I kept a travel blog on Bootsnall during my travels in 2006. All the posts can be found there online. However, if for some reason they ever disappear, this page will be the back up resting place…
August 10th, 2006
Ha ha ha, of course! Well, this totally sucks. I just typed about 45 minutes worth of stuff and it just disappeared! Apparently I needed to update my database or something, so it is all gone! Well, like I said, that totally sucks. So now I get to decide if I want to try and duplicate everything I just typed out, or take the easy way out and just fuhgetaboutit. I suppose I could try a condensed version… (cue sound of moaning and groaning and F*&#! here).
Okay, so I’m back home now. Returned late last week, hitching a ride with my folks. But I had no time to rest or take it easy, because then it was off to a family reunion camping on the coast and a friend’s wedding in Eugene. This weekend I’m off to Spokane, next weekend to another wedding, and the week after that on to Las Vegas, where I hope to make some money at the poker table to stave off those pesky creditors and bill collectors. I won’t truly have any real time to spend in Portland until after Labor Day, and that is when I will embark on my next journey. But before I get to that, here is one final look at my bicycle journey on the Pacific Coast…
Irrelevant stats and miscellaneous facts and figures!!
Number of flat tires: ZERO. Zilch, zippo, nada, nothing, none at all. I truly cannot believe it. Well, the fact that I am typing this out again deja-vu style, and the fact that yes, I never once had to change my tire. I packed two innertubes and all the tools ready to go, and I was lucky to never use them.
Total days gone: 37
Total rest days: 6
Total riding days: 31
Total miles: 1,728
Average miles per riding day: 55.75
Longest day: My last day, 107 miles from Carpinteria State Beach near Santa Barbara down to Redondo Beach, plus the extra miles to get to the MetroLink station and the miles to get to my aunt’s home in Norwalk.
Shortest day: My very first day of riding, from the Quincene Ranger Station to some church in Sequim, WA. 31 miles.
Fast Food Count:
Burger King: 6. Can’t get enough of those value menu shakes!
McDonald’s: 6. I love that new chicken snack wrap for $1.29, but I don’t think I can ever eat another greasy big breakfast again.
Dairy Queen: 3–those DQ ice cream sandwich bars are addictive!
Arctic Circle: 1 (in Newport, only 4 other locations in Oregon!)
Jack in the Box: 1
Carl’s Jr: 1 (in Piedmont for that $1.89 all you can eat pancake breakfast)
Taco Bell: 3
In-N-Out: Sadly, zero
Best burger: The Habit Burger in Santa Barbara. I think I found In-N-Out’s equal, and possibly even better for quality and value. Check em out at http://www.habitburger.com.
Buffets: 4–King’s Table, Sizzler, and two Chinese ones
Candybars: Baby Ruth, Take 5, Hershey’s chocolate, and plain M&Ms (for my trail mix)
Cookies: Hershey’s chocolate cookies, Reduced-fat Oreos (from a fellow camper in San Simeon), Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, Franz Bakery Chocolate Chip cookies, and a tub of mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joes (and my favorite)
Number of cans of tuna consumed: 8 or 9
Number of Cup O Noodles consumed: 6 or 7
Favorite campsite: Hard to pick!
Least favorite: The Blair Witch spooky site that I forgot the name of. Some other cyclist suggested it to me, and since the day was almost at the end I decided to give it a try. It was off-the-beaten path and I thought I was the only one there. As night fell, all of a sudden two people seemed to materialize from nowhere and it totally freaked me out. I had little sleep that evening because all I kept thinking about was the Blair Witch Project. Had I only cycled 10 more miles, I would have arrived to Bodega Dunes State Park with their sand and ants instead.
Number of sick days: 3–Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of my last riding days. Presently my cough has gone and I feel back to 100%.
Drinkage: Water and Gatorade (powder plus water). An ocassional milkshake. Not much soda pop.
Best things that I was glad I brought on my bike tour and what other cyclist should consider: my handlebar mirror, pocketknife, and sunblock! Not to mention other semi-important things like water, food, bicycle, helmet, eyeglasses so that you can see, etc.
National Parks/Monuments visited: 4…Fort Clatsop National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, Redwoods National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore.
Number of rain days: 1.5. Fortunately, I only had to ride through rain once for less that 15 minutes, just south of the Oregon-California border. I had one full evening of steady rain at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, when my ill-fitted rainfly resulted in little puddles of water inside my tent.
Weirdest people encountered: The world-travelin’ dude at Maccaricher State Beach, north of Fort Brag. The guy sounded just like Cheech and I’m sure he’s smoked everything known to man.
So there you have it. My ride has come to an end, 100 miles prematurely. And now I am back in Portland, albeit for only a couple more days.
At this point I am feeling pretty tired and out-of-sorts. I feel a bit displaced and mal-adjusted. For the last month and a half all I have known was my world on the bicycle. Waking up each morning before 6am. Riding all day. Riding into camp before 7pm to set up my tent and have my dinner before nightfall. And then repeating the next day. I can’t tell you how incredible it was. How free, liberating, exciting and how alive it felt. Yeah, I miss it. I feel like getting back on my bike to do my last 100 miles to the Mexican border, or maybe cycling across the U.S. But alas, I am back home. And flat broke. No dinero. Money is all gone. And thus, with regret, I am forced to reveal the next part of my journey, Chapter 4 of my year off.
Getting a job.
Hopefully sometime after Labor Day, when my health insurance runs out and I when my bills are all due. I didn’t quite make it a whole year off, but I intend to work just enough to save just enough so that I can fulfill my original plan of winding up my travels in SE Asia, to visit Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Maybe in December, if I can save enough.
So there you have it, I am back in the employment hunt. And thus far, have generated some pretty cool possibilities!!!! Check these out:
#1, as advertised in the 08/06/06 Sunday Oregonian…”Oregon Funderal Service is looking for quality people for full time positions for removal and transportation of deceased. Good driving record, professional dress, heavy lifting and work flexibility a must…”
#2, as advertised on Craigslist…”Breakfast Attendant: To include, setup and tear down of breakfast line items. To make sure all items are well stocked and presentation pleaseing to the eye. Must posses multi tasking skills as well as customer service skills.”
#3, from Washington County jobs: Mosquito Control (i.e. kill mosquitos!)
So here are just some of the many kinds of positions that I can apply for, in addition to maybe holding up those Clearance Liquidation signs on the corners of busy intersections. I think I’d be good at that, I have a bit of flair and can really get into the whole swinging the signs thing. Or maybe I’ll sign up to work at Walmart to see if conditions are as bad as the lawsuits claim. I can see myself helping customers in the shoe department, sure, or maybe handing out shopping carts and baskets and saying “Welcome to Walmart.”
So that’s that. I need to get to bed now. I’ll update my blog every Friday as I can with the latest and greatest of my job hunt. If you see any other cool jobs out there, please email them to me and I’ll post them here.
And two last items–big birthday shouts to Lisa the Science Teacher and to Mike aka Boneprone, celebrating their respective 33rd and 32nd birthdays this weekend. Go’night!
August 4th, 2006
And here are a few of the many photos I took on my final 2 weeks of riding. There is a void between Brookings and San Francisco, when my camera broke, but fortunately Ezra was able to work some magic in San Francisco to get it back in good order.
This weekend will bring me back to Portland, just in time for a friend’s wedding and a big family camping reunion. My next scheduled blog post will be for next Wednesday, when I’ll have all the final irrelevant stats, figures and thoughts regarding my bicycle trip. Again, the ride was awesome and hopefully this pics will give you a little glimpse of what I saw and experienced. So check back next Wednesday for more, and to be amazed, stupified and mesmerized by my announcement of my next big adventure! Peace out!
Traffic control during the bicycle portion of the San Luis Obispo Triathlon. My 6 hours of volunteering netted me a free t-shirt, a free bag lunch, and a darker tone because I failed to put on my sunblock.
11:30am. About to blackout from heat exhaustion or heat stroke because the sun is sooo damned HOT, I have no shade, no breeze, and I’m going up a 4-mile climb to 2600 feet. Luckily I found this little viewpoint pull out where there was shade that I could recoup for almost 45 minutes before I continued on.
Hey LOOK! That’s my riding shoulder from Malibu to Santa Monica. On Highway 1. With cars parked on my right, and zooming highway traffic on my left trying to get around me. This is the section I will NEVER EVER FREAKING EVER ride in my entire life again.
My rest day at the video arcade with my bro.
August 2nd, 2006
At the library, 5 minutes left on my time….quick story, my ride is all over. Went to the Doc on Monday and although I didn’t have walking pneumonia like I thought I did, my relentless cough and how crappy I felt resulted in my disqualification from the race to the Mexican border. No, I wasn’t pulling a Landis doping thing!
It was a no-brainer. After my lousy suicide ride last week on Tuesday, and after some bicyclist was killed a few days later on the road to Mexico, I figure that this is good enough for me! I’m just glad I wasn’t riding when Mel Gibson was trying to drive the Malibu Highway 1, since that is not the type of 15 minutes of fame I was looking for (but I must say those lost Bigfoot pictures would have yielded me more than 15!)
So big deal I didn’t make it to Mexico, I was also influenced by other bicyclists that have done that last 100 mile portion and they say it is nothing special. Especially since you can’t ride through the Camp Pendleton Marine base anymore, not after 9/11. So apparently you are diverted onto I-5, and that’s not exactly my idea of a relaxing bike ride. But I did just hear back from Kyle, the guy from Washington, and he made it to the border last Friday. I’ll get the story straight from him to hear how the last 100 miles went for him.
At any rate, the saying goes that it’s about the journey, and not the destination, right? Okay, I can buy that and I can live with my decision. I’m feeling better now and will be returning back to Portland very soon. Good ol’ mom and dad weren’t too happy about my state of health, so they have driven down from Portland to bring me home. I suppose it’s also a good excuse to visit with all the relatives down here, and I have many! So yeah, that’s it for me. I’m feeling good and I am very happy that I did this ride, it did go by very fast and my memories of my days on the road have merged into many, many episodes. The Pacific coast is simply incredible, and I thank the bicycle Gods and Goddesses that my brakes, tires, and 19-year old bicycle held up to the 1,752 miles I put on it. So this portion of my adventure is come to a close, but not my blog.
Please check back here on Friday when I will have uploaded photos from my last 2 weeks on the road, a photo journal from San Francisco down to my (unbeknownst to me) final stop in Redondo Beach. If I were to do another bicycling trip, I think I’d have to pick Ireland for my next go around….
July 27th, 2006
Number of flat tires: 0
Day 36: 65 miles
Day 37: 102 miles
Day 38: Rest Day
Day 39 (today): Rest Day
Tuesday, Day 37, was a bike day not to remember. I’ve done centuries before, and I’ve come out of them pretty good. But Tuesday’s ride had numerous factors that just contributed to a crappy ride.
Left at 7am. Leisurely ride along Highway 1 to Ventura and Oxnard. Stopped at Marine City Park in Ventura for yogurt and cereal. And spent about an hour at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. Next thing I know it is 12pm, and I still have 75 miles to go. So I decide to haul ass. Unfortunately, between Oxnard and Malibu, I had horrible headwinds. Probably the worst I’ve had this whole trip, equaling my Day of Discouragement when I encountered the same on route to Point Reyes National Seashore.
Then, once in Malibu, and all the way down to just before Santa Monica, Suicide Bicycling was On. It had to be like 15 miles of riding along little or no shoulder and traffic barreling by me over the posted speed limit. The worst part was that cars were parked in my no shoulder area (it’s the beach, so that’s what you do), and therefore I had to swing out into the highway lane of traffic. Of course, drivers were not pleased. My prior 36 days of riding, I only had one instance of a near-miss Bicycle versus Car incident. On this 90 minute, 15 mile ride, I had 3. Freakin’ crazy ass close calls, the worst one being when I was zipping down the hill trying to stay in my shoulder. There are parked cars on the right. And the speeding traffic to my left. I check my mirror for just a split second, and when I look up towards the road in front of me, all of a sudden a car door opens and I see some lady’s foot stepping out. I yell “SHIT!!!”, but it would have been too late to do anything. I would have smashed right into the door, crashed through the rolled up window and gone flying straight ahead. Luckily I had maybe half a foot distance of space from where the car door reached out into my path. That was the scariest close call.
Then, a few miles later, some stupid minivan is parked facing the ocean, not paralleling it like all the other parked cars, and at the time I make my pass it decides to reverse out into my lane. Of course they didn’t see me, they can’t see Jack with all their blindspots. I slammed on what little brakes I had left and swerved around it. My last straw was some maintenance pick-up driving in reverse on the shoulder trying to return to a point he must have passed. Did he see me? Hell no. So goes another Brake/Swerve combination, out into the highway but fortunately I had no cars behind me.
Just craziness. Bicycle suicide. I wish I could upload the 2 pics I took of my riding shoulder. My nonexistant riding shoulder. It’s just frightful trying to ride with my fully loaded bike, trying to balance myself on a tiny white line when semis, city buses and damned yellow school buses are inches away passing you at 50 miles an hour. This left such a bad taste for getting to LA. Once I was close to Santa Monica, an official Los Angeles bike path began that is totally seperated from all the traffic. It was safe, easy riding all the way down to Redondo Beach, where my plan was to catch the Metro Rail (LA’s version of MAX) from the Redondo Beach station all the way to Norwalk, where I would then ride the last miles to my Auntie’s home.
Silly me, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find the Redondo Beach Metro Rail Green Line station. Boy, was I wrong. Soliciting directions from 5 different people, I had to ride another 5 miles along busy boulevards to this station that I thought would be close to the Redondo Beach bike path. Not. Totally frustrating. Then, when I finally boarded at 7pm, I had the great pleasure of riding with a guy who wanted to hook me up with a Trek bike for only $500 (normally over $2000), as it was obviously a hot item (i.e. stolen goods) and I was hoping that he wouldn’t ride with me all the way to the end of the line. He didn’t.
Once I arrived at the end of the line, it took me almost another hour to try and find my Aunt’s place. I was misdirected by the people I asked on how to get to Rosecrans Avenue, and I did an extra 30 minutes of unnecessary riding. It was 8:30pm and very very dark by the time I arrived to the front door step.
Just an awful Tuesday of riding. And to cap everything off, I have a new temporary setback.
I’m sick. It started Sunday night with a cough, and now it’s developed into a persistent cough with headache, slight fever, hurts-when-I swallow, plugged up, and just overall feeling of misery. The worst part about this is that yesterday I was fed all the best foods that my body has lacked over the past month of riding. Good soup. Sweet and sour meatballs. Roasted chicken. Noodles. Filippino desserts. All for naught. Because I can’t freaking TASTE nor SMELL anything!!
So it is a day of rest for me. No Knott’s Berry Farm or checking out other amusement park rides. It’s about getting back to health so I can complete my last 120 miles.
So that’s my story for now. It is sooo hot down here, apparently the last week has just been brutal. I should know. The Sunday afternoon and Monday rides were the hottest I’ve ever ridden my entire life. And I wouldn’t want to do it again. I was inland, away from the coast. No wind. Just hot sun baking and burning me. I felt like I was under a heat lamp. And going up those hills….so difficult, so SLOW. Dizzy. Weak. Tired leg muscles. Running out of the water. The water I did have was like boiling. Are my tires going to pop because it is so hot? Or maybe just melt into the pavement? Where are the freaking clouds? I need clouds to cover up that Sun! Why is there no breeze? When will this freaking climb END??? Am I sweating? I need to be sweating, cause if I’m no longer sweating, then I may have a heat stroke. Or heat exhaustion…what is the difference again? Why can’t I get this song out of my head….”The Long And Winding Road…da dah, da dah,” by the Beatles? Where is the shade?? Why isn’t there any shade?? Why did I take this stupid Alternate Scenic Route? I’m so HOT! I hate how hot it is. Should I stop and put on more sunblock? No, can’t stop, must keep going, inch by inch. But it is too hard. Must stop and walk my bike….
So that’s how I felt riding through the hot summer sun. Now at least I am on the coast with some breezes. I just wish I could taste the food I’m eating. I had 8 Famous Amos cookies with milk last night. And couldn’t taste even ONE. But I kept eating and eating, hoping that I would have a breakthrough. Nope. Strange how my body has reacted. I’m always so hungry, my body is used to burning so many calories. And now I’m inactive. Hopefully only for a few days though.
This is the part of my blog where I start rambling on other tangents and far off subjects, but I’ll spare you nonsense and just stop here. For now anyways.
“The Alternate Route is Not Recommended in July or August, When Temperatures Soar Into the Hundreds” (or how I got my ass kicked)
July 24th, 2006
Monday afternoon, Santa Barbara library. Can’t believe that it was exactly 5 weeks ago when I started this Pacific Coast Bicycle trip. I have been so lucky so far as far as equipment, weather, traffic, etc. I am nearing the end of my journey, but first I will take a few days to play tourist in Southern California. Here are the latest up to date stats:
Day 23: 65 miles, overnight at some campground that spooked the bejeezus out of me. Long story short, think of the Blair Witch Project and you’ll know how much sleep I managed on this night.
Day 24: 60 miles, overnight at Sam Taylor State Park
Day 25: 35 miles with an ugly 5 miles along Lombard and Van Ness, San Francisco, when I took a wrong turn trying to find the BART station. Overnight in Piedmont with my buddy Dan and his girlfriend Kathleen.
Day 26: Rest Day. Was going to check out the coasters at Six Flags Marine World, but in the end just hung out and had my first experience of eating Ethiopian food when Dan, Ezra and I had dinner Friday night.
Day 27: Rest Day. All U Can Eat pancakes at Carl’s JR for only $1.19 with purchase of any drink!! We all had our fill after 5 pancakes. Later we did random acts of kindness by passing out free cookies to people on the street and getting reactions such as “You guys are great!” to “Okay, what are you selling? Are you with Scientology?” to “I don’t accept food from strangers.” It was a total kick. Later we watched our favorite model Derek Zoolander in his breakthrough hit, and finished the evening by crashing at Ezra’s and getting my fill of wrestling.
Day 28: Rest Day. Well, kind of. We went to the flea market to find me some basketball shoes. And then played basketball with Ezra’s crew from 4pm-7pm. Topped off by a great buffet at Sizzler Steakhouse, and finally getting to bed at 2:30am. Not exactly the best way to get a good night’s sleep when resuming a bike ride.
Day 29: 35 “easy miles”. I left a little late, at 2:15pm from Ezra’s. Rode with Dan to the Lake Merrit BART station. It was Clean Air Day so all transit was free. I rode the BART to Daly City, and then cycled back to Highway 1. And then WHOA!!! What is this??? Highway 1 is closed at Devil’s Slide? And there is a 40 mile detour?? With the greatest luck, a guy on a motorcycle warned me about the closure and gave me perfect directions for a mountain biking trail that allowed me to bypass the 40 mile detour. It was a beautiful trail, and even though I had to walk my bike in many places, I was able to get back onto highway 1 after 2 hours and barely made it to my campground at Half Moon Beach State Park before dark.
Day 30: 58 miles, overnight in Santa Cruz. I cycled as fast as I could so I could soak up some fun in Santa Cruz, and did I ever. Boardwalk and amusement rides, I rode the SeaDragon, Tilt ! Whirl, Haunted House and the Giant Dipper Rollarcoaster not once, but Two Times! Classic wooden coaster that I have to rank among my top 5 coasters I’ve ever ridden (X at Six Flags Magic Mountain is still tops!)
Day 31: 45 miles, overnight in Monterey.
Day 32: 62 miles, overnight at Kirk Creek Campground where all the crazy raccoons were.
Day 33: 40 miles, good day’s ride to San Simeon where I spent some time at the Hearst Castle and overnight at San Simeon State Park.
Day 34: 40 miles, San Simeon to San Luis Obispo (SLO). I managed to find George’s home and crashed there in his backyard.
Day 35: (yesterday). 60 miles. But I went ahead and volunteered at the SLO Triathlon and didn’t leave until 12:30. So it was a lot of hard riding until I got to my campground in Lompoc.
Day 36: Today—50 miles so far, and did I ever get my assed kicked. I decided to take the alternate route, up San Marcos pass mid day with temperatures well above 100. Running out of water, feeling dizzy and weak and scared of cramping up, I pulled over at a turnout and rested in the shade for 45 minutes. Had I not done that, I’m sure I would have passed out. That climb was just brutal and the Sun was just baking and burning me. Totally sucked, and I cursed the whole way up. So freaking HOT HOT HOT!
But now I’m back to better conditions, and my internet time is up, so until next time!
Tomorrow is another big day–95 miles to Redondo Beach, where I hope to catch the Metro Rail to Norwalk and stay with relatives for a few days to rest. Okay, now I’m leaving, so have a nice week everyone!
July 22nd, 2006
It’s Saturday afternoon here at the Morro Bay public library and I have just 15 minutes to whip out a post. The pressure’s on! And so is the heat….106 degrees inland from where I am, and where I will be tomorrow afternoon. With the heat reflected off the pavement and with only 3 small towns sandwiched in between 2 big hills and no coastal breeze, tomorrow doesn’t look pretty.
My last official post was almost 2 weeks ago, the last 2 just being filler stuff to keep y’all happy. I’m taking a short rest here in Morro Bay because I just stuffed myself silly at a Chinese buffet–yep, big plate of salad, followed by fried banannas, eggroll, szechuen chicken, cashew nut chicken, fried rice, fried fish, fried wonton, fried onion rings, beef brocolli, fried sweet potato, fried chinese donut….notice a trend here? But I did cap off my gluttonous feast with honeydew, orange wedges, 2 brownies and 3 ice cream cones. And water. Yep, can’t forget that water, especially since I’ll be sweating sweating sweating for the rest of the day and tomorrow. I met up with another bicyclist yesterday who is from San Luis Obispo and he offered me a place to crash for this evening, so I only have about 20 miles to go before I get to SLO. Tomorrow is the SLO triathlon. Swimming, bicycling, and running. Let’s see….I have my bicycle. I have swim trunks. Running shoes? Don’t have those, but people run barefoot in Africa, so why can’t I??
Okay, I’m not going to do the triathlon, I have a 60 mile day tomorrow (again, in the inland 106 degree heat!), but I might look at volunteering cause I’d get a free t-shirt, water bottle and lunch BBQ–hard to pass up on that free food!
The last 3 days have been spent cycling Big Sur of highway 1. Just absolutely beautiful, but also many scary sections of cycling. Especially early in the morning when the fog stayed thick and it was almost impossible to see 100 feet in front of you. So I had my little bicycle blinker on and prayed that cars wouldn’t be going so fast that they wouldn’t see me in time. Actually, it wasn’t so much the cars I was worried about, it was the Fast & The Furious Tokyo Drift motorcycle speed demons that gave me the most worries. These weren’t the weekend Harley Davidson crew (although there were plenty of those too), these were the guys and gals with super turbo charged Kawasakis and motor Jets that scream around the curves in excess speeds, and they travel in packs of 6 or 8 and you can here them miles away. Great weekend to choose to ride Big Sur, since up north in Monterey is the US Motorcycle Racing championship or something like that. I’m still over 200 miles away from the great smog of Los Angeles, but I hope to be there by Wednesday and hopefully then I’ll be able to find another library that can offer Internet to update this blog.
But before I go, have to tell the story of the Racoons. Kirk Creek Campground, Thursday night, hiker biker site. There were 7 of us altogether. Full campground. And the nastiest breed of racoon ever engineered. Normally I just sleep out under the stars in my sleeping bag, either on the ground or on a picnic table. But on this night, after I saw a racoon swagger on over to my sleeping bag and sniff at my pillow, I decided to take no chances and promptly put up my tent. I sooo hate racoons. The next morning, much to my chargrin, one of my panniers suddenly had a tiny series of holes that those food morongers created. It could have been worse though…I spoke with a regular camper who said that 3 racoons actually got into his CAR and created a mess in there. So, to end my little tale, the message is that if you find yourself camping at Kirk Creek campground in the Big Sur area (sweet campground too by the way, I was just a few feet from the bluff’s edge of the ocean waves), Beware of those Racoons!!!
Okay, I’m outta here, hopefully with lots and lots of water for tomorrow’s ride and I hope to update again soon. Enjoy the weekend!
July 19th, 2006
Here are some of my pics from my Washington and Oregon portion of the trip. I was able to get my camera fixed in San Francisco, but I have nothing to show for 10 days of riding, especially my proof that Bigfoot exists…
Day 1, bicycle is loaded and ready to go! It took my a good day and a half to get used to balancing my load and pedaling all the extra weight.
Morning snack break by a small river. It is here where I watched two fishermen in a boat snag a big fish, only to have it get away. And where I also spent some time talking with a hobo who likes to hop trains and almost took one all the way to Alaska.
Near Kalaloch Campground, Washington.
Ferry ride from Ocean Shores to Westport at Grays Harbor Bay.
Sheet iron art in Raymond, WA.
Ah, the good ol’ days of gas prices (this station was closed, probably at least the past 2 years)
Crossing from Washington into Oregon on the 4.2 mile Astoria Bridge.
View from the top span.
Familiar scene near Cannon Beach.
On the way to Tillamook.
Cape Meares Lighthouse.
An overview of my route through Pacific City via the 3 Capes Scenic Loop.
View from the Sea Lions Caves. At $8, I found it a bit steep to pay to look at sea lions.
Oregon Dunes at Jessie Honeyman State Park, just south of Florence.
A little Oregon history, near Reedsport.
Mingus Park, Coos Bay.
Tip of Cape Arago State Park, near Charleston.
Shore Acres State Park and the beautiful Botanical Gardens.
Riding from Sunset Bay State Park to Humbug Mountain State Park, south of Port Orford.
Typical roadside view on Highway 101, heading south between Port Orford and Brookings.
Coastal landscapes galore.
I hate raccoons! This one was real once (photo taken at the Gold Beach Jerry’s Rogue River Jet Museum…$89 for a roundtrip ride, um, not on my budget this time around).
Final picture before my camera conked out.
July 17th, 2006
Riding the 36 mile “Avenue of Giants” scenic road. Very light traffic, moderate grades, and coastal redwoods on either side. Just serene riding, taking a short hike, and camping later that night at Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
My two all-you-can buffets! Kings Table in Coos Bay and Chinese in Eureka. Definitely famished, I cleaned up and didn’t over-do it, despite plates and plates of food. I recently weighed myself and haven’t lost much weight, as I’m still hovering just over 150 pounds.
Globalfreeloading in Eureka and near Fort Bragg. Just fantastic people paying it forward with kindness, generosity and stories galore. The people I’ve met have definitely made this trip a blast.
Waking up between 6-6:30am every morning, on the road by 8am, and taking the day to just enjoy our beautiful lands of the Western Coast. Browsing small towns and meeting locals. Stumbling upon other surprises like local farmer’s markets, watching a 4th of July Parade (where logging trucks are celebrated as floats), catching the rehearsals of the Mendocino Coastal Chamber Music festival, wandering through small art galleries, and discovering new coastal parks and towns that will warrant return visits in the future, maybe this time with a convertible car! (okay, after I win the lottery)
Walking my bike through the artist “colony” of Sausolito (just north of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge), waiting for a table at a local cafe by the boardwalk, and then being seated next to Keira Knightley! She was on break from her filming schedule in the Bay Area, and she was intrigued with all my bike gear. We got to talking about my ride and my past few months, and I learned more about Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom and a bit about her as well. As she had an interview with the SF Chronicle scheduled for the afternoon, she had to go, but not before slipping me her digits and making me promise to call her once I reached Los Angeles. She does not live permenantly in LA, but does maintain a residence there and she said she’ll be around by the time I reach LA at the end of July. We agreed to do lunch, and I made her promise me that we’d go to In-N-Out Burger since I’ve been craving their burger, fries and milkshake for the longest time.
Quick pic at the cafe in Sausolito.
So that’s the plan in a couple weeks time, I’ll let you know how that goes. So eat your words Monica, I told myself that I wasn’t going to spoil my happenstance encounter with Keira, but you just had to make some comments in a previous post didn’t ya, and now you see that I have met and will meet her again so HA! But please please please, don’t contact People magazine or those sleazy tabloids cause we’re just friends and I’ve already had my 15 minutes of fame when I caught Mark McGuire’s record-breaking home run baseball, but then gave it to a little boy because that’s just the kind of guy I am with my heart of gold for the lesser, unfortunate kids who never grew up with a radio controlled car, Atari 2600 or a banana seat bicycle.
That’s it for now, but before I go, Happy 30-something Birthday to M.C. DI, aka Mike “Perennial Kruunch Runner Up” Rohrig. If you have real estate needs, give him a ring or an email or check out his web site at http://www.mikecandoit.com/. He was a real asset when I needed to sell my home and helped me find my new one, and he’ll take the time to give you a hand with understanding the whole real estate process. A real good guy and I’m glad to call him one of my friends that I can beat up on the basketball court anytime I want. So Happy Birthday to ya bruttha!
July 11th, 2006
I’m actually paying to use the Internet this time around, $5 an hour, but at least it is going to a good cause for a Family Resource Center here in Gualala, CA. The last 2 days of riding have just been stunning and any more superlatives will do it no justice. Traffic is generally light, on my right is the coast and rocky outcroppings where the waves crash and the gulls float, on my left are rolling grass-covered hills that wave when the wind blows. Just no further words can describe my ride, and I am truly bummed that I have no camera to capture this pics.
Before I go further, gotta give out some public shouts since I haven’t been able to respond to your emails or comments recently.
– Mike R: so how was Vegas and do look up the nearest Kings Table Buffet in Portland so we can pay a visit when I get back. Or maybe just one of the Hometown Buffets or something.
– Yuh Wen: welcome back from China chica! Call me back and leave me your phone number this time so I can return your call since I didn’t bring my address book with me on this trip.
– Happy Birthday to Big Bomb from Vietnam, John “You Can’t See Me” Le. I still think you should get your Slurpee for free, but anyhow, enjoy your big day bruthha!
– Belated birthday greetings also to my homegirl Bev, who celebrated last week with no doubt a big cake and only a few candles…
– Mike J: hope you kicked some ass at World Series of Poker in Vegas, give me an update on Dank and have and send my love to STP this weekend–wish I could have gone, but eat an extra Creamsicle Bar on my behalf and you better not pull an Evan and stop in Centralia and quit. I’ll be looking for that cheap finisher’s medal when I see ya.
– Lisa: Welcome back from Japan! I hope you were able to bring me that souvenir Sumo Wrestler outfit that I asked for. And I think when I’m done with this ride, yeah, I’ll be up for some yoga, maaaaybe.
– Hope and Nicole, aka “Welfare and Safety Committee”: thank you for your message, I did take your advice and went to the Safeway, but only ONE in Fort Bragg. As soon as I see another one, I promise, I will check in.
– Ezra: Welcome to the Darkside my friend. Now that you have a cell phone, you can vote for your favorite American Idol by text message! Yeah baybe, yeah!
– Nicole: See Ezra’s note above, and come join the Darkside!
– Melody: You’re on, October 1st, just like you said, I’ll jog along for the first few miles, then put on my jets and leave you in the dust. 2:30 here I come!
– Jay the ex-military dude from Harris Beach State Park, who doesn’t even know my blog address: Okay, yeah, I did try my tuna with mustard and mayo and not too bad. But I’ll still need to wait to try your suggestion of scrambled eggs with tuna when I get back.
– Jonas and Rene: Can’t wait to go with you guys on your next tour of Portland area poker games, good write up and wish I could have gone last week.
– Jonas: yeah, it actually was Robin Williams, but no one would have believed me, so I made up the Bigfoot sighting instead because that’s more believeable.
– Monica: yeah, still pedaling, and you still owe me some of that Guatemalan food you promised me.
– Katie R: raincheck for lunch when I get back, and this time you better answer your cell phone.
– Katie: now that the World Cup is over, I just know that you are bummed and depressed that you have to wait another 4 years!
– Christine: So here you can finally see what I have been up to….say hello to Ross, Peytone and Callahan for me!
– Dan: so you gonna ride with me for a few days south of San Francisco or what??
Okay, moving on….
Number of flat tires: 0
Roadkill sightings: skunk, deer, various birds, cat, racoons, opposum, snakes, coyote/dog?
New addiction: Super Sundae ice cream bars
Day 19: 55 miles, overnight at Hidden Springs Campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Day 20: 82 miles, overnight at MacKerricher Beach State Park
Day 21: Rest Day, overnight with Globalfreeloaders Darrell and Lynn in Comptche on their 62 acre parcel of land
Day 22: 40 miles, overnight at Manchester State Beach
Day 23: (today) 62 miles, overnight at Bodega Dunes State Beach, or another place that another cyclist told me about.
**COUCHSURFING lives on!!!** Received an email a few days ago that Couchsurfing will be back online and improved, which is Fantabulous news! Globalfreeloaders and couchsurfing are just incredible uses for the Internet and I’ve met some many awesome people through them.
In Comptche (sp?), the couple that hosted me were very hospitable and kind. Former hippies, about 25 years ago they bought the land with 7 or 8 other families, with the idea of setting up a communal living situation. One long story later, they are the last remaining family and the land has been divided. They live with solar power, produce little garbage because they do a good job of recycling, and they work in the city (Fort Bragg) as a therapist and the other as a dietician. I was treated like a king during my stay…lounged on their hammock, walked with them to see their horses and to watch the full moon rise, and later in the evening Lynn whipped up grilled salmon, pad thai noodles with carrots and brocolli and cilantro, a garden salad, and a fresh mixed fruit salad. They are both into swing dancing, so later in the evening I sat with them in front of their TV and watched the 1940′s flick “Swing Time” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, while eating freshly air-popped popcorn with butter. Simply amazing people, Michael once hitch hiked from Denmark all the way to India!
I have many more stories to tell, but must soon get back on the road. I do want to say that Leggett Hill almost kicked my ass, but I conquered in the end, though I had to stop half way up to catch my breath. Originally, I was only supposed to cycle 45 miles that day to the campground and rest up BEFORE taking on Leggett Hill the next morning. But I got into camp at noon because the raccoons woke me up at 5 in the morning when trying to get into my bike bag of food. So I was on the road early in the morning. Like I said, I arrive into camp at noon, and I decided to be ambitious and do the next day’s ride the same day, and to take on Leggett Hill. The killer hill. And it was hard, don’t get me wrong. When I stopped mid-way, I stopped because I needed to catch my breath and get some shade; the hardest part of the hill was the heat. I almost blacked out at the side of the road while trying to cool down. But once I was better, it was back on the saddle for the long ride up. And then a long, winding descent down until the 2nd hill, which I think was actually harder than the Leggett Hill, because at least Leggett was gradual, whereas #2 had more vertical. The end of my story is that I arrived into camp at 6pm after almost 12 hours of riding my 82 miles.
New topic, which are the people I’ve met.
First guy is Kyle, 19-year old from the Whidbey Island area of Seattle. He’s a youngster that was tired of working his Best Buy and Target job, living at home, same town and same routine, so a few weeks ago he buys himself a bike and bags, quits his job, and starts out about the same time that I did. He’s 210 pounds (and overweight by his standards cause he is a couch potato), not a bicyclist at all, but this is something he set off to do and he is doing it. And he’s still determined despite all the bad luck he’s had since crossing over into California. 3 flat tires. Hit by a SUV. 6 miles of pushing his bike on the highway before getting a ride into town to fix his bike. And yesterday he got another flat tire. I stayed with him while he was trying to fix it, and it was a lost cause. Perfect timing because the next thing we know, this grandmother pulls up to us in her Toyota Corolla. She offers him a ride into town to get the bike fixed. Her name is Doris, probably close to 60, or maybe she is older and just looks younger than 60. At any rate, she told us that when she retired, she put 2 things of on her list of things to do. And she did them. One was riding a bicycle across America from CA to Georgia. Then she also rides from Mexico to Canada. The other thing was to hike the AT–the Applachian Trail. It took her 6 years to complete all the segments at different times, but she did it. Now she leads an active life of adventure, he next trip is rafting some famous river in Alaska. Last year her daughter participated in a bicycle ride around the world called Odyssey 2005, and Doris rode the support vehicle in Africa. Just totally inspiring, you are never too young and never too old to do what you want to do.
I could go on and on with stories. Stories of other people, and not from me. Because my ride has been pretty uneventful, which is how I like it. Just beautiful mornings of getting up on the road early, great scenery, getting enough to eat to keep me going, meeting new people on my breaks and in the campgrounds. If only my camera still worked!
I should be into San Francisco by Friday, and should be able to upload my WA/OR pictures at that time with another update. Here are some closing thoughts before I get back out on the road for the afternoon…
http://www.texas4000.org/ Ran into these guys while descending Leggett Hill. They are cycling from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK! They’ve raised over half a million for the Cancer society.
This morning I met a guy from Switzerland who has bicycled from Miami, FL and has been on the road for 17 weeks!!!! He has 7 more to go to reach Canada. And all he’s had are headwinds in Nevada and California and is a bit discouraged at this point with his morale because of the strong winds.
Okay, that’s all for now!!!
NEW Update from Ferndale, CA: Rained Out, My Millionaire Dream Dashed, Couchsurfing No More!..and other Ramblings
July 7th, 2006
(See Below **** for new update)
Number of flat tires: 0
Number of buffets eaten at: 2
Number of Dairy Queen Ice Cream Bars eaten: 3
Day 11: 42 miles overnight at Beachside State Park
Day 12: 35 miles overnight at Jessie Honeyman State Park south of Florence
Day 13: 55 miles overnight at Sunset Bay State Park near Charleston
Day 14: 57 miles overnight at Humbug Mountain State Park, south of Port Orford
Day 15: 53 miles overnight at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings (CA border)
Day 16: 70 miles overnight at Elk Prarie State Park, Redwood National Park
Day 17: “Rest Day” (not)
Day 18: 48 miles overnight at the home of a retired couple on Globalfreeloaders.com
Day 19: tomorrow, 51 miles
So once again I find myself at the public library internet terminal, and after taking 10 minutes away to check my emails, that leaves me with 20 to churn out a post for this blog. So so, where to begin??
I’m in Eureka now, and not camping tonight. I’m staying at the home of a retired couple that answered my request on Globalfreeloaders.com. Unfortunately, the other great internet site I’ve used in the past (most recently via my Honda road trip) is now defunct. Sadly, www.couchsurfing.com has shut down, which is a major blog because it brought so many travelers together. Hopefully Globalfreeloaders will be able to absorb some of the couchsurfing member community into theirs. Check out the web site to see the final comments of the founder of this super Non-Profit web site.
12 minutes left already?? Gosh! Okay, Oregon Coast was simply AMAZING! Especially the section from Port Orford south to the Oregon Border. So many pullouts from 101 to view the rocky outcroppings and shoreline. Prior to that, I spent some time hiking the dunes at Honeyman State Park (not a good idea if looking to rest the legs, as it is difficult to hike up and down sand), Bandon was gorgeous, and I thoroughly recommend a detour off of North Bend/Coos Bay to Cape Arago, home to 3 state parks including the Shore Acres Botanical Gardens.
Okay, I finally got rained out! In the middle of night at Elk Prairie State Park. Fortunately I had my rain fly attached to my tent. Unfortunately I did not stake it down properly (because I was missing a few stakes), and when I awoke early at 6am in the morning, my tent had collected pools of water inside the floor area! So, basically where I was sleeping. I was forced out in retreat and used my small hand towel to soak up the water and try to dry out as best as I could. That was yesterday, my “rest day.” Yeah, some rest day. Despite the cold and the rain, I was determined to do a little hiking. No hiking shoes, as I have no room on my bike. Just my sandals, and I wasn’t liking the idea of hiking through mud, but onward I went.
Fortunately, it did not rain for the rest of the day. The hike was just beautiful, through towering, majectic and “Oh Shit!” redwoods to Gold Bluffs Beach, across the sand north to Fern Canyon, and back through the Redwoods to Big Tree (304 feet high with diameter of 22 feet!) and Cathedral Trees trail, and back to the campground. All in all, my rest day consisted of an 8 hour, 17-mile hike. And thus my body and especially my legs, didn’t feel so rested when I awoke this morning.
But at least I filled up on my buffet! Yep, right here in Eureka, Chinese Lunch Buffet, All I Can Eat! And I think I did, topped off with 4 ice cream cones for dessert. My other buffet was in Coos Bay at the Kings Table Buffet, one of my favorites growing up in Portland, but they don’t exist up there anymore.
Oh my, 4 minutes left!
Okay, here’s where my millionaire dreams are dashed…but I have no more time to explain, so hopefully I’ll find more internet access in the next days. Sorry I couldn’t answer your emails to those that have emailed me in the past week, I promise to email when I can! Okay, have a great weekend everyone, over and out for now!
I now come to you live from Ferndale, CA. I stayed last night at the home of a great couple in Eureka. They made a wonderful dinner of ravioli, brocolli salad, steamed carrots, garlic bread and we had apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Just a wonderful, lovely evening spent with them. They are both retired and have used Globalfreeloders to find hosts in Scotland, England, Australia and even in Hawaii. I had a warm and dry bed, hot shower, and they even fed me for breakfast. My oh my I was spoiled, and I can’t say enough good things about Joyce and Darrell, I’ll definitely come back to Eureka to spend more time to explore the town and nearby Arcata.
I have arranged for another Globalfreeloader stay near Fort Bragg for Sunday night, but the couple live about 20 miles away off my route and from the sounds of their email, they live waaay out in the country surrounded by acres of land land land. So this will be an interesting experience, and it will come at the end of the day of the legendary Leggett hills. Apparently these hills are THE hardest part of the Pacific Coast Bicycle route…I experienced a little preview just past Crescent City, when I pedaled and pedaled and pedaled up triple peaks, taking over an hour to go 2 or maybe 3 miles. But I’ll be ready this Sunday for the Leggett hills. I should be into San Francisco by next Friday, where it will be a weekend of bad movies, greasy food and then a little basketball. And if I live through the Sunday basketball scrimmage with Ezra’s friends, then it will be back on the bicycle to continue down south towards Monterey and beyond.
About my Millionaire Dreams….
So there I was, hiking through these majestic Redwoods. They are simply awe-inspiring…so high. I had some pretty tall trees back at my home in Tigard, but these Redwoods, man oh man oh man, just unbelievable. Many times I would just stop in my tracks and gaze up, up, up towards the sky to see how far those trees stretched. And during one of my moments of being mesmerized by Mother Nature, I caught the glimpse. Something flashed by my eyes in the distance. Elk? Bear? Cougar? I was a little scared, I’ll admit that. But curiosity got the better of me, and I followed off the path to where I glimpsed the animal. Scrambling up a little hill, grabbing hold of roots to pull myself up, I now stood above the trail and looked down the other side of the ledge….and there he was. Or maybe she?
Sasquatch. AKA Bigfoot. Yep. No lyin’. Bright as day, right there below my eyes. Looking up at me. Huge, hairy, like a man in a suit, but this was no hoax. This was the real deal. You want proof? Of course you do. The proof is in the pictures. I grabbed my digital camera. But….herein lies the problem. 2 days ago, just before Gold Beach, my camera went out. No explanation. Just died. The digital zoom lens just froze open. Doesn’t close. New batteries do no good. It just makes a horrible noise when I try to power it on. And thus no photos of the Southern Oregon Coast, no pics of the Redwoods, and certainly no proof seeing Bigfoot. No chance of selling my pictures of Bigfoot to the local and international papers for a cool million. And thus, my millionaire dreams dashed.
But take my word for it. I saw Bigfoot. For real. He looked at me. I looked at him. He sized up me. I sized up him. And then he ran. And that was that. I didn’t dare tell anyone at the park what I saw. They’d think I was lying. But you know I wouldn’t make that up. I’ll just have to draw a picture of what I saw when I get back. But it does suck to have my camera out of commission. Maybe I’ll end up buying a disposable for my next few weeks. Oh well, at least my brakes still work.
Gotta run now. Still have 50 miles to go. One thing though before I go. Why is it that people, when driving along, deem it okay to just throw trash out the window? It is not as bad here as it is in Guatemala, but riding the roads each day, I am apalled at the amount of garbage I see strewn by the sideway. Styrofoam containers, plastic cups, pop cans, food wrappers, etc. etc. During one section in Washington, in a mile stretch I counted 30 pop cans. That’s $1.50. If that holds true, then for 100 miles I could make $150. But that would be a lot to carry on my bike in addition to all the weight I already have. Just one of the many things I think about while just pedaling the miles away. So that does it for this short update, until next time!
June 29th, 2006
Number of time dogs have chased me: 3 times
Number of dogs barking out to me from a passing vehicle: 5 timees
Number of flat tires: 0
Cost for bike repairs in Astoria: $67.50
Number of cross-country cyclists encountered: 2 (going from west to east)
Day 5: 53 hard miles
Day 6: 52 miles
Day 7: Rest Day
Day 8: 42 miles
Day 9: 50 miles
Day 10: 37 miles
Day 11: ??
It is now day 11, and hopefully biking as close to Florence, OR before 7pm rolls around. I’m posting this entry one day early just in case I do not find a library tomorrow while en route.
Thus far I’ve had my fair share of days high and low. Sometimes discouraged at my progress (or lack thereof) because of my weight, the wind, or other conditions, and at other times inspired by others taking on the same journey and having the chance to go slow and see our beautiful coastline.
My ass sure is sore. My arms and shoulders stiff. Leg muscles sore as well. And I think I’ve had a little sunburn. But fortunately I have not had any hint of rain. And while Portland was experiencing 100 plus degree days, I was in milder temperatures hovering around 80 degrees with a slight breeze.
I have considering stopping my ride to go back home, I won’t lie. Sleeping on bare ground, freezing almost everynight while mosquitoes swarm around me can get old pretty quickly. There is only so much PBJ that I can take.
I’m still at a pace of 6-8 miles per hour, which is pretty slow compared to other cyclists who have passed me up with their fancy bikes. Part of the reason why I’ve wanted to quit is because of my bicycle, which just isn’t cutting it. I did get necessary repairs completed in Astoria, but when I ride I still have the sense that something is amiss.
The last few days have been enjoyable, as Lisa met up with me and acted as my sag wagon sherpa for a few days, so I didn’t have to carry all of my bags on my bike. She’d meet up with me at the next camp, and I was able to pedal the miles faster and stronger than I have the previous days when I had all my bags. It was great to have her along for a few days to give me company and someone (aside from myself) to talk to, as well as eat hot, cooked food every once in a while. But now it’s back to carrying all my bags, and if I encounter a long, steep hill, I’ve resolved that there is no shame in walking, which I have already done many a time.
* The scariest part of my ride thus far has been the wind. Riding along, all of a sudden a sudden gusts will come from out of nowhere and just about knock me over. Scary because I become unbalanced and I definitely do not want to fall onto Highway 101 traffic.
* The hardest part of my riding has been the huge steep hills, but the wind has also led to many cursings and struggles. I’m going as slow as it is already, but when I face a headwind that makes it feel like I’m pedaling but going nowhere, that’s when I want to just stop and hit the fast forward button.
* Craving Burgerville’s Strawberry Shortcake. Haven’t seen one yet along my ride, but have seen plenty of Dairy Queens.
* Way to go Beaver Nation! College Baseball Champs!
* And what about them Trailblazers? Finally we get rid of Telfair, I was not impressed with him and look forward to Brandon Roy and maybe LaMarcus Aldridge will turn out to be a good pick.
* I’m treading water now, not too much more left to say with 3 minutes left on my public library internet watch clock. So thanks again for your comments and emails, I do miss aspects of home (like no mosquitoes, lazing in front of a TV, being warm at night), but I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this ride and hope that I will soon find a place where I can finally upload some pictures! So until next Friday, happy 4th of July!
June 22nd, 2006
Currently in Westport, WA, with only 20 minutes to spare at this public library. Here are the vital stats for the first few days of my bike journey…
Number of flat tires: 0
Number of logging trucks sweeping past me with those heavy gusts of wind: too numerous to count.
Number of other cyclists encountered going north to south: 5
Number going south to north: 1
Also heard second hand about a Brit that started in Los Angeles. All he’s had is wind and rain. He’s continuing up to Canada, then biking ACROSS, then south to Florida where he hopes to finish in November–apparently, that’s when his health insurance ends and his plane ticket back to England begins.
Day 1, 30 easy miles
Day 2, 75 miles
Day 3, 63 miles
Day 4, 56 miles
This has been harder than I expected. I haven’t really gone for any training rides since last summer’s Seattle to Portland (sorry Mike, can’t go with you this year), and I’ve never really cycled with a fully loaded rear and front rack. Thus, my peddling is sluggish and I am still trying to get used to carrying all this weight. Plus I need to make sure everything is in good balance, because everytime a big logging truck zooms past me, the wind they create can blow me off my bike if I’m not careful.
I have been blessed with great weather, knock on wood. I was scared about rain, but so far, so good. I have been freezing at night though. My flimsy sleeping bag from 15 years ago isn’t doing me much favor in the evening, especially the first night when the wind whipped and howled and found little crevices in my cocoon to chill me as I tried to fall asleep. As a matter of fact, I woke up at 4am Tuesday morning, and wanted to get riding right away but I had no light. So I “snoozed” in til 5am, and was on the road at 5:30.
There have been some times where I have been discouraged about my ride. I suppose it comes down to my bike and how I’m feeling. As far as my bike goes, yes, it is my 7th grade bike of 20 years ago, not fancy at all. I didn’t think gearing would be an issue, but when 3 other cyclists whiz by me and I’m trying my hardest to keep up to their pace, it does come down to equipment, of which I am poorly set up. My back brakes are virtually useless, my front ones are just about finished, and yes Mike, I read your comments, you are absolutely right about my bald tires. I roadtripped with my Honda on poor tires, now I’m doing this with my bike.
I wish I could post pictures of my ride, but the library won’t allow me to ‘possible infect’ their computers, so maybe I’ll find web access in the next few days to update this entry. The scenery has been incredible. I’ve ridden past deer, coyotes, countless birds, and took a cheese and cracker snack break while watching two boating fly fishermen battle a 25 pounder than got away. My pace is slow, maybe only 6-9 miles per hour, but my body is feeling it. My leg muscles are very sore of course, but so are my hands and my arms. There is pain when I lift up my arms, so I am trying to be consistent with my stretching after every stop I make.
I’ve only used my tent once. My first night I came across a church with a huge grassy meadow. I knocked on the door and received permission to sleep there, under the stars in my sleeping bag. Tuesday I used my tent, Wednesday I slept tent free, but tonight I’ll probably prop it up.
You can tell that I’m trying to squeeze all my ramblings in before my minutes expire, nothing is much organized but I wanted to give an update on my ride. My food diet has been PBJ, cheese, crackers, chocolate bars, bananas, cereal, tuna, and an occassional ‘splurge’ at a fast food joint. All in all my first few days of riding have been pleasant and I am happy that I’ve had the chance to do this. Whether or not my bike makes it completely to Mexico is another story, so I’ve changed my plans to ride at least until San Francisco and then decide from there if my bike is travel worthy for more abuse. That’s all for now, I know I’m leaving a lot of details out but hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog again before next Friday. Until then, send good thoughts my way about my bicycle’s health (and me too!)
PS Go Beavs! Win tonight and they go to the College World Series title game against North Carolina!!
June 16th, 2006
Well, here I am back in Portland for my last weekend, which will be spent at a friend’s wedding and then a Sunday Father’s Day. Then, Monday…. and the start of the two-wheel test of seeing how far my bicycle can go south via the Pacific Coast highway.
I’ve had somewhat a change of plans, as I just learned that another friend will be getting married in early August, and thus I’ll need to be home sooner than expected. So, instead of starting my bike ride in Vancouver, BC and riding around to Victoria, I’ll be getting a ride to Anacortes, WA (just north of Seattle) and then catching the ferry to Victoria. This will shave off about one week of my time.
From Victoria, my route will follow the Washington Coast, across the Astoria bridge to Oregon, down 101 to California, and then hopefully all the way to Tijuana, Mexico where I hope to be able to say one or two phrases in Spanish, unless I’ve forgotten everything I learned by that time.
So, what exactly will I be riding? Here are the pics!
1987 Open Road 12-speed road bike, purchased on sale from Montgomery Wards almost 20 years ago for $129.
I peeled off the stickers when I got it so that it wouldn’t look like a cheap store-bought bike. I’ve replaced the seat, the rims and tires, added foot clips and a rear rack.
Last year I replaced the front brakes, and just yesterday added a front rack to hang 2 front panniers.
I’ll have 2 panniers (bike bags) in the front, 2 in the back, and on the back rack I hope to carry my sleeping bag and tent. I’ll be camping at state parks for most of my ride, with a splurge at a motel in real inclement (think RAIN) weather, and will spend a few days at the half way point in San Francisco to recoup at my friends.
That is, if my bike even makes it. I’ll be biking solo, averaging about 50-60 miles a day, and though I have a guidebook that basically traces the entire route, I have allowed 5-6 flex days where I can rest or modify my schedule to fit the weather patterns or whatever.
So that’s it in a nutshell, nothing too exciting, but it will be nice to be on the open road once again. It was only 15 years ago almost to the day that I biked the Oregon Coast with a group of high school students, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, make that part 2.
Before I head off, here’s a shout out to all my friends that I was able to see during my short time here, and if I didn’t see you, I’ll be back in less than 2 months so I’ll see you then! Oh, and sorry I kicked your ass so bad at basketball last night Mike and Jonas