For those of you who don’t know, a couple of weeks ago we took the dogs on a cycling tour of the North Oregon Coast. It was only the second time they had ridden in their doggie trailers and thefirst trip was only about 3 hours. It was also our first time on a bona fide bike tour. The trip was not short on adventure.
We got up Monday, loaded up the bikes, trailers and gear in the car, hit the road early to beat returning Holiday traffic and made the 4-hour drive to Astoria. After the uneventful and somewhat boring drive to Astoria we checked into our hotel, found a doggie-friendly place to eat and wandered town checking out the sights.
The next morning we repacked our panniers, dropped our car off in the free-parking lot at the visitors center as planned and set up the bikes and trailers for the ride.
Seeing as how I had never ridden a bike with loaded panniers, let alone pulled a doggie trailer, I took a quick spin around the parking lot to test it out. To my surprise, it was pretty easy after the wobbly start.
Our first challenge, or adventure, of the trip started immediately after.
When we left the visitor center parking lot we had to get to the other side of a very busy road to reach the waterfront trail that would take us to the other end of town. The nearest light was at least a half mile in either direction and the sidewalks were under partial construction. With all that traffic and the narrow lanes we didn’t dare ride on the road. We ended up waiting and then running our bikes across the road trying not to get hit by cars.
Riding along the waterfront path instead of the street was very nice but it was a little sketchy when we had to ride over a bridge shared with the trolley. There was only room for two bikes OR a trolley so luckily the trolley hadn’t made it to the bridge yet…although we could see it about a half mile off in the distance.
Riding on the bridge was a little scary for me because you had to cross train tracks (which are a nightmare in a bikers eyes and resulted in a pretty good crash last time I tried it) and then ride over a wooden surface with parallel grooves in it. My tire kept getting caught in the grooves which pulled my bike all over the place. I would have walked but we had to beat the trolley.
To get out of Astoria we had to cross a bridge. There are two different bridges you can use to go south. The night before we had driven both of them and ultimately decided to go with the flatter, shorter OLD Young’s Bay Bridge even though it was the New Young’s Bay Bridge that was recommended in the Oregon cycling guide. Choosing this way did take us a bit out of the way but was way less scary for me.
When crossing the bridge, we still had to literally ride in the road because the elevated shoulder was too narrow for the bike trailers. To me it was just too narrow for bikes period. Riding in the traffic lane wasn’t the scary part really. It was when we had to ride across the grated deck and my bike was wobbling all over the place. I think my knuckles turned white.
You can watch a video of us in action here.
We weren’t on the bike 10 minutes and Chester became restless, whining and chirping the whole way down the street. That only lasted about 20 minutes though and then started to settle down. I don’t blame him for being a little anxious because he was not used to the trailer and cars were zooming past him only a couple of feet away.
Once we got off the back roads onto Highway 101 the zooming cars and big trucks started. The ride was without real incident but we did end up on the wrong side of the highway once and had to run across the lanes with our bikes. We did find a roadside espresso stand with good smoothies and a porta-potty for a rest stop along the way.
Once we were off the bikes in Seaside things went pretty smoothly. We checked in with our host for the night from WarmShowers.org and he told us to make ourselves at home in this place.
We spent the night going out to dinner, walking the beautiful beach, taking photos and chatting it up with our host. In the morning we went to breakfast at this little Seaside restaurant we had seen the day before (which had an amazing breakfast by the way), bought a gift to leave our host (Beer and TP), packed up and hit the road again for Cannon Beach.
Find out how the second part of the trip went in Part II. We will also tell you more about each place we went in the upcoming weeks.