(NOTE: This story is about Jeremy and Stephanie, two brave souls who acquired a couple of Catrikes and took off south. Their story was originally uploaded to the Crazy Guy on a Bike journal website during their trip. The entirety of the text appears here. For many more photographs (much larger) than contained here, please visit Jeremy and Stephanie’s CGOAB journal HERE.)
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH SOME WOODS
A couple on two Catrikes pedal on …
by Jeremy Bradshaw
Introduction: So how did this all start?
Monday June 15, 2009
*FYI – Both Jeremy and Stephanie will be taking turns writing in this journal. You’ll know by which one of us is referenced in the 3rd person.
That is actually a complex question. For the sake of keeping things on topic, we will stick strictly with how the idea for the tour started, for now anyways.
One morning when Steph and I arrived at Highliner Coffee we noticed two fully loaded touring bikes parked near the entry door. Immediately we both felt our spidey senses tingling. That little something that stirs for us when the scent of possible adventure is in the air. Three nights later we attended a slide presentation of Janick Lemieux and Pierre Bouchard’s “Ring of Fire” cycling tour. They had ridden something around 50,000 km touring the Pacific ring of fire and were in Sitka to try and reach Mt. Edgecumbe at the tail end of their trip. Their photos of where they had been were beautiful, their stories of the people they met were heartwarming, and their presentation planted a seed. Those that know me these days are fully aware that it does not take too long for such seeds to germinate in my mind.
Within days I was presenting to Stephanie a new and crazy plan for our summer and hopefully beyond…our own bike tour. I had done a short trip in the nineties, three days through Washington State north to south on mt. bikes, that was in truth only the beginning of a failed Pacific Coast effort with a very good friend. For the first time since the end of that attempt I was thinking about a bike tour. Steph did not need much convincing…she loves new adventures. A bike trip was forming. We have bikes already, so the most critical piece of equipment is out of the way right? Right? Well…
I don’t tend to like to do thinks in a traditional manner, so a classic diamond frame bike for touring was not going to work. Not to mention that a 75ft fall off a cliff doesn’t make for a body that enjoys many miles on a classic bike. ( Yeah I took that trip.) Anyways, I started looking into recumbents. In the process of that search I discovered the recumbent tadpole trike. Fan-freakin-tastic!!! Seriously a lawn chair with wheels, or at least that is one of the affectionate ways to which they are referred.
Here is where things become a bit tangential. You see, Steph and I are trying to be more “green.” I can hear the collective groan of the conservative skeptics in our immediate circle of friends and family, but it is true. We want to be aware of our carbon footprint, and particularly our fossil fuel consuming vehicular dependency. We want to kill our car! Recumbent trikes are pricey, and there was no way we would be able to afford them without making a real sacrafice in lifestyle choice.
The original plan was to purchase a truck for my falconry pursuits when we move out of Alaska. I decided that I would be willing to confine my hawking to whatever could be done using the Subaru Forester we already have if we put the money that would have been used to purchase a truck towards the purchase of trikes and a bike (trike) tour. This was not a hard sell for Steph. Reducing our personal fuel consumption, increasing time/activity spent together, overall expense reduction, and more fat burning exercise for me. I am pretty sure the latter was the bigger selling point, but I am cool with that. Adjusting my falconry addiction for the sake of my health and our eco-sustainability is a colossal effort for me that will require its own blog…some day.
SO, the trike research began. We looked at many models in many price ranges. Steph and I both love the idea of recycled retail practices. If we can buy used we will. Used clothes, used furniture, used appliances, used outdoor equipment…you get the idea. Naturally we wanted to purchase used HPV’s. Not only is there usually a cost benefit (and there was), but we can convince ourselves that we did not contribute to the consumption of resources needed to fabricate new trikes. After much deliberation and a healthy dose of conservative hesitation we both ended up “adopting” previously owned Catrikes. Mine is an 08 Expedition, and Steph’s is an 06 Pocket. These are the specific brand and model of trikes that we each wanted for various reasons (size, fit, weight capacity ).
Having a trike shipped to Alaska, even the southeast part, is a costly venture. We decided to have only one of the trikes shipped here to Sitka so we could start our indoor winter training for the tour. The Expedition came to Sitka since it was the first one we purchased, and we figured it would be more capable of fitting both of us somewhat comfortably. I really didn’t think we should test the Pocket with my size, though we have heard of some pretty good size guys riding them comfortably. We had the Pocket sent to our good friends Randy and Sharon’s place in West Richland WA for storage to picked up later this summer. ( Thanks you guys! )
Essentially that is how it started. Now we are in the training and planning phase of things.
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Where we are going!: Over the river and through the woods…
Monday June 15, 2009
The decision to take on a long distance self contained trike tour was somewhat surreal. To help concrete the idea we knew we needed to answer the very open question, “Where should we go?” We have all summer, for the most part, available to ride, and tons of options. Do we just do a standard ACA route, make something up all together, or a combo of routes. In the end we decided on the combo. We are going to combine portions of three ACA tours and a little twist of our own to round out the tail end of the tour. The plan is to jump on the Lewis & Clark route out of Clarkston WA, ride west to Astoria OR to jump on the Pacific Coast route, ride south to San Francisco and catch the Western Express east over the Sierras. Once in the eastern Sierras we will take a short hiatus from the trikes to get in a few days of backpacking somewhere in the backcountry. We love the eastern Sierras. Once finished with the backpacking we will saddle back up and ride south to Tioga Pass to enter Yosemite National Park. We plan to spend two or three days camping in Yosemite, enjoying the park (very near to where we first met ten years ago.) From Yosemite we will have a relatively short shot to Oakdale CA where I grew up and my grandparents and some other family still live. Crossing the Columbia River, riding over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and literally ending the trip at my Grandmother’s house left little doubt what we had to name the tour. We have not figured out the specific distance, but it looks to be over 1500 miles. We plan to leave the very beginning of July and give ourselves five weeks to get everything in. We are wanting to attend the Loveland Sculpture Invitational and Sculpture in the Park in Colorado during the weekend of August 7-9, so we need to be finished by then. Our start date has some flexibility to it, and we want to make sure that we have the time we need to really enjoy our first tour. All we have to do is finish up the route planning, keep training, order needed gear (camping, bike repair, spare trike parts & accessories,and limited tour specific clothing), and move into our new rental cabin in Alaska (it is gorgeous). I am sure that there is something I am not considering or that I am just forgetting. Steph will let me know when she double checks this post…probably point out that I didn’t mention the need to work through the rest of the summer and spring. That is certainly my nature.
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Info Cards: We cannot spend time with everyone!
Saturday June 20, 2009
We saw another journal that the cyclist made up some small info/business cards about his tour, and the CGOB website. It seemed like a great idea as we have already been stopped on our training rides losing time in explaining what the trikes are and what we are doing. So we made up some of our own. We think they came out pretty nice!
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Monday June 15, 2009
Our proposed equipment list is a composition of items we think we will need and/or want, and the items we have seen on equipment lists from other cylce tourist’s blogs. I would imagine there won’t be much on our list that really differs from other lists, but I am going to line it all out here anyways. Maybe it will be of assistance in the future to someone else wanting head out on a bike tour…or better yet, a trike tour. The list will grow, shrink, morph, and be reworked several times I am sure over the months leading up to our departure date. If you have any recommendations on any of the items we have yet to get feel free to let us know.
08 Catrike Expedition (Jeremy)
05 Catrike Pocket (Stephanie)
Our Trike Accessories:
Arkel Tail bag
LG Tail bag
Camelbak Stowaway (2 each)
NiteRider MiniNewt headlights
Crank Brothers Acid and Candies Pedals
Planet Bike SuperFlash blinkies (2 each trike)
Other small blinkies (3)
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires
Halt! Dog repellent
Tool and Trike Replacement Parts/Accessories:
Metric Allen Wrench set
20″ Tire (Schwalbe Marathon)
26″ Tire (Schwalbe Marathon)
20″ Tube (2)
26″ Tube (1)
16″ Tube for trailers
Slime Quick Patches
wrench Metric size 13
Bob Yak Trailer
Actionbent Folding Cargo Trailer
LockSafe locking cargo net
On Bike Clothes and Accessories:
Bell Citi Helmets
Keen Commuter cycling sandals
Jerseys (2 each)
Riding shorts (2 each)
Ex-Officio Give-n-Go underwear (2 each)
Cycling socks (3 pr each)
Marmot rain gear
Hands Free radios – Midland 20 mile
Off Bike Colthes and Accessories:
Light long sleeve fleece (1 each)
Shorts (1 pr each)
T-shirt (2 each)
All the Rest:
Sierra Design 2 person backpacking tent
North Face mummy bags
Therma rest sleeping pad/camp chair kits
Inflatable camp pillow
MSR Whisperlight campstove
Katadyn Hiker H2O filter
GSI Dualist cookware
GSI French Press Cup
Solar battery charger
Assorted batteries and chargers (AA, AAA, computer, cell phone…etc)
First Aid Kit
Never Fail Lighter*
Canon 10mgp digital camera
MSR Paktowels (2)
Dr. Bronners soap
Nalgene bottle for washing (2)
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Equipment Review: Finally! A review of some of the gear we chose last summer
Monday February 15, 2010
Sorry it took so long to get this posted. We know lots of folks are starting to plan their summer tours and wanted to offer some of the experiences we had with specific items in our equipment list.
Pros (absolute keepers for next time!)
* Marathon Supreme tires – NO flats in 600 miles!!!
* GSI Dualist cookware – compact, quick heating, wash bin,…
* Camelbak stowaways – versatile, insulated
* throat mic PTT (push to talk) hands free headsets – for midland radios we used Midland AVP-H8 Throat Mic with PTT Switch (for women or folks with small necks, wrap the back of the neckband with something to pull the mics farther back on your neck)
* MSR Paktowels – compact, quick drying, dries trike seat very well!
* Planet Bike SuperFlash blinkeys – the brightest we found and didn’t run through batteries too quickly
* NiteRider MiniNewt headlight – very bright, plug in to recharge
* Inflatable camp pillow – compact but added comfort
* Solio Solar charger – able to recharge MP3’s and headlights (USB port devices)
* Croc-type sandals – lightweight, comfortable
* ASUS Netbook – small, lightweight, good internet access
* RoadID bracelets – comfort for us and our loved ones knowing if something happened, contacts would be notified
Cons (we’ll do differently next trip!)
* Keen Commuter Sandals (Jer’s fell apart!)
* Marmot extralight rain coat – NOT waterproof!!!
* HUGE Dell laptop!!! – Overkill!
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Training Efforts: Winter/Spring/NOW!
Wednesday June 17, 2009
For our everyday physical activity I walk to the local coffee house every morning (3 miles round trip), Steph rides her mt. bike to school every day(6 mile round trip), and at least three days a week I ride my mt. bike to meet her for coffee after she is done with school. When the snow has allowed the opportunity we have gone snowshoeing. We either walk or ride our bikes for most errands and activities outside of our routine. As mentioned elsewhere we are really trying to break our dependency on our car. Our actual efforts to prepare physically for the bike trip consist of riding my Expedition on an indoor trainer at least three days a week. I ride for an hour most times, with the occasional two hour go. Those initial rides were a distance of 9-11 miles, and after a couple of weeks of triking my hour distances are up to 11-15 miles. I try to get a 20+ mile ride in once a week, with plans to increase that longer distance ride each week or two. Steph started with riding 6.5 miles three days a week on the trike in addition to her daily commuting ride. Steph is good about stretching after her triking, and I really need to start a stretching routine myself. We both know that it will be a necessary habit for us on the trip. It is our intention to increase our riding time, stamina, and distance consistently over the next several months until we can comfortably ride 30+ miles indoors. Once Steph’s summer break begins we will start doing several longer day rides on the road, and take two overnight shakedown rides of at least 50 miles each way fully loaded.
We made it down to the lower 48 (a little Alaska lingo for you all!) and have shifted the training to high gear to make sure we are ready for our July 1st start date. We’re currently visiting Jeremy’s wonderfully sweet grandparents in Oakdale, California. They have ever so graciously let us “explode” all over their house with our bike stuff. We’ve gone for a 10-20 mile training ride each day since we’ve been down here. We have been incredibly impressed with how bike-friendly the town of Oakdale is as we’ve ridden all around town. They have established bike lanes on many roads, signs showing the safest bike route to follow, running/biking trails around some of the newer subdivisions, and particularly friendly people who cheerfully say “Good morning” as we pass. The trikes have certainly garnered many inquisitive looks which Jeremy and I are growing more accustom to as we ride.
The plan from here is to continue our training rides extending them little by little each day until we head north to Kellogg, Idaho to join the folks getting together for TOT ’09. We’ll camp on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene for a couple of days prior to TOT training on that well established bike trail. We haven’t had time to do any shake-down rides yet, so the camping days are our opportunity to pack everything in the trailers and head out on 30-40 mile rides to see how it feels. We’ll make any necessary “cuts” in gear at that time if we’ve overloaded ourselves. Then we’ve got 3 days scheduled to njoy the TOT festivities and rides. July 1st…it’s down to Lewiston, Idaho/Clarkston, Washington for the start of our tour.
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First Packing Session: Let’s see how this is going to work…
Saturday June 20, 2009
Today we pulled out all of the gear we intend to take on the trip and laid it out to get a good look at how crazy we are. Everything was laid out on a tarp first to photograph for your viewing pleasure and possible snickering criticism. I couldn’t imagine it all fitting in those two trailer bags, but it did!! We had been joking for a week that we would have to lay it all out, make a hard cut, then make another hard cut to get things down to an amount that would actually fit. I am a notorious over packer when travelling and backpacking. Even now the voices in my head are trying to talk me into ways to fill the empty spaces in my bag! Mind you, we didn’t have any food to pack in on trikes yet, so we know some more room will be used up. Stephanies is good at quieting the voices, and nothing more will make its way from my suitcase into the bag…really.
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Northbound: Oregon has big bugs!
Monday June 22, 2009
We are travelling north today, via automobile, making our way to WA/ID for TOT 09′. We have some errand running to do (shipping furniture to Sitka via Seattle…that sort of thing) before getting to the Idaho panhandle for a few days of camping, shakedown rides, and of course rediculous good times with other trikers (see TOT post to get an idea of what will be going on in Kellogg).
We had a great time visiting with my grandparents in Oakdale, and getting in our longest string of riding days so far. We spent last night in Gridley visiting with my dad, sister, her husband, and nephew. Everyone enjoyed getting to ride the trikes around their neighborhood last night, and maybe, just maybe, a trike or two will be seen in their garage in the near future. We are glad to be on the road though and making our way closer to days filled with riding!
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Tri-Cities WA: A ride on the Sacagawea Heritage Trail
Wednesday June 24, 2009
We had a real short stay in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state. On Wednesday morning we got out for a ride on the Sacagawea Heritage trail along the Columbia River. It was a really nice ride, but our computer started giving us some trouble so we didn’t know how far we rode. Oh well, it was a good ride none the less. One more day and we will be getting to ride more and more.
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Camping in Cataldo ID: Just a couple of days till TaterTOT 09′
Monday June 29, 2009
We spent Friday and Saturday camping at an RV park in Cataldo ID right off the Trail of the Couer d’Alenes. It was great to finally get focused on riding! We set up camp and went for about a twenty mile ride toward Kellogg ID. The trail was wonderful winding along the river through shady pines.
Saturday we set out for our longest ride to Harrison ID and back to camp. A 50 mile round trip. The trail was a little busier, but not too bad. In Harrison we stopped at a great ice cream shop for double scoops that made the ride back a bit tougher. We had a slight delay while a cow moose and her two calves lingered on the trail trying to decide which pool of water to dine in. We stayed far enough away to be safe, which was too far to get a photo.
It was an early night for us after 50 miles.
Sunday morning before heading to Kellogg for TaterTOT we took the time to get in a quick 18 mile ride. There was plenty of wildlife out on the trail in the cool morning air. After our ride we loaded the car again for the short drive to Kellogg.
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TaterTOT 09′: Possibly one of the strangest gatherings I have participated in…just what we were hoping for!
Monday June 29, 2009
Sunday night was the start of TaterTOT 09′, a gathering of recumbent tricycle enthusiasts, and all around goofy poeple. We felt at home right away. There was a huge grilled dinner and social meet-n-greet in front of the Baymont Inn, that soon graduated into a beer swilling race of trikes around the parking lot. Too many malted hops were imbibed to have thought about bringing out the camera to record any of the festivities.
Monday morning (late for us) a good size group of us headed to Mullan from Kellogg. It was great to see another portion of the trail. We stopped in the adorable town of Wallace for lunch, and made a quick stop at the local bike shop in Kellog (conveniently located right on the trail).
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Fourth of July Holiday in the Columbia River Basin: how two knuckleheads from Alaska flub the start of a tour…
Thursday July 2, 2009
So we had to make some changes to the intended start date and location for our trip. Who knew the Columbia River was a hotspot for the Fourth of July Weekend Holiday!?! Clearly many many folks from the local area. Well, the two of us were regrettably clueless (not too big of a surprise for those that really know us). Fortunately we are very flexible, and the realization that campsites would be limited over the weekend didn’t shake us too much. The lack of campsites combined with the heat wave that hit the area left us needing to modify the start of our trip.
The new plan is to start a bit further west along the Columbia River Basin, and a day later than originally planned. We will camp tonight at Crow Butte Campground and ride to Biggs OR. The only place to stay within a reasonable ride the first day is in a motel. We will evaluate the weekend goals from the motel and see how much we want to push through the heatwave. Temperatures are supposed to begin dropping Monday, and we will plan to be back on track at that point.
We rode the Latah Trail between Moscow and Troy yesterday morning. It was classic palouse scenery with some pretty good climbing sections. We rode with the trailers 3/4 of the way packed in anticipation of the weeks to come.
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Day 1- Crow Butte Park, WA to Biggs Junction, OR: The Columbia River Basin kicked our butts!
Friday July 3, 2009, 58 miles (93 km) – Total so far: 58 miles (93 km)
After a nice evening and night camping at Crow Butte Park getting last minute details ready such as reflective stickers on our trailers, we woke up at 3:45am to beat the heat and set off on the road by around 5:30am. The first 5 hours went great! We were clipping along at a nice even pace, managing the hills just fine, and actually braking some on the downhills because we’d pick up so much speed things would get a bit squirrley!
The first hurdle…the chip-sealed roads. It is definitely true…chip-sealed roads SUCK for bikes. They were so much slower than the normal pavement! But, we pushed through and continued along.
2nd hurdle…the HEAT! I’m not sure, but the heat index out there with no shade and in a dry area like this had to be around 95 at least! We stopped under a small shade tree to cool off for 10 min. or so before the BIG hill.
3rd hurdle…the climb just west of the John Day Dam. Now we know what that little slanted upward line on the maps means! The incline wasn’t too steep, it was just LONG and in the heat it literally kicked our butts! We stopped about 3/4 of the way up under another little shade tree to cool off and push through the rest of the climb. At the top, all of our energy miraculously came back! We pedaled the remaining 6 miles to a fruit stand just outside of Biggs where some fresh cherries and an orange tasted amazing! FYI…the downhill getting down to Biggs and that fruit stand was STEEP and had very little shoulder to ride on!
All that was left was crossing the bridge over the river (yea! the first part of our title – CHECK!) and checking into a motel as all the campsites anywhere around here were booked for the holiday we forgot about! We relaxed, showered, napped, and hit the hay early (thus the reason why this post isn’t getting on until the morning of the 4th!…I fell asleep on the job!!!). We’re getting ready now for day 2. Pictures will be added a bit later today or tomorrow.
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Day 2-Biggs OR to just outside of Bingen OR: Short day to avoid the heat and stealth camping!
Saturday July 4, 2009, 40 miles (65 km) – Total so far: 98 miles (158 km)
Our wonderful fore thought about a booming holiday weekend on the Columbia River left us with very few options for camping locales. We were able to find a tent site just west of Bingen OR. Fortunately for us that meant a relatively short day. We got out the door and on the trikes at about 6am…sounds fairly early. The problem is that we still have yet to leave when we actually intend to. We are getting closer though. Those of you that know me I am sure are not surprised. Our morning routine will get more and more into the groove as we go. Maybe we will actually leave when we intend a few times in the five weeks! If not the world will keep spinning just fine.
The ride today was really nice. It was pretty warm early in Biggs, but the headwind, while making things a little more difficult, was cool. There was little to no traffic on the frontage road most of the way to The Dalles, and the morning was gorgeous on the river. We had to jump on I-84 for about five miles, but it wasn’t as scary as we thought it would be. There was plenty of road debris and roadkill to dodge, but we made it fine. One of the wonderful and seldom mentioned benefits of touring on trikes is the sampling of well aged decaying flesh odors. I am sure I will never smell a rotting carcass again without my olfactory senses bringing me rushing back to memories of this crazy trike trip. The climbing was mild today, and our legs were appreciative after yesterdays quad buster into Biggs.
The absolute best part of the day though was second breakfast in the town of Lyle WA. We saw the Lyons were having a fund raising pancake breakfast. We were there just as they were wrapping it up, but they warmly invited us in and fired back up a griddle. We ate too much and had great conversation with some locals. A big thanks to the Lyons!
We are almost out of this heat wave. Tomorrow we have a beast of a hill to climb just past Skamania WA, so we intend to get a real early start. The temps that direction are only supposed to hit the mid 80’s, but the humidity will be a bit higher. Portland is our intended destination. Things should get a lot cooler past Portland with some forecasted showers in the mix. Bring the rain! For now, some pizza and beer in Bingen waits our arrival. We’ll let you know if we see any of the fireworks from Hood River over on the other side.
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Day 3-Bingen OR to Portland OR: A day that was longer than it needed to be.
Sunday July 5, 2009, 77 miles (124 km) – Total so far: 175 miles (282 km)
We got off to an early start(4am)after a long night of blasting fireworks and noisy neighbors in the campground. Across the river at the town of Hood River there was a big July 4th fireworks show that sounded amazing from the cheers of onlookers down at the riverbank. We were just too tired, and knew we had to get up too early to watch the show. We hit the road in the dark and enjoyed a nice cool morning ride.
The ride was quiet for the most part, which was surprising cosidering that we figured weekend vacationers would be heading home all day from their perspective camping areas. Lucky for us! We came to a series of tunnels that were really fun to ride through since there was so little traffic for us to deal with. There were signals to notify vehicles that cyclists were in the tunnels which made us feel safer either way. We took a quick break at this beautiful lake for their bathrooms,some stretching,and a snack. It gave a good opportunity for some first light photos.
We had a big climb waiting for us just after Skamania on the way to Portland, and somehow once again the trikes knew we would need some extra energy and focus.
There were some pretty good smaller climbs leading to the larger grade, but the shade provided by the many trees made the whole morning pretty pleasant. We took it slow and easy, with a handful of breaks to stretch and snack. I was really surprised at how many recumbent cyclists we saw coming down the grade as we were going up. There weren’t any other trikes, but it was still great to see recumbent in any form represented to heavily. Needless to say the recumbent guys and gals were far more friendly to us with encouragement and waves than were there saddle suffering counterparts on the hill. Unfortunately we were too focused on and engaged in our climb to take any photos of the recumbent folks as they went screaming by us. But we did manage to get a few photos.
The downhill off the climb was intense to say the least with narrow shoulders and much of the traffic that we didn’t see in the morning. We made it safe and sound to a Safeway in Washougal WA where we devoured some fried chicken and cornbread. Yeah, not a very healthy or nutritional choice, but we were fried ourselves. We still had about 15 to 20 miles to our motel in Portland, so lunch was rather quick. It was getting pretty warm, but not nearly as bad as the last couple of days. Everything went pretty well getting in for the night, except for a slight detour (5 miles) into Vancouver WA. By the time we got into the motel, seriously not one of Portlands finer establishments, we were spent and pretty cranky. Fortunately for us our friends Randy, Tom, and Greg came to take us for dinner and a couple of beer which rescued us from our bad case of the downers. In no time they us laughing and ready to face a night in our low buget digs for the night. The best of Portland still lay ahead of us…a breakfast of giant pancakes called “mancakes” at the Stepping Stone Cafe. We learned about the place watching Man vs. Food on the Travel channel. We’ll take some photos at breakfast.
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Day 4-Portland, OR to St. Helens, OR: MANcakes and a possible sports related injury???
Monday July 6, 2009, 30 miles (49 km) – Total so far: 205 miles (331 km)
We woke up this morning after a dead sleep last night from such a LONG day. First thing on our mind…MANcakes! We showered, called a cab, and headed to Stepping Stone Cafe for the biggest pancakes we’ve ever seen. On Jeremy’s insistence, we ordered a full stack (3) of MANcakes (literally the size of a large dinner plate and hanging off the edges a bit even)and a full order of biscuits and gravy (one of our favorites!).
Our eyes were definitely too big for our stomaches! We barely got through 3/4 of the MANcakes and most of our biscuits and gravy. Not too bad I suppose. Great coffee as well(the trikes certainly were jealous about being left out!). Then we packed up the room and headed on the roads of Portland. We made it only a little ways into the ride when Jeremy’s achilles tendon started paining him again. It had been hurting at the tail end of the ride yesterday as well. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it isn’t anything more than an overworked tendon that with some ice and a bit of easy riding and rest will get better.
We made it as far as St. Helens, OR when we decided to stop. After motel days, we had planned to go shorter but wanted to really make this a short day to not make the tendon worse. We found a campsite, rode to Safeway to grab a quick dinner (and look up some stretches for achillies tendons which Jeremy is doing right now while I type!) and will be heading back to camp to crawl into warm sleeping bags and get some sleep. We’ll see what the plan is for tomorrow when we wake up.
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Day 5-St. Helens OR to Clatskanie OR: Limping along the Lewis & Clark Trail…
Tuesday July 7, 2009, 37 miles (60 km) – Total so far: 243 miles (391 km)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RISLEY!!!! Just wanted to get that out there first. It is my brothers birthday, and he is at home in Sitka watching our two dogs for us! We miss you Ris!
We decided to start late today and make it a short one for the sake of my achilles. I am definitely having some light pain, particularly while climbing…not that there is much of that (note the tone of sarcasm). We hit the road at about one in the afternoon after consuming a huge Safeway hoagie type sandwich. There isn’t too much to report on the early part of the ride. The climbs were short with some nice scenery. There wasn’t much in the way of ammenities in many of the small towns we rode through, so grabbing supplies for dinner in Rainier was challenging. We got creative, and came up with something that was divine only after a climb like the one out of Ranier. My achilles handled the day fairly well with a little help from an ankle support wrap we picked up in St. Helens. Our RV campground was just at the bottom of the hill coming into Clatskanie (Perkins Creek Campground, not listed on the current ACA maps). It is one of the nicest places we have stayed so far. In fact, it is so nice that we decided a rest day would be good for us and my aching achilles. Thanks to Ken and Diana for such a restful and enjoyable stop! We hope to get on to a longer ride for tomorrow arriving in either Astoria or Seaside, and beginning the Pacific Coast portions of our ACA maps.
At this point injury is slowing us down a bit, but we are determined to press on as well as we can. Maybe it will affect our final destination, maybe it won’t. We are here for the journey, not the finish line, so either way we will have an amazing time. (Don’t worry Grandma, you’re house is still the finish line. The route might just vary from the original plan!;)) For now we press on like garden snails towards our intended goal! Charge!!!!
The second best part of the day was dinner…not normal fare, but we loved it!
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Day 6-Rest day in Clatskanie, OR: Rest, relaxation, laundry,…
Wednesday July 8, 2009
With Jeremy’s achillies acting up and such a nice campground we found yesterday, we decided late last night that we’d sleep in and really take a full rest day today. Try to give that achillies a real chance to recuperate some before the climbs to the coast. We had our instant oatmeal and french press coffee this morning and rode the 2 miles into town for a bit of errand catching-up. We hit the laundry facility first.
Lucky for us, Subway was just across the street. Second stop…$5 footlongs! Yum!
With full bellies, we closed our eyes and let the trikes take us where they wanted to go…
We’ve been able to look up some things online and update this journal which has been nice (and of course enjoy some great coffee!).
From here, we’ll ride back to the campground, I’ll turn into our bike mechanic and do a few little adjustments we’ve needed to do for a few days, and possibly even get in a game of chess or cards. Dinner tonight…Safeway surprise!
Ok, so right after dinner the rain started!!! As you can see from our photos we were set up on a stage at the campground, out in the open! We had to quickly unload and move the tent. It rained on and off for the whole night, but our tent did its job and kept us warm and dry.
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Day 7-Clatskanie OR to Seaside OR: Testing my achilles with a little more distance and a couple of good hills…
Thursday July 9, 2009, 61 miles (98 km) – Total so far: 303 miles (488 km)
The morning start was cold and wet with our mesh seats fairly soaked. This is a good opportunity to recommend one of the items we have been very pleased with on this trip. The MSR Paktowl is great! It is kind of like those SHAMWOW! things you see on the crazy infommercials, but without having to order from the TV. We got ours at REI. Anyways, they have been perfect for us. They did a great job drying off our seats, and we were able to wring them out easy breezy. We managed to leave camp around 6:30 (only about a half hour later than we intended), and headed the two miles into town. Even though we put up a good fight the trikes had a detour planned before the day could really get going.
Caffeine addiction fed we headed on to our first climb of the morning. My achilles was feeling pretty good, but we still took is slow in our smallest rings.
While doing laundry on our rest day in Clatskanie a fella that rides recumbent bikes with his wife stopped to chat some. He warned us about Hwy101, and recommended that we have fish and chips at this cool little spot in Astoria. He told us that is a little boat, a bowpicker, off the road just across from the Maritime Museum. Sure enough, we got into town a ways and there was this cool old boat with a pretty good line of folks waiting for fish and chips (always a good sign).
After the one big climb there we several smaller ones into Astoria. We stopped at one point for a little pre-lunch peanut butter and bagels. Brother John happpened to call on the cell while we were stopped to check up on us. It is always good to hear from him. So we chatted a bit while I ate my snack.
We didn’t linger long in Astoria because we still had a good climb to tackle right before Seaside…or so we thought. This is where our last Lewis&Clark Route map and first Pacific Coast Route maps overlapped. The climbs suggested for the route between Astoria and Seaside seemed exaggerated to us. Maybe we are just getting better at hill climbing!?! I am not sure I buy that yet! Either way, the ride to Seaside was pretty nice, and getting to the top of the climb to see the ocean was awesome!
We dropped into Seaside and went straight to Bud’s Campround to settle into our tent site for the night. We were pretty tired after 60 miles of riding, and decided to spoil ourselves for dinner.
We were done with dinner by 7:30, had hot showers by 8:00, and passed out by 9:00 after looking over maps some to see where we might want to go next. We decided to spend a day in Seaside letting my achilles heal up more. I felt very little pain on todays ride, and anticipate that with one more day of rest it will be problem free.
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Day 8-Rest Day in Seaside: Another one already!?!
Friday July 10, 2009, 11 miles (18 km) – Total so far: 314 miles (506 km)
We spent a great day in Seaside today. The trikes took us to a nice little coffee shop where we could get online and get all caught up on emails and whatnot. After a couple of hours there it was down to the beach to relax in our seats and enjoy the breeze from the ocean. We basically just lounged around Seaside. Went to see a movie, shopped for dinner supplies at Safeway, and had our first campfire of the trip. The campground got pretty crowded while we were away, but it wasn’t too rowdy. We had quality dinner of cheddarwurst and corn on the cob cooked over the fire. There was of course some marshmallow and chocolate consumed by fireside to close out the night. There are a couple of good climbs on the maps for tomorrow, so we are going to keep the mileage a bit short.
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Day 9-Seaside to Bar View Jetty RV & Campground: Soggy start for our first day on the infamous 101!
Saturday July 11, 2009, 41 miles (66 km) – Total so far: 356 miles (572 km)
Today started out just lovely. Rain was pouring down on our tent and trikes pretty hard around 2:30am. That is just a wonderful thing to wake up to when you know the alarm clock is going to go off in another 2.5 hours. We wanted to get an early start knowing that we had a couple of hardy looking climbs, and our first experience riding on the infamous Hwy101. Something about the rain and cold though seems to slow time when the inevitable outcome of getting out of your sleeping bag is a ride starting in a wet mesh seat! We slowly dragged out of bed, packed things up, and lifted our mood by eating an entire box of $.99 Cocoa Rice Krispies! It was not easy, but we were on a mission…to fuel ourselves with enough empty sugar carbs to launch our day. I don’t think we left camp until around 7!
We headed into the lovely town of Seaside for a little more Safeway shopping, a huge sandwich for lunch and a revisit of Rainier’s Frito Surprise. Then on to the sign that signalled the end of the Lewis&Clark Route for us, and the start of our Pacific Coast Route journey.
With our emotional bit of closure finished (actually there was just a pee stop in the bathrooms just out of picture frame) we headed for our first day on the 101. We had been hearing horror stories from so many folks along the way about how difficult the 101 was going to be for us. “Oh, the hills…they are tough on the cars!” “There is no shoulder! How will you fit on that road!?!” We were expecting the worst, but it wasn’t that bad. Maybe our early days on the 14 along the Columbia River prepared us a little for narrower shoulders. The traffic was certainly heavy, but other than a few small bridges, and a couple of bonehead tourons parking in the bike lane it wasn’t all bad. There was a tunnel on one stretch that was white knuckle and mad spinning the whole way, but we made it through just fine.
Not unlike the infamy of Hwy101, the climbs seemed a bit overrated. There was certainly plenty of climbing today, but the “big” ones today didn’t seem too tough. Maybe we are getting stronger, and maybe Lewis and Clark just traveled tougher terrain. When that map warned of a hill, there was a HILL! But I digress, I am certainly not complaining of a reprieve in the difficulty of the climbing. There was a good bit today, and there will be plenty more tomorrow. For tonight we are at a very crowded public campground (Steph’s choice)that we paid $20!!! for. There were supposed to be hiker/biker sites for only $5 per person, but they let fossil fuel burning monsters and their slaves have the spots. What is Oregon trying to say to those that choose simpler travel options!?! I cannot say I am too surprised at this point. Fortunately the campers all around us are friendly folks. Kids are playing catch, while parents catch up with one another next to the campfire. I am about done with today’s journal entry, and dinner is as simple as opening a bag of chips, a can of refried beans, and some queso. Night!
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Day 10-Bar View Jetty-Pacific City: The Oregon coast barks and the 101 bares its teeth a.k.a: a wet cold day on the trikes
Sunday July 12, 2009, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 396 miles (637 km)
Well today was a fairly rough day. It seems that my remarks about things not being too bad on the 101 came back to bite us in the rear just a bit. We had intentions of starting at 5am to ride around 60 miles, but we were awakened by thunder (the bark of the coast) before our alarm sounded. A quick check of weather.com showed a sever thunderstorm warning for Tillamook county,right where we were,until 8am. Not wanting to ride around on hunks of metal in a thunderstorm we crawled back into our bags and slept until 7am. We managed to get on the soggy road, on our rain soaked trikes, around 8:30am. Our plans for 60 miles today were out the window, but there were several potential overnight spots at shorter intervals along the coast. The new plan was to ride over the one big hill in our way, and see how we felt.
The morning started slow and I was cranky. I was tired of wet starts to the day, and this day had extended wetness with misty conditions for most of the ride. When we hit Tillamook, about 10 miles into the day, I decided that pancakes and coffee were in order to set my mood straight. It didn’t take much arm twisting to get Steph into that idea. The Pancake House had just what we needed, and sure enough, my mood was lifted before the second cup of coffee was poured. I wish I could say that the weather lifted some, but it just didn’t. For the most part it just misted throughout the morning.
The night before we went onto the Cycling the Oregon Coast website and looked into the info on road shoulder width for our next days ride. It didn’t look too good after Tillamook. So we left the Pancake house with good spirits, but some concern about what 101 had in store for us. We were right to be concerned. The shoulders, what there were of them, were narrow.
The next part of our wonderful day was the climb. Up to this point the maps seemed to over emphasize the climbs, but not today. We had a brutal quadbuster that seemed to go on and on. There was a bit of rain, and plenty of mist. When we did reach the top, finally, there was thick fog. The plus was that there was a wide shoulder for us all the way to the summit, but it didn’t last. As soon as we crested the shoulder disappeared. Very unnerving. With the fog we were concerned about visibility, but we were going to hang up on top of the hill in the rain.
We made a slow, and controlled descent of the hill with no issue. At the bottom we consulted our maps and decided to ride on another 11 miles or so to Pacific City to check out the local campgrounds. We didn’t get more than about a mile before the rain started coming and coming. By the time we hit Cape Kiwanda, just outside of Pacific City, we were soaked, cold, and not wanting to camp in the downpour. There was an inn right in Cape Kiwanda, but $130 is not in our budget. We stopped into their coffee shop for an Americano to warm up and get our thoughts straight. Steph remembered that the maps showed some motels in Pacific City. Fortunately for us we found a very nice place, the Anchorage Motel, for just $55! At this point we didn’t really care what kind of condition the motel was in (that is saying a lot after our Portland motel experience), but we were lucky. This is a very clean and cute motel. The rooms are almost like a B&B with each one having their own color scheme and different decoration. The owners are wonderful, it is warm and dry, and in our price range. There was a market just about half a mile down the road with hot baked chicken, Tillamook ice cream on sale, and 20oz bottles of Alaskan Amber. The day may not have started great, but has ended well.
We are planning to be back on for a 60 mile day tomorrow. The weather is supposed to improve with temps in the 60’s and no rain! Check back tomorrow night to see how we do!
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Day 11-Pacific City OR to Newport OR: rain, hills, and FINALLY…the Beach!
Monday July 13, 2009, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 456 miles (733 km)
After a well rested (well, for me anyway…Jeremy had noisy neighbors keeping him awake with loud laughter til 12:30am), WARM motel night in Pacific City, we woke up ready to start a new day with a nice weather forecast predicting only a 10% chance of rain for the morning. I looked out the window first thing and saw no drops landing in the puddles. Wet trikes, but they could be dried off I thought. We had a nice warm breakfast (noticing the warm trend???) of instant oatmeal and coffee, packed up our trailer bags, filled our water bladders and bottles, and set out the door to attach the trailers to the trikes. Slight mist starting to fall…no big deal. We can handle mist. We get everything loaded onto the trikes, the seats dried off with towels, and do a last minute check of the room to make sure we didn’t forget anything. No sooner did we sit down on our trikes than the clouds opened up and rain started pouring from the sky! With everything ready to go and the forecast not PREDICTING rain, we decided we’d just better get on the road and push through it. Within 3 minutes we are both soaked! Oh well…it will stop soon I keep thinking. 4 hours later…Yep, FOUR HOURS…the rain finally decided we’d had enough punishment and the rest of the ride we got a chance to dry out a bit.
The hills from the day before were tough and looking at the maps, we had only one pretty big hill today. Well, had that hill been the only one and had the ACA maps scenic detours off the 101 not also been littered with ups and downs, we might have enjoyed the remainder of our non-raining ride. But, one detour after another sent us twisting and turning, climbing and bumping, all down the route. Slowly our emotional and physical stores we’d procured from the motel night diminished.
When we finally made it to Newport…our destination simply because I’d read on another journal’s post about Mo’s “bucket” of clam chowder…we were spent. The last detour took us around the entire town of Newport so we had no idea where Mo’s was (all the previous towns with Mo’s had big signs telling where they were) and the detour dumped us right at the big bridge we had to cross to get to the campground we planned on staying in. No problem except for the fact that the way back to town on the bridge had the long climb and of course not enough sidewalk room for the trikes. So, we had to ride on the road and hold up traffic (which, surprisingly enough, car drivers here in Oregon have been extremely patient with us thus far on the trip!). We deliberated on what to do…find Mo’s back in town, set up camp then go back to town, or set up camp and do dinner in camp with something from a market we’d hopefully pass along the way. The latter won out after we barely made it across the bridge (our legs were so shot after 60 miles of riding!). The campground (South Beach State Park) turned out to have a great hiker/biker area where we were able to grab a site for $8/night. After a hot meal of cheddar dogs and kettle chips, we warmed up by the fire and hit the hay.
**the laptop’s about to run out of juice so we’ll post pictures of the day tomorrow and write about our rest days(yep 2 this time due to the lovely beach 1/4 mile away from our tent and the wonderful campground here).
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Day 12-Rest day one in Newport (Southbeach State Park): I got some brown shoes…very brown
Tuesday July 14, 2009, 10 miles (16 km) – Total so far: 466 miles (749 km)
Today was the first of two days that we decided we needed to spend at Southbeach State Park. The campground is really nice, and there is a trail going straight to a beautiful stretch of beach. We have found that on most of our rest days the actual “rest” time is limited due to errand running…laundry, journal writing, grocery shopping, etc. Since this is the closest we have come to camping ON the beach it is a great place to spend a couple of days.
The first day is for the errand running and doing what we originally came to Newport for: a BUCKET of clam chowder at MO’s! The worst part about heading into town for errands was knowing that we had to go back over the bridge. Especially considering that this time we had the steeper part to start.
Our first stop in town was Bike Newport, a great bike shop that has a lounge, shower, and laundry for cycle tourists. What an amazing place, and great folks. We did some laundry, and a bit of necessary shopping. My Keen Commuter sandals have been falling apart on me for the last several days, and I think, possibly contributing to my achilles tendon pain. The stitching on the sides has come loose, and the neoprene is showing strain. The heel strap constantly slips down on my heel, and causes issues during the ride. This seems particularly true during hill climbing. So I checked out the shoe selection at the shop. They didn’t have much my size. My Keens are size 12, and I tried on a couple of pairs of 12 mountain biking shoes. Unfortunately they we all too small, short on toe space. Elliot, the shop owner, started telling me the story of a pair of 13.5 Bontrager MTB shoes that he special ordered for I think the mayor’s son. Crazy enough they were TOO SMALL for he guy! He was joking that the staff were going to bury him with useless bike shop stuff when he died, and he was sure those shoes would be in his coffin. Half jokingly we figured I should at least try them on…you know where this is going. That’s right, they fit. There was a bit more toe room than I needed, but the deal he offered me to unload those shoes was too good to pass up. Never mind that fact that I really didn’t know how much longer my Keens were going to hold out. So, now I am the proud owner of one pair of hideously brown, very comfortable Bontrager MTB shoes originally ordered for a guy with giant feet!
Before we left the shop we met Steve Greene, an author who is planning a trip from Florence OR to Death Valley CA and back on his Trice QNT trike. He will be starting in October and hoping to be home in November. We wish him the best of luck,and hope to read some about his adventure this fall on his blog. After visiting with Steve, gathering up our laundry, and not so quick resupply at Fred Meyer’s it was time for chowder at MO’s!
We were concerned that a “bucket” of chowder might be too much for us, but it wasn’t THAT big. We took it down easily!
With full bellies we headed back over the bridge and to our campground. A warm campfire and some roasted marshmallows rounded out a great rest day. Tomorrow is going to be even more mellow. No errands, just resting. We met a few guys that were part of a large cycle touring group that we had been seeing for the past few days on the 101. They were looking over our trikes with interest, and talking touring philosophy with us. They have a mellow mentality about making their way from Canada to Mexico. We are really settling in to this slower is better pace. They told us that a visit to the Rogue Brewery is a must on our next day. Not being ones to ignore such high recommendation a Rogue sampler platter will likely be on our agenda for tomorrow. Especially since there is a bike trail from the campground to the brewery…someone was thinking!
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Day13-Southbeach State Park Rest Day Numero Dos: reality check and hard to swallow decisions lead us to the Rogue Nation…and we liked it!
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 4 miles (6 km) – Total so far: 469 miles (756 km)
I think it is safe to say that right now we LOVE sleeping in. It took at least three different efforts from six thirty to eight am to roust ourselves out of bed. It was foggy this morning, and a little bit chilly…but in the tent, our wonderful tent, were warm sleeping bags that lulled us into a state of half awake/half asleep for over an hour and a half. It was probably in that dreamy state that we began to realize that our newly and zealously embraced philosophy of S-L-O-W might not get us where we thought we ought to be at the end of our journey in July. Now mind you, we don’t really care, but there are logistical matters to attend regarding our car, our trikes, and a return to Alaksa. At best these were fleeting thoughts quickly given over to a desire for coffee and oatmeal. Surely such concerns at the END of this trip can find time later in a rest day.
The coffee and oatmeal were as good as we hoped sitting in our fogged in campsite. The slight chill in the air made it easy for us to move to the hospitality center where we could tap into the readily available supplies of electricity, more coffee, and well, hospitality! There was quite a bit of email, journaling, and photo posting to do, so we spent the better part of the late morning/early afternoon holed up at the little table we staked out. The grumbling of our stomachs signaled that it was time to move on to yet another portion of the rest day schedule: lunch! (Yes, food has that kind of control on a trip such as this.) Much to our chagrin there was a patch of sun on the recently vacated campsite right next to ours, so we set up a temporary mess station. Warm ramen noodles, Fred Meyer’s brand cheese crackers, and diet cherry Dr. Pepper tended to our insides while the yellow sun warmed our outsides. The only problem with lunch was the sneaky realization that we should probably take a look at our maps and schedule. So we did. We looked, and we looked and we looked. There was only one conclusion that we could come to. San Francisco is as far as we are going to make it. We got online to see if there was any way to cycle from San Fran to Oakdale safely, but there is not. The first thing that popped up when we looked into cycling along the 580 was an article about a couple of cyclists that were killed. We are not willing to put ourselves at any more risk just to say that we triked past San Francisco. Not the mention the anxiety it would cause us and our loving friends and family members as we got closer to that time. Spending this time on the trikes is great no matter where we end. SO that is the plan. We will end the cycling/triking in San Francisco and turn to some form of fossil fuel munching contraption to get us “to Grandmother’s house we go”. Those of you journal readers that are quicker than others will have noticed that already changed the title of our tour to the…”Over the River and Through “SOME” Woods…” tour.
We figure we have already ridden through enough pine trees to cover that portion of the title. Never mind that there are still many hilly days to come through the CA redwoods. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program…
One of the best parts of the day was receiving a text message from one of my close friends, Lonni. Lonnis is another adventurous spirit, and he know is excited for us on this adventure. I had to call him and chat for a bit, and I don’t text. We had a great talk about trikes, the trip so far, and a bit of pipe dreaming about a cross country trip in the future. That is if we still want to do any more touring when this is done! Good luck kept smiling on us when I got a call from another great friend of mine and Steph’s, Claude. We met Claude and his daughter Serena in Sitka last summer. They were there visiting and doing some fishing at a local lodge. A quick conversation about Salmon berries was all it took for us all to hit it off. Claude lives just outside of San Fran, and we might just be able to get a visit in with he and Serena right when this trip ends. That would be a great way to wrap this up.
After phone calls were done there was just one place we wanted to go…the Rogue Nation Brewery. We hit the trail that ran straight from camp to the brewery, and within minutes had our maps out on the bar and a cold stout settling in my mug. We put together a travel plan that should be good for at least two days. A pint each and shared sample tray later we were enjoying a fun and foggy ride back to camp for dinner. I took more pictures of my big brown shoes hard at work…you know you wanted to see them!
Our meal tonight was a Skylake classic for us. The summer we met at camp we would buy bread, cheese and fruit for lunch on our days off together. We’d hang out on the lake somewhere and warm up the bread and cheese over an open fire. Tonight was the same, but opted for corn on the cob instead of fruit. Mushy, I know. We are reminded at times on this trip that it was ten years ago this summer that we met. For those of you that think we are crazy now, just wait. We have plans…such big plans. I love you Steph.
I am sleepy!
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Day 14-Newport OR to Florence OR: Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything’s right!
Thursday July 16, 2009, 52 miles (84 km) – Total so far: 521 miles (839 km)
Woke up early this morning ready to get back on the road. Feeling good. Get out of the tent…FOG. Heavy fog. Weather check said it wasn’t going to clear until around 9am. No biggy, we settled back in to our bags and slept a little more. Now we can get coffee at the hospitality center before we go! We finally pulled ourselves out of the tent around 8, and noticed to our horror that some evil creature had chewed a hole in Steph’s tailbag!
Fortunately steph is handy with what is available and she had it patched up in no time. Can’t blame the little critter for wanting some of our left over bread and cheese, I guess.
After visiting with a couple more cycle tourists that had come in later the night before we hit the road. I think it was around 9:30, the fog was gone, and the sun was shining! It was a glorious morning to be riding. The best part for me was that I was pedalling far more efficiently. My big brown shoes were working wonders! There definitely seems to be better power transfer with each pedal stroke. My heel is supported well, and my achilles feels ten times better. I like my Keens, but these MTB shoes might just be the ticket for me on the rest of this trip. We headed along a beautiful stretch of coast towards the town of Yachats…you quess how to pronounce that. We stopped in at the town market for supplies…ramen, some meatless lasagna noodle meal, and a couple of discount mojito drinks for tonight. We had lunch at a little diner by the road, that really wasn’t worth mentioning…the food was alright, but the too pricey.
Just after Yachats is a section of the map that we have been calling Dr. Seuss land. The four climbs in the stretch look like they are leaning in towards one another. We had no idea what that meant, but we were psyching ourselves out for it anyways.
Fortunately the climbs didn’t turn out to be too bad. We stopped at a scenic viewpoint to photograph the lighthouse at Heceta Bend, and right when pulled in a female peregrine falcon came off the cliff to ride the wind right over our heads. Just a few seconds later a second one came in to place a game of tag, and we watched them zoom along the coast making runs at small shorebirds. Amazing! That is three peregrines that I have seen on the trip so far. What a treat!
The peregrines were great, but there were more hills to climb after that. We were moving along pretty well still and decided to ride further today than originally planned. We were going to stop after about 35 miles at the Carl G. Washburn state park, but it was only 3:30 in the afternoon! So we decided to push on to Florence and even a little beyond to the Honeyman state campground. It will make for about a 50 mile day. Should be good, but there are still more hills before Florence. Up and down we go starting to get tired and needing a pick me up. What should the road fairies deliver? You won’t believe it…right there in the bike lane!
That’s right! An unopened box of Nilla Wafers!!! Unbelievable! That was just the pick me up we needed to roll into Florence. Once in town we made a quick pit stop to get fuel for our stove (it can run on a few different types of fuel, one being unleaded gasoline). The trikes wanted to see what all the hype was with these gas stations anyways!
Right now I am sitting at Safeway, updating this journal. The guy behind the hot food counter told that if we waited until 7:30 there would be a chef’s special on the chinese food. $3.99 for a heaping portion of noodles and some kind of chicken entree. By the way, it is 7:30 now. We are going to eat and head to Honeyman! Tomorrow is a short day to set up for crossing the big bridge in North Bend. More tomorrow!
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Day 15-Florence OR to Winchester Bay OR: A technological detour leads to a two short riding days plan
Friday July 17, 2009, 33 miles (54 km) – Total so far: 555 miles (893 km)
First let me start this entry with a huge thanks to Steve Greene of Florence. When we met Steve in Newport at the bike shop he told us about an affordable Asus netbook at Oregon Fastnet computer shop in Florence. I have been lugging around our 19″ Dell so far on this trip, and lamenting the added weight since about the third day riding. We debated whether a new computer was really worth the weight difference with only a couple of weeks left in the trip, but the coming climbs over the next week meant we needed to at least check it out.
We woke up at 7:30 this morning, had two cups of coffee with our oatmeal and headed back into town from Honeyman State Park. We were still undecided when we got to the store, but the minuscule size, feather weight (2 lbs!), and fact that we were able to purchase the floor model for more than 20% off the already low cost sealed the deal! Next stop…the local post office. We packaged up the behemoth Dell and a few other unnecessary items to ship to Grandma’s. In total we shipped off 22lbs out of my bag and gained a mere 2lbs. Not a bad transaction if you ask me.
With that all taken care of, and the new netbook securely zipped up in it’s new home in my tailbag, we set off for the campground to pack up before the 1pm checkout. We considered taking an unscheduled rest day due to the later, though worthwhile, start to the riding day. Instead we opted for two shorter days. We have a large bridge to cross in North Bend that we have to stage ourselves for. Our plan is to camp right before the bridge, get up at first light, and cross when traffic will hopefully be very light. Bikes are supposed to be walked across the bridge, but the trikes are much more difficult to walk. Not to mention the awkward position of walking them is by no means safer. So we have about 45 miles to North Bend, and we are going to break that into two mellow days. Todays ride had some climbing, which was a little tough due to warmer conditions of later afternoon. Mind you, it was probably only mid-60’s. We had a bit of encroachment from the sand dunes into our bike lane to deal with even! But we had a good riding day all in all, and made it to the town of Reedsport to an adorable coffee shop. I am crouched over this tiny netbook, drinking coffee, and struggling to find the right keys with my giant fingers! There might be more typos now in the journal, but I won’t miss the weight in my bag!
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Day 16-Winchester Bay OR to Hauser OR: Staging for the North Bend Bridge
Saturday July 18, 2009, 16 miles (26 km) – Total so far: 571 miles (919 km)
Our dinner of boxed “Hamburger Helper” style lasagna (without the hamburger that is!) and sourdough bread last night hit the spot! Dinner was of course after we missed the hiker/biker spot and rode down an extremely steep path that actually led to a lake, not the hiker/biker camp. Once we realized our mistake, we had to get back UP that awful path. Jeremy had to literally help push me and my trike up as I pedaled as hard as I could. He managed to get up pretty much on his own. I was there just in case he needed a push. We managed to salvage the night with dinner and excellent hot cocoa. Then into the tent and asleep we went.
This morning we woke up, had our usual oatmeal and coffee breakfast, broke camp, and headed down the 101 to the KOA near Hauser, OR which was the last camping area on the 101 before the steel bridge in North bend. It was a short day as you can tell from our mileage. We needed to make sure we were close and get enough sleep to wake super early tomorrow and cross that bridge when there will be the least amount of cars on the road since we won’t fit on the sidewalk with our trikes. So that’s the plan. For now, we picked up some snacks and oyster crackers to go with our ramen dinner tonight. We’re sitting in the KOA’s laundry room doing some much needed laundry. The KOA has a hiker/biker area but it is literally way back by their two shop buildings and on the map it doesn’t actually say “hiker/biker”…it says that area is the dog walking area. I’m sure you can imagine our excitement at paying $16 (since it was $8 per person not for the site!) and being stuck out in a patch of dead grass with a picnic table, no trees, and no shade. Thus, the laundry room hang out. We’re in the sun all day on the trikes. The last thing we’re looking to do when we have some hours of free time is “chill” in the sun! The staff here have been doing what they can to help make the stay a bit more comfortable like offering up a couple of electrical outlets on the shop to charge things up and the use of their Kamper Kitchen tent to cook in or hang out in to get out of the sun. Their efforts are helping make this a bit better.
The rest of the day is scheduled for some reading (I haven’t even cracked open the book I have yet and Jeremy’s reading as I type!), a bit of trike maintenance (soft brakes after that awful downhill trail last night!), showers, a bit of snacking on some fruit and crackers, and just hopefully relaxing some as we don’t get much of that! Tomorrow we’ll wake as early as we can to time it to hit the bridge when the sun comes up so drivers can see us but before most drivers get on the road. Now…let’s see if I can get any better at posting some pictures from today and yesterday now that we figured out how that works on this tiny little netbook…
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Day 17-Hauser OR to Langlois OR: The North Bend Bridge…much ado about nothing…at 5:30 in the morning…on a Sunday
Sunday July 19, 2009, 53 miles (85 km) – Total so far: 624 miles (1,004 km)
There was a beautiful crescent moon hanging over our dog poop filled patch of dead grass outside the Oregon Sand Dune KOA’s shop building (their fairly sad excuse for a $17 hiker/biker spot) this morning at 4am when we got up. Today was our day to charge the dreaded North Bend bridge that the ACA maps said bikers had to dismount and walk across. We were on the road a little after 5am and in a short 3 miles riding across the first of two bridges on the mile long stretch into North Bend. Strangely enough there were no signs directing cyclists to do anything, and the shoulder was more than generous even with our trikes. But the green giant still loomed in the slight distance…
We approached expecting signs and flashing lights warning cyclists of the eminent danger in crossing this heinous monster…nothing? Really? A quiet ride over a bridge, admittedly with little to no shoulder, like so many before? That was seriously anticlimactic. We decided, however, that all the unnecessary anxiety it caused us was still worth second breakfast at a local diner in Coos Bay. The Kozy Kitchen was our refuge for a good hour and half while we enjoyed coffee, chicken fried steak, potatoes, eggs, and a hefty stack of pancakes. We took our time, and worked as a team to take all the food down, but alas some pancake lived to see another day, or the inside of the diner trash can. Shameful I know, but the chef was trying to make it so we couldn’t ride again that morning with the pile of food he made for us!
With overly full stomachs and worry free minds it was time to hit the road. The ACA maps really let us down this morning, and we were concerned they were going to do it again that same day. We have enjoyed reading other crazyguy journals about the Pacific Coast route during our travels, and have seen more than one cyclist complain about the multiple climbs along the ACA’s scenic detour out of North Bend to a spot called the “Seven Devils”. We understand that this trip is about the adventure, and what amazing things we experience, but we are also practical. So far the scenic detours have added many miles, some great views, and many many more climbs. We have been under the impression that the 101 along these sections was unsafe or less desirable for cyclists. It was time for us to test this theory out, stay on the 101, and skip the “Seven Devil”. Man was that the right call. Wide shoulders and gradual climbs delivered us straight from Coos Bay to Bandon.
(EDITOR’S NOTE from Steve: Jeremy and Stephanie made the right call on this Seven Devils loop. Since I live close by, and have driven the Seven Devils many times over the years, I am well familiar with the terrain. It is very remote, with little traffic, but it has MANY steep hills that would have greatly extended their travel time that day. It is also much greater distance than 101. Highway 101 from Coos Bay to Bandon is easy triking with no traffic problems. Seven Devils is a fantastic route for those with lots of time and a desire for spectacular views … in the portions where the clear cut logging is not obvious., that is).
The excellent shoulders and great breakfast fueled us along faster than usual. We found ourselves in Bandon with a bit of time to kill, and wouldn’t you know the trikes knew just how to spend some of it.
We enjoyed some wonderful coffee and took advantage of the free WiFi like we have at every other given opportunity. We only had a short ways to go on to our campsite so we didn’t hurry out of Bandon. After coffee and internet we headed to the local market to see if we could spruce up our dinner plans. Tortilla soup and oyster crackers were on the menu already, so there wasn’t much needed to make it any better. A decent sale on some beers, a couple of bananas, and whole rack of Lil’ Debbie snacks to choose dessert from made it easy!
With new dinner additions in hand we were off to our campsite. We had decided to try another KOA with hopes it would be more tent camping friendly. Their website showed a hot tub, so we were pretty willing to be tolerant of all else.
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Day 18-Langlois OR to Gold Beach OR: Sh#!#y Oregon shoulders, Pretty Oregon coast
Monday July 20, 2009, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 664 miles (1,068 km)
It’s been a few days since we’ve been able to post. Our apologies to all who have been avid readers and following our journey. The next page following this one will detail what’s happened to cause our unusual lapse in our journal writing. We are safe and unharmed…just some rental house/landlord issues in Sitka we got blindsided with that caused us to have to stop the trip.
Day 18 (our last day of riding it turned out) was a bit rough…a headwind (yep, even though we were still going South!), very bumpy/rough shoulders for most of the ride, and quite a few decent climbs. However, we got into our groove and soon were enjoying the ride. The oceanside scenery certainly was a great help in lifting our spirits and helping us push through the headwind. We made it to Gold Beach with plenty of time to spare crossing the historic bridge into town around 2:30pm after leaving camp around 9:30am! Not too shabby! We considered tackling the hill just past Gold Beach but weren’t sure where we could camp and opted to just stay at the Indian Creek campground we’d looked up online and enjoy some down time. We set up camp, jumped on the trikes, and of course got driven right to the first coffee house in town! We enjoyed some wonderful coffee and did a little e-mailing before getting the trip ending phone call from the realtor in Sitka that manages our rental house…
We’re still very busy tying up loose ends and figuring out what needs to be done since we were planning on riding until August 1st or so. I’ll have to post pictures from our last day of riding a bit later as well as explain what’s happened with the realty company causing our trip to end so abruptly.
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So What Happened To Our Trip…: too far from home to tend to bad landlords
Sunday August 30, 2009
I know that a few folks have been waiting for us to update what happened to end our trip. The truth is it has still been pretty raw. We are home, in a new home, in Sitka still waiting for a return of our cleaning deposit from one of the worst real estate management companies we have ever dealt with. Anyways, that last day in Gold Beach OR our property manager contacted us to let us know that we were being given two weeks notice to vacate our rental house because of some damage that one of our dogs had done to the carpet in one of the bedrooms. Now this struck us as odd since we were notified by my brother, who was watching the house and the dogs for us while on the trike trip, about the accident and he notified the property manager right away as well. We offered to pay to replace the cartpet from the very beginning. Even above and beyond our cleaning deposit, out of pocket. Since we were out of town we just wanted to take care of the issue promptly and without problem. The property manager said that the home owner was unwilling to allow to rectify the problem and that they were being generous to give us two weeks notice. She claimed she could have evicted us within 24 hours. Now I will admit that I was not real savy on what Lanlord/Tenant Law said at that point, but that sure didn’t sound right. So, there we were, in OR, with issues in Sitka that needed attending to. We wanted to go on with our trike trip, but the real estate companies unwillingness to be reasonable made it seem impractical. Our immediate issue was that our car was in Palouse WA, and our belongings were in Oakdale CA. We were basically right in the middle with no vehicle, and no apparent way to get one. Grandma and Grandpa to the rescue!!!
My wonderful grandparents offered to bring us our belongings and get us to a car rental facility in Crescent City CA.
We grabbed a couple of motel rooms in Gold Beach and started looking into Alaska Landlord/Tenant Law. Turns out the real estate company wasn’t playing by the rules. Here is how we saw things: The house we rented was also for sale. Our lease had an addendum that said that if an offer was accepted on the house within the first ninety days of occupancy we would have sixty days to vacate and would receive fifty percent of all rents paid. A seemingly nice little safety buffer for the renter we thought. They were trying to claim that because they were having to evict us we were in breach of our lease and would not be receiving our rent return. Three days prior to being told of our eviction we were notified that an offer had been made on the house. We were already, while on the trike trip, aware that we might have to move if the offer was accepted. We would have sixty days though to find someplace to live so we could continue with our trip. Anyways, we never heard from them about whether or not the offer accepted. We only heard we were being evicted. Seemed to me that maybe the new buyer didn’t want to have to wait all the way until the fall to move into their new house. Maybe the real estate company saw an opportunity to bully us into a situation where the buyer gets in early and they don’t have to pay the rent refund. So, for the first time ever we contacted a lawyer. The next two weeks were spent driving all over hell and back and trying to negotiate with a real estated company that has possibly never read the Alaska Landlord/Tenant Act. We had to park our trikes in a storage facility in Gold Beach, drive to Palouse in a rental car to fetch our car, drive back to Gold Beach to get the trikes, and then go somewhere for while.
During all the driving we started thinking about our trikes and getting back to Sitka. We realized after riding the 101 for the last week or so that the trikes are hard to see. In Sitka there are good bike shoulders, but it rains alot. We had serious concerns that we would be even more difficult to see in all that rain. When the snow comes the bike lanes are filled with plowed snow requiring more riding in the vehicle lane. We love trikes, but we just weren’t convinced that they were right for riding all year in Sitka. We want to do 99% of our errands and transportation on foot or bike. If we don’t feel safe, we won’t ride. That won’t work. We also didn’t want the trikes just hanging around all year. We decided that selling the trikes to someone that could use them, and getting more Sitka specific bikes for the year was a better choice. My Expedition sold within five days of being made available, and Steph’s Pocket was just sold this week to some great folks in CA that will sure know how to take advantage of it. I am sure some will argue that the trikes would have been fine, but we need to make sure that we ride alot. If we don’t feel safe, we won’t. We are 100% committed to getting new/used trikes when we move off the island. For now we are both riding new mt. bikes that we love.
For me the choice was easy. When we passed through Newport and spent the afternoon at Bike Newport I saw and immediately fell in love with my first Surly Pugsley. It was on the show floor in a bike stand looking gnarly with those 4″ tires. What a great bike for an island in Alaska. The bike is made for snow and sand. On the return trip to Gold Beach to pick up the trikes from storage we stopped into Bike Newport. As soon as I saw the Pugs again I know I wanted it. Bike Newport is an awesome shop and the owner, Elliot, made me a sweet deal.
Steph hadn’t been stricken with such powerful bikelust as I had. She is all about function. While in Portland on our trek to fetch our car we stopped into a couple of bikeshops to look around. Steph wanted a bike that she could haul things on. We looked into Xtracycles, but it just wasn’t quite right. ( I am still looking to be honest!) At Bike n’ Hike Steph saw what the sales rep called the “Jolly Green Giant”. It is the Giant TranSport DX. The bike has a super ergonomic handle bar system and cushy seat, but the kicker were the built in adjustable front and rear racks. The beauty of that functionability is all it took for Steph.
With new bikes in tow, and all of our belongings back in our car we departed Oregon and headed for the home of dear friends in Montana. We spent ten days enjoying good company, good food, great scenery, battling it out with the real estate company, and looking for a new home to rent from however many miles away. In the end we came to a workable compromise with the real estate company (who I am sure will be reading up on their legal obligations and restrictions after this), found a wonderful home, and are dealing with the disappointemt of the loss of so much of our planned trike trip. We loved the two and half weeks that we had on the trikes. We will absolutely tour again…maybe a tandem recumbent bike or trike for cross country in two summers. We will be writing up a pro/con or like/dislike list for various aspects of our gear and trip. It may take a little bit to get to it, but we will. Also we will do a posting of more photos from the trip. It is good for us to look at them whenever we can. Thanks to everyone that kept up with this journal, supported us through our limited time on the road, and especially to those that went out of their way to be a part of making this happen for us.
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For many more photographs of much larger size, please visit Jeremy and Stephanie’s Crazy Guy on a Bike journal HERE.
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