I think I found my west coast beach ride route. I met Nick and Dean on the aborted PDX-Vernonia ride a few weeks ago, and Dean suggested this ride out to Pacific City via the Nestucca River Road. I had heard a little bit about this route from my boss at work and had seen it on the Oregon Benchmark Map when perusing riding and hiking options. It definitely caught my eye and now that it was suggested by some one who knew the route, I was all in.
We all converged at the Hatfield MAX stop in Hillsboro at 7:30AM for a nice early start. Basically followed Route 8 to 47 until we could jump on Old Route 47 for awhile and then from Gaston to Carlton we were back on 47 with it’s tiny shoulders. Luckily that early in the morning there isn’t a ton of traffic.
We stopped for a coffee and snack before hitting the back roads. This would be our last chance for any sort of services for the next 40+ miles.
From Carlton it takes maybe 2-3 miles before you’re in the quiet and peaceful backroads. I’m pretty sure there is one point where we saw 4 cars in about 30 miles.
The climb is about 10 miles long, and honestly not really that bad. It’s long, but never brutally steep. The west side however is about 30 miles of slightly downhill. It makes you feel a bit like a super hero this early in the season. At points you’re cruising along at 23-24 mph and barely pedaling. The scenery along the whole route is awesome, stunning, beautiful…use as many superlatives as you want.
There are several remote wayside campgrounds that have got me interested in heading out this way for a couple days of camping and exploring. They’re technically closed right now, but I saw campers in just about everyone that we passed.
I was battling a very slow air leak in my front tire. Running tubeless does have it’s downsides. When the tire is old and thin the sealant doesn’t quite cut it. I should have replaced this tire earlier……
I had to pump it back up twice during the ride, the tube we tried to install had 3 holes in it, and I think my multi-tool rubbing against it was the culprit there. It has a small flathead screwdriver that I think rubbed some holes in the spare tube. Anyways, we made it with my under inflated tire. Today I installed 2 new tires and sealant.
From Beaver we headed south on 101 for 10 miles before taking the back way into Pacific City and the Cape Kiwanda area and our final destination of Pelican Pub and Brewery. Dean’s wife drove out to pick him and Nick up and Mia came out to meet me and take me home. Codi got to play on the beach and meet Dean’s 3 dogs. The food was very good at Pelican Pub and it was a good time just hanging out and relaxing with some new friends.
I’m definitely going to do this ride again. As much as I like Cannon Beach, there isn’t a good way to get directly there via bike. Nestucca makes it possible to get to the coast with only some of the miles on busy roads, an option I really appreciate.
I want to thank Dean for coming up with this idea, and both Dean and Nick for the company on the ride out. Good day, good ride, great weather and awesome scenery.
all the pics are here.
Thanks for reading,
7 Comments Add yours
Yeah, the Nestucca is the nice scenic “backway” out to the coast! Glad you discovered it. I’m not that fond of the climb from the east, unlike you I do feel it’s somewhat brutal. Not overly so, but I am no roadie! But the extended descent is soooo nice. The only issue is from the Nestucca Road it means going over Cape Lookout to get to the eponymous state park. I did a tour from d-t Hillsboro to the campground at Cape Lookout one September day, and it involved almost the break up of a relationship! (Not mine, though.)
My other favorite way out to the coast is Banks-Vernonia/47/202. Past Vernonia there’s barely any traffic, and it’s a pretty mellow climb over the coast range. A pretty long day if you do it in one shot, 100 miles from d-t Hillsboro to Astoria. And you’d still have about another 10 miles to the coast if you’re hitting up Fort Stevens (or about 15 if you cross the Columbia to much better Cape Disappointment.)
I’d like to try the dirt road way out from 202 to Nehalem at some point too.
I’d say the climb isn’t easy by any means, but I was kind of expecting 10 miles of Germantown or Rocky Point type climbing, so the more steady grade with a couple kickers was mentally easier. Riding it fully loaded would definitely add to the challenge though.
I’m shooting for the Vernonia to Astoria route this year too. Any reason to go to Rogue Brewery out there.
Yeah, riding unloaded would have been easier!
In Astoria, a couple other breweries worth checking out is Fort George and Buoy.
And for anyone else riding out to either Astoria or Tillamook, there are buses that take bikes that go there, so you can ride one way, bus back!