Day 8: Seaside ---> Nehalem Bay State Park
We woke up and rode a short 8 miles to one of my favorite places ever: CANNON BEACH!! We've been way too lucky with the weather and haven't had any rain on this entire trip except for some sprinkles as we were pulling up to have lunch. Sometimes we take our time here for granted. We're in stunning landscapes but sometimes it doesn't feel like we're REALLY here, so being able to take time to look at where we are was great and totally needed.
In all of the Oregon State Parks they have something called hiker/biker campsites. No matter how full the site is, there is always room for a hiker or biker - no reservations needed. This is great because of the spontaneous nature of a bike trip! There were some throughout Washington, but tonight was the first time we were with many others. There's an area that is secluded exclusively for hikers and bikers and there were about 30 tonight! We met a family that was hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, a father and son that were riding to San Francisco, and 2 french couples that had just retired and were visiting the US for the first time (so I was able to practice my french a little bit!). These french couples greatly emphasized the kindness of Americans compared to their experience with strangers in France, which I thought was an interesting observation. That's one thing we've noticed with this bike trip as well. There is so much kindness in this world. People offering meals, homes, or even just help on the side of the road. It's refreshing to be reminded of the good in the world in the midst of the sadness and injustice that sometimes overpowers.
Day 9: Nehalem Bay ---> Cape Lookout State Park
Today we woke up and heard about a sink hole that was blocking off highway 101. Bummer. We refused to believe it until, in fact, we were sent on a windy road with no shoulder and ALL of the traffic from the 101. That means 18 wheelers, RV's, and timber trucks had free reign on this teensy road. About 12 miles into this road as we were trying our hardest to be seen and stay safe, we noticed a truck that pulled over right in front of us and out jumped a PARK RANGER!! He told us about the danger of the road (noted) and insisted that he should give us a ride into Tillamook. So we threw our bikes in the bed of the truck and enjoyed our car ride with Chris as he told us about his involvement in the town and his "lost treasure hunt" show and tell where he displays all of the hidden treasure found near the ocean. What a guy. We were grateful for a break from a dangerous road. Thank you Chris!!!
We made it to Tillamook and immediately entered the land of cheese. This is where all of Oregon's cheese is made. We enjoyed some amazing grilled cheeses and ice cream made right there in the factory. Throughout the rest of Tillamook, you could definitely tell that this is where the cheese was made because of the sweet smell of the cows in the air. Yum. While we were waiting outside of a bike/motorcycle/VCR/DVD video store, we were approached by a man that must have had us confused with someone else. He ranted for about 20 minutes about how we will only make it in hollywood if we have confidence. That's how he was in 12 movies, he claimed. He imparted all the greatest advice ever for who he thought were 3 aspiring movie stars.... but really he wished he could stay and talk but had to rush off because he "had to get dinner with a lady friend at church", but wished us luck with our fame. Thanks dude.
We finished out the day with our friend John that we met in Austin but lives in Portland. We went to a lighthouse nearby and climbed some steep hills. Truly it was the hardest physical challenge I have ever experienced. The most athletic I've been in my entire life is exercising my fingers in my weekly piano lesson. No lie. So learning how to push myself physically is very new for me. Kudos to all you athletes out there. I'm officially impressed.
Day 10: Cape Lookout ---> Lincoln City
Today was tough. We climbed some more big hills and I fell (this isn't new... but I'm working on the whole balance thing). We had lunch with a view at Pelican Pub where we saw our fellow biking/hiking friends from the campgrounds the nights before and it was a great time. We smell today. Bad. You should be happy that you're on the other side of that screen because MAN!!! We have not had a chance to do laundry. We were able to stay at a warm showers (it's like couch surfing for cyclists) with a man named Marcus. He was so great. He helped us with our stuff and told us about his plans to do a world tour on his bicycle. We loved chatting with him!
Here's another story about some incredible people. My dear friend's mother named Julie drove AN HOUR AND A HALF to where we were staying in Lincoln city so she could drop off 20 dehydrated meals, protein bars, trail mix, and a bottle of wine. Incredible. Julie - you've got a heart of gold. We are blown away by your giving heart and willingness to help us out. Kindness like yours is what makes the world go round!!
Day 11: Lincoln City ---> Newport
Today I fell. A ton. Sara's knee was also hurting BAD and we didn't know why. But never fear, we went to an incredible bike shop in Newport where they fixed us all up. They put our bikes up and put our seats in the right place, loosened my pedals, and told us all of the things we were doing wrong (in an extremely encouraging way). We spent a couple of hours there enjoying their company and getting fixed up while we tried to find a place to stay for the night. Darin, a bike mechanic at Bike Newport, offered his place a mile down the road so that we could shower and do our laundry and enjoy our rest day without having to worry about all the gear on our bikes. So he literally offered his guest room to 3 random girls and was truly a gracious, giving, and extremely hospitable host. He made us coffee, bought breakfast, and even helped us tune our bikes up before heading out this morning. Darin - THANK YOU. For the encouragement, hospitality, and mechanic knowledge. We appreciate you so much and loved having a roof over our head during a wet two days! Thanks for all you did to help us out.
I've got one more story about yet another great couple we had the pleasure of meeting in the past couple of days. Julie, the angel of a woman I mentioned earlier, called her pals near Newport and told them about us. Doc and a Marcy called and offered to take us to dinner. They picked us up and we went to their usual Friday night restaurant and enjoyed amazing seafood! Doc is a chiropractor, so he gave us a GOODY BAG of muscle rollers, a list of stretches, magnesium fizz, multivitamins, and some kind of wonder cream to rub all over our cuts and bruises. It's like he's been reading our mind or something. In the middle of dinner I received a call from a reporter with local news in Newport - Surprise! Doc and Marcy set this up. What!! We had an interview with a reporter after dinner. Catch us in the Newport Times Sports section. Seeing our names under the word "sports" is truly comical and a once in a lifetime opportunity. Stay tuned.
So, once again, I've been totally floored by the kindness of humans in the past couple of days. People want to invest in our ride because they believe in the goal. They believe in The Refuge and they have hope for its future. It's beautiful to invite so many people into this journey and it's easy because of their willingness to be involved. It's what makes the impact so incredible. So, keep being ridiculously kind, excessively hospitable, and eager to fight for hope. It's what makes this trip so beautiful!!