June 20 - 29: Oregon

6/29 - Florence (THE DAY AFTER 3976.5 total)
our internal clocks are still on biking time, so not many of us slept past 4:30 or so. plus there's still a "bit" of excitement in the air.....excitement mixed with nostalgia & a few hundred other emotions.
what a beautiful day in florence. here's lin on the deck of our driftwood shores suite. behind her is the path we all took down to the ocean with our bikes yesterday. as you know from yesterday's pictures, we could hardly see the ocean then.
a few riders had already left driftwood shores with family by this morning, but the ones who remained seemed to find themselves in the restaurant for breakfast by about 8. the van was leaving at 8:45 to take most of them to the airport in eugene.
here's our last group photo of the ride as those bound for eugene got ready to load into the van. from left are jo, claudine, anne, rose, debby, judith, judy, patty the chef, lin, sarah, jackie, coreen, patty fainer, lee, becky, & gloria.
here's a photo of our staff. in front is jo. behind her from left are claudine, patty the chef, anne (rider & salad chef extraordinaire), debby, gloria, & becky. sue & linda were sag drivers for earlier segments of the trip; we've missed them & wish they could have joined us for our celebration in florence.
once the van left the parking lot, the end of the adventure seemed pretty final.
my oregon friends linda thompson & her mom, ollie andrews, picked up me & my stuff & we were off northward along the coast to their home in seaside. & what a spectacular drive it is. linda knows & loves the route. she travels as i like to travel--stopping at every point of interest, which of course includes not only scenic spots but cute little restaurants....& pie places.
here's a photo of ollie & linda with elephant rock behind them. the top of the rock is loaded with birds...puffins, cormorants, & we even saw some pelicans. that's near seal rock, oregon.
at some rocks a bit further north we saw many sea lions sunning themselves. we also stopped to admire 2-3 beautiful lighthouses along our way. along the roadside again today i frequently saw patches of purple (& a few white) foxgloves. at the log cabin inn at mckenzie bridge there were huge ones....as tall as i am. along the roadsides they're shorter--with blossom-laden stalks up to maybe 4 feet high. we had gorgeous weather for our trip.
i saw quite a few bikers today. one couple i talked to at a scenic stop was biking self-contained from somewhere in washington state to san francisco. i told them that i might be able to pedal across the U.S., but i didn't think i'd want to do their route. as spectacular as the scenery is along this coastal route, the road itself is narrow with little or no shoulders, very hilly (often steep) & winding (so vehicles would often come upon bikers without much warning), & there are several narrow bridges & more of those tunnels.....& oh boy the traffic! i don't think so.
here's a photo i took along our way....a classic oregon-coast shot. i took lots of photos. this area is so stunningly beautiful that you want to take it all home with you. as i rode in the van i found my head swiveling madly....my eyes wide open in hopes of catching everything.
i was struck by how much harder it is to catch everything with it whizzing by so fast; for the past 3 months i had become happily accustomed to a much slower-paced sightseeing style.
we stopped for lunch in newport at a very cute little deli/cafe that's also a book store. the lentil soup was super. further down the road linda's exceptional cute-spot radar led us to the grateful bread bakery in pacific city. we picked up a loaf each of 2 kinds of bread (the spinach garlic is spectacular!).
sitting on the counter was a still-warm blackberry/rhubarb pie....one of those dandies with the plentiful filling oozing up & almost-over the sides. i wanted to buy a piece that linda, ollie, & i could share (we'd just had lunch). but the fellow behind the counter said it was too warm to cut....so i bought the whole thing & we packed it into linda's van to savor later. (i was better off when i had less on-road packing space.)
on up the coast we saw more sand dunes. we'd seen some at florence....right out back of the fred meyer mega store. we came upon a very popular stretch of sand dunes further north. a camping area nearby was already bursting with RV's settling in for a long holiday weekend. several dune buggies & atv's were zooming across the wide expanse of beige sand; it seemed too noisy for such a serene setting.
tillamook deserved a stop, too. at the tillamook cheese factory we got in line with many other visitors at the ice cream counter. oh no....dozens of flavors to choose from. i finally selected chocolate moo'se. it was delish---chocolate ice cream with flecks of dark chocolate in it. ollie & linda each had root beer float. they let me sample it & really, the flavor was definitely 'root beer float' & delicious. we browsed around the place (it's a great place to visit if you're ever nearby), picked up a few goodies--including some blocks of cheese--& headed back to the van for the last leg of our trip.
at ollie's place in seaside we supped on our bread & cheese plus some royal anne & bing cherries....then the rhubarb/blackberry pie for dessert. how i wished sari was there to share it with us. it was absolutely scrumptious & will have to be added to our all-star category.
tomorrow we'll travel to astoria midday to have lunch, sightsee, & get haircuts. we'll pick up some salmon for supper; linda & i will try a recipe she says is wonderful. & we'll have more pie for dessert...if there's some left after breakfast.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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