Cycling the West Coast: On the Road Again! [Day 9]

Luke Guilford | CycleCycle
At the top of Cape Lookout. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
At the top of Cape Lookout. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

Day 9

I left Cape Lookout State Park early this morning to try and beat the rain that was supposed to hit in the afternoon. My day started with a gnarly climb that went up roughly 850+ feet, and it seemed to be my steepest climb of the trip so far.

The top of the climb marks the beginning of a short hiking trail that takes you all the way out to the end of Cape Lookout. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great lookout spot due to the heavy clouds hovering around, but it was a beautiful hike. I came across a few banana slugs along the muddy trail.

Banana Slug
A banana slug finds its way down the trail. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
Looking out from Cape Lookout
Looking out from Cape Lookout. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

After the climb, I enjoyed the relaxing downhill section, attempting to catch my breath and cool off. I’m west of Highway 101, so the roads are desolate as I cruise through Sandlake and Pacific City. The backroads are much more enjoyable, and the homes and the beach are closer, making it feel more personable.

Shortly after Pacific City, I rejoined Highway 101 and the car traffic. Luckily, this stretch was short-lived (just under 10 miles), as my Adventure Cycling Association map sent me onto Slab Creek Rd, just passed Neskowin.

Surprisingly, this little backroad was one of my favorite things I did today. I saw maybe four or five cars for the entire 10-mile stretch. The old-growth forests were incredibly dense and tall; it felt like I was on a hiking trail.

Slab Creek Rd
Peace and quiet on Slab Creek Rd. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

Along the backroad was a small school called the Neskowin Valley School. The school values outdoor and experiential learning and place-based projects that immerse students in the natural areas of the Oregon Coast. Looking back at my childhood, I wonder how different I would be if I had attended a school like this. I didn’t discover my creative and exploratory traits until I was 18 when I started working at a zip line park.

I eventually left the lonely, old-growth forests and returned to Highway 101. I arrived in Lincoln City, OR, late afternoon, where I decided to get a pizza that would last me both lunch and dinner for the day… that didn’t go quite as planned. Eight slices later, I was off to a laundromat in town to do laundry for the first time.

Bros and Hoes
A landscaping business worth taking a picture of. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

I packed up my freshly cleaned clothes and set off for the beach. I paced up and down the beach, killing time before I met up with a friend I connected with last year. I met a man searching for whatever he could find using a metal detector. He showed me some cool coins that he assumed dated back to the 1800s and potentially the 1700s. One had Spanish writing on it. I wish I had taken a picture of them, but I don’t know anything about coins, so he could’ve been messin’ with me.

The rain started rolling in around 4 pm, so I biked to a friend’s place. His friend and I hopped in his truck and toured the city. I know it’s been only nine days, but it felt weird to be in a vehicle. I had no idea forest fires had ripped through the area in 2020, leaving the hills scorched and bare. Rebuild was in full effect, and some people were building shipping container homes that looked cool.

Finders Keepers glass float

So I mentioned a glass float from the day one journal entry, which is above. Lincoln City puts on a treasure hunt of over 3,000 glass floats made by local artisans. The glass floats are hidden over the town’s seven miles of sandy beach, so if you find one, it’s all yours. My friend stumbled upon this float that I’m staying with tonight, and he passed this on to me. I think it’s unique and a great example of how a town can bring a little fun to the community. The only problem is securing this float for 1,000 miles of cycling. I’ll sure be attached if it does!

Today was a good day to get off Highway 101 for most of the day. I have enjoyed biking the coast so far, but if I were to plan another tour, I would try to get off the beaten path some more. Potentially do a gravel road tour or just a primarily backroad tour.

Tomorrow is a special day because I will meet my cousins I stayed with when I worked in Central Oregon last year. We plan to spend the weekend at South Beach State Park, just south of Newport, OR.

Stats from today:

  • 45 miles biked
  • 2,000 vertical feet climbed
  • Eight slices of pizza
  • 400 miles cycled in total
Day 9 Route
Day 9’s route.

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