Back Where It All Started

I think it’s fairly fitting for me to end up where this road trip started, it adds a symmetry to this trip and it adds a nice ending to a long ride.

I’ve found the time to decompress after the ride and it’s given me time to think about the ride a bit.

These are some of the things I learned on this ride.

  1. Drying your shoes by the fire can melt your shoelaces, but it’s worth losing those in favor of having dry shoes in the morning.
  2. Disappointment Bay really is a disappointment. – Steve
  3. Riding alone makes for an easy ride, camping with a group makes for a better way to end the day.
  4. Cape Lookout, Oregon is the best campground.

I have to say thanks to Brandon and his family for housing and feeding us quite well last Saturday night. I think that food really helped me pull through the following day when I did my longest day of 97 miles, I ended up 2.5 miles short of a century. I didn’t quite plan my day to be that long but the campground I aimed for ended up being closed which meant I had to pull through another 9 miles as the sun was setting. I made it to camp as twilight was disappearing but it ended up being a long, I had planned to do 88 miles with two 1000 ft ascents just to see if I could do it, plus I wanted to see if I could stay ahead of Brandon who was leaving a day later to finish up the ride to Mexico. It ended up being a stark contrast to the beginning of the trip where I had to push the bike up hills, where I could now plow through such large hills without much trouble. It could also do with the fact that Galu was right and I should get new shorts and a new belt. While in SLO I got to jump on a scale and it turns out I lost at least 40 lbs. in 1 month. Perhaps I should write a book on my secret to weight loss though I think my book is pretty short.

Step 1. Quit Job Step 2. Buy Bicycle Step 3. Ride Bicycle for 1 month every day for an average of 6 hours. Appendix A. Diet – Eat everything you can, you’ll need every calorie to push that heavy bike everywhere. The end

Right now I’m waiting on a few things before setting off to New Zealand. The visa has been applied for and my bike is in the shop getting some much needed love. My uncle bill is hooking me up with some new wheels for the bike which have a few more spokes which will help with the breaking so much hopefully. The target date for liftoff is November 4th, which I find somewhat fitting. In theory if I leave then when I land everything regarding the election will be done.

I’ve added another set of pictures



Current Location: Los Angeles, California

It’s definitely a weird feeling having this trip come to an end, but as the saying goes all good things must come to an end.

Just a short post to say that I arrived today at 12:30pm after navigating 25 miles of LA traffic which alone took me 3 hours to do, not so enjoyable.

I think I broke 3 spokes today, LA has some nasty potholes that jump outta nowhere.

Almost Finished

I find myself tonight in San Luis Obispo, not nearly where I had planned to be at this point in the travels. It seems I’ve found myself slowing down after San Francisco for whatever reasons. I spent last night in San Simeon State Park. And tonight I’ll be in a guys backyard that I met on the trip. Hopefully tomorrow I can make it to Gaviota State Park at the least or Refugio State Park at the furthest. Putting me in LA on Tuesday at the latest. I only have two hills left and I hope to finish them both tomorrow and from there it should be smooth sailing.

I’ve found that once I passed San Francisco there are a lot of tourers. When I was having breakfast the other day in Gorda there must have been at least 13 tourers milling about the cafe and the grocery store next door. And I keep meeting new ones at every campground I stay at, probably because it’s warmer down here.

I went to Hearst Castle yesterday for a tour and it’s exceptional what that guy managed to acquire in his lifetime. The tour was very informative but it seems it barely scratches the surface. For $20 you get a tour of one, of the three, guest houses, the main house, the pools (indoor and outdoor.) But they have 3 other different tours that go through different areas of the house. You also get to see a National Geographic IMAX movie on the building of his empire and house. I think the most boggling fact of the day was that I could look in any direction from the house and he owned the land as far as I could see. That’s a lot of land.

I’m excited to get to sleep in a sorta real bed again, not that I’ve grown tired of the hammock but not having to worry about rain and dew would be a welcome change again. It’ll also be nice to see Fatty and Janice again and eat something other than oatmeal, pasta-roni, and bagels.

I Got Screwed

Got my first flat tire the other day as I was about to do the Devil’s Slide, which is a 4 mile segment of windy road with little to no shoulder. Turned out I had run over a screw on a downhill segment. After getting it fixed a guy waved us down and asked if we were about to do the Devils Slide. He then went on to tell us 5 times to be very careful on this stretch, this wasn’t the first time we’d heard about this road so in my mind it was certain doom. We (Jay and I) went ahead with it anyway as there is no easy way around it. Only thing of note that happened was a public bus passed so close I swear I could have stuck out my tongue and licked the side of it. Other than that it was as advertised, but slow and steady won the race that day.

Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge also ranks as a highlight for this trip now. As we were riding we saw the Blue Angels practicing for an air show later that day. I wanted to see them run under the bridge as if it were from The Rock, that would have made the day awesome. Traversing San Fransisco on a Sunday turned out to be the right way to do it. We didn’t fight traffic at all and coasted on through most of the city without trouble.

Spent that night at Half Moon Bay with friends of Jays, Opal and Floyd were campground hosts so we setup right behind where their camper was. Opal made a baked potato and chicken nuggets for dinner and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Said goodbye to Jay and took off for New Brighton State Beach. It turned out to be an okay location for a campground, basically smack dab in the middle of Santa Cruz but we could hear the waves crashing against the shore which was nice.

I left this morning in hopes of making it to Big Sur but it turns out fate doesn’t have that in the cards. It started with a flat tire as I was just about to enter Sand City outside of Monterey. So fixed that (luckily I had bought a spare tube the day before so I slapped that on and decided to make my way to the nearest bicycle store.) Once I got a new tube and pumped up my tire it immediately went flat. So I got another innertube thinking it was the stem that got ripped. Got that installed and rode away about a block and a half when it went flat again. So I hobbled back and decided to get a new tire (I swear there is nothing stuck in the old tire but maybe it’s just done or the screw hole is wearing away at the tire.) Anyway they don’t have armadillo tires so I make do with a junky tire and decide to hit up the rest of the bike stores in Monterey looking for an armadillo tire. I finally find a shop that has one and decide to call it a day. Fate seems to want me to camp in Monterey.

Tomorrow to Big Sur, should be nice.

Edit: I added a few more pictures

Disbanding the Group

Just a quick note to say that i’m camping outside of San Francisco and did a dry run through the city today with Jay to make sure tommorow we can get through the city easily. So this basically means today is a rest day for me.

Today marks the end of the group that I had been travelling with. Alistair is staying with friends of his in San Francisco, Tanya left this morning to catch a grayhound back to Vancouver and should be back in Germany in a few days, and Wolfgang left to visit friends of his in Petulma which leaves Jay and I to make it to Half Moon Bay tomorrow. After that i’ll be by myself again until I meet the next group of people. It was a lot of fun camping with these folks and if they read this remember to keep the rubber side down.

Today also marks the first time i’ve eaten it off the bike this trip. Due to riding without bags my bike handles completely differently so flying down a hill a corner came up too fast and I braked enough to control the hit but still scratched up a bit. Fortunately the bike was just fine.

Some numbers for you. My odometer ticked past 1,000 the other day. It should be higher but it wasn’t working for the first few days and it also has some miles that I added in Seattle and St. Paul. My high speed for the trip is now 46.56 miles per hour. My average speed for yesterday was 13.03 miles per hour. My goal for average had been 12 miles per hour but I clearly surpassed that.

Last night was extremely cold and I decided it was finally time to get my first pair of long underwear, I hope it makes a difference.

Getting Pushed Uphill

I realized today that I’ve been mostly writing about the bad things that happen to me so I thought I’d write in a more positive light today.

Today finds me in a little town called Point Arena and heading for Salt Point State Park. It’s an absolutely beautiful day with a mean tail wind that can literally push me up some of the hills. Which is a very nice change since I’m usually the one complaining about head winds. I don’t think I’ve seen a cloud in the sky all day and it’s really nice to bike along the coast. It’s not the coast as it was in Oregon where the ocean just churned and was bleak. Instead here it’s blue and fades into the horizon like it does in Hawaii.

We camped in Van Damme State Park last night (unfortunately no relation to Jean-Claude) and made smores, I felt it was my duty as an American to educate the foreigners to the wonder of them. In hopes that through smores we can achieve world peace.

I’ve tried to upload some pictures but don’t have the time to comment on all of them, and resizing them takes a lot of time. I’ll try and add more later so they will probably end up out of order.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This post was supposed to be titled Sleeping in the Forest of Endor but after yesterdays events it had to be changed.

The day started extremely well, camping in the Avenue of the Giants has got to be a highlight of the trip. I knew before going to sleep that I had broken a few spokes and that I would have to make it to a repair shop to try and get it sorted out. Instead when I woke up that morning Alistair and I went to the Founders Grove which was really something to see and worth the backtracking. After that we went in search of the Tallest Tree (in the world?) which meant more backtracking for us and getting my shoes, which were blissfully dry, soaking wet (as we had to cross a stream.) In all we biked 20 miles that morning only to arrive where we started. That was the good.

I then start off in search of the bicycle shop in Garberville (I had heard that it wasn’t the greatest bike shop, but at that moment anything would do) As i’m flying along on some of the larger hills I actually hear a PING as another spoke breaks and I learn to control my downhills. I make it there at 3 oclock or shortly thereafter and the guy agrees to look at it. Come to find out that there were 6 broken spokes out of 38 and he can only fix 5 of them because my wheel is too large. That was the Bad.

I got out of the bike shop shortly after 5 oclock and camp is another 25 miles away and mostly uphill which puts me in camp around 7:30, far after the sun has set. I started peddling for all I was worth only to hear more spokes breaking, which by now is utterly demoralizing (this is all happening in that cursed rear wheel again.) The sun sets behind the mountains I have to climb and things start getting dark and i’m afraid to ride my bicycle because I think the wheel will just cave in on itself with all these spokes breaking. Word of caution to the wise, it’s not prudent to walk along the 101 in the middle of the dark, you tend to get angry truckers honking their horn at you. That was the ugly.

The conclusion to the story ends a bit better. I started thumbing it with no luck when the sun set for quite a long time but kept on hiking the bike and keeping the thumb out just in case. Someone finally stopped and got me to the campsite which was 4 miles away, but felt like an eternity. As i’m reloading my bike to get the 100 ft to camp, Alistair and Tanya (both of who i’ve been camping with the last several days) are walking up to the bar where i’d gotten dropped off, it was great to hear them and quite the coincidence. We went back to the camp where I show off how easy and fast it is to set up the camping hammock (even in the dark!) We headed back to the bar and had some, read lots, of beer and burgers. Listened to some live music, and generally had a good time. It was a great way to end a bad day.

The postscript to the story goes I am now in Fort Bragg, California where i’ve just gotten another new rear wheel, I guess at this point I really should just hope it gets me to San Francisco but I can hope it lasts longer than that. I hitched a ride into town this morning because there was no way I could do the hill on that wheel. Such is the way the story goes.

I also wanted to post another cyclist that is doing a Pacific Coast tour. Fernando camped with us for about 5 days but left us at Harris Beach State Park when we took a break.

We’re all camping at Van Damme State Park tonight, and i’m making smores for the brit and the germans in camp with us to give them a taste of America

Third Tires a Charm

I broke another wheel the other day, well almost broke. The guy at the repair shop was surprised I peddled the thing for the last 100 miles, he thought I had the legs of an amazon because you couldn’t even turn the wheel with your hands. I had been wondering why my downhills were getting harder and harder. It seems that the last mechanic that worked on my rear wheel didn’t tighten things enough and the drive mechanism in the rear wheel basically ate itself. So I once again find myself on a french hub with 3 less gears which leaves me with 15 gears instead of 18. I just hope this is the last wheel I have to buy, it’s getting to be and old gag at this point.

I decided yesterday after arriving into Harris Beach State Park to take the day off today which is exactly what I did. I think I’m only about 7 miles from the border to California which means tomorrow I’ll officially have finished Oregon. On the downside it poured on us today and a lot of my campmates woke up literally in puddles which makes for a dreary way to start the day. The hammock held up well again though a little wet. Tomorrows forecast is 100% chance of rain, I didn’t think they gave 100% ratings so I guess tomorrow will be cold and wet. On the upside I managed to get laundry done today so everything is clean and warm (except me, I’m still cold.)

I’m not sure where I’ll end up tomorrow, as California camping is a little more spaced out than it is here but I’m very close to the Avenue of the Giants which i’m really looking forward to.

I’ll try and upload pictures when I get to a computer terminal that allows me to access my camera.

Oregon has really been a neat place to tour, it’s not that hard on bicycle and the vistas that you encounter are something spectacular most of the time. The say that they save the best for last is no different here, the last day in Oregon was spectacular, lots of lookout points and nice coast, but I must admit towards the end of the day I just wanted to be done with the hills and in camp.