Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pictures!

So, two libraries in one day, crazy! I decided to stay in OR one more night, I'm in Brookings about 10 miles from the CA boarder. This library actually lets me do what I need, so as Scott told me "no one will read your blog without pictures" so here they are. Hopefully I'll be able to space them out a little more in the future.

Felicia and I at the Ferry Terminal, ready to take off.

Making dinner on the side of the road.


Astoria Bridge (before the rain really started).

Beautiful back road in OR.

Beach in Lincoln City (?)


Hiking at Cape Perpetua. Ran into a quirky FS intern for the last bit of the hike.

Sunset Bay State Park.


Hard to imagine riding gets a whole lot better then this.

Dawn, Gene, and "Big Bird"

Southern OR coast. Awesome rock formations everywhere.

On a side note, I just wanted to mention that if any of you have ever thought about bike touring the Oregon coast seems like the perfect place to start. OR makes it so darn easy for cyclists with cheap camping, mostly excellent signage, usually wide shoulders, considerate drivers, unbeatable views, good company, I could go on, but you get the picture. I highly recommend Oregon, it's a great way to ease into touring.

That's it for now. I"m off to explore town and enjoy my last night in OR.

Day 10: Oregon Coast

Well, made it to day ten and almost out of Oregon. I'm in Gold Beach at the moment and debating whether to ride into California today or tomorrow. I was hoping to put up a bunch of pictures today, but I was told I can't plug anything in at this library, so sorry, someday I'll get pictures up.

The Oregon coast has been fantastic. After that first day of rain, the weather has been incredible, even too hot yesterday. The beaches are gorgeous, I love riding along making a turn and BAM having a huge beach right there. The hills haven't been too bad yet, hopefully getting me in shape for CA where I'm told the climbs are much worse.

One of the best parts of Oregon is just how many other tourers there are out here. I've stayed in State Parks every other night for the cheap shower and good company, and each time there's been near a dozen other riders at the hiker/biker camps. I've camped with a few people multiple times and see others on the rode frequently. There's quite a variety of folks, all types and ages from all over the world. Some are real characters and a little odd, others are just fantastic. Last night as I was starting to look for a spot to pull off I heard my name called from the woods; Dawn and Gene a couple riding a tandem from Canada to Mexico invited me to join them in their "wild" camping spot. It was a great little spot and wonderful company. I hope to stay with them at their home in Phoenix later on.

Other then having great rides everyday I haven't done too much else I guess. I took a tour of the Tillimook Factory, had some great beach walks and tide pool explorations, enjoyed botanical gardens, and even took a short day of riding to get on a small hike. I'm feeling my hiking muscles quickly atrophying and hope to get out every few days to keep them up a little.

I'm very excited to get into the Redwoods. I'll be talking a day or two off there to enjoy and explore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 4: Arrival in Oregon

Well, it's only day four, but everything has been going wonderfully so far. Besides the rain today I couldn't have asked for much better. My trip started off from Seattle with my parents and Felicia riding me to the ferry terminal, randomly met an old ski friend on the ferry, then was off riding. I felt great, the bike, though very heavy rode smoothly. Although I thought it would take two days to ride to Olympia, I put in 72 miles my first day to make it. Met up with a friend there so had a nice comfortable first night and great beginning to my trip.

From Olympia, I rode back roads all the next day. It was great to get away from the traffic and into the beautiful scenery. However, all this day and the next I was in Weyerhaeuser land, so lots of clear cuts as well. I did about eight miles of gravel road, had to push my bike for at least two which is incredibly hard work! Camped my first night, collapsed exhausted for an hour after getting the tent up, then awoke ravenous and ate all I could without water (ran out, have to get better about filling up every chance I get).

The next day I made it to Hwy 101 where I'll be for a long time. This was the beginning of longer up and down hills, slow but felt pretty good. Stayed a few miles from the OR boarder last night then rode in this morning.

Just as I approached the Astoria Bridge to cross over, the rain started. I spent a few minutes staring the bridge down, debating whether to attempt to ride or try to hitchhike. For whatever reason, I decided to ride. I'd read accounts of this bridge, people saying it was the scariest thing they've ever done in their lives, so I tired to sprint across. Of course that didn't last long, but I tried to go as fast as I could anyway. The bridge is long, it was pouring, I couldn't see very far in front of me and the shoulder was very narrow. However, it wasn't too bad until the last section that climbs steeply for what seemed like a mile. Luckily, I made it without any incident and didn't even have any logging trucks pass me.

I'm in Seaside right now, found the library to try and dry out a little. The weather is supposed to improve, so I'm hopeful that I'll have some nice days on the Oregon coast to explore. All in all, everything has gone without a hitch. though my legs are tried, they are way better then expected. The only thing that's been hurting is my feet, which was not anticipated.

Well, the rain has stopped for the moment so it might be time to hit the road again. Sorry no pictures this time, I'll try for the next post.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hair We Go!

It’s been a busy last few days running around finishing everything up and saying goodbyes. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate for my last week of work with lots of rain and the first snow of the season, but it turned out good enough. We had a nice Birthday/Send off party, a nice way to say goodbye to everyone. I’m going to miss my Forest Service family a lot, you guys are all incredible!

Getting back to Seattle I’ve been all over the place getting last minute things done. I think I’ve just about got it all (for now). The biggest excitement/change was cutting my hair. It’s turned out quite different then I had imagined and I even kind of like it. Hopefully no one is disappointed that I didn’t exactly shave my head-I tried to find people to do it and no one wanted any part of it (except Felicia, you’re awesome!). So, with a free haircut coupon I entered a salon for the first time in maybe ten years. Being real hair people (in training) they actually wanted to do something with my hair, so I let them play. It was a bit nerve-racking watching it all go, but nice to finally reach my longtime goal of donating it, and getting it manageable for this trip. Promised pictures are below.

As I finalized my packing, I was able to load my bike for the first time. Yikes. I can’t lift it! I’ve been trying to figure out what I can take out of my gear, but haven’t been able to make any difference; guess I’ll just have to build a lot of muscle. I also rode loaded for the first time. After a near fall while mounting, I realized I’m now riding a semi-truck. The balance, weight and steering, is so different and much more of a challenge. It’s going to be a really rough few weeks to get into shape and it’ll be SLOW going for awhile.

After a great family get-together at Kubota this evening, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to start my journey in the morning. I’ll be riding downtown and taking the ferry to Bremerton in order to get to nicer pastures on the Peninsula.

A huge thank you so much to everyone who has helped me thus far in preparing for this moment. Your support, encouragement, ideas and ears have been vital in getting me on my way. I’ll be thinking of all of you often and will do my best to keep up my part of the bargain by blogging somewhat consistently.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Distractions

Working for the Forest Service, not much can beat fire in the ways of distraction, especially on district fire. For over a month we’ve been monitoring the Lemah Fire on our district. It stayed small ¼ to 1/2 acre for the first month. At the end of last week it blew up. Now it’s over 600 acres! I’ve been able to spend a number of days monitoring the fire and it’s been incredible to watch, especially the day it really grew. It’s been keeping me working on my days off; though I was forced to take this weekend off. Although next week is supposed to be my last at work, if this fire continues to burn I’m going to have a hard time leaving. It’s been a lot of fun, incredibly interesting, and such a great learning experience to spend time on this fire, I don’t know if I can just up and leave it. We’re supposed to get some rain this weekend, so that might cool things down considerably, we’ll just have to see. One thing I’ve learned with fire is that you can’t plan on anything.


So, with all the OT I’ve been doing and fire excitement, trip preparation has fallen to the wayside.However, one of the reasons I had to take these days off was to go to a bike repair tutoring session last night. Previously not knowing much more then how to change a flat, this was a valuable class and I feel much more comfortable with my bike. I’m hoping to continue playing with the bike, taking things apart and putting them back together before I leave. Maybe I’ll even get some riding in.