Day 4 Newport
to Florence (well almost to Florence, ok, half
Day 4 started off not to terribly gloomy,
We got started around 10am which was a bit late, but we wanted to wait and see if the weather would break earlier then the noon time predictions. Well when we left the hotel at 10 it was foggier then it had been all morning, and it was beginning to drizzle. If fact that fog had gotten so bad that as we crossed the Newport Bay Bridge we COULD NOT SEE the Newport Bay Bridge, the superstructure of the bridge was shrouded in a thick fog.
About 45 minutes or so into the ride we pulled off at a little park beside the road and sat on a picnic bench under some trees. This was probably the low point of the entire ride for me. I was dragging bad, the headwind was blowing at 15 to 20 MPH and the drizzle was coming and going. As we sat there Keith asked me if there was anything he could do to make me feel better. I told him no, my problem was not physical, but mental. That is when it dawned on me that it was totally up to me to make this days ride enjoyable, because the weather certainly was not going to cooperate. So I started making a concerted effort to improve my outlook, and it worked.
About another 30 to 45 minutes down the road Keith said that he was feeling light headed and wanted to pull off and have a Red Bull. We pulled up on a blocked off side street and planted butts on a log and drank our Red Bulls. As I was sitting there I looked over and Keith had finished his Red Bull and had pulled out a beer that was left over from the night before that he had packed in his bag. This made both of us laugh and lightened the mental load even more.
By this time the drizzle was constant and in fact was getting worse. This is where I took my sun glasses off because they were doing no good at all, they were just collecting rain and making it impossible to see.
Once again after about 30 or 45 minutes we pulled off at a little convenience store just north of Waldport. Here we stocked up on water and munchies and sat outside the store and nibbled and waited to see if the rain would stop. It was now 12:30 in the afternoon and the weather was going to break at noon, right.
Sitting at this store it dawned on me that they were also a U-Haul rental spot. Now I have had several bad experiences with U-Haul and have vowed never to use them again, but at this point I was willing to pay for half a $40 rental one way between Waldport and Florence, so I went in and asked what the price would be. The lady behind the counter looked at me coldly and said “if you come back at 1:30 I can tell you. I am busy making sandwiches.” As it turns out they do not do U-Haul business between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, so she would not help me. Chalk up another strike for U-Haul.
After that (and the good laugh it gave us) we got back on our bikes and started to ride south again. By this time it was just plain raining. As we crossed the bridge into Waldport the rain was being driven at us so hard by the wind that it felt like little ice pellets hitting my face and made it very hard to see. All I could do at this point was laugh, because if I didn’t laugh, I would cry.
After only a few miles from our U-Haul customer service experience we entered Waldport and once again pulled up, this time at the Waldport Chamber of Commerce to see if they had any suggestions for alternate transportation to Florence. The only suggestion they could give us was to try and catch the Greyhound bus at the south end of town. We stopped in at the store that hosted the bus stop and asked what time the bus came. We were told it came about 1:30. Keith wanted me to check and see if they would take bikes, and how much it would cost. For some reason I did not want to take the bus so we just plugged on.
At this point we had gone about 15 miles in 3 hours, and our average speed with the headwind was only about 10mph. One big mistake I made was to not put my rain boots on over my shoes. A few miles out of Waldport the rain was hard enough that my shoes got soaked and when I would push down on the peddles, water would come squirting out the top of my shoes. It was at this point that Keith verbalized what I had been thinking for a few miles. “You know” he said “we could stop at Yachats and call it a day.” “Capital idea” I said and we pushed the last few miles into Yachats, once again only doing about 9 or 10 MPH into the driving headwind and rain.
One of the beautiful things about doing a credit card ride like this is the flexibility it gives you. If we had been on Cycle Oregon we would have had to push that last 25 miles in the nasty weather to get to the services we had paid good money for. Having freedom to make our own minds up on where to stop was a blessing on this day.
As we rode into Yachats we were seeing a few hotels on the outskirts of town, but we wanted to wait until we found a place that was near a grocery store and offered more then just the hotel restaurant.
We finally rolled into the center of town, and then almost out of it before we could apply the breaks, Yachats is not a big town. We pulled up next to a divey looking place called The Landmark. Keith asked me what I thought, and I said “hotel”. Directly across the street and up a little hill was a place called the Ocean Cove Inn. We decided it looked OK and rode up the hill to check it out.
As we were standing there next to The Landmark contemplating our next move a spout of water came up from the ground across the street. As it turns out this is Whale Spout Park. Someone had planted a sculpture that looks like a whale’s tale, and then built up a dirt mound that looked like a whale’s back. Every few minutes a spout of mist would come from a hole near the front of the dirt mound as if a whale were clearing its blow hole. Very nicely done and very fun to watch.
The hotel on the hill turned out to be a very nice place. It appeared to be newly built and was basically a house with 4 hotel rooms attached to its side. There was also a massive porch that ran the length of the hotel rooms that offered tables, chairs and a beautiful view of the ocean. We only used the view since the table and chairs and deck were all soaked form the rain.
As we pulled up I knocked on the door of the house and asked if they had a room with two beds and the proprietor, and nice older gentleman said they did and would I like to see it. He took us to a room, that like the other three had a sliding glass door as it’s front door/wall (this offered a fantastic view of the deck, and hence a fantastic view of the ocean). The room had one queen bed and a queen hide-a-bed. Keith agreed that it was acceptable and I asked the price. $79 for the night, I would have paid $150 by that point, but we liked the price and I told the owner that I would go change into my dry shoes so as not to soak his lobby (living room) floor. When I came back in to sign in for the room he had a nice big fluffy beach towel for me to dry off with. I thanked him, wiped the dripping water off me, and handed it out to Keith to do the same.
We then brought out bikes up on the porch and started unpacking. Everything was so soaked that we laid the big town on the floor and stacked everything on it until we could sort the soaked form the merely wet.
When we got to the hotel it was about 2:30 in the afternoon. After getting ourselves dried off, and after getting changed into dry clothes we set out for the grocery store to get snacks, beer and the likes. It was still drizzling hard, but for some reason it did not bother us as much when we were on the hoof instead of on the bike.
As we walked to the grocery store we staked out where the Laundromat was. After applying a little brain lubrication in the form of a beer or two we did a round of laundry, as much to dry out what had gotten soaked as to clean what was dirty.
After a few hours we grew hungry and were trying to decide which of the three major restaurants to patronize. Keith had done some investigation and checked out the menus of a few of them. He noticed that one place wanted $14 for a bowl of chowder! That seemed a bit steep to us, so we discounted that as a place to go. As we were sitting in the hotel room trying to decide where to eat Keith noticed a little flyer that described each of the restaurants in town. We had already decided that the Landmark looked a bit to much of a dive for us, but the flyer told us that it offered good seafood and was voted “One of the best 23 fish dives in the US” by Travelers magazine, so we decided to give it a try.
This turned out to be an excellent decision. The restaurant portion of The Landmark overlooked Yachats bay, and as we sat down our waitress came up and placed a set of binoculars on our table in case we wanted to check out the view (a very nice touch). We proceeded to partake of that night’s special which was scallops and sun dried tomatoes in mushroom pasta. I also had a bowl of chowder. The entire meal was fantastic!! When we were done with the pasta the waitress asked if we had saved room for the fresh peach cobbler which had just come out of the oven. Unfortunately we had not saved the room. If you EVER find yourself in Yachats Oregon I highly recommend that you stop in at The Landmark. Have some of the peach cobbler and let us know if it is as good as it sounded. Tell them the two guys who came through here on their bike trip sent you, they will have no idea who you are talking about, but it will make them, and me, feel good.
After dinner we wondered back to the hotel room and watched some TV. The weather report for the next day was sunny and a north wind (read TAIL wind) from 10 to 20 mph. As we watched the sun set over the Yachats bay we could see that the clouds were breaking up, and could also tell that the wind was shifting to come from the north. For two days this change had been predicted, and now we could actually see it happening. We had planed to make up the 25 miles we missed today on the next day’s ride, so we could really use that tailwind.