Traveling terrains of sun and fog

Day 4, Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach, 57 miles

Another restless night. The moon is still close to full, I awake several times. Dreams are coming back, characters I’ve not met, visitations from the deep unconscious. What are these stories? Where will they take me? I was going to head out early this morning, but I found resting more compelling. Then I notice the time, realize I have 60 miles ahead, it’s past 11am and I’m starting much too late.

Nevertheless, I take my time packing up, bidding safe travels to the other cyclists. It’s almost noon when I ride down the drive to the main road. There I begin the arduous climb over Cape Lookout. Steep, steady, a warm sunny morning. The climb is long, then as I near the top, winds are blowing against me. South wind! Bodes a shift in the weather. I reach the top, then begin the long descent down the south side of the Cape. Lush vegetation gives way to dry sand dunes. I continue on the Three Capes Route to Sand Lake and Pacific City.

Just before Cape Kiwanda the weather shifts to fog and a chill I am not expecting. I roll into Pacific City, glad to duck into Stimulus coffeehouse. I meet two other cyclists there, also avoiding the cold and also heading to San Diego. We’ll see each other along the way, whether we follow the same itinerary or not. I’m reluctant to start riding again, but put on my extra clothes and get going. Cycling into a cold foggy headwind isn’t fun. But at least it isn’t raining.

The road curves around Nestucca Bay, then rejoins 101. The temperature shifts again, fog parts to reveal sunny blue skies. My mood brightens, as the weather. Still a headwind, and now the climb up Cascade Head. This is a long one. Last time I took the old 101, Slab Creek road. It was longer with very rough pavement, but quiet and beautiful. I’m on a mission today, so I stay on the 101. Near the top, fog returns. Seems the fog accumulates on the windward sides of the heads or capes, sunny skies on the leeward. I remember riding last fall with the opposite, fog to the north, clear skies to the south. It’s exciting to see the skies change as I travel the miles across this terrain.

After the rapid descent of Cascade, I barrel on to Lincoln City. Here the road climbs and descends for miles of the long strip of a city. Got to be my least favorite stretch off the Oregon Coast highway. I stop for a rest break at D-River, look out over the foggy chilly beach. Just yesterday, I was lying in the warm sunny sands at Oceanside. Contrasts which mirror my moods and thoughts, inner terrains and weather.

I reach Depot Bay and the fog becomes a drizzly mist. I put on my headlight, now struggling with cold and wet on my glasses. I remember, just wipe them off. Rain or mist, I can see. It’s the cold that is dragging me now. I’m miles from camp, riding with full lights, climbing the Otter Crest Loop. The views are stunning on clear days. Tonight, in the dark, I only hear the quiet surf far below, trucks on the highway above. At last I reach the top of Cape Foulweather, aptly named today, then descend into the dark, headlight blazing into the foggy mist ahead.

A couple more miles to the camp. I arrive late, chilled, glad to take the hottest shower I’ve yet found in a state park. I am ecstatic. I set up camp by headlamp, glad to crawl into my warm sleeping bag. Exhausted, yet satisfied. Such a day.

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