Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catie's first post

Dear Friends, Family, Strangers, and my most beloved Fans,
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.
Much love,