Day 07 – Thursday – Neskowin to Florence
Posted by Mike
Estimate: 87.8 miles, actual: 88.88 miles
Avg speed: 16.7 mph – our fastest day yet – I think the tailwind might have helped us today a little though!
Cumulative distance: 528.49 miles
Neskowin is magical and we really enjoyed our stay at the Proposal Rock Inn – something special about reaching the Pacific Ocean.
At the end of out first week, our first full day riding down Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast Highway.
We set off a little later than usual at about 10.30. But we knew it was a relatively short day’s riding and our accommodation was so nice, it was good to chill out for a while. Mike’s OCD-tendencies drove him to polish and oil our bicycles. There was a small, (but perhaps inevitably, quite expensive) general store and we bought some coffee, cereal and soya milk and brought it back to our room to have for breakfast. Our room had beautiful views of Neskowin Creek flowing past Proposal Rock and into the ocean.
The coastal landscape is obviously very different from what we’ve experienced so far. Still lots of pine woods on either side of the road, steep climbs followed by spectacularly fast descents. The highway sometimes runs by the sea (and it’s clear how much damage it can do, as the edge of the road is sometimes eroded and collapsing). Sometimes we’re cycling through woodland and then through lots of small, pretty towns with buildings painted in pastel colours and decorated with flags and banners. There are some very dramatic sections of coast with incredible views of rocky outcrops, cliffs, sandy beaches, and there are viewpoints, it’s very easy to linger and just enjoy,
After 10 miles, we arrived in Lincoln City and stopped to take on more coffee and fuel up on croissant. As we set off from Lincoln City, a man drove past and shouted: “Keep on riding!” Fantastic – made us feel really welcome and determined to do just that!
Next stop Newport, where we stopped for lunch. Today, we eschewed Safeway’s and opted instead for Fred Mayer – Roberto in Portland thought that they’d be more likely to stock organic products and soya – which was true. The fresh fruit has been amazing on our trip so far and we had some beautiful peaches, blueberries, strawberries and melon.
While we were eating, a shiny black BMW car pulled up with a rather amusing number plate: IAM007. I think that USA number (licence) plates look a bit odd to us Europeans. The man who stepped out of the car, was no James Bond, however! Mike took a photograph of the car, but didn’t have the courage to get a picture the man … just in case we’re wrong about the Bond thing!
Just to the south of Newport we had to cross yet another scary bridge. Not in quite the same league as the Lewis and Clarke Bridge in Longview, the Yaquina Bay Bridge is arch-shaped like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, almost 1 km long and 41 m (133 ft) high. Eek!
The final 30 miles or so was the most beautiful, along the coast and through the Siuslaw National Forest. By Sea Lion Caves, we saw seals swimming in the Ocean! We passed some beautiful big inland lakes and at one point the road passed through a short, narrow tunnel. As cyclists entered we had to push a button to reduce the speed limit and trigger flashing warning lights for other road-users – it was brilliant – we could definitely do with that sort of thing in the UK.
Finally, a long straight road into Florence – the River House Inn – the most select hotel that we’ve stayed at so far. It had lovely colourful flower beds against the building. We did our laundry and then headed into the ‘historic old town’ for dinner at The Bridgwater: a big diner with cream coloured wood walls, high ceilings with lovely old ceiling fans, huge windows fronting the street – so lots to look at. Mike ordered pasta and Matthew asked for a salad – we thought that we’d start with a serving of onion rings … when that arrived I nearly fell off my seat, it was a massive portion … we didn’t need anything else … along came the pasta and Matthew’s salad – both meals arrived on truly giant plates … we could hardly eat any of it, I felt rather guilty about leaving so much.
After dinner a rather romantic walk along the river in the moonlight and a good night’s sleep.
Another lovely day.