Day 9: Be Prepared. Creative Detours Around Tillamook

Day 9: 45 miles from Manzanita to Cape Lookout State Park, via Tillamook. Mostly Highway 101, with a brief detour/exploration route through some old forest roads.

Today was a pretty chill day. We did 45 miles an averaged about 12mph, which was a pretty good pace considering it was still rolling hills with off-and head winds. We took 101 from Manzanita to Tillamook, bypassing the Tillamook Cheese factory (it was so full!) and stopping at Fred Meyer to stock up on food. After shopping I felt fat – we easily added 20 pounds to our haul But we bought a lot of stuff and have a few meals lined up. Lunch was a simple affair in an empty parking lot where a Jehovah’s Witness nicely tried to push the bible on us. She was polite, so we politely refused.

Lindsey poses with a Cow-themed train car along the route

The ride from Tillamook to Cape Lookout could have went one of three ways. The most direct route along Highway 131 is said to be quite dangerous, with no shoulders and blind turns with a total distance of 11 miles. The planned alternate along the coast adds an extra 10 miles but is supposed to be a lot quiter. Unfortunately, a sign said the way was closed 6 miles ahead – we weren’t sure if it would be closed ot bikes or not, so we sought another option. A few weeks ago I saw a post about this location on the Pacific Coast Route Facebook page and added a screenshot to Evernote (so prepared). We followed the woman’s advice along a county road and then an old forets road that was a bit rutted and dropped to gravel once or twice, but had almost no traffic. I’d say it added about 5 miles to the 131 route and some extra tough climbing, but we got a good view over the shoreline and met a nice retired couple in their VW bus cruising the forest roads. I’d call it a success.

This little detour was way better than following 131 out of Tillamoom. There is another route along Cape Mearnes, but we were not sure if it was open.

View from atop the ridge – you can see where the clearcut recently happened.

A bit later I got another flat, this time on the rear tire. I really need to put those tire liners in asap. Hopefully we will run into a bike shop on Tuesday, because we sure won’t find anything tomorrow (Labor Day).The flat was a bit of a blessing actually. I noticed my rear hub was loose when I was making the change, so there’s another reason to find a shop. The last leg into Cape Lookout was l pretty calm and I was super glad to make it to camp, hungry and needing a shower.

Cape Lookout is situated right along the beach and boy was it full! And I am not talking the regular camp – every campground was full all weekend – but even the hiker biker sites. There must have been 20 people! Luckily people were able to find small patches of space among the trees, even where it wasn’t actually a campsite. We pitched our tent next to Kat (the woman with dogs we met going into Astoria and again in Manzanita). It’s pretty cool how we form a little community here. Our German friends also spent the night at the Cape, although they are much more efficient with their schedule so we don’t see a whole lot off them at camp (read we get up late and leave late).

After a long day of wind, a bit if rain, and a lot of gray I was really looking forward to a nice hot shower. Unfortunately there were a ton of kids screaming their heads off around the bathrooms and their mother didn’t seem to care. The redeemer though was great – while drying off and getting dressed I could hear a little boy, about 5, and his father in the large accessible stall. The boy was clearly pooping and reading a book with the dad coaching him the words. What sealed the deal for me though was the kid singing the ABC’s song, interrupted by a couple of poop plops here and there, and the dad cheering him along!

We chatted with Nick tonight – it was nice to talk to him. He has been texting us a bunch of stuff and clearly misses us/wishes he was traveling too. What a guy!

May the ABC’s and poops be ever in your favor!

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