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Happy Labo(u)r Day Weekend: Day 2

August 31, 2008
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon (Orin O'Neill photos)

PORTLAND—What’s this, you ask? Portland wasn’t on the itinerary. Well, rain wasn’t in the weather forecast, either.

I awoke early, so I strolled over to Broadway Street (that’s what the tourist strip in Seaside is called) to see if any of the theme restaurants were open for breakfast. Not much of anything was open at 7:00 am, except for a place called Pudgy’s. Sounds like just the place for a big, greasy, starchy breakfast.

Breakfast was being served in the lounge by a guy who introduced himself as Charlie. An affable fellow, he turned out to be a homey—he has a house in Bellevue. “I turned down 1.3,” he lamented. That’s million. We talked about my trip, and about Hurricane Gustav. Charlie’s originally from Louisiana, and a trace of an accent lingers. He checks my Powerball ticket. Would you like to borrow a pen, he asks. Huh? For the “L” I could draw on my forehead, if I wished. Didn’t win. $72 million would’ve been nice. Second prize is something like $250,000, and that would’ve been nice, too.

Sunday breakfast at Pudgy's

Breakfast tasted as good as it looked. I bid Charlie adieu and walked back to the motel. There’s a big gray cloud to the east that was much bigger and much grayer by the time I had the duffel lashed to the PX. Raindrops splash on my faceshield.

Headed south, I see Cannon Beach is only 7 miles further. Probably could’ve done that yesterday. Or not. By the time I reach the first Cannon Beach exit, the rain’s really coming down and the newly-paved road is quite slippery. Some yutz in an older Subaru Outback blows by, barely avoiding a head-on with a car coming the opposite way. I was prepared for a major impact and debris storm, but it didn’t happen. I’m heading into town.

There’s very little traffic in downtown Cannon Beach. The place is next to the beach, but unlike Seaside, Cannon Beach isn’t such an obvious tourist trap. People retire here, and do business here. I’m on a street that seems to be called Hemlock. Between the houses, there are great views of the coastal mounds and beaches. The speed suggestion is 30 mph, much more comfortable than 55 on US 101.

Hemlock and the rain end at roughly the same time. Back on 101, there are conveniently-spaced viewpoints that are perfect for letting faster traffic pass. As I pull into each viewpoint, I see a red Toyota Yaris with B.C. plates, its occupants apparently on a quest to stop at each viewpoint on 101.

Tillamook comes quickly; Hebo, the junction with OR 22, is less than 20 miles further. But the rain starts again near the Air Museum (been to that one), and the quality of the pavement deteriorates. At least the road’s wider and has lots of wide spots on the shoulder.

OR 22 is a revelation, and not just because the rain stopped as soon as the junction sign appeared. Light traffic, a river running next to it, and delicious twisties flanked by a verdant tree canopy make it a wonderful 25 miles.

This was a marked contrast to the bouts of “what the hell was I thinking” as luxury SUVs blew by on wet quasi-freeways. Some of those quasi-freeways had billiard table-smooth new pavement, but would best be traversed on a big Vespa. Like one of the many GTSs for sale on Craigslist today.

But you do the road trip with the bike you have, not the one you wish you had. Today was a testament to motivating yourself to press on. Seeing a sign that showed 20 miles to the next way point was a shot of adrenaline for me.

“Welcome to McMinnville” was a relief. It’s a nice place, home to Linfield College and my objective, the Evergreen Aviation Museum.

The PX and a MIG

The latter is home to Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose,” an absolutely massive aircraft that flew once, about 15 feet off the water (it’s a float plane). It is the centerpiece of an equally massive building, surrounded by other aircraft displayed in a way that might suggest the comic scenario of the guy cleaning out his garage and yelling, “honey, I found the car!”

Not far from McMinnville is OR 47, a tour through farm country. Hope you like the smell of manure, because this is real agriculture, not the hobby stuff. Where OR 22 surrounds you with green, OR 47’s pastoral vistas make you wish for more turnouts to take pictures.

Unfortunately, your reveries are likely to be interrupted by traffic going faster than you can. Well, the speed suggestion is 55 mph.

I was pretty wrung out as I arrived in Forest Grove. Several blocks into a residential area, it becomes apparent this is not OR 47. Somehow, I managed to lose track of it. Oh well, turn around and regroup.

A Tri-Met bus makes a left turn across the intersection from me. I’m that close to Portland? Yes, and the cross street is OR 8, which the signs say goes to Hillsboro. That’s one of Portland’s western suburbs.

As the sky darkens and the rain falls harder, I’ve decided not to be a glutton when it comes to tasty stretches of road. Being obligated to go no faster than 40 mph on a multi-lane main drag sounds like just the ticket. I decide Clatskanie can wait for another time. I’ll still hit Longview on the complete reverse-STP route. Tomorrow. Favicon

Today’s stats:

Beginning mileage: 18235
Ending mileage: 18435
Today’s Mileage: 200
Gas purchased:
1.560 gal for $6.30 in Seaside, Ore. @ 18236 miles
0.815 gal for $3.42 in Beaver, Ore. @ 18305 miles

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