Uncanny Echoes

Current Location:Waldport, Oregon

Thanks goes to Angie, Matthew, and Sam for hosting me in Seattle.  I see again why I could live there, it just has a good energy and having friends there helps.  The beer, food, and company was good.  Two weeks went by far too quickly and it was time to hit the road once again.  Of course I was already worried that I would be behind the cold as it’s already over a week after I had left last time.

Riding the pacific coast a second time I won’t lie and say I’m not looking for a similar experience to what I had the last time through riding with 4 great people.  I almost found a piece of it starting the trail north of Seattle I ran into a British couple who treated me to dinner at the Public House in celebration of finishing the Northern Tier (or my version of it.)  Unfortunately the next day I was heading into Seattle while they continued on south. 

Speaking of looking for a similar experince of last ride I did get a chance to catch up with Jay who met me at Lincoln City and shared a pizza while he recounted to me his exploits of the last couple of years and I talked about riding around the world.  Great to catch up with one of the gang from the last ride.

I found the hills of Washington to be the hardest yet and Oregon to be pretty easy compared to last time where I started each day agonizing over the many hills I’d have to crest.  I do find myself thinking about where I took breaks last time and hills I had to walk my bike up, I’ve come a way from back then.  It’s weird but the weather has been strangely similar to what it was last time, riding into Astoria dripping from head to toe was exactly how I rode through last time and riding into Cape Lookout to a cloudless night is just how I remember it.  If things continue this way I’ll be soaked to the bone once again riding through Crescent City.

The first day riding out of Seattle it settled on me that this was the end, quite the depressing thought and something I don’t dwell on much but it’s the truth.  Time for reality very quickly.

Getting Going

After a full week in Auckland I figure it’s finally time to hit the road. I’ve done most of the touristy stuff here, mostly on foot as i’ve been trying not to cycle through all this traffic. Unfortunately today i’ll have to learn how to ride on the left hand side of the road, i’m still trying to wrap my head around how that works, even though it shouldn’t be that difficult.

I’m pretty excited to get moving again as it gives me purpose, something I feel i’ve been lacking just lounging around in Auckland. I’ll be having lunch today with a pen pal of my uncles who he has been writing to for the last 60 years (at least) which I find pretty amazing.

Finally I posted a few pictures to the New Zealand gallery and a few last ones from the Pacific Coast


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

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.

Beware the Animals

I went to sleep last night listing to the bark of sea lions and woke up to raccoons having eaten just about all my food. The tally of things they got to

  • 3 bagels
  • 2 packages of trail mix
  • 3 power bars
  • what little bit of ham I had left
  • roll of ritz crackers

They were quite noisy while eating all my food but I wasn’t sure what was going on and just wanted to sleep. The other thing I had to ask my camp mates is if anyone had touched my arm the night before, because I swear something grabbed my hand. We all had a good laugh and cursed the raccoons in the morning. Fortunately they didn’t find my oatmeal so I still had some breakfast to eat.

From now on the food goes in the hammock with me.

Damn Raccoons.

Riding Wet

Just a quick note that I’m in Tillamook at the library. I’m super paranoid that my bike will get stolen as it’s outside. Spent the day yesterday riding in the rain so I decided when I got to Manzantia to get a room and warm me up and dry off my clothes. I really liked Manzantia, it’s a quiet little hollow right on the beach of Oregon. Took a walk on the beach this morning with my shoes off, I must have been the only person without shoes on but I did put my feet in the Pacific just to say I did, quite cold. I can’t believe people surf ocean on this side, I just want to tell them to go to Hawai’i and try it there.

On another note I’ve just about given up on pronouncing Hawai’i and just moving to Hawaii, nobody understands me when they ask me where i’m from. The progression usually goes “Hawai’i, the 50th State, an island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean” If they still don’t get it at that time I tend to give up.

I’m off to Cape Lookout state park tonight for some camping, I hope it stays dry. Biking is getting a lot easier after getting rid of weight and being vigilant on tire pressure.

False Start

I really did write this up on Sunday but it seems that I forgot to hit the Publish button so I’ll just amend to it what i’d already written. I’m currently in Astoria, Oregon. I left on Monday morning and made it here last night in a nice rainshower. I ran into a fellow traveler like me and it was nice to swap stories and compare bicycles and the like. He’s the first I’ve run into the entire trip.

I got on the 10:00am ferry to Bremerton. Steam puffing out of my mouth, a thin layer of water covering the ground and a steady stream of drizzle falling on the ground. An ominous sign after 10 beautiful days in Seattle. The course is set and I can only go forward at this point. It started getting colder a few days ago, a sure sign that it’s time to move on to warmer climates. I’m pretty nervous and excited to get going on this trip, I hope to make it as far as Centralia today and that’s quite the ambitious goal.

Today is also the first i’ve ridden with the bike fully loaded and it’s damn heavy, i’ll have to reconsider a lot of the things I’m carrying. I should have got fenders too, my shoes are already soaked. And the first thing on the list of things I’ve forgotten is a lighter, which means I can’t start my stove.

Once I got through Bremerton the trouble started. I literally broke a wheel, which isn’t to mean that I got a flat tire or broke a spoke. Instead I broke the drive mechanism in the rear wheel. I had a suspicion that it wasn’t up to snuff but it had held together the last 250 miles of riding I did the week previous so I figured that it should be okay. So I hobbled the bike back to Bremerton and found a bike shop where the mechanic told me he never saw a drive mechanism so old, he wanted to save it to show to a co-worker. So I decided it was best just to throw on a new wheel with a new gearset. By the time this was all done it was 3p and I knew I didn’t have a chance to make it to Centralia so I tucked my tail and headed back to Seattle to lick my wounds and try again.