I'll be honest. Not all days are great on a cycling tour. But every once on a while you get one of those days that is just perfect. This was one of them. And just what made it so? There are certain key ingredients. And we had them all.
Beautiful weather. There's no getting around it, sunny warm weather makes everything better. And it does wonders for the soul. Just soaking up those rays of sunshine makes me feel good. A clear blue sky is the perfect backdrop for any photo. And by definition, it's not raining. What more can I say?
Gorgeous scenery. After three days of minimal views along the Oregon coast, we were finally treated to the coastal scenery in all it's glory. What a treat to be able to see the long views, the dramatic rock formations and the deep blue waves in all their glory. And we loved every minute of it.
Frequent small towns. Wilderness is nice, but going through small towns adds interest to a ride. In addition to the architecture, history and local flavor, they also provide much needed services. Bakeries, coffee shops, cafés, Gatorade and restrooms are just a few of the amenities that are much appreciated in a day of cycling.
A scenic picnic spot. In my opinion, the outdoors is the best place to eat. Finding a nice picnic spot on a warm morning is the best. Especially when there is a coffee shop across the street that makes a good latte. Throw in a view with water and mountains, and it can't be beat.
Unexpected sights. Not everything can be planned. Sometime things happen through pure luck. A steam engine just happens to be making its way through town. A Salmon Derby is going on, and the bay is filled with trolling fishing boats, dancing with each other just as the morning fog lifts.
Lingering along the way. This is the best part of all. There's no point to all the rest without feeling like you can stop along the way to take in all in and enjoy it. This day felt like we had all the time in the world. Many were the stops at scenic waysides. Frequent were the photo opps. Often were the pauses to enjoy. Even a walk along the beach was an acceptable excuse to hang out for a while.
Quiet country lanes. Okay, so we struck out on this one. The Coastal Highway is busy, even in the off season. We had to constantly be on our guard for traffic and especially those big trucks and RVs. And we had our first experience with a tunnel. Despite being able to push a button to activate flashing signals to indicate “Bikes in Tunnel,” it was still a harrowing experience.
Ice cream. No perfect day is complete without ice cream. We found a great 50s style malt shop in Seaside and enjoyed pumpkin ice cream cones. A most excellent reward.
A starry evening. It's not often we are still out in the evening hours. But we happened to be returning from a late dinner. Walking along the Promenade, paralleling the beach with the sound of the waves, a crescent moon hanging low in the sky and stars beginning to appear. It doesn't get much better than that.
Not all cycling days are created equal. This one was cycle touring as it was meant to be.