Biologist on a Bike

Day 3: Pacific City, OR to Rickreall, OR

Distance: 64.41mi
Average Speed: 11.9 mph; Max Speed: 33.3 mph
Elevation gain: 4028 ft
Average Temp: 63.9; Temp Range 53.6-84.2 F

Woke up after a better night’s sleep than I expected. I overestimated how much clothing I would need to stay warm overnight and ended up a bit hot at times, but other than that I’m loving my sleep system. I got a Revelation Down Quilt from Enlightened Equipment and I paired it with a microfiber Cocoon mummy liner. Never did I feel constricted, as I sometimes do in mummy bags, and the straps holding the quilt to my sleeping pad meant that it stayed put when I tossed and turned, as I usually do. The liner bag moved with me, but that wasn’t an issue. Of course I’m going to need more than one day to issue a real review, but so far so good.

My rain fly was thoroughly wet, and it was misty all morning. I shook it out as best as I could, and wiped it down with a bandana, but it wasn’t completely dry. Ah, well, that’s exactly why I bought the 4L dry bag. The rain fly and tent footprint went straight into the stuff sack, but the tent body was put in the dry bag before it joined them. Spoiler alert, it worked perfectly, and my tent was dry at the end of the day even though the fly was still wet.

Tent on the left, unused firepit in the middle, on the right, a bike leaning on a picnic table that is strewn with gear.

Where I woke up

I heated up water for breakfast (oatmeal, protein powder, peanut butter, a banana, and coffee), packed up, and was on my way around 9AM, waving goodbye to the population of feral bunnies (yes, I said feral bunnies!) that had the run of the campground.

A momma bunny and a bunch of baby bunnies wandering the campground

Overrun by feral bunnies (The horror!!)

Today was the last day I would spend on the coast. I have officially left the Pacific and won’t see another ocean until I reach the Atlantic. This led to an interesting mix of environments. There were rivers and streams.

A capsized boat in the river. The boat is named Simon

I don’t think that’s what Simon meant to say

Some more wildlife…although this little fellow wouldn’t stay put long enough for a better photo.

Goldfinch on a branch

And some scenic overlooks.

A lake by the ocean

While at that overlook, I took time to assess my front rack and bags, again, because the front wheel wobble was more prominent again today. I tightened the bolts like I did yesterday and have now concluded that I’ll need to do that every day. I also moved the bags back further on the rack. I had them centered over the hub, but moving them a bit back seems to have muted the effect. Now if only I could figure out where that sporadic noise is coming from.

As I was finishing up, I encountered two young men headed south on the Pacific Coast Route. They had started in Vancouver about a week ago. We chatted for a few minutes. One of them said this was his first ever experience bike camping and it took him a few miles to get the hang of riding with panniers on the front wheel. I mentioned some of the kinks I’m trying to work out, like the front wheel wobble, and they mentioned how it takes a few days to get into a real groove, and how little things can become very annoying over long miles. So, so true.

That scenic overlook was just about the last view I got of the Pacific. Neskowin sits right on the ocean, but the road didn’t really allow a view before I turned off the main southbound road to head inland on the Neskowin Scenic Drive. It was quiet, sparsely traveled, and altogether beautiful. I even enjoyed the climb, possibly the first time I can say that this trip.

Loaded bike learning up against an old sign showing a map and description of the Neskowin Scenic Drive

The Neskowin Scenic Drive was the nicest bit of road I traveled all day.

Once again, I set my phone to alarm every 90 minutes as a reminder to eat, and I think I’m going to continue this strategy. About halfway through my ride I passed a convenience store and stopped in. I had intended to just fill up the water bottles, but remembering the nausea I had the last two nights at the end of the ride, I opted for a sports drink instead. Gatorade, trailmix, and a babybel cheese (I’m going to miss those when I get away from the urban areas, so I’m indulging while I can), and I was back on the road.

One notable event of the day was that I saw my first roadkill. The surprising part here is that it took this long for that to happen. Roadkill count 2: one bird (based on size and the feathers I could see a raptor of some sort) and a raccoon. I also got honked at by three cars. One was going the other way so I was clearly not in its path. One was one of those trucks that flanks larger vehicles bearing “Oversize load” signs. That warning was appreciated, and I moved further over on the shoulder. The last was, as far as I could tell, just honking to honk. I wasn’t in its way, though maybe the driver thought I shouldn’t be on that road. It was a busy road, after all, but the shoulder was easily wide enough for me.

Tonight I ended up at Rickreall, in the Polk County Fairgrounds, my end point, just a few minutes after 4PM! My longest distance so far, with the most elevation gain, and still the earliest end. The joys of a reasonably early start.

The fairgrounds were all but empty, and the caretaker was helpful and friendly. Even though I’m spending tomorrow at a house, I indulged in a hot shower (always a bonus), and since the sun was out, I washed out some of my gear as well. My gear and the still-wet rain fly from the morning were laid out in the sun to dry. The line I had brought as a clothesline wasn’t long enough to stretch between the trees here, so baking on the sidewalk and hanging off my bike had to do. Of course, shortly after I did that, some event started in the building next to my tent, one which involved people with dogs. Well, just because they aren’t used to seeing people sitting next to laundry on the sidewalk, watching dinner cook on a camp stove, and writing out postcards, doesn’t mean I can’t smile and say hello as though my behavior is perfectly normal. It is, isn’t it?

I took the time to catch up on my blogging, facetime with my mom and grandmother, chat with friends, charge my gear, and write out a bunch of postcards that I had bought in Astoria. Hopefully I’ll be able to mail them off tomorrow, since I have a short day.

8 thoughts on “Day 3: Pacific City, OR to Rickreall, OR

  1. EDW

    Perhaps drivers were honking to let you know they were passing? How nice you ran into two other cyclists out there to commiserate over the art of cycling travel. Sounds like the day went well for you. Safe travels!

  2. Lisa Toth

    I often honk at a person if i am come up behind them. I just want them to know 1. I am behind them and about to pass them. 2. I am aware you are there and am NOT going to speed past. I always slow down when I approach someone on a bike. But then, I do live in NY and the bike lanes here suck!

    I sit here in awe of you and what you are doing!

  3. Anne

    There is a place on the AT in Maryland where it crosses a bridge across I70, and motorists always honk at you if you’re on that bridge with a backpack. It’s friendly honking, so I hope the cars that honk at you are also greeting you in friendliness. Sounds like you had a much, much better day! Enjoy. I love the wildlife photos.

  4. Elaine

    Keep up those electrolytes! When I used to multi-day, long distance hike, the thing I found of utmost importance was maintaining a frequent and large amount of electrolyte infused liquid.

    Thank you for bringing us along with you on this courageous and amazing journey!!

  5. Adele Steimle

    Having fun reading about your experiences and enjoying the photos. Funny to read that you have to remind yourself to eat. Glad you’re on a good roll!!!

  6. Connie Joki

    It was great to meet and host you on Friday. I hope your journey was good on Saturday.

    I can’t wait to see more posts. Keep going! You are going to make it!

  7. Leslie Diamond

    Hope it all continues to get more normal. I’m behind on reading your posts, but I’ll catch up 🙂

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