Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Predominant." That Word Does Not Mean What You Think It Means.

Today's pictures are here.

I only saw one other cycling tourist today. He came pedalling in to the store in Sandlake just as I was about to leave, head down, suffering, trying to force his bike over flat ground, moving well off the road to get into the wind shadow of the store.

The store owner and two other locals were sitting with me on the front porch of the store. As the rider got off the bike and walked up the steps to the porch of the store, he said, "you know, I picked this route because the winds were predominantly from the northwest. I was supposed to just be able to sail along down the coast."

Yeah. Me, too.

Leaving my hotel in Portland this morning, it was blustery and wet but not raining. I got the bike out the door of my room and realized my rear tire was flat. I guess it's better when these things happen at the hotel, because it was easy to roll it back in and change the flat and then get cleaned up again.

Fortunately I had plenty of time. After grabbing a bagel, I went by the bike shop down the street and pumped my tires full, and then bought a fresh patch kit. It was mostly down hill from there to the Greyhound station, where my bus came on time.

A little after 1 pm, I was back in Tillamook putting my bags back on the bike. As often happens at bus stations, there was a strange little man hanging out who tried to tell me that he was the model for George Jetson, and something about a weird code that I should tell the Canadians when I go across the border.

Ah, the life of a ramblin' man!

I cruised north to the local megamart for a sandwich, zip ties, shop rags, and a new electric razor. And by cruise, I mean "cruise" because the wind was behind me for this mile and it was strong! After my shopping when I began heading in the direction my route was supposed to go today, I knew that I was in for it.

The Adventure Cycling route has an option to skip a hilly route down over Cape Meares and through Oceanside. I thought about taking the short cut, but that would be easier and less scenic. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your point of view), the road to Cape Meares was closed. Thus cut almost 10 miles and over 500' of climbing out of my day's plan, but it turns out that this was okay.

My shortcut returned to the coast at Netarts, where I paused to eat the rest of my sandwich and watch the fierce sea. Then it was back on the Three Capes Scenic Route, pushing my way down Netarts Bay Drive, sometimes shifting into the small ring even though the road was flat and I was down in the drops. The wind eased a bit as the road moved inland to begin climbing the 800' over Cape Lookout.

The fog was thick for these three miles, but the road was nice and quiet, with a bike lane most of the way. When I finally reached the top, the wiind came back with a vengeance, and I had to tuck low and feather my brakes to keep from getting blown into the other lane.

Near the bottom, I entered a mile of road bordered by sand dunes. Pines were in the distance, slowing being enveloped by the drifts. I've never seen anything like it.

Then it was a right turn past Sandlake, with more of that fierce headwind. This went on for another 10 miles, as I eventually topped the last of the capes -- Kiwanda.

Just before Pacific City, I was riding near the right edge of the road when a car passed me. As it went by, I noticed that the right edge of the road was crumbling in, and I needed to move left. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do this very well, and ended up making an unintentional dismount. My left elbow and hip got banged and scraped a bit, and it temporarily knocked my handlebars and saddle askew, but I was able to fix everything (pretty much) and get moving again within a minute.

My original plan was to stay at a campground, but after the harsh day and the spill, I decided to treat myself with a hotel. The first one that I came to, after another crummy crosswind descent, was the Inn at Cape Kwanda. It's very nice, but more expensive than any other place that I've stayed at so far this trip. After a hot bath, doing some laundry, and a good pizza, I feel pretty good again. Hopefully the world will be right again tomorrow, and the wind will be back to it's proper predominant place.


  1. The Netarts area was one of my favorite places at the coast when I lived in Portland. Had many an adventure in that vicinity! Hope you find no residual surprises from your tumble....

  2. Those "unintentional dismounts" are rarely graceful, or soft.