PCH Tour: New Friends in Devil’s Lake State Park

Pacific City Coastal Highway

Day 24 – I woke up around 7:30am. There was actually some sun poking through the clouds. I lucked out and the fog didn’t come in over night. I did my routine of eating 2 PB&Js, cleaning up and packing all of my gear.

Overnight, Russ messaged me and said that he was planning on heading to Devil’s Lake State Park as well. It would be another 60 mile day, but I would be able to catch up with him and the rest of the group he was hanging with. On the way out, I ran into another touring cyclist named Frank. He said he was from Torrence and was biking from Victoria, BC on down to LA. We chatted for a bit and then parted ways.

The air was nice and cool and it looked like it could be sunny all day. I made my way into Tillamook, OR and rode past the big Tillamook Cheese factory. I was tempted to stop in, but I wanted to get at least half way through my day before I took a big break. I did, however, make a pit stop at Burger King, because I thought I was going to pee my pants. While I was there I grabbed some chicken fries.

I pushed on out of town down the 101. For a couple of miles all I could see on the horizon was a giant hanger with the words AIR MUSUEM panted across the roof. It was a massive building. I wanted to stop, but I knew I had a long day and a big climb ahead, so I took a rain check on that visit. There were several long stretches of road, and as I turned toward the mountains I got smacked with a strong head wind. I down shifted to push through. There were some slow climbs where the wind made it tough, but I eventually wound my way back to the coast.

Air Museum

I made it to Pacific City and pulled into the Pelican Pub and Brewery around 1:30pm. I was starving and I ordered a bowl of clam chowder and a turkey ruben with french fries. I sucked the food down and worked on my post for the day. As I was typing I looked out the window and saw Russ getting ready to leave. I hurried out and said hi. He just finished eating and having a beer with some of his friends that he met on the road. I introduced myself to a couple of them that were still there, before going back to finish my work.

They’d all be at Devil’s Lake State Park later tonight. My stomach was stuffed when I left the pub. I was hoping it would digest a little more before I got to the big climb. I had an easy 5 or 6 miles before I hit the base of the mountain. It was over 700ft. Probably my biggest climb yet. It started out well. I kept plugging along in my low gear and made great progress. It seemed like I had been going for a while when I finally burned out. I thought I could see the top, but my legs were on fire and I was out of breath. I pulled over and took a breather.

I jumped back on the bike expecting to be over the top in no time. But the hill kept going and going and going. It seemed to never end. I burned out again and took another breather. After a little snack I decided to push through and finish the climb. I made another turn or two and I burned out again. I was totally fried. Even in my lowest gear, my body gave out. I knew I had to be close. I got myself pumped up and jumped on the bike again. This time I finally made it to the top. I zoomed down the other side for what seemed like 20 mins of bliss. The cool air chilled my sweaty body. I reached the bottom and felt recharged again. I wasn’t far from camp and I took my time working my way into the town of Lincoln.

There I stopped at a Safeway and grabbed some chicken noodle soup and a 6 pack of beers to share with my new friends. I rolled into camp around 7pm. The State Park sites were way cheaper, only $6 for a hiker biker spot. And the showers were free! When I got to my site there was already a little city of tents. Frank, from earlier in the morning was there setting things up. Shortly after, Russ came riding up the hill. Then I met Cindy, Eiry and the Hammock Guys. It was a great group of people.

I set up my tent, took an amazing warm shower, and then sat at the picnic table with the gang. I pulled out my beers to share and I was instantly accepted into the group. We sat up until 11pm telling stories and making PopTart jokes. It was nice to have some fellow biker friends on the road. Most of us were going to the same camp the next day, so I’d get to hang with them again. All in all, it was a tough, but amazing day.

(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)

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