We arrived at Devil’s Lake State Park at about 9 pm with aching muscles from the long ride and numb hands from the mist that had settled on the shores of the lake. It had been our hardest day by far, and as I lay in my sleeping bag thinking back, it was easy to see why.
The morning started with a 5 mile cruise to the Tillamook cheese factory where, driven by our endless hunger, we expertly navigated through the throngs of tourists to take our cheese samples. Just past Tillamook, we started up the first hill of the day and climbed up to the peak of Netarts highway. No sooner had we blasted down to Netarts Bay, we were again climbing, this time up the biggest hill of the day leading to Cape Lookout State Park. The endorphin inducing climb was rewarded with a gorgeous view. The pacified motorists even offered kudos as they took a break from their incessant zooming to relax and enjoy the scenery.
We practically fell from the summit, hurtling into Pacific City at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Our momentum took us right to the door of Fat Freddie’s Burgers where we shared a delicious, greasy cheeseburger and fries. After the meal, we jumped back on the bikes and set off for the final hill.
Old highway 101, just north of Neskowin, is a fantastic stretch of road with an almost total lack of traffic and lush forest scenery. In the ten miles we were on it, less than ten cars passed us in either direction. The road paralleled a creek for most of the distance, whose gurgling was audible even over the ample bird chatter. The moss on tree branches took on an almost otherworldly luminescence in the light of the low, western sun as mist began to settle in lowland areas. We forgot we were climbing yet another hill as we savored the experience. It is sections of road like this that make the journey worth it!
After our last hill, we soared toward Devil’s Lake, then made the folly of turning too early and going the long way around the lake. Instead of the last two miles of flat highway 101, we experienced a circuit of interval training up steep, short hills each just brief enough to warrant the momentum method of charging rather than spinning up them.
At long last we entered Devil’s Lake State Park and heard to our disbelief that the hiker-biker site was full, as was the rest of the campground. Our hearts sank at the prospect of finding another campground somewhere out in the cold dark night. “We will put you in a normal tent site and just charge you the bike rate,” the ranger finished mercifully. Our first Oregon campground did not disappoint. Its clean, modern facilities and FREE hot showers were just the pampering we needed at the end of the Day of Destruction.