September 19, 2010

Florence Or. to Crescent City Ca. San Diego or Bust??

Winchester Bay Light House.
as you can tell, fog is a major theme along the
Oregon Coast.
9/13-9/18


Yo Anonymous Y. No they don’t allow camping on the beach no mo, but, there were cool driftwood shanties in the works and we hiked that coast at dusk during the high tide and it was a thrilling adventure to be sure.

So here we are in a Motel in Crescent City Ca. The northern most town in California, riding out a 3 day rain storm.

The rain is warm. But not like the mist we had encountered earlier. This is rain. The thing about riding the pacific coast is; that in nice weather the prominent wind comes from the north west so, on nice days the wind is at your back. Perfect! But, on shitty days----the wind comes from the south. So, not only are you riding in rain but the wind is in your face. No Bueno!!

Typical Oregon Coast!
We are and have been on bicycle time now. Bicycle time is, well, a lot like Wells Gulch time. It’s a natural time. Like you lose track of not just the time of day. You know it’s day time and that you have to get from point A to point B, eat, set up camp ideally in the daylight. But, you also lose track of the day of week, or where you were yesterday or two days ago. I Mean it just all rolls into one. One hazy, almost dream like state. [Perhaps, too much fire wood.]

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For a while, in the early part of the trip I could maintain a good meditative state. No thoughts, just riding. Then it became the breath. Focus on the breath. Then counting. I found myself counting. Not consciously. Just, you know like in the middle of a climb or something I would find my self on 54,55,56 and so on. Then later---22,23,24. I couldn’t break the habit. If I thought about it, it would start to drive me crazy! Now I moved into songs!! It might be the same song for the entire day, though I have found that I can change tunes if I think about it. Songs like----well hell. Now I cant think of any!! But for a hard head wind kind of day----------- Led Zeppelin does fine.!.! The worst is when you start looking at the mileage meter and the time. You mean we’ve only gone 5 miles in an hour!! This state of mind definitely is not good. To remedy; Simple move the cateye as its called around to the bottom of the stem so now it still works but you cant see it. I highly recommend this!

Coquille Light House near Bandon.
Now the wind is really howlin out there directly from the south. There is no way in hell were goin out there to ride today! You would have to be crazy, and my guess is there are plenty of crazies out there. Power to them!! No way jose‘. Not me. I’m sittin here warm, dry and comfy and I aint gonna do nothing to upset that. Cept go out to the Laundromat and do what you do at those places.

By the way Phil. As we all know coffee is very popular here in the Great North West. However; untill arriving in Crescent City we had not seen a Starbucks since leaving Seattle. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! In Seattle there was one on every corner. Like you couldn’t find an independent anywhere. But outside of Seattle. Nothin but independent Coffee Shops.!

Rogue River
Crescent City, like a lot of places scattered throughout the west seems like it was poised, Not quite there, but poised to boom, to become one of those coool places. And then---the recesion. Maybe it’s the weather and the fact that summer tourism is over, or my mood. But this place feels like it is on the verge of a ghost town. Reminds me of the first time I came to Salida in the early 80’s. it was weird. I mean there were alll these nice parks, and houses, and lawns, but the whole time I was there, walked all over town, didn’t see a soul. Not a dog bark. Nothin!! Downtown was all boarded up. Weird. I remember it giving me an eerie feeling. Sort of like the feeling I’m experiencing now.



After this past weeks riding we are at about 1,182 miles logged…with a grooviness factor of 4-5!!! The Oregon

Coastline is just “SPECTACULAR”. Seeing it from a bike seat is pretty” rad”…our favorite word as of late!

To re-cap some of our recent happenings I’ll start with the simple enjoyment of kite flying!!…oh to feel like a kid again

Brookings.
This is certainly one of those things to do…and what a sweet place to do it in but the sand dunes! With some nice wind the kite took off with a mind of its own…and with Greg or I at the controls instantly putting smiles on our faces! And bringing us to the conclusion that we’ll need 2 kites instead of 1! Good times…and we’re on the lookout for another kite shop!

Our derailleur hangar for the Mule finally showed up Monday morning!! YiPPee!! We packed up our camp and headed for the Florence bike shop. They installed the new hangar and we were on our way!!! Only to discover something was still not right….however, we make it to North Bend/Coos Bay which is about 45 miles down the road and stumble upon Moes Bike shop (another cool family owned for many years shop) good guys, great place and they help make it right. Thanks Moes!


Yup!
 So we go to North Bend to Bandon to Gold Beach to Brookings…peddling our way down the coast! Some of the towns are small, quaint with cute little harbors/light houses and all are in nothing less than beautiful settings. We also get to ride over some beautiful old bridges along the way which can be narrow and scary but very cool! We run into some rain which at the onset is okay…then when you’re riding for 4,5,6 hours in it, it becomes not okay…and you’re looking for the nearest Laundromat or cheap hotel!! The interesting thing about riding in the rain is when you’re going up hills and sweating…your lovely rain gear is of course “water proof” which means it doesn’t breathe because its needs to keep you dry from the rain however, then you’re not only wet on the outside BUT wet on the inside from sweating!! So after the 4,5,6 hours of riding you’re soaked to the bone from rain AND sweat!! HeLLO! I think I need a cold beer while I watch the dryer go round and round….heehee

Now about some “rascally RACCOONS”!! I think the grandkids will like this part of the blog! Ha!…we have some interesting encounters with raccoons in a few of the campgrounds lately….didn’t even think about it…had our food all buttoned up in the pannier (of course we all know you should NOT keep food in the tent for fear of bears!) on the bike away from the tent….I get up for a middle of the night pee, get out of the tent to hear all this commotion in the bushes next to our tent…okay…is there a person in there?? No I don’t think so….theres more moving around in the bushes….crap!? What the heck is it?? Then I hear these animal noises…like one animal is fighting with another!…geez, I just want to pee….but now I’m afraid….alright the noises are moving away…I do my thing and hurry back into the tent!! Daylight comes….then we discover….oh great!! Our snickers bars are gone…the triscuit crackers are gone…the bread is gone….the salami is gone…those little @#$%^^&!!!…we also find they tried to make away with one of my flipflops! (after chewing all around the edges of it!!) not sure why the flipflop tasted so good!…..they are sneaky little devils…very stealth and quiet,too! They were able to slip their little paws right into the pannier without even undoing any of it!….okay…we’ll have to be more careful! Encounter #2.…another campground…..we think we have everything secured….hop in the tent to sleep….this time Greg hears the little devils in the middle of the nite…he flys out of the tent …flash-light in hand….runs over to the bike…one of the raccoons (the smaller one) runs up a tree…the other one (a larger one) is hiding behind the pannier….Greg shines the light on him and tells him to “go on, get outta here”…..this guy stands there and starts growling at Greg!!…oh great! Now what!? Greg tells him again and he finally leaves!

Brookings Oregon to the California border….and on to Crescent City….some more awesome coastline…rain….and winding our way thru daylily farms…very pretty! And wet….just 28 miles today…we find a cheap hotel! With a Laundromat, a liquor store, a grocery just within a few blocks….we’ll be drying out for a day or 2 here then heading into the big Redwood country!!!

Pedal Power Baby…keeping the rubber side down!!

September 13, 2010

Astoria to Florence Man the Oregon Coast is Rad

9/7-9/12/10

Astoria
We are writing to you from Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park. Which is just south of Florence Or. And at the northern end of the Oregon Coasts Great Sand dunes National Monument. Today we will explore the Sand Dunes and if wind permits, fly our newly acquired kite.

View north from Astoria
Coffee and Bakery in Astoria
Youngs River Falls
We are here waiting on a Derailleur Hanger for the mule. The reason being that, oh, about several days back, when the sky was misting, we were on a rather enduring climb with little shoulder on a rather busy section of highway 101. It was the last climb of the day and we were about two thirds of the way up the hill. As Terri and I often do we shifted down from first gear into a slower gear so that we could stand up and give our butts a break. After having done that I was trying to get back in the easy gear when; you know, we chain sucked the rear derailleur cage up into the rear wheel and…Well lets just say it wasn’t pretty. The cage was broken as well as the drop out. The worst part was we were stuck on a steep hill, on a blind corner, in the rain, and at this point we weren’t goin nowhere’s, as the rear wheel was locked in place by the cage. It was 3 p.m. I had to take off the rear panniers and the trailer and I set them out behind us down the road as my safety flairs. Beyond the shoulder the hill fell steeply so I had no place to work except in the rain filled gutter that was the shoulder of the road. After an hour and ½ I Finally had us anglo rigged to head down the road. The solution was to break the chain and mend it back together in a single speed. But, because of the hill I put it in a climbing gear. So, after the hill we had a nice descent but the gear we were in top end was 4.9 miles an hour, so we limped the last 5 miles into town in the rain as the sun set.

Tidal Pool
After getting into our urban campground in Lincoln City well after dark we pulled into the hiker biker sight where we ran into our fellow tourer friend Karl whom we didn’t expect to see and as we pulled up to what was to be our camp for the night we hear this screeching and fluttering sound up in the trees and as we try to figure what‘s goin on this screeching blob falls out of the trees within 3 feet of us and is fluttering and rolling on the ground. What is it?? A rabid squirrel or bat?? We reach for the flash lights and what we see is a pigmy owl trying to kill a song bird. Our lights distracted the owl and the bird got away. But, not for long. A few minutes later and we hear the same sounds again, only, the owl keeps it contained in the trees and soon the screeching stops. Cool!

Oregon Coast
9/12/10.….this blog is dedicated to my Dad, Bill, who died one year ago today…he was a big hearted, stellar human being that is so very much missed!! He would have loved to have been following us on our bike adventure and rooting

For us all the way!!! We love and miss you DadJ……

BE in the moment….Be kind to the ones you love…SAVOR the DAY!

9/10 - 9/11

Newport to Florence, Oregon

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WOW!!! What an awesome day of riding!!!! Some of the most spectacular views of the coast by far! Rocky cliffs that jet down into the ocean below…along with pine treed mountains that we wind our way around….I don’t think I have ever seen bigger,wider views of the ocean before! We saw whales spouting and heard sea lions barking! Got some great views of Heceta Light House..I think it’s the most famous for picture taking! Sweeeet!!!

We ended our day at Honeyman Memorial Campground in the hiker/biker sites. Note: Sometimes the hiker/biker sites

Are way off the beaten path in a pretty dark forested area of camp. We had to climb our way up into this one while pushing The Mule….we shared this site with about 9 other cyclists including our buddy Karl which turned out to be pretty fun! Getting to know other cyclists along the way has been great….giving each other tips, encouragement or sharing a beer while we all pedal to our destinations……We moved our camp closer to the showers/toilet the next day…sharing our space with Karl…he decided to take a day off to do chores. We had to check on our bike part (not here yet!!) do laundry, food shopping and emailing/interneting/phone calling,too! One of the beautiful things about camping is you’re “cooking out”…..like BBQ-ing, it’s a guy thing…at least for my guyJ….so Gregs the kitchen dude and has been doing most all of the cooking!!! SwEEEEt!! Hes a great cook to boot…I’m a lucky girl….

I on the other hand get to do the tent stuff…I think I have the “putting up the tent” down to just under 3 minutes!!! Its the little things….right?

9/9-9/10

Lincoln City to Newport, Oregon

So. We needed a mechanic in a town thar has none…but wait, maybe one. Lincoln city hasd no town. It’s one of those soulless places. One long strip mall. Like 10 miles long. And at the end of the mall supposedly is a bike shop. So with our 4.9 mile per hour top end single speed when begin the 2 hour spin in search of the bike shop. Oh no! it’s not there! But wait! Ther’s a van that says Bike Newport. [the next town down about 30 miles] and they are closing up shop in deadbeat Lincoln city and takin their gear back to the mother shop. And, they got room for our tandem. Timming is everything and we just cought them before they left. So we loaded the mule into the trailer and went to their very cool shop in Newport. Complete with a lounge, showers, laundry, and a keg from rogue brewery. All for the wayward touring cyclist.

that’s how we make it to Newport, and that’s how we get to the Rogue Brewery where they treated us well and gave us the rogue discount as they should.







9/6/10

Astoria to Manzanita, Oregon

After having spent 5 nites in Astoria, at the Norblad Hostel and enjoying one of the local cafes (Blue Scorcher) and

One of the 2 breweries (Ft George Brewing Co) we left for our descent on the Oregon border. We escaped the Columbia

River Vortex known as Astoria (this is our story) by the usual path less traveled only to make a navigational blunder by

Heading out on the wrong highway! Although it only cost us 12 miles or so the extended loop that we headed out on

Took us by a beautiful waterfall…the roads were windy and nice and not busy at all. At the top of a long climb we

Discovered that our rear wheel was out of true and a few spokes were loose and broken and made our final descent into

Seaside a little uncomfortable! Ruining what could have been a screaming descent! Fortunately for us we found a bike

Shop that had been family owned and operated for many years….they made it right for us! After having a little lunch we headed back out on to Hwy 101. Lots of traffic, a scary loud tunnel, some hard climbs and rain……..but thru it all….imagine…winding thru this beautiful mountainous coastline with fog and mist all around…glimpses of earily gray ocean waves…SWEEEET!…..but then you feel you’re ass grinding in the seat…and reality has set back in! you’re still trying to get up this hill….okay..you make it….but you make it to this quaint little town called Manzanita (in the RAIN!) just 2 miles before the damn campground ( you’ve been on the bike all day and you’re hungry!!) you see this cute little hotel…okay,that’s it we’re checkin in!!!
Our friend Karl Mayor of all Bike Camps
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September 3, 2010

Seattle to Astoria our last Ferry and the end of Washington

9/2/10

From an historic old hotel in downtown Astoria now functioning as a youth hostel:



8/24/10-8/27/10

Downtown Seattle from Pikes Market
A Busker at Pikes Market. He was very

 good
The gumwall. Gross
Space Needle in your Arm
Seattle: The ferry ride into Seattle was a nice way to enter the city! It drops you off right into the downtown area. The older parts of downtown still boasts of cobblestone streets and historic old buildings. With bike lanes on all the streets its first impression is a bike friendly place! Which we are happy aboutJ We make our way to Kara and Jeffs (the couple we will be staying with )home into the Wallingford area which is just north of downtown…a busy place BUT the drivers are all very courteous to cyclists!! EurEKA!!! Isn’t that sweet! Its pretty much a major sin to do anything to a cyclist in these parts…what a nice place to be!…Kara and Jeff are awesome hosts!! Not only did they show us yummy places to eat, give us the skinny on where to go and what to see BUT they also had heavy whipping crème (which we are fans of for morning java!!) AND a bottle of gin (our favorite for gin and tonics!!) YOU GUYS ROCK!! A little side note: we figured out that we could indulge in the heavy whipping crème even at the campgrounds by using it for morning coffee AND as a sauce for our pasta dinners on the little MSR stove! Yes,yes…you can still enjoy some of the delights of home even in the campground! Our lovely Seattle hosts also took us to Molly Moons ice cream joint just a few blocks from their place where the line was out the door( which we hear is a constant all year round!!) Holy Moly!! What folks will do for ice cream!! This wasn’t just ordinary ice cream BUT yummy homemade concoctions of different flavors put together in homemade waffle cones,too….a party for the taste buds! I had a lavendar/honey…WOW! Okay…now I want an ice cream!… all this cycling definitely puts you in the EATING mode pretty much all the time.….Greg and I enjoyed riding the Birke-Gilman bike trail right near their house which was a great way to get around town…drank some good brews…..saw the Space Needle…Pike Market…the “gum wall” down Post Alley..(this was a huge wall made up of bubble gum…folks would go there, chew their gum and stick it on the wall!!) a kids heaven! Seattle is a very cool, fun city that I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to and visit! We so enjoyed hanging out with Kara and Jeff…very interesting and well traveled couple that were a lot of fun (their “pooches” too) THANKS SO MUCH you guys!!!
Our Hosts in Seattle Kara and Jeff
Thanks





8/27/10

Seattle to Shelton; Our 12th and last Ferry ride!! 35 some odd miles??

A 1 hour ferry takes us From Seattle to Bremerton. We meet three kids trying to ride from Vancouver to San Fran. I think trains and buses are going to play a large role in their success. More than they have yet to come to terms with. We have now moved from communities and areas that have had a large yuppie influence to blue collar Washington. Bremerton has that feel. As we head out the roads funnel us onto a short section of a 4 lane freeway. I don’t know if its tailwind, adrenalin or what but for 3 miles we roll at 18 miles an hour on the flats on a busy highway with a shoulder littered with all kinds of crap! Right as our shoulder begins to merge with way too much traffic an escape route magically appears to the right. That route as it turns out is the old two lane hi-way, no longer in service except for local traffic. We escape the mayhem. Whew!!! The rest of our ride is great. Not the best shoulder but a shoulder indeed with light to moderate traffic. And, a tail wind. We ride like gods. Wow, we love tail winds. Some how we miss the rain and the temperature is just right. The kids; we run into in a small town at precisely 4:20, they are experiencing bike drama but still are rather optimistic of their days destination. In their minds they are going to get to the town of Aberdeen tonight. It looks good on paper, but, they don’t seem to realize that Aberdeen is close to 100 miles away, its 4:20 in the afternoon and they have only covered about 15 miles at this point. We tell them that they better get riding. Later, 20 miles later, at about 7:00 pm, at a crappy cheap hotel in Shelton, as we are booking a room in said hotel, they come rolling in. Perhaps a bus to Portland is their new plan. Thats ok with us as they had a certain recklessness [called youth] about them that seemed as though would pull us in if we couldn’t separate ourselves from them. [ I know, I know, I’m an old crumudgin.]
Mermaid Sculpture at Winery



8/28/10

The logging town of Shelton to Montesano and Lake Sylvia State Park. 38 miles, max speed- 29. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 3

Washington state Border w/bridge in background 
Wow. What a fun day of riding! Shelton is a quaint Logging town with a cool but dead downtown. Blue collar old folks, all the kids have moved away. Feels like Salida 20 years ago. Today we [as we have often done] break from the guide book and take the road less traveled. Sometimes this doesn’t pay off and you end up on roads with no shoulder and too much traffic. Not today! No shoulder, but, no traffic. We have the road to ourselves! Sweeet! Some climbing but not too steep, winding through the southern foothills of the Olympic Peninsula. Logging and Christmas tree farms. This day is one of those rare days so far where we get to maintain a speed of 10-15 miles an hour for many miles. It was just plain flat good riding. Possibly one of the best yet!

Like a lot of the campgrounds; to get in them, require a rather steep climb. Except for Seattle some of the steepest roads we’ve seen are getting into or out of campgrounds and this is no exception. As we have experienced many times though the campground is full, the hiker biker sight is not. And, like alot of the hiker biker sights it is close to the amenities but separate from the campground. This one is on a hill over looking the campground making us lords over the grounds. It is 4:20, phone hits to Flynn, and a couple of women walk by and comment “ wow I’ve always wondered what the primitive campsites look like”. And, I say to Terri under my breath; for $15 I’ll give you a tour. And we begin to joke about how when folks walk by well scratch our underarms and hoot and howl like primates. Which leads to the realization that animals and corporations have more rights than US citizens!….They can poop, pee, and fornicate in public. Scream, yell, and raise hell with out any recourse and pretty much; if, so long as your body is covered in hair, you can damn well do as you please.
The Oregon side of the great bridge.
Whew! Glad to be off it. 



8/29/10

Lake Sylvia state park in Montesano to Grayland State park via Westport. 44 miles, 29 mph max. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 1. The road for the first 10 miles is on a highway to Aberdeen a highway we’ve been able to avoid since leaving Seattle, but now, un-avoidable. The only thing good about it is that we must have a tail wind, and aside from the bridges, nice shoulders to ride. At Aberdeen we cross a fairly long bridge over Grays Harbor w/ no shoulder that leads to what has been fairly consistent in the state of Washington; Perfect road riding. We are now on coastal hi-way 101. Except for a few exceptions, for the rest of the way to San Diego. There is a nice shoulder, the road is flat but curvy and the traffic is light. Nice!! For lunch we wind up at a Winery where we sample, purchase, and lounge before heading to Westport and for the first time; the pacific ocean.

Westport and our introduction to the pacific coast is anti-climatic. A fishing town at the end of a treeless wind swept spit. We eat, say hello to the coast, and head down to our camp for the night.

Grayland state park is set up for RV’s and for the first time since we started this trip there isn’t an empty hiker biker site awaiting our arrival. So, we have to rent an RV site and camp in the neighbor hood! But! There is a trail leading to an endless sandy beach where for the first time on our trip the surf is rolling in. the sound of energy. Not unlike the sound of a far off freeway only---different, better, a wholesome sound. We put our backs to a drift log, drink our wine, and 420.……Kirk Out!



8/30/10

Grayland to Bruceport 35 miles. Max Speed, 23 mph. [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 2 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 1 Nice coastal riding. Very little traffic with nice shoulders, views of the Pacific, and inland marshes and meadows. Wild flowers line the road as it wends its way through old fishing and logging communities. The towns; Raymond and Southbend, definitely have that old school blue collar / roughneck feel but both are well kept, clean and neat. Quaint would be the word to describe them. And a little sleepy. Our camp for the night is the Bruceport county park . It has a super cool feel to it. Its small and sits on a bluff overlooking Willapa harbor on the Pacific ocean and the sunset. The park is surrounded by some old growth with maintained grassy areas for tent camping and, nobodys here!! We like this place. We haven’t camped at a bad place yet but this is at the top of our list so far. The weather has been really nice, we become lackadaisical, we don’t put the rain fly on or put our stuff away, in the middle of the night it begins to rain.



8/31/10

Bruce Port County park to Naselle. 25 miles [Terri and Gregs Big Adventure Grooviness factor 1-5] is a 1 . T&GBAD [Difficulty factor 1-5] is a 4 due to rain and head winds.

The rain is warm. Not like Colorado rain where it comes immediately in torrents and the first drop that hits you is like ice that sends shivers right down the spine. No not like that. Its warm, air temperature warm, and not in torrents but a little heavier than mist. A fine rain. The big rain drops come from the trees. What ever moisture is being stored in the branches and needles of the trees; that comes down in torrents when the wind blows, and the wind is blowing. The wrong direction too. In our face as we try to pedal the last 40 miles or so to Astoria Oregon. Marking the end of Washington and beginning of Oregon riding. We wont get there. Not today. It will have to wait cause we’re over it. The wind and the rain that is and we are renting the first motel room we see. But, we have to get there first. So on we ride keeping our faces down towards the pavement. Partly because of concentration and partly to keep the wind from blowing the rain into your eyes. I count each breath to a hundred, and start over trying not to watch the mileage gauge, trying not to watch the time cause neither the time or miles is going by fast enough. Fortunately for me, cause of the rain, the mileage gauge is not working today.



9/1/10

Naselle To Astoria 17 miles

Today the sun shines the ride into Astoria and out of Washington is, as usual, Beautiful. Crossing the 4 mile bridge over the Columbia river cool, but stressful.

We are diggin Astoria. What an Idyllic location on the banks of the Columbia as it enters the Pacific. An historically and geographically important place. Although the city is small the Downtown is large. Bigger than Boulder and it is intact. Meaning there are no malls so the big box stores like J.C. Pennies and Sears occupy downtown storefronts. No wallmart here! 3 Breweries, several bakeries, and old school businesses that you just don’t see anymore. We like it.

Everywhere we have been up here, including the rural logging and fishing towns people show absolute respect for the bicycle and Pedestrian. If you even approach a cross walk or act like you want to get across the street cars just stop for you! Terri and I can not get used to it. The roads all have good shoulders and as soon as you pull into a town no matter the size bike lanes appear. Bike and Ped. Advocacy is alive and well here and Colorado could sure take some notes!!

It has been an absolute pleasure to Ride all through this great North West.

The State Oregon actually produces a pamphlet promoting riding the coast 101 hi-way!! It’s been explained to me that the wonderful shoulders are not just there for the bikes convenience but for safer driving and that the roads that have wider shoulders have less fatal accidents on them cause cars aren’t falling off the white line!

the columbia River Bridge