Newport to Florence, OR

If yesterday was the day of diversions off 101, today was the opposite. After the first mile or two, it was all 101 all the time.

It rained last night, but by the time we got going it was done for the day. We started off by riding through Nye Beach, where we had dinner last night. It turns out it’s faster to coast downhill on bikes than to walk. We looped around, got a nice view of a historic lighthouse and the Yaquina Bay Bridge, then went up to cross the bridge.

This bridge was one that had a button for blinkie “bikes on bridge” signs. There was a sidewalk, but it wasn’t clear whether there would be clearance for the trailers. So on the bridge roadway we went, adding tens of seconds to a few people’s drives. One driver took offense, and shouted something, possibly unkind, as he passed. It turns out that even with your window down, there’s only a fraction of a second where sounds can be exchanged. So I have no idea what helpful tips he had for me.

The rest of the morning took us along miles of sandy beaches, relatively flat with some gentle rolling hills. Sometimes there was a row of trees between us and the coast, often houses with angry “no beach access” signs on supposedly private roads, but sometimes nothing but a few dozen feet.

We stopped for lunch at Smelt Sands State Park. The coast here was rockier. We found a picnic table in the center of the traffic loop, under some trees. Midway through the meal, Anne abandoned the table for the warmth of the sun, and the kids followed her. More for me.

After lunch, the road got much more interesting. We entered a section of the coast with more hills and rocky waterfronts, rather than vast sandy beaches. There were fairly short climbs and fun descents. The shoulder suffered for ongoing construction, but not enough to ruin the ride.

Then we got to the triple header finale. Three moderate climbs, back to back, along Cape Perpetua. The first was long, straight, and kind of dull. The descent had nice curves with views of the ocean below.

The second climb started with a bridge and tunnel, then kept on giving. We stopped at a viewpoint for a look at another lighthouse, then finished up. Along the top is a rock wall, with many signs telling you not to climb on the wall, since it’s a 400 foot tumble into the ocean below. We didn’t need to be told twice, but there were a couple people walking on or sitting on it.

The descent had brilliant scenery of the coast to the south. Beaches to the horizon, without obvious developments, as the road turned inland. The final climb took us through some woods.

Then it was just a hump – a gentle uphill, then a downhill-with-tailwind through Florence to our hotel.

Florence only has 9000 people or so, but we passed at least three bead shops within city limits. There are also a bunch of hitchhiker types hanging out.

We ventured into Old Town for dinner, which has a nice mix of restaurants, galleries, and other establishments. On our way back, a lone dog ran out in front of traffic, stopped, pooped, then ran off down a side street. A few seconds later, a guy with bare feet came running down the road, asking if we had seen a dog. We pointed him in the right direction. Anne, to her credit, resisted telling the dude to just follow the poop.

Tomorrow is a rest day, which will give us more time to explore Old Town. And maybe do laundry. And maybe even rest.