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Portland, OR to Redwoods, CA

posted Oct 21, 2009, 9:49 AM by Paul Gareau
Well, I'm stranded in Yosemite for another day since Tioga Pass is still closed. The forecast is for mid to upper 70s for the next few days, so I'm hoping the snow and ice will melt soon, and the pass will reopen. I'm skipping my Washington drive journal for now since I have too much catching up to do and my notes weren't very good anyway. So without further ado, Portland to Redwoods National Park...

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Portland, OR to Stub Stewart State Park

I had camped just outside of Portland, so I drove back into the city in the morning to return my car. It took a while to get all my gear repacked and my bike put back together, and I was on the road by about noon. Someone at the visitor center had recommended a route out of the city and to the coast, and warned me about the hill I'd have to climb out of the city. It ended up being a 1000+ foot climb and the temperature was in the mid 90s. For about half of the day I followed roads that paralleled route 26, until the traffic thinned out enough to make riding on it safe. The scenery today wasn't especially interesting, but there was a nice recreation trail that I took into the campground. On the trail I came across a couple who were out for their first ride of the year. The husband had a flat tire, and since they didn't have the right tools to fix it, I stopped to give them a hand. Once we got the tire off, we found that the tube had basically exploded, and since they only had a patch kit, they'd be walking back to their car. I told them about my trip and they gave me some good information about things to see along the coast.

3:32 hrs / 10.6 avg / 37.8 miles

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Stub Stewart State Park to Clootchy Creek Park

Stub Stewart State Park is one of the newest in the state, and they have wireless internet throughout the campground. I spent some time online in the morning picking my route and estimating how long it would take me to get to Palm Springs, since I'd be meeting my Dad and step-Mom there. While I was packing up, a guy got out of his truck and shouted "Park Ranger!!" as he was walking over to me. Many campgrounds aren't staffed and use the honor system for payment. I hadn't paid yet, and he decided to hassle me about that. When I told him I'd pay on the way out he said "I'll need you to pay NOW, sir", in the same tone of voice I'd expect to hear if I had just set the picnic table on fire. "I'll need you to extinguish that NOW, sir". (You get the idea). Since I could tell he was itching to try his shiny new can of pepper spray, I paid him without arguing, and finished packing up.

There was a good downhill on the way from camp back to 26, and as I rode by a farmer who was wearing overalls, flannel and a straw hat at 20 mph, he shouted "Where you goin'!?". I didn't stop... There were three big climbs today, and the temperature dropped significantly after the first summit. Coastal temperatures are up to 30 to 40 degrees cooler than inland temperatures and it was surprising how quickly the temperature dropped.

The visitor center in Portland had given me some great information, including a booklet with details for cycling the Oregon coast. It said there would be a hiker/biker campground at the junction of 26 and the coastal route 101, so I was surprised to only find a small park there, that didn't seem like it had ever been used as a campground. There was a trail back to a flat grassy spot, so I rolled my bike back there and set up camp for the night.

4:26 hrs / 11.2 avg / 50 miles

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Clootchy Creek to Nehalem Bay Campground

I decided I'd ride a few miles north up to Seaside, since it was supposed to be a nice coastal town. As soon as I got there I met a cyclist who had just finished riding across the US. We talked for a while, then rode off since he was headed North to Seattle. Shortly after that I met another bike tourist named Abbey, who was just doing a two day ride. I spent some time cruising around Seaside, which I liked, but it was very touristy. Shortly after getting back on the road, I met another bicycle tourist named Astrid, who had ridden from Europe to Japan, and was now headed across the US. She had been on the road for 16 months already and had ridden about 16,000 miles. After talking for a whlie, we rode on to Cannon Beach, which I also liked. I'd still consider it touristy, but it was much less flashy than Seaside. Astrid was planning to spend the night in town, so I was riding solo again until I got to camp. Nehalem Bay Campground was my first experience with Oregon Hiker/Biker campsites - and I liked it. They have a designated area in the campground where anyone who gets in under their own power can stay for just $4 per night. There were at least half a dozen cyclists staying there, including Valeska and Phillip, who are cycling around the world, and have been on the road for 3.5 years! They are headed to Argentina too, so we spent quite a while talking about this trip and trips we had done in the past. I was the first PanAm rider they had met, which surprised me since I figured I had met or heard about over a dozen people doing the trip. When I sat down and made a list of everyone, it included 18 people riding in 13 groups! (Most are solo). 

3:46 hrs / 9.6 avg / 36.5 miles

Note: I just heard they reopened the pass! Gotta go!