Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Riding the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

After spending the weekend in Portland, Oregon, we started on our trip home today. To get out of Portland quickly, we took 405 to Interstate 5 south, turning onto 99 West past several of the more than 400 wineries in the Willamette Valley wine region. The traffic thinned out and as we rode through rolling hills in western Oregon.

We started the day with cool temperatures in the low 60's and overcast skies, which was a welcome change from the hot days we've experienced so far with temperatures in the 90's. Part of Route 18 winds through the Van Duzer Scenic Corridor, where the 2-lane road twists and curves up and down through the pine forest.

When we turned onto 101 South, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, the sun came out and the clouds vanished, but the winds off the Pacific kept the temperatures in the 60's. Route 101 stretches for 363 miles along the coast of Oregon, but we bypassed the most northern portion, starting in Lincoln City where we were excited to see our first views of the Pacific Ocean.

Route 101 hugs the coastline, sometimes on top of high cliffs, and at other times heading inland winding through the pine forests. We stopped at one of many scenic lookouts to get an even better view of the waves crashing onto the rocks.

We crossed several bridges on Route 101, with one of the most beautiful the Yaquina Bay Bridge, built in 1936.

Much of this area is thickly forested, with Route 101 twisting through the Siuslaw National Forest and the Cape Perpetua scenic area that begins at Waldport and extends for 40 miles south.

We stopped in Florence for lunch, and as soon as we were south of town were stopped for 45 minutes by a paving project that had traffic backed up for miles. I counted 291 cars waiting for their turn to pass through the one-lane construction area. This area is part of the Oregon Dunes, where the sand dunes can be 500' tall and stretch 2.5 miles inland.

101 Winds further inland, running between Coos Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Coos Bay is home to 6 marine terminals able to handle deep-draft, ocean-going ships. Many of the ships carry wood products from the local forestry industry.

We ended our trip today once again riding along the coast, watching the spray from the crashing waves fill the air with mist to our right as the road hugs the cliffs to our left.

We're spending the night in Gold Beach, where had a fantastic dinner at Spinner's Seafood Steak and Chophouse, and ended the evening watching the sun set from the beach outside our hotel.


  1. I am glad you got to see some of the beautiful coastline we have here in Oregon. Lincoln City South to Florence is about the most scenic.

  2. We loved that stretch of the highway! The traffic really thinned out as well, which is always a plus.