Seventy-One: Fin, Part II (Cape Lookout to Astoria)

Miles: 95
Total: 4,826

Now what?

Making breakfast, another cyclist told me that the road’s closed near Netarts, but that you can get a bicycle through. It was a fog-soaked morning, full of the now-familiar coastal hills and I made decent progress to Tillamook, home of famous cheese (and ice cream!) and picked up Highway 101, where I’d be for most of the day.

Outside Tillamook I had my first negative motorist interaction. He pulled up in a clapped-out Ford Ranger and yelled, “Go home.” It could just have as easily been “Welcome to Oregon” — it was tough to hear with all the traffic and wind. Either way, I can’t complain about 4,800 miles before being hassled. I had many, many motorists wave, honk their horns or hang out the window shouting encouragements. On the whole, drivers were extremely pleasant.

To be honest, I had higher hopes for Highway 101. It was super busy, frequently chip sealed with rock the size of cantaloupe and the shoulder ranged between adequate and nonexistent. The fog made it tough to see, too, but once in a while it’d clear and you’re treated to a fantastic view.

Past Seaside, the ACA takes you off 101 and onto Lewis and Clark Road, a twisty country lane with very little traffic. I’m glad to end the trip on a road that represented most of the miles: lonely and beautiful. I rode past Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark wintered in 1805, Corps of Discovery preparing to return east. Two drawbridges take you onto the Astoria’s peninsula, where I stopped for a slightly premature victory ice-cream cone before climbing my last hill (Astoria’s remarkably steep) and coasting down to the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the official end of the TransAm.

I’m staying tonight in my fanciest (and most expensive) accommodations yet, the Norblad. This 100-percent-Ikea-decorated hotel/hostel offers private rooms and bunks. I grabbed one of four spots in the male dormitory for $31. Sharing the room with me tonight is Scott, who left Yorktown a few days after me, though our paths never crossed, and Tony, who’s cycling from Washington down along the coast for a few days. A celebratory house-made bratwurst with sauerkraut and coarse mustard washed down with fresh beer from Fort George Brewery was dinner, and after washing up, Scott and I ventured out on the town for a couple of beers. I hung my tent out of the Norblad’s windows to dry.

Tomorrow, I’ll sort out how to get myself to Portland and my bike back to Pittsburgh. This trip’s over, but I’m looking forward writing a few more posts with my impressions, some transit data and brief equipment reviews. So, stay tuned if that interests you — if not, this is the time to unsubscribe. Thanks for coming along.