Saturday, August 7, 2010

California coast

As we left Orick and headed south into California we didn't realize we would be hunting for internet access for the next several days. Not that it was totally unavailable, just not where we were. 8/2 was 68 miles from Orick to Ferndale, 8/3 was 86 miles to Leggett, 8/4 60 miles to Mendocino, then finishing up with 46 and 49 miles to Gualala and Bodega Bay respectively. Totals for the trip ended up being about 1200 miles and 45,000 feet of climbing.

Some route observaions. Nothing is flat. Every day was 2000 to 4000 ft of climbing, and with some of the secondary roads the climbs were a sustained 10-12%. Hwy 1 topped out at 19%. It was nice to have the lower gears for sure :-) Given the limited choices along the coast, the traffic generally was not too bad. We followed the Adventure Cycling route from Astoria south, and they do a very good job of putting you on secondary routes and bike paths when available. Some were just wonderful.

The scenery is special every day. The coast is beautiful whether sunny or foggy, and just inland the redwood groves are spectacular to ride through. Except for a notable exception going inland to Leggett, 90% of the riding was in the 50's. Jacket on and off through out the day. When fog comes it gets cool quick. We drank very little water from our bottles. Generally we would stop for another breakfast or coffee every 20 miles or so. The California northern coast is suprisingly remote, sometimes it was about 30 miles between services. With the AC maps you know ahead of times where the services are which is handy.

Lots of great memories. Many touring cylists encountered once we got on the AC route in Oregon. Some people we saw several days, and more than a few we'll likely see again if they visit Tucson or we visit them. The number of nice peope we met is large, and not so nice pretty short. In Leggett we ended up 2 miles from town at the only motel after a long day. The owner drove us in to town to have dinner, came and picked us up later, all the while his wife did our laundry for no charge. Just nice people.

We're whittling down the 1400 pictures to something manageable and will probably do a slide show at the house as soon as it cools off just a bit (in Tucson that is) Let us know if you'd like to join us.

Next summer is Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium. 2012 is looking like Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. We can't wait!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

On to California - 74 miles

We spent the majority of today off of 101 which was nice. From Brookings, OR to Crescent City, CA we toured agricultural areas on the coast with lots of dairy cows and lily fields. After a ride along Pebble Beach in Crescent City it was time for the big climb of the day up in to the redwoods. In to the fog we went. With temps in the 50's it remained quite pleasant.
A major part of the route through the redwood parks was off of 101 and it was just great. Just thousandss of the big guys lining both sides of the road as we cruised by for miles. After leaving the parks we came across 3 different elk sightings, one with a herd of 40 sitting just off of the road.
Moteling in Orick, CA which has seen better days. Had a nice Mexican dinner for my birthday and it's back to the Palm Court Motel with its empty pool :-)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Newport to Gold Beach and beyond

After recharging our batteries, we had two hard days from Newport to Ophir where our friends Ned and Su have an amazing house/yurt with a spectacular ocean view.
The first day of Newport to Lakeside was very scenic, going through Yachats and Florence where it was nice and sunny into the area of the Oregon Dunes where it got cloudy and misty again. Stayed at Lakeside, a small town on a lake and woke up to see a wet parking lot in the morning and a wet mist that was with us most of the way until we got to Port Orford. The most memorable part of the day was going off the 101 on a road called Seven Devils Rd. Not surprisingly there were 7 stinky steep hills, and a bonus one marked on the road as double 7 by a tired cyclist most likely. We saw several touring people along the way, most of them carrying their own gear, one couple had a great arrangement, he hauled a trailer with everything and she rode ahead on her road bike with no extra weight! A family of 5 had the mother driving a VW van as a sag vehicle while the father and kids rode their road bikes. After 8 hours of riding, over 86 miles and over 4000 feet of climbing we arrived at sunny Ophir and stayed in the brand new yurt that Ned and Su built in the past year.
Today we stayed until 11 in Ophir and decided to have a short day, after going down to Gold beach from Ophir there is nothing flat so again today we did quite a bit of climbing with 40 miles and 1900 feet of climbing. I will be so ready for Mount Lemmon when I get back to Tucson! The scenery has been fantastic, blue ocean, big rocks, amazing bridges, and the best a very strong tail wind for the past three days.
Tomorrow we will enter California, and we will have a chance to climb even bigger hills.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On to Newport and a day off

We've been chugging away taking in the spectacular scenery of the Oregon coast, rolling up some real stinker hills, and enjoying the endless supply of 50-something degree air. Late July and wearing a light jacket at 4 PM in the afternoon - doesn't seem possible being from Tucson! We ran in to 5 middle aged touring cyclists (2 different groups) at an overlook north of Lincoln City. They were all camping and actually going a little slower than us.

The last few miles to Newport were a bit tough after about 3500 ft of hills and a little over 80 miles. We made it to my fiend Galen's house south of town and had a great dinner at Cafe Mundo. The bed was so cozy we decided to take a rest day here and continue south on Thursday. 580 miles and about 20,000 ft of loaded climbing over the past 8 days. The legs are weak :-)

Patricia really wants to swim in the ocean, but is a little discouraged by the fact that we haven't seen a single person in the water without a wetsuit yet. Perhaps the 51 degree water temp?? Checked out the Yaquina lighthouse this morning and the associated tide pools. Really cute starfish and other wildlife in the water.

Almost got sunny in town earlier, but back to a little foggy and overcast now. Off to walk the beach in a bit. Is it ever going to start with good thunderstorms in Tucson?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last day in Washington and first day in Oregon

We continue to enjoy the wonderful weather with temps in the 50s and 60s. We had two long days, yesterday from Aberdeen to Long Beach, WA and today to Tillamook. The southwest corner of Washington is sadly economically depressed and it shows, empty streets and houses everywhere, as the waitress at dinner said "an inhabited ghost town". We finished the day at a beach town called Long Beach, found a B&B and walked on the beautiful sandy beach before sunset and went to a restaurant "The Depot" where we had one of the best dinners so far, Thai calamari, a spinach/blue cheese salad, rockfish with mashed potatoes and organic veggies and flan for dessert.
We entered Oregon over the 4 mile long Astoria bridge which finishes in a pretty steep hill for it's high rise. The coast of Oregon is beautiful and dramatic in some areas, the 101 goes by the water for miles so we were able to appreciate it most of the day. The fog followed us so we had cloudy and cool weather.
Tomorrow we are off to Newport to stay with a friend of Steve's.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quinalt to Aberdeen, one day left in Washington

We decided to sleep in late in Quinalt and do a little hike since we had a relatively short day coming of 54 miles. The room was great with a picture window overlooking Quinalt Lake. 101 wasn't too bad today, although we were passed by more Harleys than I thought existed outside of Sturgis. Literally hundreds of them out there going both directions. A fascinating drawbridge coming in to Aberdeen with a walkway that ends in the middle of the bridge. We had to dive over 2 jerseys barriers to get out of that one...

Just wonderful cool breezes whenever we are near the coast. Can't help thinking about the team back home in the heat. Yesterday it was 58 at 4 PM :-)

Another great place to stay in Aberdeen at the aptly named Harbor View B&B. 1905 big house with lots of great features. Off to dinner in a few minutes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From ugly to beautiful: Forks and Quinault

Sequim to Forks was a long day that almost ended in a panic...We missed the Olympic Discovery Trail, added a few miles trying to find it and then endedg up on busy US 101. There were some significant hills coming out of Port Angeles, we loved Crescent Lake but a couple miles into the south route there was construction which delayed us and we had to do 10 miles on loose gravel, at the end of it, there was a nasty headwind all the way to Forks, the town of the Twilight books and movies (we had never heard of it) but many tourists, especially young teenage girls are running all over town taking pictures of buildings and signs, and all the decent motels were booked on a Thursday night. We found one at the end of town that was one of the worst looking places we stayed touring the US, but at least was a warm bed and shower.
Today we started early (and I made reservations in advance in beautiful Quinault Lake), we rode southwest to Olympic National Park and rain forest near the beach, it was beautiful and cold and foggy. The last 25 miles coming to Quinault were hard, we were tired, hot and we were in the Quinalt Indian Reservation so there were no services. It was worth the effort to come to this beautiful spot, and our room's window looks directly out over the lake.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seattle to Sequim - 67 miles

Finally on the road again. Foggy in the Seattle morning, but sunny by late morning. We took the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and started riding. Pretty much a constant up and down all day with about 2500' of climbing, but very little wind. The scenery was of course great and some fun little towns along the way. Our lunch stop was a diner with dollar bills stuck all over the walls and ceiling - thousands of them. And lots of fried food :-)

Late afternoon found us in Sequim looking for a place. Found a really great place with a complete apartment, washer/dryer, and breakfast for a good price.... then we noticed we were the only people around under 80! It turns out to be an assisted living facility that rents out rooms when they are extra. :-) A first for us in our travels.

Tomorrow it will be on to Forks, WA, will hopefully more great weather.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to the real world and on the Coast Starlight

After a four day retreat at the Commonweal property in Bolinas CA I am now starting the real vacation with Steve. The Healer's Art workshop was lead by Dr Rachel Naomi Remen(author of Kitchen table wisdom and My grandfather's blessings). The Commonweal is in a beautiful piece of land but remote and with no cellphone service. The workshop was very intense with 12 hours each day of experiential work and very little free time. Very light Yoga in the morning and an occasional run or walk was all the exercise I could get. It was really hard for me to slow down in every way but I did it and as a result a finished some knitting projects for the grand baby. The participants were wonderful, warm educators who came from Australia, Israel, Vermont, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Boston, New Jersey and the Bay area. The food was the best I had in my life made by a chef from Bolinas, mostly vegetarian and organic (I will wait a few days before I step on the scale...)
Our first day of vacation we are spending in the Coast Starlight, a train that starts in southern California and goes to Vancouver. We got on it in Oakland at 10 PM yesterday, and will get to Seattle hopefully before 9 PM tonight.
The scenery is beautiful, we have a little cabin/sleeper for the two of us.
I am really looking forward getting on the Surlys to ride to our friend Dave's place.
Tomorrow we will be touring Seattle, hopefully getting to a lake or a pool where I can stretch swimming and Wednesday we are leaving Seattle to the Olympic peninsula. Pictures: view of the Pacific from Commonweal, Bolinas and Fede, Naita with grand baby in belly saying goodbye at the Amtrak station

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bay area hills

Bill has been killing me the past 3 days with the hills around the bay area. About 15,000 ft of climbing over the past 3 days. I'm getting to where 10% doesn't seem so steep :-) We maxed out at 28% yesterday, that was a real leg killer. Fun in San Francisco today with temps around 60 and some fog rolling in. A group ride in the morning then back together with Patricia on Sunday afternoon. SF definitely has its share of characters! The beer at ZeitGeist was excellent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Made it to California

We made it to northern California with the Surly's ready to go. Had a nice drive out from Tucson, leaving after Patricia's work on Monday. Had a lovely overnight stop in Blythe, which amazingly makes Tucson seem a bit cool. 72 degrees in the late afternoon when we arrived in San Mateo.

Patricia is off to Bolinas for her 5 day training session for "The Healer's Art". I'm in Palo Alto with good friend Bad Bill riding and drinking beer for those 5 days, it will be rough :-) Today we rode over the coastal range to Pescadero for lunch and toured along the coast for a bit. Miles of 10-25% hills going over and coming back. I can see why BB is in such good shape!

Black Butte Porter in hand, life is good. Patricia and I will meet up again on the 18th for the train ride to Seattle where the real adventure will begin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pacific coast trip will be starting soon

The next trip will be underway soon. Patricia and I are headed out to the bay area on the 13th of July. After she does a class in Bolinas from the 14th to the 18th we'll be headed north to Seattle on an overnight Amtrak train.

Then it's about 2 and a half weeks of riding down the coast to return to San Francisco. Really looking forward to the lower temps. We're getting tired of saying "it's a dry heat" in Tucson :-)