Elsie, Oregon may not appear on a map (I was also told this place is called Jewell). The waitress tells me they don’t even have their own zip code. I was ecstatic to see the Elderberry Inn & Restaurant as I came coasting down the hill at 3:30. Route 26 is practically desolate and I was worried that I was going to have to push all the way through to Seaside, an additional 30 miles. Like an oasis in the desert, as enchanting as any mirage, an Inn and a Restaurant! As I checked in, they told me to come back for dinner. Where the heck else was I supposed to go?

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Route 26, between Portland and Seaside, is also called the Sunset Highway. I didn’t know what to expect because I am not using my map route yet. The day started overcast, almost a mist. By noon the sun was out and as I began to climb the coast range, the extra clothes came off quickly. Route 26 is where I learned to “push the button”. They allow cyclists, but the traffic is moving at 60+ mph. There was often a decent shoulder but not always. I saw the tunnel from a distance and got worried. Sure enough, the flashers were still going as I emerged from the far side, unscathed and alive.

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There were some long climbs at an excruciatingly slow pace. There were some long downhills that required concentration and a wary eye on the mirror. If it wasn’t for my disc brakes, I never would have been able to stop to push the ” bridge” button.

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