Day 26: Sunny Day and Small Hills

Today we covered about 35 miles.

I woke up this morning to the sun shining brightly through my tent. We had our morning coffee and oatmeal while we packed our things. There were lots of people in camp. There are more cyclists out, 70% of which seem to fall into the “good-looking young men” demographic.

The terrain today wasn’t too challenging. Most of the uphills were short and steep. I didn’t really mind it until the end of the day when I got tired.

We were on a scenic alternate route for about 10 miles today. It was really bumpy and partially covered in gravel, but it had amazing views.

We stopped in a place called Trinidad and had some BBQ chicken for lunch. We sat at the table with a few locals. One was a man who sat painting the picnic table with blue finger nail polish and talking about philosophy. There was a lady who was drinking a 40 out of a brown paper bag. Then there was an old man with glasses that magnified his eyes and was talking nonsense.

I was just trying to eat my chicken, but the old man started making racial slurs, then the other man started swearing at him. The BBQ grill guy tried to get them to chill, but then made them both leave. Then the lady got kicked out for drinking beer in public.

We bolted out of town after finishing our chicken, then made our way to camp. The place we were going to stay sucked and it’s restrooms smelled bad from a distance. So we biked 5 more miles to an RV park.

We’re having a short day in Arcata tomorrow and hanging out with Amelia and Chris.

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Days 23- 25: Rain, Sun, and California

The rain that I talked about in the last post continued on for 2 more days. It continued to be miserable to bike in, as expected. But I did get better about keeping my things dry.

We met a nice couple named Amelia and Chris who we shared a campsite with on Gold Beach. They were finishing up their trip, but they live in Arcata (an upcoming town) so we’ll see them soon.

We have also entered the Redwood Forest. The trees didn’t seem unusually large to me, but they have been getting larger as we go.

We officially entered the forest as we were going up this big ass mountain, a 1200 footer. It was raining and the road was curvy and there was hardly any shoulder. We made it up the mountain and to our turn for the campsite. Unfortunately, it was an 800 feet descent to camp, which would have been fine, but we were going to have to go back up it in the morning.

We made it down and paid for our site. We had trouble finding it, so we asked the camp hosts. They told us about how an orphan bear cub had just been captured at our site the day before.

The next morning we started up the big ass hill, but then we hitched a ride from a pick-up truck full of teenage boys. They seemed delighted to be picking up hitch-hikers, and they happily loaded our bikes in the bed. Three of them insisted that we should ride up front, and they sat in the back.

We stopped at a “Trees of Mystery” attraction that had a gondola that took you up a mountain. Mom and the other lady in our car nearly had panic attacks from the height.

I chatted with 2 guys who just started their trip yesterday. They told Mom that she is a “badass momma” for biking. Also, camp rumor has it that there is a guy touring with his cat.

I haven’t had cell service for 2 nights in a row at camp, so I will post this when I get internet.

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Day 22: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Today has been nothing but rain. We woke up to the pattering of drops on our tent. I went to the bathroom and plugged our phones in, then we had our tea and oatmeal inside of the tent. I packed up most of my gear while I was still in the tent, then we broke down the tent and I strapped it on top of my bike rack with a cargo net.

It was a cold and wet bike ride today. I wore my Showers Pass pink rain jacket, and I noticed that lots of other bikers have the same brand. It’s an Oregon based company, so that would make sense since we’re in Oregon.

We had a 20 mile bike ride to get to North Bend. My socks and shoes got soaked immediately because water from my tires splashed onto my legs then ran down into my socks. Every time a semi drove by, I got misted with a fresh layer of dirt water.

Finally, after much shivering, we made it to North Bend. Mom wanted to take a bus ahead 60 miles because it would all be inland and we needed to stay on schedule.

We had relaxing 2 hour bus ride, then were sent out into the rain once more. We did our laundry and I found a motel room for us a mile away.

The mile to the motel was the worst because the rain was colder and stronger. The wind was also blowing against me. A hot shower and a soft bed has improved morale though.

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Days 20- 21: Mountains and Clouds

The past two days have not been super eventful. We covered about 80 miles though between today and yesterday, which is some sort of a record for us.

The terrain has been getting very hilly. We seem to either be going up and down really big mountains or going over small hills all day. The small hills become exhausting b the end of the day because it gets really difficult to pedal. At least with the mountains, we can get off and push. But I feel a bit stupid getting off of my bike and pushing when the top is 30 feet away.

The roads have become pretty bumpy. It seems that when this stretch of highway was last paved, they though they would save money by skipping the shoulder. So the shoulder (where I bike) is crumbly and bumpy, while the regular road is smooth. There’s too much traffic to bike off the shoulder, except when I’m going on a steep downhill. I don’t want to wreck in the gravel, so I speed down the regular road.

The views have been pretty good. For most of yesterday afternoon and this morning, we were biking along overlooks to the ocean. There are some spots where there is just a knee high wall between my bike and the 100+ foot drop off. Those are kind of scary.

Last night we had the chilly, cloudy beach all to ourself and some guy who was digging in the sand. I chilled on a piece of driftwood and read my book.

I did finally get my bike brake fixed today in Florence. The guy fixed it right away. The downhills feel far less dangerous.

My hands are starting to really ache from all the bumps and just from holding onto my handlebars all day. My hands start to fall asleep while I bike, and I have to reposition them often. I’m also starting to lose feeling in the heels of my hands.

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Day 19: Ocean Views and Mediocre Chowder

Today was our second 30+ mile day in a row. We’re getting more efficient at this whole biking thing.

Mom did complain about her back tire for the whole morning. Her tires are really thin, so they have to be filled up with air all the way or it’s harder to pedal. My hand pump can fill the tire up enough to keep biking, but doesn’t fill it to capacity. We stopped at a gas station to use their air pump, but it was too big for our tire valves. We stopped at a bike shop (my brake still isn’t fixed), but they were closed on Sundays.

At least we only had one big hill today, a 500 footer. The rest of the ride was pretty easy. We had ocean views almost all day long. The ride was also full of precipitous cliff sides.

Before the trip, I had several people tell me to stop at Mo’s for their clam chowder. Their slogan even claims “World Famous Chowder”. I had a bowl in Otter Cliff, and it was good. I’ve only had a few bowls of clam chowder in my life, so it may have even been the best I’ve ever eaten. I’m not sure why it is known as the best chowder ever. Maybe I was just expecting too much after all the hype.

We biked on and cars zoomed on by us while we biked down Highway 101. The sun was shining, so that was great.

We stopped in Lincoln City to do our grocery shopping. There was one long, windy bridge we had to cross. There was no shoulder, so we opted to push our bikes on the sidewalk. It was cold and the wind was whipping my hair in my face the whole time.

On the other side of the bridge, we were only a mile from South Beach State Park. My GPS took us in he most roundabout (but scenic) way imaginable.

We made it to the hiker/biker campsite and met a nice couple from Indiana who pumped up our tires with their large bike pump and then gave us s’mores. Then I read my book on the beach until the sun went down.

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Days 16-18: Fun in Portland and Feuds with State Park Ladies

Thursday morning we hopped on a bus to Portland. It was only $20 for a round trip ticket, and the ride was 2 hours.

My dear friend Marc and his girlfriend met us at the bus station and took us out to lunch at a sandwich shop. From there, it was a 2 mile bike ride across the Broadway Bridge and to his house.

I wasn’t really sure what to do in Portland, so I looked up a top 10 list. I decided to rule out strip clubs and it became a top 9 list. Biking across one of the long bridges was on the list, which we had already done when we crossed the Broadway Bridge.

We set off for the city and went to Powell’s book store, which was on the list and would be check number 2. Powell’s is a giant, multi-level book store with everything imaginable. I kind of wanted to cry because I knew I would never get to read every book there, but I managed to choose just one.

There was a whole city block with food trucks on it, so we stopped for a smoothie. Food trucks were 3rd on our checklist.

Finally, we hopped on the light rail and went cross town to the Rose Test Garden (number 4). There seemed to be hundreds or thousands of rose bushes. Marc cracked a joke about stopping and smelling the roses. I guess at the test garden, they breed new strains of roses and kill them if they’re not good enough.

The following day, we headed back to Tillamook to keep biking. I had to eat some famous Tillamook ice cream before leaving town. It was as delicious as I had imagined it would be. We biked on down to Cape Lookout State Park to spend the night. They had a great hiker/biker site that was right by the beach. I relaxed by the ocean for an hour or so and read my new book.

The next morning, as usual, I went to the bathroom and plugged our phones in so they could charge while we got ready. There wasn’t much going on at 8 am, so I knew they’d be fine. Anyway, I didn’t think the people in expensive RVs wanted to steal my phone. Before we left, I went back to the bathroom to get the phones and they weren’t there.

There was a lady with a golf cart cleaning the bathrooms, and I asked her if she had seen them. She got them out of her cart and gave me a long lecture about how I can’t just leave my phone laying around because someone will take it (which was what she did, basically). She told me I need to sit with my phone while it charges. I think I have better things to do than sit in the bathroom for 2 hours though.

Our phones weren’t very charged, because she must have came along and unplugged them just a few minutes after I plugged them in. We sort of use our phones for everything, so it was a bummer.

Today we had a 800 foot mountain first thing in the morning. It took us forever to make it the 3 miles uphill, but afterwards it was an easy 12 mile cruise into Pacific City. We stopped for burgers and fries, and I tried in vain to find a bike shop to fix my brake. A nice local even had a look at it, and she couldn’t solve the problem.

From there, we hit an unexpected mile of gravel. With our thin road tires and our extra weight from our gear, biking on gravel was really slow and unsteady. After the gravel mile, we had a 700 foot uphill. We didn’t even try to bike up it; we just walked. After almost an hour of walking, we were finally at the top.

I zoomed to the bottom and waited for Mom, as usual. I was waiting for way longer than normal, when a car pulled over beside me. A couple hopped out with Mom and her bike. She had gotten a flat and they pulled over to help. The guy replaced her tube for her, and they were on their way.

We biked the last few miles to Devil’s Lake State Park, where yet another park lady lectured me for plugging my phone in and showering while I left it unattended. At least the shower was free and hot.

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Days 13-15: On to Oregon

After camping out in La Push, we started our bus journey south to Oregon. While our destination was really only a 5 hour drive from our starting point, the public bus system works on a limited schedule. Therefore, on the first day we could only go most of the way.

We took a short bus ride from La Push back to Forks. We sat at the Forks Transit Center for several hours to wait for our next bus. We had to connect twice to get to Aberdeen. Aberdeen seemed like an alright town but our racist bus driver got Mom a etched out about it. We had to sit in that town for 3 hours.

Finally, we caught our last bus for the day down to Raymond. Some nice locals directed us to a good motel. Luckily for us, the motel was opening a hostel room for bikers. For $25 a person, we got a bunk bed and a shower and coffee. No one else showed up to share to hostel room either.

We got up in the morning to catch the 7:50 bus to Astoria, our first stop in Oregon. We made it there by 9:30 then we started biking.

After doing shorter days, we managed to get back in the biking groove. Most of our ride was flat, but we had a giant hill at the end of the day. I had to stop for 3 breaks before I made it to the top.

We went to a state park for the night. Oregon charges $6 per person a night, whereas Washington charged $12 a campsite, so it ends up being the same price.

There were several other bikers around, which was nice. We’ve been kind of alone up until now. I’m glad we’ll have more people to chat with who are doing the same thing. I did see a lone hiker at the campsite, so I went and chatted with him about trails for a while.

Today we got up and rode for a while. I seem to be having a problem with my front brake that still needs to be resolved. I’ll hit the brake and after I’ve lifted up, one side of the brake pad will continue to drag on my wheel while the other side goes back into place. I didn’t need to use it much today, but I’d like to get it fixed before my next big hill.

We’re biking mainly on Highway 101 now, which has great scenery and lots of amenities. There’s cars constantly zooming by at high speeds though. It’s kind of unnerving and not as tranquil as I would like.

We’re taking a bus into Portland tomorrow so I can visit my friend Marc.

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