Monday, May 20, 2013

Whalen Island County Park, OR

Day 2: Monday, May 20, 2013
Nehalem Bay State Park to Whalen Island County Park: 59 miles

Yesterday was pretty easy. Today, they started springing the real hills on us.

Pancakes for breakfast
Pancakes for breakfast

A pancake breakfast started the day.  And then I hit the road.

Dave packs his kit
Dave packs his kit

A railroad track ran through the town of Wheeler, at the top of Nehalem Bay. The rails were rusty, but there was a whistle-stop platform there. Some locals said that the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad, which carried predominantly wood products, had ceased operation when some bridges were washed out about five years ago. A volunteer steam fan group, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, now operates excursions from Garibaldi to Wheeler over the tracks.

OCSR motive power
Motive power on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

OCSR's Great Northern F7

At Garibaldi, some 20 miles further on, several steam locomotives (and an F7 as well), along with some passenger equipment, were in the yard, and I talked for a while with one of the maintenance crew, who were preparing for an upcoming excursion.

Oregon coast
Oregon coast in the mist

Of course, there were the requisite gorgeous views of the Oregon coast. But each one required a hillclimb. I used to think that the view and the downhill made every hill worth climbing. Now, I'm not so sure. Especially after the killer hill between Cape Lookout and Sandlake.

Four miles long. Four miles up. Four miles an hour. Ugh. Three miles an hour. Lord deliver me! Two miles an hour. Mama, come take me home!

Fifty agonizing minutes to the top. Not much of a view. Then five minutes down. Why don't the downhills last longer?

It's called Sandlake because that's what it resembles. It's a huge area covered with sand. The ATVers love it, of course. I made the mistake of checking out a campground at the Sandlake Recreation Area. Sorry - I don't want to join the ATV crowd. But Whalen Island County Park was six miles further on, and it was peaceful and unpopulated.

Are they related?
Hmm. Are they related?

Shortly after arriving, I looked up, and found Dave cycling in. Which was a good thing, because I had miscalculated and had not picked up any food in Tillamook, the last town of any size. And the local grocery store was closed. We set up our tents and Dave broke out a couple of packets of freeze-dried gourmet food from Costco: chicken teriyaki and lasagna. Not bad for camping. One of the park maintenance men happened to see our trash, and mentioned that his daughter worked at the factory in Albany where the freeze-dried food was packaged. Tongue in cheek, he said that you haven't tasted anything until you've tried a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich.

For the past two days, we had been favored with clear skies and mild tailwinds. As we were preparing to bed down, we noticed a bank of clouds moving in from the ocean. Word was out that the next three days would bring rain. We hoped that the word was wrong.


  1. Wonder if the cemetery and the recycle center are one and the same?

  2. Reminds me of when we rode together in '81, Bret. We ended up at the same campground for a couple of days running, then we became a team!


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