Cycle Wild Labor Day Camping Trip: Options, Options.

The Pacific Ocean at Cape Lookout, by pzavit.

Yes, I know. We don’t want to think about summer being over, and talk of Labor Day means that summer is starting to wane. But our friends at Cycle Wild like to leave summer with quite the bang, so they are mulling over ideas of what to do. Besides the Annual Tour, they don’t have any other plans on going out to the Coast this year, so Labor Day would be a good time to do it. Cape Lookout State Park is the traditional Coast/three-day weekend destination. But they want to mix it up. The big idea is to do a Coast Mini-Tour on Labor Day.

This is the proposed route. This is not an easy jaunt, as the entire route is approximately 220 miles over four days. This is the basic outline of the tour:
  • Fri Aug 31:Stub Stewart State Park, 25 miles from Hatfield MAX in Hillsboro. Riders would be responsible for getting out to Stub Stewart on their own (after work), there will be no “official” ride out there.
  • Sat Sept 1: camping behind a residence in Wheeler, approx 75-80 miles, using the Nehalem River Road for a good half of it, which is mostly gravel.
  • Sun Sept 2: The Short Day. To Cape Lookout, approx 35 miles.
  • Mon Sept 3: Back home. The main way would be over Cape Lookout and via Nestucca River Road, about 85 miles. There is about a two mile section of dirt/gravel on the Nestucca River Road. If people have an extra day off, it could be broken into two segments, with camping at the BLM campsites along the Nestucca River. Those who want a shorter, faster way back can use Route 6/8 back to Hillsboro, about 70 miles with moderate-to-heavy traffic.

Yeah, as I said, not easy. This mini-tour is recommended for experienced bike campers/tourers, and due to the nature of it, Cycle Wild is going to limit participation to ten people. But why do this tour? Why put up with long days and gravel? Why put up with 13,000 feet of cumulative climbing? There are several reasons:

  • Cycle Wild will be going to places we haven’t been to before, using routes they haven’t used before.
  • The places to camp are destinations where one wouldn’t have to worry about it being a busy holiday weekend: Stub Stewart’s walk-in sites shouldn’t be too bad on Friday, someone’s house on Saturday, Cape Lookout has hiker/biker sites for Sunday, and if people choose to camp on Monday night, the BLM sites on the Nestucca River Road will be quiet.
  • Quiet, little used roads to and from the coast.
  • Minimizes 101 riding to the sections between Garibaldi and Tillamook (about 10 miles) and a section around Beaver (5 miles)

So Cycle Wild hopes a few of you are interested in this plan. Camping cost is estimated at $20 per person for the tour, not including firewood. You would be responsible for all food costs. For those of you who still want to go to the Coast for Labor Day weekend, but don’t want to do the tour, they’re thinking about adding an Option B, a simple out-and-back to and from Cape Lookout. This would take on the look and feel of a “traditional” three day camping trips:

  • Sat Sept 1: Ride from Hillsboro MAX to Cape Lookout via Routes 8/6 (70 miles)
  • Sun Sept 2: Off Day at Cape Lookout
  • Mon Sept 3: Ride back to Hillsbor via Routes 6/8 (70 miles)

This would be the shorter, quicker option, but be advised that traffic on Routes 6 and 8 will be quite heavy on a holiday weekend (esp. coming back). Camping cost is estimated at $10 per person for this trip, not including firewood. You would be responsible for all food costs.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to do the Coast Tour? Would the out-and-back to Cape Lookout be better for you?      

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