Been out of the shop for a couple of weeks. In that nebulous time period between the end of summer daycamp and the beginning of school for the kiddo. IMO a perfect time for a little bike camping trip.
We packed up the panniers and loaded up the tandem and made an excursion to Cape Lookout State Park on the Oregon coast. Headed out with some other family style friends, did a little bike riding, a little bit of camping, a little watching the kiddos play in the sand on the beach all day. We ate locally caught seafood, drank a few beers, and watched the shooting starts in the super clear night skies.
We got a sag wagon out to the Tillamook Cheese factory, in Tillamook (imagine that). Started the day off good with ice cream cones while we waited out the torrential downpour outside.
The ride out included a section of closed off road along the coast. It was previously part of the Three Capes Loop out of Tillamook, but due to a wash out the road is rather impassable for your average automobile. As any good cyclist knows this makes for bike riding heaven. No traffic and beautiful views. Amazing.
We stopped at Cape Meares to check out the lighthouse and the 'Octopus Tree'. The lighthouse there, it turns out, is the shortest on the west coast, barely more than two stories high. Got a tour, ate some lunch, and rode the rest of the way to Cape Lookout.
We spent the rest of the day playing in the sand and making and eating food. The hiker/biker campsites were totally full at the campground, due to it being Labor Day weekend and high season for cycle tourists riding the length of the west coast. We talked our way into staying in the 'overflow' area. Actually just the much more spacious neighboring picnic area. It was nice to meet a bunch of new people there, likeminded folks either out for the day from PDX or on a two month long trip down to the US/Mexico border, so I didn't necessarily mind the number of folks there.
We spent the entire next day hanging out at the park. More campfires, talking with friends old and new, more time on the beach. The kiddos spent the entire day running themselves into tizzy. The times when I most feel like a good parent is when my kid has spent the entire day playing outside and nearly collapses from exhaustion at the end of the day. Kids in general don't get that sort of experience as much these days, but they need it. I'm happy to provide the opportunity.
The last day of the trip consisted of riding inland about 60 miles, and getting picked up by the sag wagon in Carlton, OR. It was a tough day of riding with around 4500 feet of climbing, including a long, somewhat difficult 27 mile climb though the Coast Range along the beautiful Nestucca River. The tandem preformed excellently and my seven year old stoker was a trooper the entire way, didn't complain at all (I'm sure the constant supply of chocolate and snack stops helped with that). I would love to come back out that way again sometime in the future. That road deserves another go.
The trip ended in Carlton with ice cream and loading the bikes into the Sprinter van. An amazing weekend in total, I look forward to more like it in the future.
More pics on the Flickr.