Epic Road Trip (Day 14)

Published on August 7, 2015

Luck was with me and the wildfires in northern California didn't force me to reroute. Today, I traveled 231 miles from Astoria to Coos Bay, Oregon along Highway 101. From here, I start the long ride down the coast from Astoria to Santa Barbara, picking up Highway 1 after I cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. But we'll talk more about that later.

The ride out of Astoria started out pretty tame (and cold and wet), but it very quickly got fun. After getting through Seaside, the 101 wound its way through some inland forests and took me past a number of beaches. The last of these beaches, Cannon Beach, I decided to pull off and take a few photos. It was worth the detour.

After stopping by the beach, I hit the highway and it climbed and wound upward. From the top I could see my first gas stop (quite a ways off), Tillamook. I wound down the cliffs and through a couple small towns that were fantastic to see (I definitely want to revisit and stay at one or more of the rustic-styled hotels I saw along the way). Things were great, right up until I came up to a paint crew, which stacked cars up 50 deep and kept everything to a snails pace all the way to Tillamook. The roads didn't really need repainting. Resurfacing, on the other hand...

I stopped for a break in Tillamook, getting gas and enjoying the weather. I had made sure to put on some layers because as I went south the weather actually got cloudier, foggier, and chillier. From Tillamook to Newport, there really wasn't much to see beyond the road because of the fog, so I just enjoyed the curves and opened it up when I could (sadly, that stretch was a little like being in rush-hour traffic - everyone wanted to pay attention to the scenery while they drove, rather than pull off at any of the many spots where they could admire the trees).

In Newport, I stopped and had lunch and a coffee at Hilltop Cafe. It was a good spot for a break to fill up. I still had another 80 miles or so before reaching Coos Bay and plenty of gas. After leaving Newport, the curves in the road became more sweeping, letting me keep a more consistent pace and with the reduced luggage (I forgot to mention I had shipped some of my stuff home from Seattle to lighten the load and reduce the height of my luggage). There were a few spots where I got a gusty crosswind when the road opened up toward the fog-shrouded ocean, so I was happy for the reduced profile.

I rolled into Coos Bay earlier than I anticipated, partially due to the fact that I couldn't really stop to take photos as much as I thought I would. After getting checked in, I hoofed it down to a local German restaurant in downtown Coos Bay called The Blue Heron where I had some Hungarian goulash (not sure how German that really is, but it was under their traditional dishes). Apparently, there is also a Wine Walk this particular weekend and there were advertisements for a local wine festival as well. All in all, a nice first leg of Highway 101.

From here, I travel 216 miles to Eureka, California.8