This is the full-winded account of my running trip up 186 miles of Oregon with Ian Klepetar and Scott Lommele in the spring of 2013. I thought I could break it up in the day-to-day format for easy chewability and digestion purposes. Thanks for taking the time to read, so many words and all.
Day 4: Lincoln City-Pacific City
24 Miles. May 9th, 2013
Grinning in my face, Ian’s big blue peepers lock into my squinting, scratchy eyes. He offers a light shake on the shoulders in case I didn’t see his large face inches from mine. “Daaaave, it’s time to ruuuuun, aren’t you psyched???!!!?" I grabbed my cellphone, checked the time. “It’s @*&^ing 6:30 Ian,” I replied, and rolled over. No, I was not psyched at that precise moment.
It was no hope, with daybreak upon us, waking in the outdoors, there was no fighting his energy. I yawned my way up, and soon appreciated the early start as it opened up time for the rest of the day.
We left the crowded city, relieved to shed the urban setting. After climbing another mighty hill, we rested on a deep, safe pullover that led to a fire road stretching into the mountains.
Scattered conspicuously with bright fonts and eye grabbing visuals were a half dozen porn mags, arranged in a creepy straight line, deliberately, by someone. “Oh, c’mon, no, please don’t,” we pleaded to Ian, as he strolled to check them out. He gathered a few and stood on the side of the road, and waved them out to passing cars, offering a gift for the lonely traveler or bringing a little shock treatment to the bored family. We put our foot down when he wanted to take them with us. Instead he draped a few over the nearest road sign, while giggling like a schoolgirl.
We found the town of Neskowin a few miles later, the kind of beach nugget easily passed on a hurried road trip. Nestled behind a community center and through a family neighborhood, down a grassy driveway, and over a boulder cropping lay a rugged, deserted beach. Grey waves slapped the shore and a few grey whales lumbered by. Around the corner, a classic Oregon rock stack loomed up like a great green and black dome, filled with grassy patches, towering pines, and mysterious caves.
I hung out, chatted with the boys, and noted my leg muscles, whereas yesterday they felt like meat chunks left to marinate in a sauna, today they felt almost normal. Was the crux behind us? Maybe.
We arrived in Pacific City in the afternoon, impressed with the tasty bakeries, homegrown surfshops and old-timey, tourism-infused pubs. Our impression of the towns of Oregon had vacillated between kitschy tourist hubs, and small, thriving communities that oozed Oregon pride. Pacific City seemed the latter.
We doddled around as Ian bought Norwegian postcards from a thriftstore. My blood sugar sagged and I dreamed of a seat and a meal. Ian found more ice cream and Scott found a bakery for a hearty scone. The treats looked damned good, and I salivated for a square meal. The bar we settled on had stuffed elk and deer on the walls, Golden Tee, lively locals, and a large poster of a chubby man in aviators, short shorts, and a large fish still on the line, hung up next to a stack of Sysco boxes of plastic ramekins and paper coffee cups. We had found our peoples.
“You guys are crazy motherfuckers,” Nettie, our server announced, before taking our order. She had caught wind of our odyssey. She scanned our table, noting Ian eating his two pints of ice cream, clearly not purchased there. She gave him a hard time at first for his unorthodox dinging style, then eased up. Ian pushed the pint toward her, offering a spoon. “Oh, c’mon Nettie eat some ice cream. Nettie, Eat some!” She withdrew, then crept back, and dug in. We were buds now.
I tore through my fish and chips, and its purity of 100% fried food. We had about an hour and a half before our hosts were scheduled to cook us dinner, and not a worry.
Vicky and Bill (found through warmshowers.com, a site for bike travelers to find places to stay) welcomed us
into their beach house. Fit and energetic in their early 60’s, they gave us
their entire upstairs with bunkbeds and showers.
“I like to run around 3:30 a.m. and have Bill follow me in the truck with the headlights on,” declared Vicky. Ian squirmed but remained cordial. The next morning they were off to Bend, OR for a fun run. Bill had fished the area’s beaches for decades and spoke of the area’s marine life and famed dory boats. As active couples, I speculated they enjoyed their steady rotation of travelers full of fun stories as a form of social life. We feasted on spaghetti, salad, french bread, and a zippy Oregon red. They expected nothing in return and barely let us wash a few dishes. My faith in humanity took a click up.
Tomorrow’s logistics haunted us. The next days distance was a withering 29 miles to Bay City, where we lined up another host. However, we wanted a one-day rest. Vicky and Bill hosts were leaving the next day so we couldn’t stay there. Ian had called our next day’s hosts to see if we could delay our arrival if we took an extra day in PC, but they couldn’t accommodate that. We discussed the options; bumming around Pacific City for a day, just, going to Tillamook which would have been 5 miles shorter, or just gunning it for Bay City.
I wanted to make the rest day work, Scott was hesitant on urban camping if we went to Tillamook, and Ian didn’t like paying for hotels. My mental serenity was struggling with going from a full rest to our longest day yet. And even if we made it to Bay City, if we then took the following day off we still didn’t have a place to stay there since our hosts were leaving that day. Ugh. Inclinations toward better organization were at the forefront of my thoughts, but I reminded myself this stuff was part of the territory.
We chatted, and it surfaced, agreed on by all of us, that we
would push it the 29 miles, then rest the next day and figure out
accommodations then. I realized we had a very diplomatic group when we worked
to problem solve and though I still would have rather sat around all day, it
was the right call.