My first stop was Astoria, OR and then Fort Stevens SP. The beach here is vast, the coast was being whipped by strong winds and rain showers, so I lost the resolve to ride and went picnicking instead.
For the rest of the day, I drove through a violent spring rain storm, which impacted most of Northern Oregon, second guessing my decision to carry two bikes on the roof rack.
It still rained in Springfield, OR on Wednesday morning, but as soon as I started driving west towards the coast on the Umpqua Highway (Rt 38), the clouds broke and early morning sun shone onto what must be some of the most bucolic valleys in the USA. Spring in Oregon is beautiful, green meadows, deep forests, every tree that can bloom blooming, horses, sheep and no cars on the road.
My next destination was the Oregon Sand Dunes NRA just south of Reedsport. The beach looked great from the Umpqua River lighthouse.
From the fat bike saddle, it looked and felt even better. There are areas dedicated to ATV use (seen from the picture above), and then there is the beach with a band of smaller, but very diverse sand dunes just inland. There is no motorized vehicle use permitted, but I have always argued that bicycles cannot be classified as motorized, saw no signs forbidding bikes here, so I rode.
You can either follow the water on a densely packed wet sand, or explore the adjacent maze of dunes. I was very surprised how compact the sand was, perhaps the rain had something to do with it. I could climb steep dunes, not seeing what was on the back side - either roll a smooth dip, roll a grassy drop off, or get off the bike.
I rode only for about an hour and half, but jeez, this was too much fun! Somewhat easier in terms of power required compared to riding on snow, softer landings, and the terrain variety was amazing.
On this particular trip, there were just a few more quick stops to enjoy the views along the coast during the sixteen-hour drive home. The pull of California was just too strong to make this a biking vacation.