artistic dinner at the Farm Store. Nate greets me and forgives me for being out of touch, once he hears I’ve been out on my bike again, for another month, again. His project has come to fruition, a thriving market, and classy brewery coming on line. The final step will be the third floor cafe, complete with wood fired oven. Can’t wait for that!
The day is waning, so I head back north to my camp, into the wind. It’s a bit less, but also chilly. I’m acclimated to the cold, something that happens on the tour, spending so many days outdoors, camping, cycling, living in the wild. I do not relish the domestic life, which lies just around the bend. For now, one more walk on the beach, catching another stunning sunset. More memories, of this beach, of other beaches, other sunsets. I’ve seen more than I can number. But somehow, none measure up to this one here. My home beach