Oregon Coast Loop Tour

August 1999


This was the first trip we could both use our power assist motors. Over the last several years we've more and more tended to flatter tours and passed up side trips if they involve extreme hills. For us the joy of bicycle touring is the speed of travel more than the satisfaction of using only muscle power. We wanted to speed up those 5 mile 6% climbs from 3 mph to maybe 7 mph (from 2 hours to 1 hour).

Our bicycles are monotube recumbent above seat steering bicycles which I built. They have 20 inch 406 wheels front and rear with Ballistic front suspension forks but no rear suspension. They disassemble for travel but we did not use that feature on this tour. These are the same bikes we've used since '96.

The power assist is new though. These I built using a four stroke 22cc Honda string trimmer motor. They drive a friction wheel on the rear wheel through a reduction timing belt. A cam mechanism presses the friction wheel against the wheel when engaged. The total weight is 10lb. They'll run only up to 9 mph and are quite happy at 8 mph. Thus they are only good for hill climbing and will pull a grade of some 7-8% while peddling with normal effort.


We drove to the Corvallis airport and started the tour from there, Sunday August 15. A few clouds and not too hot, great weather for touring. We took back roads to Philomath where we passed up a greasy spoon dive cafe to find a bakery with great vegi sandwiches for lunch. Great planning or luck? We traveled Hwy. 20 over a large hill then took Hwy. 223 north towards Dallas, OR. This is a pretty route, both scenic and pretty hilly. Some traffic on Sunday but not bad. Good roads and a good day.

Denise's bike developed a terrible noise in her crank which got worse as the day went along. After getting a room in Dallas and tearing apart the BB I found it was a crack in the aluminum boom. Bummer. Not much to do but go home and fix it. Monday I rode Hwy. 99W back to Corvallis for the car, drove to Dallas for Denise and her bike then back to Klamath Falls arriving around 6:00. I welded up two new booms (one spare) that night. We drove back to Corvallis Tuesday and were touring again Wednesday.

We'd planned to travel from Dallas to the Coast around Tillamook then down the Coast. After the bike problems we decided to just go from Corvallis to the Coast and south.


Wednesday, Aug 18 we biked from Corvallis to Toledo. We took Hwy. 20 towards the coast. This is a very poor highway for biking, it doesn't have good shoulders and does have very heavy traffic. There is a scenic route from Blodgett to Eddyville which got us off Hwy. 20 for awhile. This route was very nice. We thought about taking the road from Blodgett to Siletz but learned there had been slides and there were several miles of gravel. The scenic route we did was great, rolling up and down with a few real hills, a narrow two lane road with very light traffic. Scenic but for the clear cuts. It threatened to rain on us but never did. From Eddyville it was 16 miles of very heavy traffic to Toledo. I noticed there were many burn marks of the pavement from flares, I haven't seen this number on any other highway. We later learned this is the most dangerous road in Oregon to drive, I believe it. Glad it wasn't a weekend. We stayed over in Toledo at a cheap Hotel.

From Toledo there is a great route along the Yaquina River to Newport. This is longer than the highway but it avoids some hills and is much more pleasant. We ate lunch at the touristy harbor in Newport and looked at the sea lions in the harbor. They didn't seem to mind all the people watching them. We stopped and spent a few hours at the Newport Aquarium. Expensive but entertaining. We stopped at South Beach State Park and found campsites are now $19, the state is going to hell. We stayed in the hiker biker sites for $4.25 each, still expensive. It was cloudy and cool in the morning but cleared up and was sunny in the PM.

Friday we continued down Hwy. 101. A very nice day for touring, overcast in the AM with clearing and sun in the PM. In Waldport we gassed up for 21 cents, cool. The power assist units are working very well, I'm hooked. We stopped at Washburne State Park.

Saturday we continued along Hwy. 101. For breakfast we had pancakes. The package said they make "up to 10" pancakes but we only got three out of it. Good though. The Oregon Coast has a good reputation for touring. Sometimes I wonder about this, it is a good highway with wide shoulders so is quite safe but the volume of traffic is very high. I don't enjoy riding as much with lottsa traffic even if I do feel safe. The scenery is outstanding though. This is some of the most scenic coast line anywhere, spectacular. The central coast is probably the most scenic of this world famous coast line. We took only a few pictures (hey this is like home to us, why take pictures?) but they give a sample. The first picture I can't place exactly but I think it's near Cape Perpetua. The second is of the lighthouse at Heceta Head. The third is looking south from Sea Lion Caves (I think). It's a beautiful coast.

Denise accidentally pushed the button on a small pepper spray canister and gassed her bag. Then a little while later wiped her eye when a bug flew into it. This gassed the bug and her eye, quite the excitement for a few minutes. After lunch and laundry in Florence. We washed everything but mainly Denise's hip bag to get out the pepper spray. We stayed at Honeyman SP. A good lazy resting day. It was hilly over Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head but with the power assists a very reasonable restful day. A couple on Vision Recumbents also came into Honeyman on a two day trip from Eugene. Good but unusual to see recumbents on tour.

Sunday we continued into Reedsport where we got lunch, food and gas. Gas was again a killer at 20 cents. We left the highway and took Smith River Road inland. This was a good road, narrow two lane with very little traffic. Some 17 miles form Reedsport we found a country store and bar where we just had to stop for a beer, it was getting hot. We didn't expect any services and this is the only store in the area. We continued on to Smith River Falls and camped. A few noticeable hills along here but not excessive.

Monday it was cloudy all day. It looked like it would burn off but never quite did. That's OK though, not too hot and good biking. We followed paved single lane Forest Service or BLM roads. Just wonderful biking with virtually no traffic. We saw less than 10 cars all day. We had a reasonable map of these roads but still got a little lost. We were trying to get to Claycreek campground but the road we needed was closed for culvert work. We instead turned north along the Siuslaw River to Whitaker Creek CG on the way to Hwy. 126. These roads follow the rivers for the most part which makes them reasonably graded. However, some traverse from one water shed to another which takes the road up some climbs. Not bad with power assist but otherwise some serious climbing. These roads make for great touring though, quite narrow roads with no traffic and nice scenery. Wonderful. Some mosquitoes in camp which drove us into the tent early. It was a very nice camp and we stayed over for a rest day.

Wednesday we followed Hwy. 126 towards Eugene. This is a busy highway but with a good shoulder, at least while we followed it. We stopped for a snack in Noti. If you bike this route do go into Noti, that way you miss the hill which the highway takes around Noti. We were pleasantly surprised with this. From Veneta we took the Territorial Highway north skirting Eugene. This was a bad road, no shoulder and heavy traffic. I guess we're too close to a city. We suffered along until we hit Hwy. 36 and took it over to 99W. 36 was also a pain with no shoulder and heavy traffic. 99W has a wide shoulder but also heavy traffic. We stayed at a motel in Junction City after another flat about a mile from town. It's hot here in the Willamette Valley. Also, there are no good restaurants in Junction City, or at least we couldn't find one.

Thursday we followed local roads north to Monroe then roads west of 99W to Corvallis. These local roads were nice. Quite flat to Monroe then rolling hills with a couple of climbs to Corvallis.


A darn good tour. I think we'd change it a little if we did it again, mainly to avoid Hwy. 20 and the section past Eugene. The original plan of going through Dallas and from there to the Coast would be better. The little roads from Reedsport to Eugene or to Cottage Grove are not to be missed though. There are no services in this area so be sure to stock up first.

The power assist motors were a wonderful addition. At least for us it makes a world of difference and all for the better.

So, all in all, 285 miles in 9 days for 32 miles/day. Again our progress is probably slower than yours. We get there though and enjoy the travel.

Good touring and sun shine for your next tour.