Pacific City to Newport, OR

The weather today was perfect, partly cloudy and 60s. We generally followed 101 south, braving the Memorial Day weekend traffic, but took several alternate roads. Some were quite nice. Some were not.

The first was taking the old 101 route up for the first big climb of the day. It’s more miles, but the same elevation gain as the current 101. The gentler climb is made even better by having little traffic and running along old growth forest. There was a sign that promised information on experimental forest management practices, but that never materialized.

We stopped for lunch midway on the descent. There was a pair of loaded touring cyclists climbing the opposite direction, but they didn’t have helmets. Ruth was quite intrigued.

Down the rest of the hill, and back on 101 towards Devil’s Lake. There was construction which closed the shoulder, plus heavy traffic. I suspect we frustrated some drivers behind us. The signs said that our turnoff would be closed starting Tuesday. Just in time.

We turned off to go around Devil’s Lake. This road had a lot of small ups and downs, some moderately steep, and only an intermittent shoulder. It also had more traffic than I would have liked, and they weren’t really giving adequate space when passing. One pickup in particular cut off Anne on a hard climb. No contact was made, but it was less than awesome.

Cutting across 101 in Lincoln City, we went directly to the next diversion. This one was bad. We descended steep to the coast. Then needed to immediately turn and climb back up. Walking it was the only option. The road kept rolling, steep and painful. At the first cross street we decided to get back to 101. The road was quickly sapping our strength and morale.

The road back, Bard St, turned to gravel, and had its own hills. It was absolutely the right choice. Coast Rd in Lincoln City is not for loaded touring.

There was a second small diversion in Lincoln City. My elevation profile gave me confidence that it wouldn’t be a total mistake. It lead to the water again, which was nice, without the killer hills, which was also nice. Ultimately, it was too short to really be worthwhile.

Back again to 101, along Siletz Bay, the coast, then Depoe Bay, home of the world’s smallest harbor (according to the sign, anyways). Then our final diversion, Otter Rock. This is another old section of 101 which has been replaced with a different crossing. For most of the ascent, there’s a one way lane for cars, and a two way lane for bikes and pedestrians. This would have been a really nice climb, but I was so drained from the Devil’s Lake and Lincoln City stuff that I just wanted to get it done. Even the spectacular views and drops weren’t enough to cheer me up.

The final push to Newport was hillier than I wanted, but nothing long enough to get too excited about. We rode past several happening beaches, and eventually made it to the motel.

We’re staying close to Nye Beach, which has a number of restaurants and shops. We walked and got dinner at Nana’s Irish Pub, and satisfied Anne’s craving for shepard’s pie, then ice cream and groceries.

Tomorrow is a more straightforward following of 101. We’ll see if traffic is lower on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.