Lincoln City to Newport: 24 miles
We took a half day to get from Lincoln City to Newport, where Tyler had some friends of his family that we could stay with.  The Oregon Coast is very beautiful, but also very hilly.  I got another flat about 10 or 15 miles from town, and we McGyver’d the tire to try to make it the last leg to the bike shop in Newport, or at least to our host’s house.  I really wish I had gotten Gatorskins, or another tire of comparable durability made of the kevlar material.  We went over some rough road, and we made it to Linda and Papa’s house pretty early.  
We got to their house in Newport, it was a short walk away from a great view of a lighthouse, and a really cute little place.  Tyler knocked on the door, and we greeted Linda, she was super warm and friendly.  When Tyler introduced me, she looked at me, and smiled real big, and said, “I love you already, you look just like my granddaughter.”  This made me feel so at home and gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies.  She reminded me a little of my mom, too.  They took us to the Newport Bike Shop, which was pretty amazing.  They were catered more to touring cyclists, and even had a lounge upstairs where cyclists can shower, take a nap on a couch or even do laundry!  I bought some better tires, and feel really secure about them. 
Linda and Papa are a really fun and inspiring duo.  They used to be motorcycle bikers, and now Papa is a minister, and the two of them have started an outreach program to help the homeless.  They’re very down to earth and loving, and accepting, and made me and my friends feel so welcome.  They and some of their friends used to have a lot of money, but in the recession have lost a lot of it, and have sold a lot of their property, and are living more frugally, and with a purpose to benefit their community.  
They set us up a whole house to stay in for the night, called “The house of refuge”,  Carol, a friend of theirs had converted the bottom story of her house to help house the homeless in transition.  It was on a cliff overlooking the ocean, with a short walk down to a lighthouse.  We walked to the lighthouse a few hours before the sunset, and the ground had little strawberry plants growing everywhere. The lighthouse had been built in the early 1800’s, and there was a plaque that said “To those lost at sea with special affection to the fishermen of the Pacific Northwest.”  Reading it on this journey made me decide to read the Illiad when I get home. 
Linda gave us a tour, and told us all about the history of Newport.  There’s an aquarium that is self-funded and works a lot with local schools, and NOAA and National Geographic do a lot of work and research there.  It’s a neat city, with lots of small businesses and artists, and the people that live there value their time over their money.  You’ll see a million dollar home next to a run down house with knee high grass in the lawn.  People don’t care so much about looks, and small businesses will close random days or hours if hunting or fishing season is in or the surf is good.  I think there’s a lot to be learned about living life for the quality of each day, and letting tomorrow worry about itself. 
Newport to Jesse M. Honeyman State Park: 57 miles
Our next day was headed to a campground near Florence.  On the way out of Newport, we crossed this giant bridge.  It was curved, long, tall, beautiful old bridge.  There was a button to push that set off blinking lights to signal to traffic that we were riding over.  Unfortunately, they were doing construction on the right side of the bridge, so Cyclists were instructed to cross on the sidewalk on the left side of the bridge.  It was a tough ride up, and we were riding facing traffic.  The walls came up to my waist on the bike, and were weathered and rough.  The others rode right down.  I was slower, so I was a little far behind.  Most of the way up, I was looking at the beautiful view of the harbor, and the expedition boats, and thinking of my friend, Emily, who’s studying Zoology.  I started to roll down the hill, and the reality of how high and dangerous the sidewalk was on the bridge hit me.  Trucks, cars and big rigs rode right past me.  I rode my brakes hard, but the decent was steep, and I got scared of stopping too fast, or hitting the wall, or falling into traffic, and started crying on the way down.  I should have walked, but everybody made it okay.
The rest of the ride, we had a tail wind and made really great time.  The Oregon Coast is mysterious, lush, green and gorgeous, and we were thankful to have another sunny day.  We stopped at a farmer’s market about halfway through the ride for some fruit, but there weren’t any vendors with any produce at all.  Just knitted wear, wind chimes, jewelry, and some sweet tie-dye shirts (one of which Tyler invested in).  We talked to a little old lady at one of the booths about our journey.  She wasn’t necessarily impressed, but she did have a bit of insight about the road ahead.  She was busy crafting and hardly even looked up, but said, dryly,
“So, this is your first time going down that road to Florence…?”
“Well, it’ll probably be your last time.”
It was a little cryptic, and worried me quite a bit, but I am a bit of a scaredy-cat.  We had a great little lunch, and headed on our way.  
The next few miles had lots of sharp turns, and steep climbs, and a steep winding decent through the shady forest along rocky cliffs, with jagged rocks and went past another little lighthouse.  The boys and Sarah bombed it.  I was still nervous after going over that bridge, and now I was terrified.  My heart started beating really fast, and I lost control of my breathing, and got this uncontrollable fear, and started crying throughout the ride.  After talking to Toren about it, I’m pretty sure it was some sort of panic attack (unfortunately, the first of quite a few).  I prepared myself for a lot of things on this trip, but Long Beach is so flat, and I had never ridden a hill like that.  After falling off my bike a few times on flat, relatively safe roads, I felt about zero self confidence riding down that twisty road, especially after that old woman’s warning.  
Thankfully, Chad’s Adventure Cycling Maps have lots of little side route detours options that we can get to take off the busy highways.  This one had a really pretty one called “Otter Creek”, I think.   It was a big relief to temporarily ride away from the big cards and steep winding roads. 
Another thing that started to worry me was that aside from Tyler’s orange tie-dye shirt, and Sarah’s yellow tank top, everyone had brought dark clothing.  I would see them just 100 feet away, and their shirts would blend in with the shadows of the trees.  The only thing I would see would be Dustin’s little  yellow flag on his trailer.  
We got to the Jesse M. Honeyman State Park for our second day of camping on the trip, and it was a really pretty campground.  Tyler and Dustin took a walk out to the Dunes, with the Oregon Coast is famous for.  I wish I had gone out to check them out that night, because we didn’t get many other chances to stop and see them for the rest of the trip.  
We had a little meeting back at the camp about wake-up times.  It was already becoming a little bit of a stressor that I was a night owl and not an early bird.  Sarah is used to waking up to open Viento, and the rest of the guys are pretty good a rising early.  It’s one of those things I hadn’t thought to prepare for for the trip– waking up early.  Looking back, it would have been a great idea to adjust my sleep schedule for a few weeks before the trip so I could get used to going to bed by about 10 so I could wake up more easily before 7 or 8.  We had tried to set leaving times at 8am, and I was a really slow mover in the morning, and the earlier risers would rather use that extra time to enjoy their morning, if I was going to be slow.  The first week and a half, I tried to go to bed early,  but could not fall asleep before midnight, and found it really hard to wake up at 6.  We tried a compromise of leaving at 9, but pretty soon, we’d get more ambitious days, where it would just make sense to wake up earlier.  So I’d have to just adjust.   But if that’s the worst of it, then we were doing okay.  I went to bed exhausted, and feeling a little sub-par. 
Jesse M. Honeyman State Park to Sunset Bay State Park: 57 miles
The next day was the fifth consecutive day of riding.  We did pretty well, and our pacing was really good, but we were pretty tired.  We had some head wind to deal with.  Even though it was kind of an energy drain, I kind of liked it.  The tail wind we had had the day before had made me feel helpless and ungrounded, so having something to push against, was actually kind of comforting, even if a little grueling.  
We stopped at Sunset Bay State Park, and had decided to have a rest day the next day.  We stopped at a grocery store in Charleston along the way to grab stuff for dinner.  The area was full of fishing boats, so we stopped at a little spot for fresh fish to cook over the fire for dinner.  We got salmon and tuna, which ended up a pretty awesome dinner cooked over the fire with some herbs and lemon.  We stopped at another store for some other odds and ends, and I ended up talking to the clerk, and she gave me another cryptic warning about the next road out of town, “Seven Devils Road.”  It went on for about 11 miles and had a lot of twists and turns, and steep climbs, and hardly any shoulder.  She told me horror stories about a cycling marathon that gone through the pass, and cars that were more annoyed by cyclists than anything. 
When we got to Sunset Bay we walked to it’s neat little cove to watch the sunset.  We met two guys, Eric and Turner, from Colorado who were riding down to San Francisco.  They had a friend from Candada, Glenn, who had graduated college, decided to go for an overnight bicycle trip to Vancouver, met Eric and Turner at a youth hostel, and had continued South with them, indefinitely. 
We did some laundry, built a fire, and had a really nice night at the campsite.  We always cook in a community fashion.  We decide on a meal, and everybody buys an ingredient, and it ends up pretty healthy.  That night we did fish with some leftover vegetables, and the next night, we did indian food from Trader Joe’s we had been carrying for a while with pasta.  
Our rest day was really nice. We hadn’t realized how important they were, but it was really something to be able to slow down, and take in the beauty of our majestic surroundings.  We took a walk to a botanical garden featuring Rhododendrons, and then to Simpson’s Reef, where we could see Seals, Elephant Seals, and Sea Lions.  We saw some strange birds flying everywhere.  We couldn’t figure out what they were, so it might as well have been an eagle.  Now, every bird could be an eagle. 
Here’s a hello from our rest day:


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About the Author

Alyssandra Nighswonger

Alyssandra is known by her community and everyone she comes in contact with as inspirational, a dream-pusher, limitless. She has the divine craftyness to make anything she imagines a reality. This is expressed through all of her art forms; singing and songwriting, poetry, painting and performance. A local legend in Long Beach, she is a hub in her community, constantly realizing new ideas and events to gather and bond her fellow citizens.

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