Day 4 – From Tillamook to Cape Lookout

Well, made some friends during breakfast. These two ladies had opened the door for me the day before so I could go through with my bike. They told me that they are sisters and are visiting her little sister.

I asked if they were mean to their little sister when she was young and they said, “Yes.” “And how do you make up now?” I asked. Without waiting for an answer I suggested, “Why don’t you pet her? Put her head on your lap and fondle her head, caress her hair.” One of the ladies smiled, “You know? To this day my daughter asks me to do this to her. We call it the love tap.” As they were leaving and I could not resist… “Give me a hug.” Got two.

Stopped at the Public Library for two hours and send a bunch of blog updates. Much better now. Able to upload the pictures.

Started down the Three Capes Scenic Route. Systems are about to shut off. It is an overload of beauty. It’s too much!

Had to face a big hill. Not funny! But also enjoyed some much gentler climbs. And after the hill, there is always the joy of going down!

Got to Cape Lookout campground and was debating if I should go on or stop there.

Well, here’s where I pitch my tent.

Cape Lookout Campground

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Day 3 – Tillamook

It was nice to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Very interesting. I got a few things to eat.

I stopped at the Visitor Center next door, and they helped me get an hotel room. I asked for a special wet biker rate and got a discount.

I met Amie and Felicia at the Ashley Inn and they were extremely helpful. Felicia even found Tom Jones in YouTube and we sang together Higher and Higher!

Felicia and Amie

I battled with the guest computer to update the blog. I was able to do some progress, but It was difficult to upload the pictures. Well, time to sleep. I will try tomorrow from the Tillamook Public Library. Tomorrow I’ll be in the Three Capes Scenic Route and some steep hills are waiting for me.

Wish me luck!

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Day 3 – TJ, the collector

I was following him. Suddenly, TJ stopped. I had to maneuver quickly in order not to hit him. I went by and stopped a few feet ahead. “Something wrong?” I asked.

“I’m gonna get that screwdriver,” he said.

I hadn’t seen any screwdriver, but apparently TJ saw everything. He kept stopping and collecting along the way. By the end of our journey together, besides the red handle screwdriver, he had collected one gray dumbbell, one black and blue glove, some feet of green cord, and a yellow crab gauge.

TJ's findings

“Keep it as a souvenir of our journey,” he said. “They sell for $5. We use to gauge the crabs and make sure they are the right size. Take it with you and compare to the size of a legal catch in Florida.”

Time to say goodbye

“Keep my address and my phone number. If you need some help call me and I’ll come and get you. The offer is good up to the California border,” he said. We exchanged contact information, and then I asked, “I am going to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Should we say goodbye here?”

“Yes, come over here and give me a hug,” he said, bringing me in for an open chest hug.

“I have been on and off about biking to Alabama. People have been telling me that I am too old. You know, I have 3 by-passes, and they say that I am crazy. But I want to thank you. You inspired me.”

I remained silent. “No, TJ, you inspired me,” I said to myself. “And by the way, you stole my line. I am the one who says ‘come over here and give me a hug.’ You are definitely one of mine.”

He took off ahead of me, pointed to the entrance of the cheese factory, and kept on going, until he vanished in the distance.

“Godspeed, my brother! I found a good place for you in my heart. I’ll keep you there… And the Crab Gauge is going to the wall in my house!”

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Day 3 – TJ, the tour guide

Garibaldi? That’s a surprise. Why would a city on the Oregon Coast be named after Guiseppe Garibaldi, the Italian hero? Garibaldi is a big name in Italy, where he fought for the unification of that country, and he is also big name in the southern region of Brazil, where he fought alongside the Farrapos, rebels who were trying to secede and become independent from Brazil. Unification in one country; separation in another… that’s interesting. I never thought about it. Well, the fight for independence in Brazil wasn’t successful.

Port of Garibaldi

TJ showed me a little bit of Garibaldi. He told me about the jetty, the depth of the canal, the harbor, and the crabs.

He told me about the scenic railway, and I felt that I may ride that train someday, if I ever come back

As we kept going, he pointed to the hills in the horizon and told me about what I should expect on the Three Capes Scenic Route. He was very knowledgeable about the hills, the great challenges in any bike ride.

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Day 3 – TJ

“Where are you heading to?”

The voice came from behind. I instantly knew it was another biker, maybe someone who I would be with for many days to come.

Without turning my head, I said, “To San Francisco… if I can make it.”

“What do you mean, if you can make it?” he asked.

“Well, let me rephrase it. I will go as far as San Francisco if I can make it there on time. I have a wedding to attend on the 25th in Lake Tahoe. So, either on the 23rd or the 24th, wherever I may find myself — in San Francisco or somewhere else along the way — I’ll find a bike shop and ask the guys to box and ship my bike back home. Then I’ll hop on a bus or a train to Tahoe. That’s the plan… And what about you; where are you going?”

“I’m going to Tillamook.”

This is how I met TJ. He became my companion, tour guide, and guardian angel for that part of the journey… from Rockaway Beach, where he lives, to Tillamook.

TJ

He told me, “You have to pay attention to this part of the road. You know, they advertise that this route is safe for bikers, but some bikers have lost their lives here.”

We talked a lot. He wanted to know where I came from… and what about my accent? How long have you been living in the States? All the normal questions that I have answered and will keeping answering until the end.

TJ told me that he was 66 years old, and many years ago he biked until the Mexican border. Now he is biking again to get back in shape. He is considering going to Alabama where he was born and raised. He told me, “I’m getting old, and I wanna go back home. You know, I haven’t been there in 40 years. And I thought, ‘Well if I am going, I might as well bike.'”

Entering Garibaldi with TJ

He told me about his recent divorce and how his wife kept the house in Portland and he kept the one in Rockaway Beach. I asked him if he had kids. “Yes, I have two, a boy and a girl, but they are old now. They have been gone for a while. One lives in Maine and the other one in Houston.”

“And are you in good terms with them? You know, I ask because sometimes, during divorces, children take sides.”

“O, no, this is not their mom. This is my third divorce. My children have never met her.”

I had to smile…

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Day 3 – From Manzanita to Tillamook

Well, the weather is better. Yes, it is overcast and rainy but it much better than yesterday’s deluge. Today is just a normal rainy day.

 

Manzanita - beginning the day

Yesterday I was debating if I should stop or continue. Today, I am absolutely happy with the decision I made. Although not perfect, the weather is much nicer. The forecast is for some beautiful sunny and dry days ahead. Yeah!

Leaving Manzanita, I pedal through Nehalem and Wheeler. The road coasts the Nehalem River and Nehalem Bay. The views are stunning… and I can finally see some patches of blue in the sky!

Continuing down the road I get to Rockaway Beach. Seven miles of sandy beach, and a view of the Twin Rocks against gray skies.

Back on the saddle, and on my way to Tillamook!

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