Since moving to Portland I’ve always wanted to bike to the coast but for whatever reason I never made it happen. So when the forecast predicted weather in upper 70s I knew I had to go for it. With over a dozen ways to bike there I settled on a route created by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
I choose the 90 mile route out of Hillsboro following the Nestucca River and through the Oregon Coast Range. The first 26 miles navigates through lonesome country roads lined with vineyards and green fields stretching out as far as the eye could see. The Northern Willamette Valley is often referred to as the Gateway to Wine Country, being home to dozens of beautiful vineyards.
Yamhill and Carlton were the last supply points for 40 miles so I filled my water bottles and stocked up on some snacks. The following couple hours were spent climbing up Meadow Lake Road peaking at a little over 2000ft. The climb was long but I was constantly surrounded by lush forest and incredible views of the Valley. At the summit Meadow Lake Road turns into the Nestucca River National Back Country Byway which traverses the Oregon Coast Range. The road twists and turns through the Nestucca Canyon cutting through a 40-million-year old formation of rock. The miles were tough and when my body ached the lush green of forest and the gentle sounds of the river carried me forward. It wasn’t until I left the shelter of the canyon did I wish for my journey to end. Still, I pushed forth into the fierce coastal headwinds. Surrounded in a blanket of blue skies, I couldn’t help but smile and embrace the warmth of Spring.
After a relentless battle with the wind I reached the small town of Beaver. I filled my bags with food and beer and made the final push to Cape State Lookout. Little did I know I had another 13 miles and 1000+ feet of climbing left. The headwinds were strong and I fought hard. The last pitch to the summit was relentless and I had to dig deep. I reached the top shattered but my spirit was instantly renewed as my eyes caught a glimpse of the ocean for the first time. Hands on the hoods. I tucked down low and ripped the two mile descent into camp.