Day 1 Astoria to Manzanita
Keith was right on time picking me
We were on the road to the beach
We decided rather then start in Astoria proper we would start at the South Jetty, which is the most northwest corner of the state. The only way you can get more northwest in Oregon is to go out on the jetty itself. We decided that the parking lot for the jetty was close enough to the corner of the state ;-).
After taking a few pictures and getting the bags attached to the bikes we started out heading south directly into a strong headwind. Our first stop was Battery Russell in Fort Stevens. We have climbed on this battery many times as kids, and it was all very familiar. The only difference I could see from when I was a lad is that you could no longer see the ocean because the trees that have grown up around the battery.
Battery Russell has the distinction of being the only place on the continental US that was shelled during WWII. A Japanese sub lobbed a few shells at the battery, missing. They decided at the time not to return fire so as not to give away the position of the battery.
After this little walk down memory lane, the first of many for me on this part of the trip, we continued south pushing into the headwind. When we got to Gearhart we decided to look for a place to stop and get some snacks and water. The only place we could find in Gearhart was a little store associated with a trailer park, so we decided not to pay their prices and push on to Seaside. Once in Seaside we stopped at the 12th street market to get our snacks and water.
I cannot count the number of time I have been to this little whole-in-the-wall market. The first time was probably in 1971 when my parents rented a little two room cabin around the corner. A few years later my parents went in with another couple and bought a cabin just a few blocks away which they owned for more the 20 years. I have spent many a cold weekend day, and many a lazy summer day fishing and crabbing from the 12th street bridge right next to the market. I remember that my mother used to pay us $1 for each “keeper” crab that we caught. A keeper was a male crab that was at least six inches across the back. Looking back I now realize that my Mom was getting a $10 crab or $1, but we didn’t care, we loved getting that buck and inevitably spending it at the 12th street market on candy or comic books which we would eat and read while crabbing from the bridge.
After we got back on the road we rode past the cabin on 10th avenue, which looked just the same as I always remember it, and then on up to the Seaside Promenade. We rode down the “Prom” until we reached the main street in Seaside where we turned back towards the center of town, now this area had changed much since I was last in Seaside. There was now a large hotel in what used to be a gravel parking lot and a set of low shop fronts.
We stopped in town and grabbed a quick bite at a Subway sandwich shop. This is the first place we saw a group of riders we came to name green sleeves. They were a group of rider who we later found out started their adventures in June, in Mane, so they had been on the road for three months. The green sleeves group was one of several groups that we played leap frog with over the week, we would pass them, then they would pass us, and so on and so forth. The green sleeves group was the only one though that we did this with all the way to the end of the ride, meeting up with them and saying goodbye at the California boarder.
After eating our quick lunch we headed on down the road towards the first of many hills we would encounter on the ride, this was the hill from the Hwy 26 and Hwy 101 junction on up to the Ecola State Park overlook. This was the first little test of the 900 miles of training I had done this year, and I must admit I was nervous about the hill. Well as it turned out I had nothing to worry about, the hill was actually a piece of cake as was the next one climbing out of the tunnel at Arch Cape.
By the time we reached the top of the hill after the tunnel it started getting foggy and cold because we were getting up into the low clouds that were hugging the coast that day. The decent towards Oswald park was cold. We then started climbing the hill to Neahkahnie Mt. where I had a little problem with blood sugar and ran out of juice just a few hundred yards from the summit. Normally the view from this place on the road is spectacular. You can normally see many miles to the south as the Manzanita beach and bay stretch out before you. But today was different. The clouds were hugging the hill and you could not see the vista at all. After a minutes rest we finished off the hill and had a screaming 2 mile decent into Manzanita.
Our stop this night was at the family house in Manzanita. We then went to the grocery store and got a mess of other snacks and sundry items. After some tapa of oysters and crackers, we sat down to wonderful dinner of spinach pasta with pesto sauce, fresh baked French bread.
That evening’s entertainment consisted of watching Monday night football and finding a good book to read. The weather report for the following day was south winds again, and rain.