During my college days, studying art at Western Oregon University, located in Monmouth, Oregon, I spent a lot of time at the local bike shop. The shop was really cool! Located in a former gas station, it barely had enough space inside to store all the bikes. It was called Jon’s Bicycle Station. I met Jon the first day I arrived in Monmouth. The town wasn’t really that big, and I was, and still am, bicycle crazy. We became great friends! The shop was so cool, because Jon made it that way. Since he worked 6 days a week, and home-brewed every Sunday, we would ride every Tuesday at nighttime. We used powerful headlamps to go way up into the mountains, then turn them off and gaze at the stars. The rides were great, sometimes 23 miles long, and often just Jon and I. We would always meet at the shop, do a quick tune to the bikes, then have espressos, and load the bikes into his old 1970’s Ford F-250, driving a few miles to the logging area on the east side of the coastal range. After the ride Jon pulled out homemade burritos from an insulated cooler where he kept them warm. These were my favorite times in the Willamette Valley area.
My grandmother is from Newberg, Oregon, just up Route 99W from Monmouth. When I was a child, the whole family would often fly down from Alaska to meet up with the rest of the clan at the Oregon coast for a family get-together. We would normally stay in a rental house at Rockaway Beach, so I was no stranger to the Oregon coast. I think it is a really beautiful place on this planet! When Jon invited me to go to Pacific City to ride bikes and celebrate New Years Eve in a big rental house, I jumped at the chance. He would always get these incredible houses and invite all his riding buddies. Since I was a broke college student he didn’t ask much from me. I just had to show up and go for long road rides on Highway 101. Afterwards we would go to the Pelican Brewing brewpub. One time for spring break, Jon got this amazing house directly on the beach in Pacific City. It had a hot tub and a sauna, and 17 beds! The bunk room was impressive, with two levels of stacked beds with room for everyone. My roommate at the time brought his girlfriend’s whole family! We filled that house! I remember running to the ocean from the hot tub — it was so awesome! The Pelican Brewing brewpub was only about 1/2 mile down the beach from that house. Back in the day, the brewery only bottled beers in bombers. I remember buying as many as I could afford and taking them back for a big beach fire party! I did a couple of paintings at that house. The place was called the Wind Jammer on the rental listings. I don’t know if you can still rent it, but I do recommend getting some Pelican beers and walking down the beach!
Nowadays, the Pelican has a production facility in Tillamook, and the beers come in huge cans, six-packs, and still a few 22oz bombers. It’s not quite the same, but my love for Pacific City is still strong. If you happen to be in the area, the Grateful Bread Bakery is a good breakfast place, just get there early, as the cinnamon buns are all gone if you sleep in! Haystack Rock, and Cape Kiwanda Dune are really cool local geological features making this place stand out! I heard the surfing is as good as Oregon has to offer.
Cheers to Pacific City, The Pelican Brewpub, Jon’s Bicycle Station, and the Oregon Coast! You don’t have to go to Hawaii to have a great time on the beach!
This original oil painting, and signed prints are available at my Etsy shop.