Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dallas, OR

Day 3: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Whalen Island County Park to Dallas: 70 miles

Rainy day start
Ready for a rainy day ride

Grey Oregon seaside
A grey Oregon seaside

The word was right. Soon after we retired, it began to drizzle. In the morning, we prepared ourselves for a wet day. The drizzle turned to a steady rain that detracted from the joy of cycling Highway 101 with its hilly curves and on-again, off-again shoulders. Twenty miles later, just past the town of Neskowin, I was glad to turn off the coastal highway and follow the old Highway 101 up into the hills. In spite of the rain, it was a spirit-lifting experience: in ten miles, I encountered maybe half a dozen cars.

The scenic route
The scenic route was worth it.

Still, it was wet. An unpopulated, scenic road can do only so much for a person whose spirits have been dampened by a slog through mile after mile of rain. The climb over the coastal mountain range along Highway 18 was not joyful. The map said that there was a campsite in Grand Ronde, but I sure didn't feel like camping.

When you're cold, wet, and tired, don't underestimate the power of a lunch stop at a country store to boost your willpower to continue.

Grand Ronde was once the western station point on the Willamina and Grand Ronde Railroad, a logging line that ran up into the mountains. As the trucks took over, the railroad's business died out. Now, its tracks are gone. In 1981, trains still ran. Now, the engine house is a garage for logging trucks and the depot has been converted to other use. The big game in town is the Spirit Mountain Casino, a huge development for a town with a population of about 300. Although it provides jobs, I sensed a bit of resentment from some folks I talked with.

The alternative to a campsite in Grand Ronde was either a stay at the casino or a motel in Dallas, some 20 miles down the road. The casino just wasn't my style, so I made for Dallas. By the time I found a motel and got to my room, it was 9 pm. It had been a long, wet day. My bike and panniers were filthy with road grime. The wi-fi was terrible, and I was so exhausted that I didn't bother cleaning my gear or showering. I was out before I even turned off the lights.


  1. Ugh - hope you get some relief from the rain soon! Thanks for posting the train pictures. Now that I have a family member obsessed with trains I'm paying lots more attention to them. He will enjoy your pictures!

  2. Nice write ups and photos! I suspect you'll be in the heat soon and looking back fondly at the natural air conditioning of the PNW.

  3. Nice write ups and photos! I suspect you'll be in the heat soon and looking back fondly at the natural air conditioning of the PNW.

  4. Brett, I met you today on McKenzie View Drive as you were leaving Eugene. I hope you find a nice place to camp tonight, that the weather gods are kind, and that your trip is filled with tailwinds and free of flats and inconsiderate motorists.
    Best of luck to you.

    Kurt Jensen

  5. It's too bad it rained on Cape Kiwanda, at the beginning of this day. That is one of my most pleasant memories from my '81 ride. Of course, I did not meet up with you guys till Mitchell, a few days later.


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