Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sorry for the long delay--it's like one adventure ended and another one started right away.
The final days of our bike trip took us through Tennessee and Virginia. Virginia was more beautiful than I ever imagined and the riding was excellent, small roads and rolling hills, and would have been extraordinary except for the dogs. The dogs were truly awful. We were barked at, snarled at, chased, and snapped at continuously. It was really scary (so, so scary) at first but then I started thinking about how I was going to get through Virginia because I obviously couldn't quit and the dogs were not going to get any better. So I decided that I was going to be bigger and meaner than those dogs and put them in their place. I figured out pretty quickly that if I told them to get back and hush up in a stern tone of voice they almost always listened. I would holler at them and they would stop chasing and turn around and go away. It was a good practice in being assertive.
Our final stop was Forest, VA at Dave's aunt and uncle's house. Their house is very beautiful and we stayed with them for a few days. Willis was in Aruba when we got there but Shelia took really good care of us. We had about 12 hours of down time before our trip shifted from biking to wedding/family events. It's sort of been like the Olympics, except with no medals--just lots of events.
The first event was David Sr's surprise birthday party where I met a lot of Daltons. They're a really fun group--lots of laughing and joking--my kind of people. The second event was the car ride to Syracuse, 9 hours in the car with Dave's uncles, Willis and Mark. They're funny and Dave got picked on a lot, in a loving sort of way.
When we made it to Syracuse it was time for dinner with the bride and groom (Robert and Kellie), the best man, the Uncles, and Carmen and David Sr. Then Dave and I had a beer Robert and the best man and then I went to bed. Now there's shopping to be done, hair to be cut, a wedding to rehearse, another birthday to celebrate--madness, truly.
I do have some profound, interesting thoughts about the bike trip. There are a lot of things that I've learned about myself, about Dave, and the nature and complexities of relationships. I have a new perspective on America and the American way of life, I've thought a lot about cars, food, freeways, scenery, people, kindness, racism, politics, communications, and television. But I can't articulate my thoughts right now because I have to get my hair done and find a dress to wear to a wedding. Hopefully I'll be able to think of way to share with you (my loyal fans) my thinking around this trip but you'll have to be patient.
In the mean time, I miss Portland so much my heart hurts when I think about it. All of you who live in Portland, especially those of you who are like me and have lived there all your lives, are blessed. Portland is an oasis. Thanks Mom and Dad, for raising me in such an incredible community.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Love you all,
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
who knew that America had antelop. this one is a proghorn variety found in most of wyoming....
This is Dave...waking up in Larry's RV in Boone, CO.....
Not sure where this is....taking a break
Catie and the Irish Lads posing for a pre-meal picture. We made spaghetti + coors. What a great combonation...
Taking a break on the side of the road.....somewhere, USA
Dathai, Smoking + biking, a true Irishman.
Two guys we met in Encampment, Wyoming. Can't remember their names, sorry guys!
This guy ( Can't remember his name either) was hiking the Contenental Divide Trail. He's an inspiration because he biked from England all the way to China...via the middle east. Crazy.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Ok, get out your maps of the US. Put one finger on Fairplay, CO. Now go clear to the Kansas/Missouri border--the southeast corner. We're in Pittsburg, a few miles West of the border. That's a long ways away since our last post!
Dave finally got better, thank goodness. We were going to take it easy but we know that Morgan is at home in Portland, waiting for this update on his fancy new phone and we just couldn't bring ourselves to disappoint him so we started riding like crazy and did 380 miles in 4 days. It was awesome.
We didn't get the tail wind we were hoping for but it was ok. Then something crazy happened. Dave got a flat tire, which really isn't that crazy but when we went to fix the tire it turned out that he had actually WORN HOLES in the tire--not the tube--the actual tire. So we patched it up as best we could but nothing was really working and we were wasting tubes and it was quite evident that what we really needed was a new tire. Eventually, and with a little help we made it to Elaine and Dan's Bicycle Oasis B&B in Bazine, KS where we were planning on the staying the night. It was here that we met two really neat Irishmen name Dathai and Cormac. They had an extra tire which they sold us. I got to pet a calf that was less than day old and Elaine cooked an incredible meal for all of us cyclists.
In the morning we headed out with Dathai and Cormac because they were going east, like us, but not on the TransAm. The four of us all got along so incredibly well and we were having so much fun that Dave and I decided to ditch our route and continue on with the Irish boys. We biked with them for three days, making great food, drinking beer and having so much fun. We got completely soaked one day, the most rain we've seen on this trip. We just had a really good time and we were so sad when we had to part.
Once again Dave and I were on our own, pedaling through Kansas when something terrible happened. No, it wasn't the stomach flu or worn out tires or even bad gas station food. It was the K-BURN!! The K-Burn, you're wondering? What on earth is that? Well, I'll tell you. It's the most awful combination of temperatures in excess of 100 degrees paired with 50% or more humidity. It's basically the worse thing ever. I hate biking in the heat. So, we've been doing what seasoned cyclists call "The Night Rider" which is exactly what it sounds like. We wake up at 1am, eat breakfast and hit the road, covered head to toe in blinking lights and reflective gear. Extreme, I know, but necessary.
That's all for now. We'll upload some images when we get to Clarksville, TN.
Catie + Dave
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We're taking a day off and sleeping at The Hand Hotel which is very charming. We're staying in the Miner's Room, decorated with burlap sacks and rusty tin cups. The woman who makes breakfast called the fritata she was serving a breakfast casserole. It has been raining all day long which makes it even nicer to not be biking or sleeping outside.
Today is our one month anniversary of being on the road and this is exciting except we're not quite halfway. We're almost halfway, but just not quite. We've been talking and this is what we've decided. The most important part of this trip for us is riding and having a lot of fun while doing it. We want to see the country and meet people, but we both agree that it needs to feel good and not stressful. We're going to bike as much as we can and get as far as we can and however far that is will be just fine. It's all about the journey, not the destination. And really, when you think about, riding a bike over not only the Cascade Mountain range but also the Rockies--that's awesome and I feel pretty darn good about it.
Thanks for all your supportive and encouraging feedback! Dave is feeling better and keeping food in his stomach. Go Dave! Hopefully we'll be on the road tomorrow.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Anyway you slice it, it was tough, and I'm still not fully recovered.
On the good side. Catie and I saw a Moose last night.
I'll post pictures soon. My camera's acting funny.
Colorado is very hot but incredibly beautiful. Last night we camped on the Western slope on Willow Creek Pass at about 9,000 feet. I washed my bike clothes in the river because they were getting kind of smelly. By the time I went to bed the bike clothes hadn't dried so I hung them on a line. When we woke up in the morning my spandex were actually frozen. FROZEN. Not frosty, not cold, but frozen.
Tomorrow or the next day we'll summit Hosier Pass which is our final big climb and then sweet, lovely, flat Kansas! Hosier is 11,000 feet. It's the highest pass on the trail. About a month ago I don't think I could possibly imagine being excited about biking over an 11,000 foot mountain but right now I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe it's that's legendary descent waiting for us on the other side that's so inspiring...
Love to you all! Looking forward to seeing Portland soon.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I have to go so Dave can shower but thank you for all your encouraging posts! I'll see you in August.
Monday, July 14, 2008
So we are still in Lander Wyoming. It's Monday around 9:30 am. We're normally on the road by now with 40 or so miles behind us but Catie is not feeling well. She was up all night last night very sick to her stomach and with horrible headache. We've decided after talking to Frank this morning that it's probably some sort of a stomach flu. We're just going to take it easy to day and try and bike about 40 miles or so to a little town between here and Larimie. We're a little behind schedule, but I'm confident everything will work out for the best. Thank you all for you posts, comments, and words of encouragement. They definitely keep us motivated to finish this trip.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Abigail asked me what my favorite part of the trip has been so far and I've thought and thought about it and I think it's the amazing people we've met. People have been so incredibly generous and kind in ways that I never could have imagined.
In Jackson, Montana at the hot springs we met Shana and Tye from Idaho who were traveling with their two daughters. Five or six days later, we were creeping up a big hill in Yellowstone and Tye and Shana spotted us from their car. They were going the opposite direction and turned around to give us cold water and words of encouragement.
Then we met Cait in West Yellowstone, a place void of anything good. We saw her come around the corner on her Surly Crosscheck with her t-rex tattoo and we knew she was someone we should probably talk to. As it turns out, she's from Portland and bike messenger. It was so nice to talk to someone from Portland, which when you're in West Yellowstone, seems like worlds away.
Terry, a retired police officer from Colorado picked us up when we were stranded on the side of the road in Wyoming with a flat tire, out of patches and spare tubes. He drove us all the way to Lander.
In Lander we met Ben who has been so very kind to us. Not only did he let us camp in his yard and cook in his kitchen, he's been a great friend. Thanks, Ben! We think you're great--come visit us in Portland!
And then there's all those people in Montana who wave and give thumbs up and then young woman who shouted from the window of her car as we were climbing up some ridiculously high pass, "you're almost to the top!"
Those are just the people who come to mind right now. We've met so many. So I think that's my favorite part of the trip so far.
That's all for now!
I know it's been a while. We've been through some remote areas. We're currently in Lander, Wyoming. Very nice place. We're taking the day off here.
The time has been going by very quickly. Can't believe we'll be starting our 4th week tomorrow. We're a little behind schedule but we're almost out of the Rockies, and bear country.
Haven't been sleeping well at night because everywhere there are warnings about grizzly bears. They have metal containers to put EVERYTHING in. The towns all have huge metal trashcans that are bear proof. Kind of unnerving when you're in the middle of nowhere and you hear the tent rustle in the middle of the night. All I can say is that it's nice to be sleeping indoors tonight.
Last night when we got into lander we met the manager of the bike shop, Ben. He invited us to stay in his backyard and use his shower and place to cook our food. What a great guy.
I haven't been feeling all that great recently. I think I haven't been eating very healthy. I think eating all these processed foods is making me not feel so well. Let's just say stomach problems to keep it simple. I really can't wait to get back to Portland and eat good, wholesome, unprocessed food, which is so hard to find on the road.
Catie and I slept above 8500 ft. the other night about 10 miles from the summit of Togotee pass and nearly froze. We subsequently found out that it had gotten down to 24 degrees. Thanks dad for the 20 degree sleeping bag. It was just enough to knock the chill off. I definitely wouldn't say I was warm though.
We've both been drinking lots of coffee in the morning. It's been really, really cold in Wyoming.
Yellowstone was a joke. Very expensive for everything. $12 per biker to ride through the park, $6.5o to camp, and $2 for 6 minutes in a hot shower and food marked up 20% or more. I'm sure that we didn't get to see the "real" Yellowstone, but mostly all we saw were RV's and people who we're not really friendly. We've seen more wildlife ( dead + alive) outside of Yellowstone than we did inside.
I think that's all for now. Please see the pictures below to see what kind of fun we've been having. All I can say is that this is such an educational experience. I've learned and am continuing to learn so much about people, America and it's history, and the landscape every day. This is the sort of thing you can't get anywhere else. I've traveled around a lot in the world, including America but never like this. This has truly been an amazing experience. I want to see the rest of the world by bike. You see, learn and meet so many more great people.
That's all for now. More to come later.
Somewhere in Montana.
Montana. For sure. The clouds + sky there are amazing. I can see why they call it big sky country.
Catie getting upset with the mosquito's.
Eating soup at a park somewhere in Montana while we take a lunch break.
Side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming with an unrepairable flat tire waiting for someone to help us make it to lander. We were able to keep our spirits up.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
90+ miles for the past few days. We'll be out of Montana tomorrow. Meeting more cyclists.
Biked 93 miles the day before yesterday and got eaten alive by the mosquito's near Jackson Montana. It was for a good cause because at the end of our long day we had a soak in the natural hot springs, cold beer and a shower awaiting us, all for only $10 each.
Dillon Montana is no good. Don't go there. Weird place. Ran into a real "Montanian" in Alder who told us about how Dillon is monitored by the government with secret surveillance equipment made in Palo Alto California and how we didn't really land on the moon. Two other local cyclists from Bozeman said that we're not meeting people from Montana unless they're paranoid and have conspiracy theories.
Wow--it's been awhile since I posted something. While I'm riding I think of all these fun, clever things to write about but by the time I reach a computer I'm usually too tired to remember what I was going to say.
As soon as we crossed the Idaho/Montana border people started waving and smiling and giving thumbs up. It's a super biker friendly state. Two nights ago we happened upon Jackson, Montana, population 38. They have a hotspring and lodge there. It was an incredibly magical place and the perfect way to end the day. As soon as we walked in the door to the lodge, this couple called out to us, "hey! you made it!" they had passed us on the way in on their motorcycle. We had a nice long soak in the hot springs and met this really nice family from Idaho. Overall, an excellent day.
We've been biking a lot these past few days. Yesterday we biked 95 miles from Jackson to Alder. Who knew that I could bike 95 miles in just one day? I feel pretty great about it. It wasn't easy, I had a little break down but we persevered because I realized that even if it was getting dark and even if I was so, so tired, I was still going to make it.
Now we're in Ennis, Montana, just for lunch and checking e-mail. It's a cute little town with an old western theme. The ride in was great because it was this big hill at first followed by 10 miles of down hill. So satisfying. The hills just don't seem as big as they used to. I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath because Colorado is still looming.
Well, I think that's all for now. We're on our way towards Western Yellowstone. We should be in Wyoming by tomorrow! Hope everyone is well.
Love to you all,
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Laughing. About something. That happens a lot on this trip.
View from the dashboard.
Welcome to Montana. Big Sky Country.
White Bird Pass, out of White Bird, Idaho 4,000 and some odd number of feet up. You can't see the town but it's the little green area in the valley.
People in Montana are really nice, they honk, and wave and yell things about how cool we are. It's a really nice welcome coming from Idaho where everyone is kind of unfriendly towards cyclists. We're staying right now in Hamilton, about 50 miles South of Missoula.
Things are going well. Our bodies are working out all the kinks and getting stronger and we're able to bike longer, faster, and harder without the exhaustion that would overtake us in our first week. I'm noticing that we're climbing hills much faster than we were our first few days.
The main obstacles recently have been the mosquitoes , ants and getting enough calories, but thanks to Fast Food America, it's gotten easier.
We've noticed that we can rack up a few thousand calories in one meal with eggs, meat, and pancakes and bike 3-4 hours without being hungry but we still don't feel as "clean". it's hard to describe unless you've been vegan. We're definitely aware that we're not eating as healthy, but we try to eat a fresh fruit or vegetables every day like a pepper, avocado, banana, apple, orange, cucumber....anything fresh. We've been eating candy bars, Dairy Queen's Blizzards, BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs...all the gross stuff that tastes OH SO GOOD. Fat and Sugar are key. We'll usually go through an entire box of Oreo's in a Day. Crazy. I know.
Let's see. What Else? We've seen a lot of things on the road. We saw a HUGE dead moose. A car in a river. Live Elk. Lots and Lots of Deer and Cows.
We met a couple the other day biking from Texas who were from Minnesota. They WERE vegan as well before they starting biking. They made it about 2 weeks without any animal products. Hats off to them. We were done after about 8 days. It's kind of comforting to know we're not sellouts.
I think that's all for now. I hope everyone is well and there will for sure be more to come soon. I'll probably have some better stories to tell on the next post. There's so much inflow of information to the brain that it's hard to sort everything out.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
We're still in Idaho, still battling the heat but things are great. We're having an incredible time. We climbed this huge hill today that went up and up. There were no cars but as we were creeping so so slowly up the switchbacks we met a real live cowboy and guess what he was herding? COWS. I think that's the closest I've been to a cow since Jen was at OSU.
We're in this funny little cafe in a town called Stites. It's like a tornado picked it up out of Portland and dropped in the rural Idaho. We're just waiting for the weather to cool off a little before heading on to our final destination.
Here are some other important things I wanted to let you all know:
1. I got pooped on by a BARN OWL. That's a once in a lifetime sort of thing, you know?
2. My legs are getting very, very strong.
3. I have a really awkward tan.
4. I ate bacon today--yes sir, I am that hungry.
I think that's all and my time is almost up but I just wanted to let you know that I am doing well and having a pretty great time.
Monday, June 30, 2008
We took a day off in Halfway Oregon after climbing 2000ft. in 7miles in 100 degree heat. Just hung out yesterday, did some laundry, and tried to avoid the heat as much as possible.
Were taking a break from the heat right now, waiting until around 6 or so to bike the 20 miles to Counsel, Idaho for a total of about 80 miles.
We ran into a couple named Steve and ( Can't think of it now, I'll update it later when I remember it) and they're biking from VA to Astoria. Nice couple.
Other than that we're just biking, and trying to settle into a routine of waking up, eating breakfast, and packing everything up. We're about 95% there.
Still don't have any photos to upload because they're public computers. Maybe we'll meet some cool cowboy + cowgirl in Idaho who will let us use their computer to download some images.
It's been hot, dry, and fun. More to come soon.
Friday, June 27, 2008
This trip is harder than I had envisioned, but a lot more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I feel like I've never seen Oregon, until this past week. Huge expanses of mountains and fields that go on and on and deserts that I didn't even know existed.
In my previous posts I know there are a lot of misspellings. please disregard. My mental capacity for anything other than food, water, or sleep is minimal, so the rest of my posts are likely to be riddled with grammatical errors.
Catie and I slept in a wilderness area last night in one of the national forests. deer going through our campsite. The sound of beavers lurking in the stream nearby. We had heard that bears are a possibility in these parts, so, in the interest of safety and the fact that we were 40 miles from civilization other than hwy 7, we put up a bear bag.
We passed through a ghost town today. It's not even on any map. Kind of cool. Just a bunch of old shacks in an open field. Apparently one person lives there according to a local couple in Austin Junction ( which is nothing more than a saloon and country store).
Met a few other cyclists travelling west, a kid from Richmond, VA and an older gentleman from ....Corvallis, I believe.
Saw something a little sad today. There was a deer on the side of the road that seemed a little skittish, like it was trying to cross the road. We look across the road and there was her baby after getting hit by a vehicle and being eaten by vultures. kind of crazy how we're all out of touch with the "natural" world and how cruel and unrelenting it can seem sometimes in our world of consumer convenience.
Other than that things are going great. The days seem to get easier. my knee still doesn't hurt anymore but both of my achilles tendons are sore.
Why do we go through all this self deprivation of showering and other everyday conveniences? Maybe so we can enjoy them a little more at the end of the day.
More to come soon. Hopefully we can post more photos soon.
We have decided to stay in Baker City, Oregon for the night. We had a short day with strong head wind so after consuming an incredible amount of Chinese food and listening to the couple beside us bicker we decided it was time for a rest. Plus there is a museum here I want to check out.
We have been climbing a lot of hills. In fact, everyday for the past 5 days we've summited over 4,000 feet. Yesterday, we did it twice. We've biked over Mt. Jefferson, crept over the Santiam Pass, Ochoco Pass I really enjoyed--my kind of hill, gradual and scenic. Keyes Pass was pretty brutal. Yesterday we went over the Dixie Pass and then the Tipton Pass in the Strawberry Mountains (I think) and this morning we woke up and struggled over Sumpter Pass. Reading over what I just wrote, I am feeling really tired and sort of amazed. This first week has been crazy. This is going to sound ridiculous, but this trip is actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.
Here are some things I have learned about biking over hills:
1. Hills look a lot bigger when you are looking at them compared to when you're actually biking up them.
2. Eventually, uphills become downhills and downhills are totally incredible and usually worth the climb.
3. Sometimes with hills you just have to put your head down and climb.
4. It is fine if you have to stop every 1/4 of a mile. There's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes when stopping, you notice how far you've come and what an amazing view you can see from 4,000 ft.
We've been biking down a Historical Tour Route that tells the history of this part of Oregon. Maybe it's my love of pioneers resurfacing from the depths of my childhood, or perhaps just because these historical markers are generally frequent and provide a good excuse to stop pedaling uphill ("Dave--I REALLY want to keep inching up this gigantic hill at 4 miles an hour, but look! A historical marker--we have to stop." ) Anyways, I am finding all this Oregon history very interesting. I'm really looking forward to biking through the Nez Perce reservation.
I have the most awkward tan but I am sort of proud of it because anyone who likes riding bikes will be able to identify that I am a cyclist which is why my hands and feet are 10 shades lighter than my arms and legs and other people probably just don't notice (hopefully).
Well, I have to get to the museum before it closes. Dave will probably post something soon.
Love to you all!
NICK--to answer your questions, we update our blog at local libraries or churches. We uploaded the photos at the church in Dayville. We charge our cell phones at restuarants and some campsites that have electricity. Thanks for asking :)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tonight we're staying at a Presbyterian church that helps out bicyclists doing the Trans-America. We met a guy named Bob from North Carolina. Nice guy.
All I can say is that this is not a walk in the park. I consider myself a pretty regular cyclist. I bike around town, to work, etc. however, this is for the faint of heart.
Most things in life are more of a mental battle than a physical one. This trip has been no different. If Catie and I didn't have Virginia always on our mind, it would be quite easy to give up and go home.
Last night we stayed at Ochoco Divide State Park, out in the middle of NO WHERE. There was no water. Luckily a RV camper helped us jerry rig the "dry" faucet and water was flowing. WE still purified it just to be on the safe side. While biking on hwy 26 we see a car maybe once every 15-20 minutes. If you've been to "central Oregon" or "remote sections" of Oregon like I thought I had, try coming FAR out east. 50 to 100 miles between towns that have a population of a couple hundred.
My knee is feeling better, but my Achilles tendon is still very sore. I'm glad to be sleeping in doors tonight even if it will be on the pulpit of a Church, to have a hot shower, and to have clean clothes.
Thats all for now. I hope this finds you all doing well.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
sorry we don't have pictures to share. can't seem to find a computer to download them on. perhaps soon.
what hurts? thanks for asking. only 2 and a half days of biking and the following have some sort of pain involved:
3. Back of knee
5. and strangely, the top of my head.
I'm really in high spirits. I talked to my dad this morning and mentioned that it's pretty hard work pedaling over the cascades and he said that it should get better. i think it will too. Catie and I have made it to prineville, in 2.5 days. not bad, i say but it looks like we have a lot more to go.
what have i been seeing? lots of hubcaps, dead decomposing animals and sweeping majestic views of the cascades and central Oregon.
going uphill, is totally worth going down.
that's all for now.
see you soon.
thanks Asta for the tip of the week ( bag balm)
also be sure to check out our video that frank shot of us leaving.
In my last post I shared a strategy for going up hills. Yesterday I discovered a new trick. Those of you who know Dave well probably know that as a child he was passionate about the Back to the Future trilogy. After a couple of beers Dave may have shared with you that he loved these movies so much that he the recorded them on an audio tape so that his family and friends could enjoy the witty dialog and exciting action of these timeless films whenever there was tape player near by. The end result of listening to Back to the Future I II and III over and over is that Dave has memorized all of the movies almost word for word. So yesterday, as we began climbing the Cascades, Dave began to recite Back to the Future II and it was great. He has the intonation and sound effects down. I could see the movie in my head as he was talking.
I have crossed the Cascades many times before in a car but I don't think I have ever seen the Cascades like this. Biking over mountains means going really, really slow which means you see a lot more than you do in a car. Like noticing when the water on the side of the road starts running the opposite direction (which means you've reached the top.) All through out Symposium this year the idea of asking children to slow down really stood out to. We ask children to take their time and notice what their drawing or sculpting or looking at. I feel like this trip has helped me to do that.
Everything is going great. I'm pretty tired today but we have been biking an awful lot, which might have something to do with the full body exhaustion. Dave is waiting with the bikes so I am going to wrap it up. I'll write more later.
Friday, June 20, 2008
remember in high school, when the last hour of the day seemed like an eternity? thats kind of how this feels.
i still have a few last minute things to do. haircut. buy groceries. get things for party tomorrow.
thats it for now. the next time i write I'll probably have a week or so behind me, a couple of hundred miles covered, and lots to tell.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This is an older post that I was having trouble figuring out how to edit so now that I am more blog savvy, I am posting.
We are less than a month away from our departure date. Most days involve at least one conversation that goes like this:
Catie: Man! I can't wait for our trip!
Dave: Yeah, I know. Me too.
Catie: It's going to be so cool.
Dave: I wish we were leaving tomorrow.
Our weekends have been full of biking. We've visited many campgrounds in the area and are making weekly trips to REI. We've been trying out our new gear and making lists of what we still need and shedding the things we lug around with us but don't use.
For a long time Dave had been wanting to bike down to Silver Falls State Park. Silver Falls is closish to Salem. It's about 67 miles south of our house. So with the long Memorial Day weekend we decided that we would take a two day trip and bike to Silver Falls and then head back up to Champeog, one of our favorite spots and then come home on Monday. Sounds great, right?
So we started out on Saturday and even though the forecast was for rain, the sun was shining! Amazing! It was actually a beautiful day. Dave has this route he planned out on googlemaps that is all back roads and he had checked the terrain map to make sure there weren't any mountains. For the first hour of biking, the route was amazing, the sun was shining, and things were great. Plus, we were excited to try out the new tent. Everything was wonderful.
Then we got into Oregon City and by some odd mishap, it turns out that someone (not going to name names but I'll give you one hint, it wasn't me) forgot the second page of the route in the printer. We had a state map that is designed for cars and the sun was still shining so we decided to wing it and just keep going. So we're on 99E going through Oregon City and there is no shoulder or sidewalk--this is not a road for bikes at all. If you're ever biking through Oregon City, don't go on 99E.
Apparently there's a waterfall in Oregon City. I never knew this until after a brush with death in tunnel on the shoulderless 99E, we pull off onto a view point of these waterfalls where we meet Jules and his son who are on bikes and help guide us out of Oregon City alive. Thanks Jules!
Silver Falls State Park is gorgeous. It is the kind of forest you think of when you think of Northwest forests--dense and lush and green. We were on our way and doing great. The sun was still shining, the road we were on had little traffic and beautiful scenery and we were 15 miles from the campsite. 15 miles, I thought, that's easy! A little over an hour of biking--no problem. Well, just out of Silverton we started climbing. And we climbed and climbed and climbed. At first I was angry because I sometimes get angry at hills. Then I was indifferent. Then I realized that if I didn't start enjoying this climb, it was probably going to last a lot longer. So, much to Dave's delight and joy, I started singing! This is one of my songs:
(The tune is pretty much non-existent--just really loud, that's the key)
Oh when will we reach the top of hill?
We're pedaling slow, but pedaling still.
I wonder when or if we will
ever reach the top of the hill.
We did make it, two hours later, to Silver Falls where we promptly fell asleep.
They next day...
We slept in a little. It rained part of the night was raining when got up. We packed up our wet tent, zipped up our rain jackets, and headed out to ride down the hill we had climbed yesterday. It was so satisfying to coast all the way into town. After an amazing second breakfast and two cups of coffee we were on the road again.
Most of the riding on Sunday was flat, rainy, and beautiful. The roads were great with very few cars and lots of farmland. It was pretty much perfect except for one flat tire. We got to Champoeg in the early evening and had a big fire.
A few weeks ago we biked out to Champoeg and while we were setting up camp, we were joined by a group of about 20 cyclists from Portland. They're a very cool group of people. We had a great time sharing a campfire and talking with them. We met up with them at Cape Lookout also but we don't have any pictures of that.
Sunday night it poured. Monday morning it rained. As we were leaving the campground it was sprinkling, as we were biking it continued to rain. It rained and rained and rained. And we didn't have enough of a map to get us where we wanted to be so we were lost. We tried different things, roads that mostly led to the freeway, which meant we had to turn around and go back from where we came. And then I started getting flat tires. Three of them in the course of an hour. It was a good training day because we had to practice being wet and cold, fixing flat tires in the rain on the side of a busy road and being lost which are all probably going to happen at some point when we're going cross country.
After a minor melt down on my part we made it, damply to Portland where my parents fed us dinner and let us use the laundry machine.
Overall, an excellent weekend (except now I'm home sick with a bad runny nose and a fever.)
I'll write again soon.