Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 15! Up, Up, Up

We'd made it over Bear Camp Pass and we would be able to do this, too. This was nearly as much climbing, but spread over nearly 40 miles, making most of the climb gradual, although we were expecting steep parts for sure, and the whole day just slow going.

We rousted at 6:15 and were rolling out of camp just after 7:00. We rode to the small town of Prospect, where we had hopes of finding a spot for breakfast. The steps of their small public library served us just fine.

The library in Prospect is only open two days a week and only for a few hours each time. A small town from the day before had two days, but still only half days. The graphics of the signs and such were very similar helping us to believe that the libraries in these towns probably share a roving librarian(s). We're very glad for our extensive library hours.

We then carried on riding with short breaks for Cliff Bars and other snacks, but no real lunch stop, due to wanting to get to the campground as soon as possible. That said, we did stop at a lovely little "town" with a store, cabins for rent and such that had a very scenic gliding swing overlooking a creek. We sat there to eat our bars before hitting the store for Advil, me having forgotten to buy it at a larger store while quickly going through our supply thanks to the still hurting knee.

Later in the day, we stopped at a snowmobile staging area complete with a warming hut and vault toilets. No water, though, and, by this time our water was getting a little low. Just after this stop, we crossed a stream, so we stopped to filter some water to fill the water bottles.

Then on we went. As the day progressed, so did the incline. The increasing incline was punctuated by sections of good, hard climbing. We eventually entered Crater Lake National Park:

However, there was still a good ways to ride to the entrance booth and the campground, so on we went. Both before and after entering the park, the ride was quite scenic and, for me, mostly enjoyable.

Anthony, though, hit a wall just about when we got to this sign. We rode on with me in the lead and widening it until we stopped for another food break and Anthony admitted to his struggles. I was feeling pretty good and, with the worry about getting a spot, Anthony wanted me to ride ahead. I took some of the heavy things that were easily switched (books, peanut butter) and left them with the tools I usually carried and rode on.

Just as I was feeling rather desperate about yet another really steep climb, it turned to downhill and I coasted up to the entrance booth. Feeling all happy and proud of riding there, I said to the woman working in the booth, "Hi!"

She said, dully, "That'll be $5." So much for enthusiasm, "You rode your bike here?" for example. It's not like it was common place at all for people to show up on bikes. Ah well.

I paid the $5 for me and the $5 in advance for Anthony, while Davan, being a child, was free. If we'd been in a passenger car, it also would have been $10. So, get this, seven adults show up to Crater Lake National Park in a minivan. It costs $10. Seven adults show up on bike and it's $35. What kind of sense does that make? Plus, the Pacific Crest Trail with lots of through hikers goes right through Crater Lake National Park. They do not pay. Odd, I think.

The registration booth for the campground was right around the corner. I hurried over and was waiting my turn behind two people who were arguing about price. Someone from inside the booth asked if I was with them. No, they said, "We didn't bring any bikes." I didn't bring the bike, man! I rode it here! Anyway, I was directed to the other side of the booth where I said, "Please, oh please, tell me you still have tent sites available!"

"Yes, ma'am, I do," she answers me without much interest. I guess only I was excited about having ridden there. Sigh. Still, it was great news and I was happy to hear it. Just as I was finishing up registering, Anthony and Davan showed up, Anthony looking like heck warmed over and looking very, very grateful that he wouldn't have to ride any farther.

I sent them on to the campsite and then went to the camp store to pick up some sort of recovery drink for Anthony, in particular. I'd been hoping for some Odwalla products, but they didn't have them. I got Anthony's second choice, Gatorade, as well as picking up some OJ.

Then I rode over to the site, 38.35 more miles accomplished when I pulled in:

We slugged the beverages - OJ never tasted so good! - and set up camp. Anthony and I toyed with the idea of eating at the buffet style all you can eat restaurant, but, after I went back over and checked it out, decided the price wasn't worth it for Davan and I, particularly.

Instead, I whipped up a bean dip which we ate with carrot chips and baked tortilla chips. We enjoyed a stroll around the near-by trail and the campground, tacking on a perusal of the camp store before returning to camp to eat some more. Anthony made pancakes again:

We stayed up late to go to the ranger presentation about driving the much less used east side of the rim drive and learned the bad news. The forecast for the next day was rain. Not only that, but the ranger told us that often, with a low cloud cover, you can't even see down into the basin of the lake. It was also getting colder and colder, with snow flurries expected on the rim on Sunday.

Now, we would be at a much lower elevation by Sunday and weren't worried about that, but we were not excited about the rain and possibly not seeing the lake after all that effort to get there. We made plans to not dawdle in the morning, as the rain wasn't supposed to start until 11:00 and went to bed as wrapped up as we could get - it was cold! - and tried not to worry too much about the next day, yet again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 14! Our Anniversary

As it was our anniversary - 15 years! - you'd think we'd have gotten more pictures of the day. Perhaps one with Anthony and I both in it? Or perhaps one of the very creative sign Davan made for us on the parking area in our camp site? But, no. The only pictures we have of the 3rd of September are the series I took here:

This is another work project which necessitated a picture. It was first thing in the morning, just after leaving camp. This project, unlike the first bridge, is a completed project that Anthony and his team worked on. They had to redo this whole bridge/interchange because the city wanted a bike path. The bike path doesn't actually hook up to anything, so it was affectionately called the "bike path to nowhere" project in the office. We discovered on this trip, though, that it will eventually hook up to the bike path we took to ride into camp the night before. Someday...

We were planning another not a lot of miles sort of day. Davan was showing definite signs of not being excited about getting on the bike. Anthony was feeling better after our Bear Camp climb, but we still didn't want to overdo it too much. Plus, we started to climb this day toward Crater Lake and would have another day of serious climbing the next day.

We had done some talking over the last couple of days about trip goals. Anthony and I were kind of keen to try to make it back home, but not at the expense of enjoyment. Davan thought that making it back home was all well and fine, but she wanted to be able to stop and play at cool looking parks and maybe not do so many miles in a day.

It was a nice day of riding, even with an early morning break for the mailing of my journal, a park romp for Davan and an extended bathroom search. We rode along the Rouge for much of the day and it was a very pretty both weather wise and scenery wise.

We stopped at a park along the Rouge in Shady Cove for lunch, where they had another appealing play ground, as well as the great view of the river. Flush toilets with sinks and soap, even! The height of luxury.

After lunch we shopped in Shady Cove at the local Ray's. Ray's was the most common small town grocery store we encountered on the trip. Each store carried a varying selection of food with smaller towns, of course, having less selection. It being our anniversary, I'd kind of hoped to get something special for dinner. Bocca Burgers were a favorite treat meal and Sunchips were a favorite snack, so I was kind of hoping for those items. No go. No fake meat products at all were to be found in this Ray's. They had Sunchips, but not the original flavor and all the other flavors have dairy. Even though it was a pick up dinner for that evening and breakfast (we planned on English muffins en route rather than the usual oatmeal for reasons I'll explain later) and lunch for the next day sort of stop and should have been short, it took a while due to repeated scannings of the store for "treat" items.

In the end, dinner was not overly treat like. We had baked beans over sweet potatoes with sauted onions. This was a good meal and sweeter than our usual with the very sweet baked beans, but, you know, not an overly special and certainly not a gourmet meal.

The riding day ended with a long, hot climb to Joseph Steward State Park, were we arrived around 3:00 with 45.85 miles under the tires for the day. This state park is situated along a reservoir causing Davan and I to have visions of a post ride cool off splash. However, getting to our site, which was lovely, and exploring soon showed that dream to be more difficult to fulfill than we might have hoped for.

The reservoir was down a cliff from our campsite with no access. To get to swimming access, you had to go to the day use area, 2 miles away. Davan still wanted to swim, but was rather unresponsive to my prods about swimming or not, which turned out to be the last straw for me.

I'm embarrassed to say that I blew up at her. It wasn't really her, although her behavior was rather annoying, don't get me wrong. It was worry. I was worried about the next day, which involved another 4000 ft climb. I wasn't so worried about being able to do it, but I was worried that we'd get there and not be able to camp.

We were headed to Mazama Campground, which is the campground at Crater Lake. We didn't have reservations and it was the start of the holiday weekend. Anthony wanted to get there as early as possible so as to have the best chance of getting a site. Only half of the spots there are reservable, so with an early arrival, we were hoping we'd get a spot. However, if we didn't, we were toast. We'd either have to go on through, adding another 20 plus miles to the day and more climbing on top of the 4000 ft or turn back without seeing the lake at all.

Then, to arrive at camp this evening and realize that we wouldn't be able to swim without doing some extra riding anyway, was really disappointing. I felt very much like we should have just stopped at the day use area, taken a quick dip, then ridden on another 10 miles or so to shorten the day the next day and to free camp. All of this boiled up and I had a fit.

We unloaded the bikes and left to go swimming with me in tears and not wanting to go, but trying to be a good sport about it, to find that the swimming hole rather sucked. Davan headed down toward it while I had a good cry and finally really told Anthony what was going on in my head.

Davan showed back up, reporting that the water didn't really look appealing to get into, but, by golly, I'd ridden extra to get there and I was at least going to wade. The water wasn't really that bad and I got in a couple 100 yards of swimming before we rode back to camp.

By the time I was done swimming, I actually felt much better, but I'd infected Anthony with my worries and he started talking about just skipping Crater Lake. We could go around, save most of that climb and shave a day off of the trip.

On the way back to camp, I lost my red blinky tail light in the bushes when I hit a large bump and was unable to find it. Sigh.

At camp, Anthony and Davan went to shower and wash clothes while I got dinner made. Over dinner, I apologized for my behavior and we talked about what we wanted to do. Davan didn't really care about going to Crater Lake and was happy to miss the climb, but agreed readily enough when Anthony and I decided we'd just go for it. We did come up with a back up plan for if the campground was full. We'd peddle around the campground until we saw someone with extra space, then ask if we could put our tent there if we paid for their night's camping. This had been a Stanford technique for finding spots in California campgrounds where there were no hiker/biker sites and the campgrounds were often full.

After dinner we split a pack of Kashi cookies I'd had the foresight to pick up at Fred Meyer's the day before. This is when we discovered the non-vegan ingredients. We did go ahead and eat them, but for the last time. Over cookies, Anthony and I brought up a topic for discussion with Davan.

My mom and step dad had decided to come and camp a couple of nights with us starting on Monday (this day being Thursday). They were going to meet up with us, camp with us, do their own thing during the day, then camp with us again the next evening. I'd touched base with Mom about this in Grant's Pass the previous day and had mentioned that I felt like Davan was not overly enthused about riding more. Mom and Dennis talked about that and called back to say that they'd be happy to either have Davan ride in the van with them or to just take her back to their place for the rest of that week so Anthony and I could just do the miles if we wanted to. She also offered to carry gear in the car for us to make getting the miles necessary to finish easier. The two of them were willing to go to our house and pick up any bike/tool/bike part we'd need for Anthony and I to ride without Davan.

Anthony and I had talked it over and decided that we didn't want them to carry our gear, wanting to have done the whole trip unsupported, but that we did want to offer Davan a total or a partial out if she wanted to be done peddling. I'd move over to the tandem and we'd put my bike on the back of the van to either go home or for a couple days while Davan took a break. We didn't need anything from home to make that work. This is what we offered her over cookies.

Davan broke down crying. The jist of it was that she was having fun and, yeah, it was hard sometimes and sometimes she wasn't excited about climbing back on the bike, but the was our vacation and we couldn't just tell her she couldn't be on our vacation with us anymore. It'd be like getting kicked out of Disneyland!

Her vehemence was a little shocking, but we were glad to hear that she was enjoying the trip and the little reluctances were nothing more than that - little - rather than leakage of her true feelings about the trip. We assured her that we were not sending her away, but giving her options and she was more than welcome to complete the trip with us. That was the end of that.

We settled down early again, with the plan of an early start in the morning and breakfast down the road. We weren't expecting to have water available, thus the English muffins. We still wanted to make the best time we could on the ride the next day to increase our chances of getting our own spot.

Happy anniversary wishes were shared all around, the three of us each in our own sleeping bags in our snug little tent, and it was off to try to sleep amid the typical evening campground noises.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 13! Chores and Errands

We would have liked to have slept in today because we were not going very far, however, some early morning crows yelling at each other right outside our tent made that an impossibility. Even Davan didn't sleep through the racket.

We got up, packed up, made the last of the pancakes (I forgot the day before, we were saving some for breakfast because we didn't have the stuff we usually liked to put in our oatmeal - raisins, freeze dried fruit, ect) and were off riding toward Grant's Pass by 9:00.

It was slow going into Grant's Pass, as Anthony, particularly, was still really whopped from the ride the day before. This isn't surprising, considering the load he had to haul up that mountain. Normally Davan is a big help on the climbs in particular, but she, I must say, got tired and bored with the hard peddling and there was some slacking, just when it was really hard going. Luckily, Anthony is a very strong bike rider and was able to do it, but there was some backlash.

We hit Grant's Pass at 10:45 and made the visitor's center our first stop. Anthony and Davan went in to ask our questions while I stayed with the bikes. While staying with the bikes is usually Anthony's job, I was more than happy to do it to give me a chance to write in my journal and because Anthony is the one in our family who does the best with comprehending and remembering directions.

The questions were, perhaps, a little unusual for visitors, other than asking about a place for lunch. We needed a laundromat, a Fred Meyer (not where we usually shop, but abundant in Oregon and usually having everything we want from "regular" food to "health" food, so it was our go-to grocery store for the trip), and a Post Office. They all got to talking about the trip and pretty soon, four people from in the visitor's center were outside, checking out our rigs and asking us the questions. This was completely fine with us. Anthony, in particular, enjoyed telling people about the trip and we all thought it was cool when people realized we were doing something special. On the coast, tourers were fairly common and incited little comment for the most part. In Grant's Pass, we were a novelty.

We washed all of our clothes, towels, and rags, with the exception of the clothes we had on and our rain gear, but, rather than dry it, put it all in heavy duty trash bags to hang at camp later. Bike clothes are not compatible with driers.

Then we rode into the "restaurant district" without finding anything that called out to us. We came to Fred Meyer and opted to do our shopping before lunch. We had spotted two places right by the grocery store that were possibilities, though.

This was a big shopping trip. We were out of all of our snacks, some of which had been in stock from home, much of our light weight emergency stock and had no meals, either. Plus, we were about to go into a section of our trip where we expected the grocery stores to be more like convenience stores when were even able to find a store. So, it was a long shopping trip. Knowing this, though, and also it being a short ride day made that no big deal. I was even able to stay calm when we got in line behind a woman on WIC, who just changed their rules, and, thus both woman and cashier were confused. This took a very, very long time, but hey, we were in air conditioning and Davan was playing with the woman's baby, so no big deal.

Before going to lunch, we had dessert. A very special treat for us are Rice Dream treats and they had them at that Fred Meyer, so we had to indulge. We like the Mint Pie. These are not health food, though, so indulge wisely.

The two restaurant choices were a Mexican place and a pizza place. We were inclined toward the Mexican if they had good choices for Davan and I, so I checked out their menu. It would have been okay, but not great. Mostly rice and beans. We particularly enjoy portabella mushroom fajitas, for example. So, off to Abby's for no cheese veggie pizza for Davan and I and a cheesy indulgence for Anthony. It was yummy and we all ate plenty. Davan and I split a large and had no left overs. Of course, we were quite full, but still able to ride, at least gently. LOL

We didn't end up stopped at a post office, after all, as Anthony had forgotten to ask about one. The post office need was mine. The small journal I'd brought was a few pages from full and I wanted to send it off to my best friend, Chris, as we keep regular sharing journals for each other. I'd also forgotten to replace my journal at Freddy's when we were there. Opps. I'd have to do both jobs soon.

So, we finished off the last 10 miles or so to the camp ground for a total of 31.23 for the day, with the last couple of miles being on a bike path. We found a blackberry patch on the path and stopped to pick some:

The path was nice...until it turned to gravel, then not as much fun, but it was still worth taking the bike path rather than riding on the busy road.

We stayed at Valley of the Rouge State Park that night. The showers were nice. The air was dry, making our laundry dry before we even went to bed, which was sure a nice change and our only real complaint was a lack of river access for swimming. Ah well. We had lots of time for hanging out, reading,
journaling, playing cards
and making dinner, which, yes, we were hungry for even after our big, late lunch.

This evening, with a recent shopping trip, we had sweet potatoes, kale, onions, nutritional yeast, and chilli beans as a one pot meal. It was yummy and very filling. Even Davan who usually only tolerates kale was actually glad to see it in a meal. We did eat much fewer veggies than we do at home while on this trip.

We tucked in just before sun down for some family book reading, as always, and lights out before full dark.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 12! The Big Climb

We got up around 6:00, before dawn, and started packing up, making breakfast and pumping water. The whole routine took a little over and hour and a half and we rolled out of camp at 7:40. We had to make a quick stop for a picture.

It turns out that Anthony had ulterior motives for choosing the route he did. This is the first of two bridges where we had to stop to take pictures. See, this bridge is one he is drafting for it's remodel at work.

The pictures were quickly dispatched and we were on our way, up, up, up. I quickly decided that I would take a break once an hour. More would impede my progress too much. Less and I wouldn't have enough to look forward to. Anthony and Davan stopped more often, though, as they rode faster and would stop to wait for me. That worked well because Davan got to get off the bike more often, which, this day, she really needed. Plus, they got to take pictures of me grinding up the mountain:

We went three miles in the first hour. Three. It was sobering. 17 miles of climbing. Three miles an hour. That'd be six hours of climbing, plus breaks. If that pace kept up, we we at the top of the climb around 1:40, after starting the climb at 7:40. That's a long time to climb.

Things improved, though, and we hit some stretches that weren't at quite such a steep grade. Our speed picked up. We started the day under cover of clouds, which was good for working so hard. Even with the rather high, mind you, cloud cover, we were sweating. We reached the clouds, rode through them, got above them:

and were still only about half way done climbing.

Early in the day, for maybe the first two hours, the only cars we saw were a caravan of vehicles obviously going to pick up some river rafters with passenger vans and trucks pulling flat trailers. Then the traffic started to pick up some as the day went on, with maybe an average of 10 cars an hour.

We got to the summit of Bear Camp Road shortly after high noon and stopped for lunch:

I'll tell you what, Triscits, peanut butter and fruit spread never tasted so good. Even though we'd eaten on the way up at breaks, we were very hungry. It was beautiful at the top and we were pleased to find a picnic table and vault toilets. Before this trip, we'd probably never have been happy to see a questionable outhouse, but anyplace more or less clean to sit with tp available was a welcome sight most days.

Anthony was pretty whipped by the top. Davan was happy to be done with the hill and had been really dragging the last hour or so of the climb. Me? Once again, by the top, I was in the lead. My endorphins totally kicked in and I was a happy rider. I felt so awesome and empowered by the time we got to the top. I was really proud of having done it. Not that I would have been happy to see more climbing ahead...

Then it was time for the decent. Well, first, there was just a little decent, then some going along a ridge with ups and downs, then the decent. We descended for at least a half an hour and it would have been great fun except...our hands got crampy from holding onto the breaks! The road was too steep and curvy to just let the bikes go, so we had to keep the breaks on pretty much the whole time. Still, it was fun and so nice to have all those miles go so quickly after the slow, slow miles of the morning.

Speaking of breaks, I don't think I've explained yet about the drag break on the tandem. Anthony, a few years back, once we started doing bike camping trips, installed a drag break on the tandem so he could set it on hills and save the breaks. One camping trip, in particular, had stripped off pretty much all the rubber on some pretty new breaks, so it was obvious that he needed more breaking power. On this trip, he would just set the drag break at the top of most hills and it worked pretty well to modulate the speed on the tandem. Still, there were hills, especially this one, where the drag break wasn't enough and he had to use the hand breaks, as well.

Near the end of Bear Camp Road, we came across this sign:

We'd hopped to find a summit sign at the top of the pass, but there wasn't one. Still, this sign told how high we'd climbed. Agness's elevation is about 250 ft.

At the very end of Bear Camp Road, after 37 miles of climb and decent, we came to Galice, which, although it's technically a town, really doesn't seem like it should be. It was just a little store, smaller than a convenience store, really, and river rafting guide center. I went in to see about getting food for dinner, but the only item I was even half interested in buying was raisins and it was $5 for the smallish box. No thanks. We planned instead to eat dinner out of our stock supplies - a soup of bulgar wheat, red lentils and freeze dried veggies.

We were back along the Rouge and looking for a place to camp. Even though we'd only done 37 miles that day, people were done, done, done. After a total of 41.2 miles of riding, we found Indian Mary Campground. I'd wanted to look for free camping again, but Anthony was inclined toward developed camping and we were pretty tired and it looked like a nice place. So, we camped.

First order of business, more food. We had a bag of Sunchips I'd been carrying about and we first ate all of those. Then Davan and I splashed a little in the Rouge while Anthony went to shower. We skipped washing clothes because we were planning on stopping at a laundromat the next day in Grant's Pass. Then we were hungry again and ate our soup. Anthony hadn't seen the river yet, so we walked back down. Davan played at the playground, making friends with a little boy of about four. Then we were hungry again and Anthony made the last of our pancakes.

When the sun started going down, I was more than ready for bed and we let Davan know she could stay up and play some more if she wanted, but we were getting into bed. Davan opted to say goodnight to her friend and join us. The 11 year old going to bed well before the 4 year old was a little funny, but thus was our schedule on the trip.

Before I leave you for the day, I need to share a little about Indian Mary, as she was known in the area. There were signs up telling her story. Several signs talked about her good works with the Salvation Army. However, she had a little history, Indian Mary did. Her first husband and her father shot and killed each other in an argument about one shooting the other's dog. After this, Indian Mary applied for homestead rights on the land where her father had been squatting. This is the land that became the campground later.

She remarried and was, apparently, rather subjugated by this next husband, who was run off, eventually, by a "hunting buddy" who became her next husband. This third husband eventually "disappeared." Now her land is this campground - touted as the most family friendly campground in Oregon. I find this to be a bit ironic.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Current Life Adventures

We are keeping up with the bike riding and have chosen a goal ride for in a couple of weeks. We're going to participate in the Harvest Century Ride. Anthony did this ride last year and enjoyed it. For him, he'll be looking to set a new century time.

Davan and I, though, are doing the 75 miler! This will be the longest day either of us have ever ridden and it will be a true challenge!

The Harvest Century is a fundraising ride, supporting Community Vision, which helps adults with disabilities live more independently.

If you're interested in supporting my fundraising effort, click here.

If you're interested in supporting Davan's fundraising effort, click here.

If you're interested in supporting Anthony's fundraising effort, click here.

Don't feel like you have to support each of us or any of us, just putting it out there, for anyone who thinks the cause is worthy.

Day 11! Begin Phase 3

This morning we woke up with a plan for finding out if that road was paved. We decided that at breakfast, which would be at a rest stop/beach access in the small town of Ophir, we'd try to call my mom to get her to look up an Agness phone number for us. Anyone in the town would know if the road were paved.

We road 10 very hilly miles through a chilly, windy and foggy morning to Ophir for breakfast, by which time I was both very hungry and suffering from a very, very full bladder. I also made up a song, which I'll be kind enough to share with you 'cause I know you're curious:

Hills in the morning,
Hills in the morning,
When I'm half asleep,
Climbing the hills,
Earning my breakfast,
I'm anxious to partake.

Flash of the ocean,
Flash of blue sky,
Oh, that's such a treat.
Look, there's a downhill,
Making the miles go,
Now it's just repeat.

While Anthony cooked the oatmeal, I was on the phone with my mom. She found a phone number, after much looking. Agness is a very small town. She also spent a lot of time looking around the internet and with my step dad looking at maps, trying to answer the question of if they road were paved. They felt it was from what they were able to find.

I still called the RV and Lodge Resort in Agness and the woman who answered the phone there told me it was, indeed, paved, except for a few sections where they'd repaired the road and made it gravel. We decided we'd go for it.

Shortly after breakfast, we reached Gold Beach, stopped for bathroom needs and said goodbye to the coast. It would have been harder to leave the coast if it weren't cold and foggy there. We'd gone less than a mile up the Rouge River when we were too hot and had to take off some layers. It continued to be windy throughout the day, but the temperatures were much better - hot, even - off the coast.

We enjoyed a scenic ride up the road paralleling the Rouge. I felt a little drained, though, that day and like I had a bit of a head cold. Davan had felt like she'd had a cold the day or two before, so it's possible I actually did. Davan seemed to be feeling fine this day, though.

We felt like leaving the coast marked the start of phase 3 of the trip. Phase 1 had been getting to the coast. Phase 2 had been the ride down the coast. Now phase 3, returning home. We were to revise the phases later...

We reached Agness in the afternoon. Or, rather, we reached the RV and Lodge Resort - a smallish RV campground with a few cabins for rent. They had a little restaurant and a convenience-type store. Apparently, Agness itself (with an even smaller store) was across the river - up another couple miles, across the bridge and back down the other side. We didn't visit Angess proper.

We bought a few groceries, but no fruits or veggies because they didn't have any. Not a single one. Not fresh nor frozen. We ended up with white pasta and Ragu for dinner and Triscits to hold our peanut butter and fruit spread for lunch the next day.

We moved on, hoping to find a good wilderness camp site for the night. We got to the road - the infamous road - and opted not to get on it yet, as it was our understanding that there was no water until you were down on the other side. So, we needed a spot to set up camp.

There was a dirt road just next to The Road, so we went down it a piece to see if there was a spot. There was - just off the dirt road to the left. Just enough space for the tent. We decided to look just a bit further. Just around the bend, and we're talking about 100 ft here, there road ended in a wide, open obviously used before camp site. We threw up our clothes line and went down to the stream to wash our clothes. Don't worry, we use environmentally friendly, biodegradable soap.

We got down to the stream to see this:

A story-book like little wading/swimming spot. We washed up, both clothes and us and frolicked a bit.

Then it was back up to the camp site to make dinner and explore the swing that we'd seen on the way down. Davan spent a good two hours on the swing that night and the next morning while Anthony and I did camp chores and wrote in our journals and other boring things like that.

We gave her a pass on chores at that site. One has to stay in shape for Do Jump, after all. Besides, it was hands down the best camp site we stayed in the whole trip, as far as Davan was concerned.

We went to bed with 50.92 miles under our belts and, it must be admitted, a bit of worry about the 30 mile road with no water and 17 miles of climbing up over 4000 feet coming in the morning. I kept telling myself I'd just take it slowly and stop as needed and it'd be alright...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 10! The Type of Wind We Like, Mostly

We got off to another early start, excepting the time it took to change that trailer wheel tube yet again, sigh, and then the extra two miles I had to do going back for my shorts that had fallen off while drying in my pannier. Grrr. Still, we were off in the early morning fog and, 7 miles out of camp (9 for me), including the first of the Seven Devils (name of the road we were on with 7 climbs) of the day, we stopped for our usual oatmeal breakfast.

This morning's lunch spot was an estuary interpretative center, which was closed. The view would normally have been spectacular, I'm sure, but we were in fogged in. Still, Davan enjoyed a short loop with signs about estuaries while Anthony and I made breakfast. Even closed and foggy, she considers it a highlight of the trip and has requested a return trip.

Sadly, the fog stayed with us for all of the Seven Devils, denying us the view we had so rightfully earned. The climbs were kind of fun, though, not too challenging or long and descents to go with the climbs, of course.

We'd had plans to stop at another lighthouse this day, but it turned out to be about 10 miles off the road, we realized after going about 2 miles toward it, so we aborted. Even our little lighthouse lover approved of that decision. 20 miles is a lot of extra miles on a bike, let me tell you.

We'd been riding a couple of miles inland most of the day, but at Bandon, we were back on the coast and, boy was it windy! The winds were the seasonally prevailing winds from the north west, so, for the most part, they were at our backs. This was nice.

We quite enjoyed riding slowly through Bandon with the distraction of little shops and restaurants (just to look at), nice houses and a pretty beach with lots of rock formations.

Our friend, Stanford, happened to be at this same view point later in the afternoon and he kindly took a picture of all three of us:

Thanks, in part, to our tail wind, we got into camp pretty early, despite grocery shopping in the afternoon and it being a 60+ mile day. 61.36 for most of us and 63.36 for the shorts retriever.

With the early arrival, Davan and I had a serious hankering to play on the beach, this being our last night on the least according to the plan, but I'll get to that in a moment. First, the beach:

If you are thinking that's Davan in the water in the above picture, you're sadly mistaken.

We played quite a bit, despite the wind, before heading back to our campsite. We'd been hoping for one more communal fire for our last night on the beach, but it wasn't to be. Humbug State Park's hiker/biker camp was unlike any other we've stayed at, with private spots for each party.

We did see one interesting new person join our hiker/biker party this evening. We never did meet him, but this young man came into camp shortly before dusk with a unique trailer - his surfboard with wheels somehow attached under it. He unloaded said surfboard and headed off to the beach until it was quite dark, presumably surfing. Combining two loves, I guess.

So, back to the whole "planned route" thing. Anthony had, as I mentioned before, planned the route to the coast and after the coast. One road, a 40 mile stretch with 17 of that being a climb with a serious grade, was in doubt. Was it paved? Anthony was pretty sure it was, but not totally sure. With doubt in mind and not wanting to face a road of that intensity made of gravel, we were considering staying on the coast another couple of days and not cutting in until we were in California. This would mean that we would definitely not make it back home, but my parents were willing to come get us if we didn't...and then we'd really have done the whole Oregon coast...we were feeling iffy.

We went to bed leaning toward just going for it, keeping in mind that we could turn back if necessary, but not totally decided.

Day 9! Tears, Tubes and Lots of Good, Too

I was awoken this morning by the sounds of Anthony and Davan both scrabbling for the bathroom at the same time. Davan won. By the time I got my turn, I was doing the potty dance. LOL

We packed most of our stuff up, while leaving a few still not quite dry items hanging, and headed off for the continental breakfast. It was the typical hotel spread of cereals, apples and iffy oranges, pastries and bagels. There wasn't a lot there that falls into my usual eating habits, but we did all manage to eat enough for a first meal, at least. Anthony got quite full, but he is happy to eat refined grains when given the opportunity where as I avoid those, if possible.

Then it was back to the room to finish the packing and roll out around 8:30. We passed an old car show and peddled around there, checking out the interesting cars, mostly for Anthony's sake, but we all enjoyed it.

Our first break (like actually getting off the bikes) came after a climb up to the Umpqua Lighthouse. Davan developed, over the course of the trip, a real interest in light houses, but things kept conspiring against us actually going into one. We'd made a point of planning on seeing the Umpqua Lighthouse, even if it was early in the day for a break. We got there at 9:30, but the visitor's center didn't open until 10:00. So, we got out snacks. Davan and I were hungry already.

The live in caretakers of the visitor's center and tour guides (but not lighthouse care takers) were nice enough to start our tour right at 10:00, even though they usually wait until 10:30, making it so the three of us were the only ones on our tour. Davan looked a little bored on the tour, but later was very enthusiastic and spouted off many details she'd learned on the tour. I guess she was just concentrating.

Off to peddle some more next breakdown. We'd ridden 15 miles for the day and I was growing increasingly more frustrated with the fact that my gears were hopping around on me. They have adjust on the go dealies right on the handlebars, but those didn't seem to be making any difference. We'd done some work of me adjusting while riding in front on Anthony so he could see what was going on and that'd helped for a while, but they were getting worse, no matter what I was doing with them. So, I went to Anthony for help. And he patronized me. I broke down crying and yelling, "I've tried that!!!!! It's not working!!!!! That's why I'm asking for help!!!!!!"

We stopped and he rode up and down a side road for quite a while, trying to fix the shifting. He was very contrite especially when he tried to make the adjustments, thought it was good, then the gears started hopping again. Between a couple of stops, though, we were able to get them to a point where they weren't jumping. Whew.

On the plus side, we had some nice fast miles in there, both before and after, on our way to Coos Bay, where we stopped after a long bridge for another rest stop. Davan was so worn out from all the riding that she could barely move even though we were at a park:

Or not. We stopped in at a bike shop across the street before peddling on. Coos Bay went rather on and on. At one point, we passed a Walmart, but didn't need to stop for groceries, so on we went.

I was having a good afternoon and was, unusually, out front, feeling strong. A few miles from Sunset Bay, our destination for the day, I realized that The Beast wasn't behind me. I stopped to wait. A few minutes go by. I get out my cell phone and turn it on. We've got service. Excellent. They'll call if something went wrong. A few more minutes go by. No call. No Beast. I start riding back. Shortly, here comes Anthony and Davan, riding the unencumbered tandem, waving me to continue in the direction I've been going. They turn around and pass without a word, riding fast.

I'm thinking, "Well, they're both okay. That's good. It must be something with the trailer. I'll just ride back and see."

Sure enough, they'd gotten a flat on the trailer's tire. I had the tool kit, so they'd been unable to fix it without me there, as the trailer's wheel needs a wrench to remove it. They'd decided to come after me without the gear to get there quickly. With me there, we set about to fixing the flat.

There was a big 'ol staple in the tube, so the hole was obvious. Anthony patched it and put it all back together. He pumps doesn't hold air. There's another hole. Again with the dismantling, with Anthony berating himself for not checking before putting it back together. Patch number 2 goes on, but it's still not holding air. Yikes. Guess which is the only wheel we didn't have a spare tube for?

We make a plan that he'll keep trying to fix the tube, but I'll start riding back to Walmart, 5 miles back, we were thinking, to buy another tube. As the trailer's wheel came off a BMX bike, Walmart was a good choice for a replacement tube. I took my cell phone, in case he was able to fix it before to made it to Walmart, and wallet, but none of my gear so I could make better time and started riding like a demon. Or, kind of like a slow rider trying hard.

After about 15 minutes of riding, a car pulls over and waves me down. We had a good Samaritan moment. Linda, a Coos Bay resident, previous bike tourer and wife of a cross country tourer, makes it her mission to help bike tourers in need when she comes across them. She'd come across Anthony and Davan and offered help. Anthony sent her to give me a ride. She put her rear seats down in her station wagon, helped me load my bike in and drove me to Walmart, which turned out to be further than 5 miles, sharing some of her stories.

Just as I was standing in front of the tubes, noticing that the only tube in the size we needed was a self sealing one, Anthony called. He'd gotten it fixed, they'd loaded the extra panniers in the trailer and were ready to set off, but please still pick up the spare and another patch kit, too. I did, plus got us a little treat to sooth ourselves after our trials and Linda gave me a ride all the way to the campground, where Anthony and Davan had gotten to by the time we caught up. Thank you, Linda! While it maybe wasn't immediately needed, we woke up to a flat the next morning and really needed that spare tube, which lasted us the rest of the trip.

We'd been thinking we were going to get in early - like 3:00 - with plenty of time for Davan and I to get to the beach to play while it was still sunny and warm, but the clouds moved in during this whole tube event and, of course, time passed. With Linda's help, though, we were still in camp by 4:00 and Davan and I still went to the beach to play, after, of course, eating the Kashi cookies I'd picked up. (We later discovered these weren't totally vegan, a fact I'd missed in my hasty perusal of the ingredient list, but it was a minor infraction and, while we didn't buy more after realizing that, we didn't beat ourselves up about it, either.)

After the beach was dinner, whole wheat pasta and marinara with sugar snap peas, eaten at a shared picnic table with the Canadian couple in their 50's whom we'd last seen at that dune overlook. We'd met back up, not only with them, but with everyone else, minus the hitchhikers, who'd shared the camp at Honeyman. After dinner, it was still early enough that we shared in the campfire, getting to know these people a bit.

The Canadian couple had toured in Italy before and had driven to Vancouver, B.C. They were riding down to San Diego and had plan tickets to fly back to Vancouver on October 15th. They're still on the road somewhere. I hope your travels are going well!

Another Canadian couple, also in their 50's or so, we dubbed "the loud couple." Both just had very loud speaking voices and were the ones keeping us awake two nights before. We didn't talk with them much.

There was a guy who'd been a triathlete before and this was his first touring adventure. He was trying to tour on his tri bike with racing wheels and had a really hard time with spokes breaking left and right. He was ready to toss his whole bike, but a bike shop a couple days before had set him up with a new wheel and he was doing much better. One of the loud couple said, "Rough transition from tri to touring, eh?" I'm thinking it was just a gear issue, not a fitness issue like was implied by the question, but whatever.

Then there was Stanford. We never did learn his name, but we talked with him quite a bit. He's a graduate student at Stanford and had flown up to Washington and was riding back down in time to start back up at school. He'd done the coast a few times before. He was a nice guy who we continued to see at camp and in between until we left the coast.

This night, when we left the campfire for bed, everyone else decided it was time, too, and we all hit the hay on our schedule which made falling asleep much easier. :) It had been a 39 mile day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 8! We Get Soaked and Wimp Out

We got up and going nice and early on day 8, rolling out of camp at 7:00 mostly because I'd been woken up by an extended coughing fit from another tent and then the (much quieter) sounds of the two hitchhikers getting ready to go.

The night before, we'd picked a spot for breakfast, as Davan and I really thought our days got off to a better start if we had some prebreakfast miles in, so we just packed up and left.

Just past the exit from the park, the two hitchhikers had found a spot under and overpass to stick out their thumbs. As we passed, the female thanked me for asking the fire group to be quiet the night before, expressing her belief that if it had been her who asked, they'd have probably given her a hard time. Maybe.

We peddled about 7 1/2 miles in fog and occasional sprinkles to a sand dunes overlook and access. Just as we got there, it started to rain. So, we took our bikes with us under a shelter, cooked our oatmeal, ate our oatmeal,

cleaned up after our oatmeal and looked out with dismay at the still pouring sky. The forecast had been for occasional showers. This was more like torrential downpouring. We opted to hang out for a while, catch up on our journaling and see if it would pass.

We had planned for Davan, at least, to get to go play on the dunes at this rest stop, but, yeah. It was raining. Not really good weather for dune playing. So, the picture above is as close as we got to the dunes on this trip. I've promised Davan a return trip with in a year.

The rain didn't pass, but two of the bikers, a couple in their 50s from Canada, from our camp did about an hour after we'd gotten there. They stopped briefly but went on and they looked like they were doing okay. So, we finally decided to move on. Was this the best decision? Perhaps not, in retrospect, but it seemed like we needed to go eventually. We couldn't camp where we were. What was definitely a mistake was not putting our tent and sleeping pads in the trash bags we were carrying for that purpose...

We rode another 12 miles in the pouring rain, which, I have to say, wasn't the worst thing in the world for me or Anthony, but Davan was miserable. The main issue seems to have been that her feet were wet and cold, as were all of ours. Better feet protection is definitely a necessity before the next trip. We decided that, if we saw a hotel with a vacancy, we'd go ahead and stop and get a room for the night.

Now, on the northern part of the Oregon coast, you simply wouldn't find such a beast on a Friday night at the end of summer, so our hopes were low and when we saw our first hotel - a Best Western - we jumped on it. It was quite expensive by our standards, but, it felt so good to get out of the rain. We got our gear in the room, got out of our wet stuff, did laundry, took showers, hung everything up to dry (clothes, tent, everything),
ate lunch and then...the sun came out. Nary a drop of rain the rest of the day. It was a lovely afternoon.

That made it pretty hard for Anthony and I to enjoy the comforts of the hotel and I still don't feel great about that $125, but oh well. We swam in the pool, soaked in the hot tub, grocery shopped across the street, did a lot of reading and journaling, played card games, ate dinner in the room, soaked in the hot tub again and lounged on real beds. I'm not saying that wasn't nice and all, just, well, we felt like we should have pressed on, especially as we saw vacancy signs at every hotel we passed the next day.

Again, oh well. We didn't know it was going to stop raining. We didn't know that on the southern part of the Oregon coast you could easily find a hotel on the weekend. We made the best choice we could with all our wet gear and the knowledge we had.

With our 19.7 miles of wet riding under our spandex and our laundry hanging all around us, we crawled beneath our sheets - real sheets! - and slept.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 7! It Did Drag On

We woke slowly in the morning, especially Davan, who'd been out partying late. And, as requested by Davan, we had pancakes for breakfast.

Yummy. All was good. Except we didn't leave until around 9:00, which is a bit of a late start for a 61.2 mile day, but more on that later. Meanwhile, it did give us time to meet another interesting character on our journey.

The night before, upon going to bed, there were two groups at the Beverly Beach hiker/biker camp. The three of us were one group. The other was the 70's couple. In the morning, upon waking, there was this interesting addition:

My apologies for the poor picture quality, but it was misty and I didn't want to get closer. Basically, it's a a person sleeping, in the mist and light rain we'd had over night, in the open in a cotton sleeping bag with a tarp covered lump, presumably covering a bike and gear. Sure enough, while we were enjoying our pancakes, a young man emerged from said sleeping bag. He looked to be about 15, maybe 16, and was wearing jeans and a cotton sweatshirt. For those who are unfamiliar with long distance riding, let me just share that wearing jeans is best described, as I read in a book one time, as "crotch crunching." And cotton? Not a good fabric for rain, either in clothing or sleeping bag.

I wandered over to say hi to this young man as he was folding up his tarp, as most people in hiker/biker sites are friendly, wanting to share experiences types. He was not. He did share, reluctantly, even when I shared our journey, briefly, with him, that he lived near Salem, OR, where he started his trip, was riding south to the California border where his mom was going to come pick him up at the end of the trip and he had gotten in at 11:30 the night before.

He slapped together a breakfast of white bread and a piece of baloney, strapped his gear on his bike, refused an offer of something warm to drink from the traveling-with-amenities older couple and was away. Good luck to the young man whom we've labeled "The Runaway."

Any-who, it was well past time to be on our way by the 9:00 or so time we peddled off and so we took off, but not for long. We had planned to stop in Newport for groceries. This would have been fine, but it was only 7 miles down the road and, by the time I was done, buying way too much stuff, it was 11:00 and we'd only done 7 miles of the 60+ we were supposed to do that day. Yikes!

Off we went, into the fog and sometimes mist. It wasn't bad enough weather to hole up, but not good enough weather to get a lot of enjoyment out of riding, either. In retrospect, we should have cut our looses and done a short ride for the day. However, by the time we reached that conclusion, we were past any stopping for the night points other than doing the whole shebang. So, instead, we endured the unpleasant weather, Davan's inclination to mosey after her long previous day, my grumpiness about the slow progresses we seemed to be making, two lost (and recovered) jerseys that had been trying to dry on my panniers, plus a third jersey and one of the previously mentioned escapees acquiring nice tire stains,

slow, dragging miles and, the trump, a lost chunk of tooth.

We often snacked on fig bars, like Newton's, but healthier. Well, after one such snack, I was using my tongue to clean off my teeth, when I got a piece that was, well, crunchy. I didn't think much of it because that just sometimes happens, but when I moved my tongue back over that spot, a piece of tooth was missing. How charming is that? Luckily, it didn't hurt, nor did it hurt for the entire trip and tomorrow, in current time, I'm off to see the dentist. I'm waving at you, here, Ami, because I think it's somehow your fault.

So, it wasn't a great day, over all. There were some very nice things, though, and they should be remembered, too. We stopped to look at large wooden carvings, done with chainsaws. We could have brought home a 4 ft bear for only $300, on sale. I'm sure Anthony could have hauled it in the trailer, but he opted not to. Wimp.

We stopped at the Devil's something or another - It seems like lots of things here in Oregon are called the Devil's something or another. We have, to just name a few, the Devil's Punch Bowl, the Devil's Back Bone and, in a change of format, the Seven Devils. We didn't get a good picture of the Devil's Churn...something - it's gone from memory, but this picture does show what the weather was like. All day.

Anthony would want me to mention here that he's not mad. He doesn't know why he didn't smile more, as he really was usually having a good time. And he was eating here. Thus, the odd facial expression. Anyway, he had a nice long talk with a couple who were van camping and had seen us many times over the last few days and were very interested in our trip and our rigs. Anthony quite enjoyed talking to people who were truly interested. Those were highlights for him. Surprising, really, because he's not what you'd call an extrovert, but there it is.

We stopped for lunch - burritos that day - at Strawberry Hill, where we saw sea lions both basking on rocks and playing in the surf. Very cool.

In the afternoon, we came up out of the fog to see this:

Lovely sun overhead, the blanket of clouds below, the ridge with the lighthouse showing. Wonderful. Here's Davan, flying over the clouds:

We also stopped to see these carnivorous plants, which was something Davan had particularly asked to do:

We dragged ourselves into camp at Honeyman State Park around 7:00 to find the hiker/biker camp packed to the gills. We, basically, had time to eat dinner, clean up, set up camp, go over the route for the next day and go to bed.

However, the camp was full and we did meet a couple more people. There were the two hitchhikers. One guy I'd seen twice that day, looking like a hiker, but then he was ahead of us, hmmm. I talked to him in camp and he was a very interesting guy. He was, indeed, hitchhiking, on his way to California and the Big Sur area. He'd hiked up the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to home, in Washington, a few years prior and said that was really grueling. So now he just hitches down to different places in California for vacation. He had all this great camping gear, most if it much nicer than ours and all of it packed down much smaller. He said that was just what he does - gets good, lightweight camping gear - whenever he can set money aside and then doesn't spend on vacation. He says that the whole trip usually costs him about $100 for a month or so. I'm assuming that's aside from food, but what do I know for sure? He said that the 60 or so miles he made that day was an unusually slow day. He usually will make 3 or 4 hundred hitching.

The other hitchhiker, unaffiliated with guy #1, was a woman in maybe her 50s. She was, pretty much, one step up from homeless. She "flew a hammock" for her camping situation and ended up about two feet from our tent because of tree placement and, did I mention we were cheek to jowl that night? Anyway, she was also on her way to California, but for a potential job. She and the other hitcher left together in the morning to see if they could catch a ride together.

There were others, too, some of whom we got to know on future nights, but not this night because we were tired. In fact, at 9:45, I finally stuck my head out of the tent and asked that they either break up the party or at least try to use quiet voices as we "had a little one who was trying to sleep in here." Several people had gathered around the common fire pit for a fire and socializing. I felt bad for breaking it up, but I also really, really wanted to sleep.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 6! P.S.

I forgot to mention the tourers we met on day 6. This one is for all of you who are thinking, "I can't do that."

We were cruising through Lincoln City (not my favorite place to ride though, I might mention, as it's something like 6 miles long and probably less than a mile wide with no bike lane or even a shoulder to speak of), when I got stopped by a red light that Anthony and Davan had made it through. From my left, out pops two tourers, each with panniers and pulling trailers. One of them made a concerted effort to catch up to Anthony, but the other, I quickly passed. She was an older lady and we exchanged friendly hellos as I passed.

The first one, who did catch Anthony briefly, enough to say hi, soon dropped back and I passed him, as well. He turned out to be an older gentleman.

This couple showed up at Beverly Beach that evening, giving us a chance to really meet. They live in Oklahoma and had started out car camping across country. As they had planned, they left their car with a friend in Washington and started biking down the coast. They were going to San Diego, where they planned to fly back to their car and continue car camping.

This very nice couple, traveling with many amenities such as their lap top, a table cloth and wine glasses, were doing about 30 miles a day.

I mentioned already that they were older. How old? Well, they were in their 70. I'll tell you what, if a 70 year old couple can do it, then no one should be saying, "I can't do that!" Maybe, "I don't want to." Because, really, anyone can. You just have to start somewhere. Ride a couple a miles today. Or even a mile. And then do it again tomorrow. Next week, add some more distance. Pretty soon you'll see results.

Here's to the Beverly Beach couple. Enjoy your travels!

Day 6! A Good One

We got up early on day 6 so we could tackle one of the monster climbs (1000 ft of elevation gain and it was just the first climb of the day) early before the heat and before we were full from breakfast. We were on our way at 7:00, which means we'd gotten up, dressed, packed up our sleeping bags and mats, taken the tent down, pull all that and our sleeping clothes in our panniers/trailer, brushed our teeth and gotten on the bikes.

Pulling out at the same time was a young woman who seemed to be getting a head start on her companion. She and I rode side by side for a time and it came out that she'd met the dog guy, too, who was still at Nehalem Bay, and, having seen our stuff in camp the evening before plus my parents' chairs and cooler, assumed we were the same sort of people. But, no, here we were, riding. We never did see her or her companions again. Traveling at different rates, I guess.

On the climb, there was a gorgeous view of the spit, looking back where we'd come from, with the waves just glowing in the early morning light and a little hovering mist. This was one of those times I wish I'd gotten the camera out, but didn't.

At the top of the hill, we opted to ride on a bit to breakfast, as there wasn't a great place to stop at the top and there was a place after the decent. We ate almond butter and fruit spread on corn thins along with grapes at a surfing beach right where Anthony, in the spring, finished the Reach the Beach ride. It was charming.

We also got to ride on two roads which took us off of 101 for a while each and were both really nice biking roads. Both are scenic byways on the old 101 and neither had much traffic at all. The first was a 10 mile diversion, which, although it climbs to the same elevation as 101, does so in a much more ambling way. So, not only did we avoid doing a steep climb on busy 101, which just isn't fun, but we got to see this lovely byway, which happens to be the road that Davan's friend, Adrien's, school is on. It followed along a stream and, on the whole 10 miles, we saw about 8 cars. Lovely.

Later another scenic 101 diversion took us off for a few more miles. This time, we got to climb much less than 101, see some great views of ocean and rock and see almost no cars. There was a section of this bypass that was one way for cars, but had a wide, two way bike line. Sweet.

We got into Beverly Beach, our favorite coastal campground, at 4:00, after 60.4 miles of riding, and gave Adrien's family an immediate call. Davan was so, so excited to see him. They came right over for a walk/run/play session on the beach and then took Davan to their house to jump on the trampoline, play and eat dinner. She had an awesome time and it was certainly a highlight of the trip for her.

Anthony and I did camp chores and ate dinner. Less exciting, to be sure, but it just being the two of us for a few hours was nice, too.

Davan was returned around 8:00 and, after prying her and Adrien apart:

And consulting Marissa about the intricacies of Newport:

We got into the tent with the ubiquitous line of clothing still hanging:

camp fairly well tidied, which we started being much better about after the rain of two night's before:

and, very satisfied with our day, crashed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Aside

We have been so busy after returning home! I'd been hoping to post a day each day, but, as you've probably noticed, that hasn't quite happened. What, post my last current time update, have we been up to?

Well, Friday was Anthony's day off and, as the weather was good and predicted to be not good on Saturday, we went for a bike ride. Davan needed a trial ride to see what distance she should sign up for for an upcoming event. We did 52 miles with Davan on her own bike. It was her longest distance yet, solo. Although, it was probably not the hardest day. Early in the summer, we rode to Champoeg State Park from my parent's house in Beaverton, a 30 some mile ride with a lot of elevation change. We camped, then rode back the next day. Davan was whooped after that and actually took a nap, something she never does.

Then, Saturday, Davan and Anthony had a Daddy/daughter day with a short bike ride in the afternoon, when the day had cleared up, and lots of time together eating goodies, or what passes for goodies in our family - almond butter and fruit spread sandwiches on Dave's Killer Bread (sprouted is our favorite) and popcorn. Yeah, we're wild like that.

Meanwhile, I got up, had a quick Rip's Big Bowl, more or less, and was off, in the rain, to ride to the convention center for VegFest. While I think Anthony and Davan would have liked it, too, it would have been a long day for Davan to do everything I wanted to do. My mom and Dennis met me there, though, and we had a really good time and left all fired up. We ate lots of samples and saw a speaker at every time slot we possibly could. While there were two speakers that I'd thought I wanted to see that we ended up walking out on and making another choice, the rest of the speakers were all very interesting.

I didn't leave until almost 6:00, at which time I got a call from home, to see if I'd eaten yet and if I wanted to meet them for dinner. I sort of didn't because I was feeling all fired up about eating right and not feeling like it would be easy to make the best choices at Red Robin (their choice of restaurant), but I did, as it's what they wanted to do and I'd been away all day. I got there about 7:30 and did end up making a decent choice. No steak fries at all.

By the time we rode home, it was bed time and no time left to post. Ah well.

Today, we went for another long bike ride. While it was only 35 miles, it was a challenging 35 miles with lots of up and down with some pretty steep climbs. While, on Friday, it was Davan's pace that set our limits, today it was me. Partially that's because the two of them were on their road bikes while I, due to the terrain and the fact that my rode bike doesn't have a granny gear, was on my touring bike with the fender and rack and, oh yeah, a pannier to hold cast off clothes and snacks. But, really, it's mostly because I'm just really slow on the hills. Yeah. I can only blame the bike so much. Today, I'm whipped. Friday, it was Davan.

Tomorrow is another busy day with a hike scheduled in the morning for Davan and I with my mom and Dennis and then riding downtown in the evening to meet Anthony to go see Rip Esselstyn speak. However, I'm hoping there will still be time to post Day 6.

Day 5! And on the Fifth Day, They Rested

Anthony and I both woke to the sound of rain in the early morning. I was able to go back to sleep, knowing we weren't going to ride, but Anthony lay awake, worrying about the clothes we'd washed the night before that were hanging on the line outside. After a couple hours of this, he was really hungry and got up to make breakfast. That, sadly, was the end of my sleeping in.

By this time, the rain had stopped, but the hiker/biker camp at Cape Lookout is well hidden in the trees. I came up with a plan. We'd move over the the day use area, which had a nice gazebo, so that if it did start to rain again, our stuff would be under cover and get a chance to dry out.

It's a little hard to see, but there are two lines of clothes in this picture and, in the foggy looking area in the back, is the beach and ocean. We had a lovely view.

Anthony and Davan spent some time going over the route (with stuff that we'd left out the night before and had gotten wet laid out to dry):

I spent a good deal of time in the parking lot you can see in the background, making phone calls. We didn't actually have service in the gazebo or down on the beach, just in the parking lot. Sigh. What we did have in the gazebo was electricity to charge the cell phone battery, which was good, considering how much I used it that day.

What was so pressing in the middle of our get away that I spent valuable resting up time talking on the phone? A play date for Davan, of course. A good friend of Davan's, Adrien, from Do Jump lives in Newport, just a stone throw away from our next day's destination, Beverly Beach State Park. I was trying to set up a get together, if not the next day, than on our rest day.

Plus, making the scheduling more difficult, my grandmother was coming into town this very day and my mom and step dad wanted to bring her to see us before we got too far away. Tuesday didn't seem like a good day, as she was just getting in and had had to get up early that morning to catch her flight. Wednesday would be good, before we got two more hours drive each direction away, but there was the play date to consider...

Thus, there was a lot of back and forth between our time at the light house the previous afternoon and on this rest day.

What finally ended up happening is that Mom and Dennis (my step dad) picked up Grandma from the airport and all three decided to just go ahead and come see us. The next day turned out to be better for getting together with Adrien, so the plan was finally set.

Meanwhile, the day got nicer and nicer. Our clothes were pretty well dry and Anthony went to check on the tent. The rain fly was still quite wet, so he brought it out into the sunshine for a bit:

We all caught up on our journaling, got some reading in and spend some time on the beach. Davan and I went for a walk that turned into a magical (in a wizard/witch sort of way) outing for Davan and had a big bonus (in my mind, at least), of finding some tidepools and seeing all sorts of sea stars and such. Anthony and Davan went for another stroll/play session on the beach, after which Davan came and went down to the beach for quite a while. I got in one more walk before our company showed up.

Anthony, Mom, Grandma and I sat around and chatted while Davan and Dennis went down to the beach to build stuff - Davan likes to make tunnels and Dennis doesn't seem to ever make anything other than baseball stadiums, which are very cool, by the by.

When dinner time approached, we returned our now dry and ready for the next day gear to our camp site and hopped in the car with my family to head to pizza:

Davan and I being pretty strict vegans with my mom and Dennis being different levels of aspiring vegans, one type of pizza we got (and get whenever we go to pizza) was veggie with no cheese. Yum. Anthony, though, likes to splurge when we eat out, so the other pizza was Canadian bacon and black olives with the cheese, please. Dennis and Grandma each ate some of both pizzas.

We went back to camp full, both hunger-wise and socially, to get into the tent just before dark in anticipation of an early morning the next morning. We had a big hill coming up first thing!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 4! A Little Tired

So far, the trip had been going very well. In order to make it back home without rescue, we needed to average 45 miles a day. Thus far our milage had been 61, 64 and 40, well above the necessary average. However, we were feeling a little tired and in need of a rest day. I still felt okay about making it back, but Anthony, who was much more familiar with the route once we left the coast, was not feeling so hopeful.

We didn't love Nehalem Bay's hiker/biker camp, so we decided to move on this day and then take a rest day the next day. We got up and made pancakes, our first pancake morning, which delayed our start somewhat, but were very good spread with almond butter and topped with the fresh blueberries we'd picked up the night before.

After our leisurely breakfast, we started in on our 48.5 miles of riding for the day, going to Cape Lookout.

We had a morning break at Rockaway Beach, which was a nice little coastal town, not nearly as busy as Seaside or Cannon Beach. If I were going to stay in a hotel on the coast for weekend, I'd probably go here. There was also a lake for swimming if the ocean is too cold for you.

On this rest stop, which was supposed to be a short one, we spent quite a bit of time talking with a lady from the Portland Metro area who was there with her family for a week. She was very interested in our trip, asking lots of questions about our route and how we'd planned it. Turns out that she homeschools her teenager herself. It was a nice, if longer than planned break.

We didn't get around to lunch until late this day. We didn't realize quite how late until after lunch, which we ate after our first serious climb of the trip - up Cape Meyers on the Three Capes Scenic Route. Cape Meyers boasts a light house and we ate lunch there.

After lunch, there were some phone calls to be made. I was scheduling meetings and playdates even on the trip, which I'll tell you more about tomorrow. Then we strolled over to the light house to check it out. We took a meandering walk down, pausing to take pictures and such. Just as we got to the door to the lighthouse, though, they closed up for the day, it being 4:00, apparently. And here we'd just had lunch. Hmph.

Although, before lunch, we'd stopped in Tillamook to grocery shop and I'd picked up a few So Delicious bars (soy based frozen treats) for a snack, so we weren't depriving ourselves or anything.

We had a lovely ride around the bay on the way into Cape Lookout, with the sun getting lower in the sky and things looking beautiful. It was a little later than we liked to get in, but not horribly so. Davan and I headed for the showers while Anthony set up the tent. Thus began our shower ordeal.

Let me begin by saying that I was feeling pretty tired. I'd had a good day of riding, but we all felt a little slower that day and I'd had a couple of very early mornings, just with having woken up early and having been unable to get back to sleep. So, I was tired.

We get to the shower and there's a line. So, we went to another loop with showers and found an even longer line and less appealing showers. We opted not to go back, thinking the lines would just be getting longer. Finally, we make it into a shower, get undressed, throw our dirty laundry on the floor, turn on the water and...just a cool trickle comes out. There is still a line, so we were sort of reluctant to go back out. Would people let us have the next available shower or would we have to go back to the end of the line?

We tried to start washing. It's just not working, so we put wet clothes back on to try for another shower. Just as we exit the shower, the water suddenly bursts into life. Back in we go, undressing again. The water is luke warm and very dispersed, but we're sort of able to do the laundry. Then the water turns off and we have to push the button again. Back to a coolish trickle. I start crying. Too much stress for me for the moment.

We keep washing. By this time, the line is gone and another shower even becomes available. Davan and I mad dash over to the free shower in our birthday suits, carrying various piles of washed and unwashed clothes and towels (hand towels, mind) and shoes. The new shower had plenty of power, but was still luke warm at best. This was our least pleasant shower of the trip. It took over an hour all told.

Anthony sweetly had dinner ready to cook when we got back and we ate (instant brown rice and baked beans with baby carrots and sugar snap peas) before he went off to shower. He hadn't taken a light with him and it was full dark by the time he got back. But, our softly lit tent guided him in for our family book reading and to sleep, knowing we didn't have to get up and go anywhere in the morning.