About a mile into our railriding trip the guide announced we were going to go downhill and that the current speed record was 21 miles per hour.
If we broke the speed record and had proof, we would win a prize.
So I took my phone out of my pocket and started the app I use to track my speed on bicycle rides.
“Let’s leave some space between the people in front of us,” my 9-year-old daughter, Zoey, said. “That way we can go even faster.”
It paid off. We broke that speed limit by riding 27 miles per hour on a downhill slope of the historic Port of Tillamook Bay railroad in a pedal-powered rail cycle.
The prize, a water bottle. The experience, unforgettable.
After more than 12 years together I know that my husband loves the beach and he used to really enjoy cycling, so much so that he recently purchased a new bike to get back in the saddle.
So when it came to finding a perfect Father’s Day gift a trip to the Oregon Coast to go railriding seemed like a fun idea.
The Oregon Coast Railriders host 12-mile trips three times a day from Thursday through Monday where riders sit in four-seated rail cycle and ride from Bay City to Tillamook, and back.
At first all we could see was Tillamook Bay but less than a mile in we turned into an area where we could admire flora and fauna. We rode on bridges over estuaries, meadows and streams leading to the Pacific Ocean.
In an open field we spotted a heron, an airplane flew overhead, dragonflies tried to keep up with us and we felt a little judged as the cows in the pastures stared us down.
Most railroad crossings were no longer in service and one of the guides would get off the front cart and hold up a stop sign to make sure we could safely use the railroad. However, one of the crossings was still in service and although the wait took a little longer it was fun to cycle on the rail as the arms came down and to see the confused looks on motorists faces.
Most of the people in cars ended up waving at us or taking pictures of us.
Somewhere in Oregon there’s a person with a black SUV who got a picture of my family riding the rail.
It must’ve been quite the sight for them.
The 12-mile trip proved to be tiring, and the seats weren’t very comfortable, but well worth getting to experience the Oregon Coast in a new way.
Because Tillamook is quite far away we had decided to spend the night along the coast.
Hotels were overbooked, or overpriced, because of Father’s Day and the first week of summer vacation so I decided to look for an alternative option. Unfortunately the campgrounds were also booked.
I then stumbled on a collection of tiny homes that are available to rent for weary travelers at the Sheltered Nook on Tillamook Bay.
Just off Highway 101 and along the railroad we would ride the following morning stood six tiny houses.
Each home has 385-square-feet of living space and although that may not seem like a lot, the homes felt incredibly roomy with high ceilings and lots of windows.
Our tiny home had one bedroom and a coach that pulled out into a second bed for the little ones. The fridge was stocked, the cupboards were stocked and it had all the amenities a person could ask for.
In the evening the owners knocked on our door with a beautiful breakfast package for us; french toast for the kids and breakfast burritos for the adults. We also got yogurt for each of us, as well as muffins and pastries.
Dee and Hank Harguth made sure we didn’t have to worry about a thing and even let us borrow the board game Ticket to Ride from their home.
It’s a place where there was a perfect balance between privacy and community. You could sit by the fire and chat with other travelers, play disc golf at their private course or retreat to your own home.
Definitely worth another, longer, visit.
The home was a stones throw away from Kilchis Point Reserve, which leads to Tillamook Bay.
I have walked a lot of different paths, but I must say that this one is great for all ages. There are numerous benches and informative signs along the way.
There are two paths that lead to the bay. I decided to take the native American path to the bay and the flora and fauna path on the way back. Both paths were wheelchair accessible and very well maintained.
But just off the path were ferns, salal and Pacific willow so thick and green that it seemed like you walked into a rainforest.
I walked the path on my own early in the morning, because I had trouble sleeping, and the birds never stopped signing, chirping and pecking.
It was a great way to start the day and a good sign of all the wonderful things we would experience as a family.