Day 8: Nehalem to Cape Lookout State Park

September 1, 2013. ~40 miles.

I packed up slowly this morning, chatting with others in the campground.  I was only planning a short day to the next state park down the road, so there was no hurry.

I ended up leaving camp at the same time as Ellie. Ellie came in later last night and was one of the ones hanging out by the fire last night. She just finished undergrad recently and is moving to San Francisco to do whatever is next (as yet undetermined). She sent some boxes too, but is moving herself to San Francisco by bike (from Portland). I rode most of the day with her, and it was nice to chat (even though we bonded over both preferring to tour alone).

Oregon does seem to have a much higher concentration of touring cyclists than Washington (partly because there’s really only one route). We passed the group of older tourers we had met last night just before Tillamook.

We stopped in Tillamook at the cheese factory, which was neat, but extremely full of tourists (holiday weekend and all). They were indeed making cheese, there was cheese to sample, and cheese for sale. Also ice cream.  I ate very large quantities of ice cream. And bought cheese curds for later.

We stopped at a large grocery store just afterwards, and then parted ways (Ellie needed to charge her phone, and thought she might want to try to get a bit farther today).  On my way out of the grocery store, I chatted for quite a while with a bearded fellow who was charging his phone. He was one of a pair travelling by bike with dogs in trailers. This guy’s trailer was on its last legs, so he was trying to figure out the nearest bike shop and the best way of getting there. We talked about traveling and biking and cities and stories and whatnot for quite a while. I seem to have a better time talking to total strangers who are touring bikers than otherwise. I guess there’s automatically a bunch of shared experience, and some pretty standard small talk to start with (where did you start, where are enough going, etc).

I took off from the store and headed towards the park. I was planing on taking the longer scenic route, but there was a sign saying the road was closed, so I took the shortcut instead. Kind of sad, but my knees probably thank me.

I ended up getting to the park quite early, which was kind of nice. The hiker/biker camp here is a lot more divided into sites than the last one and all the sites were occupied by a giant group of bikers from Portland on a weekend trip, but people I had met yesterday jumped in and helped me find an available bit of ground. I grabbed a shower (free, not quite as hot as yesterday), ate food (cheese curds from the cheese factory, crackers, hummus, tomato, and some Mediterranean orzo salad that had looked tasty and was), and then wandered the beach in the sun for a while.

I found a place on a rock to listen to a book, write a bit of this post and wait for the sunset. It turned out to be pretty unremarkable, but still nice.

As I left the tent a bit later, I saw Ellie sitting overlooking the ocean and eating food. We talked some more, partly about the quickly darkening ocean view. It’s pretty dramatic at night: dark blue, with textured clouds and just a hint of sun peaking out in one little point on the horizon.

I left there as I was getting chilly and came back to the tent to finish this and get an early night.  Tomorrow may end up being a longer day.

Bronwyn Woods