Monday, May 30, 2016

500 Miles so far!

It is our eighth day of riding, and our ninth day of the trip and we have covered 500 miles so far. The itinerary to date has been:

Rockaway Beach
Lincoln City
McKenzie Bridge
(all in Oregon)

We are planning two more riding days until we get to Baker City, where we will take a day off.

Sherry leaves us today, which means that we don't have a support car. It has been a luxury to have the car, but now we need to be on our own.

Here are a few photos. Not much connectivity around here, so this post is short.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rest Day in Eugene

We rode the 75 miles into Eugene from Salem yesterday. It was a perfect day for bicycling - cool and overcast with light and variable winds. Our first two days were pretty tough, with headwinds and rain, but days 3 and 4 were much better. Light winds, little rain, and slightly overcast. Today, we had a massage, went to REI, cooked breakfast in our own Airbnb kitchen with eggs fresh from the resident chickens, and generally relaxed.

Tomorrow, we ride to McKenzie Bridge to spend the night. After that, we have a huge climb up and over the Cascade Mountains into Sisters, Oregon. Sherry is having fun hanging out with us, and she is going to add a few days to her trip. She went to a glass blowing class yesterday while we were riding to Eugene.

Here are a few random photos from the past few days:

Our first campsite near Rockaway Beach.

Café Bustelo in the Espresso maker in the campsite. Glamping at its finest.

We went to the Tillamook Cheese "Factory" in Tillamook, Oregon. They have good ice cream.

The Spruce Goose. Hard to really conceive of the size of this thing.

Eggs from our Airbnb resident chickens. Still warm.

The Salem Oregon Travelodge. Classic americana.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

First Two Days of the Tour

Getting ready to ride from Astoria. Sherry will be with us until at least Eugene, and so we are riding bag-free for a few days until she flies home. Day 1, we went from Astoria to Rockaway Beach - about 55 miles. Rain and headwinds ruled the day, but it had stopped raining by the time we had to make camp. The camp was just on the other side of the dunes from the ocean and we were able to spend some time watching the waves come in off of the Pacific.

Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter

Captain Morgan visiting the fort.

Seaside Oregon - more beaches. You can see how the people are dressed - rain jackets and long pants. It was pretty cold and windy.

Oregon has a lot of beach like this one below. Big rocks dot the coastline.

Our camp in Devil's Lake Recreation Area near Lincoln City. Note the car, which is carrying our bags. It was another day of rain and strong headwinds. It took us 6 full hours of pedaling to go about 60 miles.

Helmet hair and beaches, somewhere just before Lincoln City.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hello Astoria!

We have arrived at the starting point of our Cross-(half)-Country ride - Astoria Oregon!

Sherry and Mike visited Mike's parents in Pasco, Wa and then rented a car in Pasco, picked Pat up in Portland and then drove to Astoria. We got the bikes from the bike shop that we had mailed them to, and then assembled them on the sidewalk. They are now comfortably sitting in the hotel rooms as we get ready to ride tomorrow. We are getting a "Soft Opening" to the bike ride because Sherry is with us for the first few days and she has a car. As a result, we get to ride without bags until Eugene. Sherry will carry most of our stuff in the car while we ride. After Eugene, though, we are on our own.

Tomorrow, it gets real. We actually need to get on the bikes and start pedaling. We are headed towards Rockaway Beach, almost to Tillamook. First night of setting up tents and camping.

Opening the boxes that we shipped to the "Bikes and Beyond" bike shop in Astoria, Oregon.

Putting them together on the sidewalk

Cargo ships at anchor in the Columbia River.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What to Bring on a Bike Tour - Part 2

Here is the rest of the stuff that I am bringing. Seems like a lot of stuff when I line it all up and photograph it. It may appear to be a pretty straight-forward collection of stuff, but there are a lot of hard decisions that need to be made when selecting gear. There is probably 20 pounds of extra stuff that I would like to have, or that I think I would like to have, or that I may need at some point. Years of travel experience have taught me that less is more, and extra stuff is just something to slow you down and make your life more complex. Less stuff means a quicker exit in the morning,  smaller panniers, shorter times for locating the things you really need and, of course, a lighter bicycle. If I added another 20 pounds of gear, I would need fatter tires, a more stable bicycle, lower gearing, another set of panniers (which would add even more weight) and more water to replenish my body as I cranked a bunch of useless stuff up the mountains. Rant over. Thanks for obliging.

Basic body care:

  • Blue washcloth/towel
  • Ditty bag to hold it all
  • Scissors
  • Chamois creme
  • Two razors, Dr Bronner's soap, comb, shave cream and deodorant
  • Tylenol, Neosporin, nail clippers and a bag of toothpaste, floss, and toothbrush

Clothes washing and misc stuff.

  • Top row: Handkerchief, string, duct tape and Tide packets
  • Middle row: Weird orange clothespins, water purification tablets, knife, bottle opener, pen
  • Bottom row: Strap, safety pins, sewing kit, prescription drugs, toilet paper/Kleenex and a bag for it all

Camp kitchen - NOT shown are a 5-liter collapsible sink, a shorter and fatter Jetboil Mimo cook pot, and the fuel cannister for the stove. Pat has these things.

  • Across the top: Plastic bag to hold wine (or bourbon), plastic cup, cutting board with a kitchen knife and some tubes for salt, pepper and other spices, a blue dishrag, a water bottle, spoon and bowl. I will be adding a fork, too. 
  • Along the bottom: Small plastic bag with dish soap and scrubbing pad, Jetboil stove, coffee cup, spatula and spatula, three food containers with oatmeal, coffee and green Tabasco, frying pan that works with the Jetboil. 

And, finally,  a few last items:

  • Sunscreen, Chapstick, sunglasses
  • USB light for reading in the tent or playing cards at night. Plugs into the portable battery
  • Safety triangle - standard Adventure Cycling Association issue
  • Repair kit with multi-tool, spoke wrench, patch kit, oil, emergency kevlar spoke repair kit, a spool of extremely tough black nylon thread, tube, tire boot and plenty of zip ties. 

Wow. Thats a lot of stuff. We'll see how much of it comes home and how much ends up being mailed back before the trip is over. 

What to Bring on a Bike Tour - Part 1

Here is a listing of about half of the things that I am bringing with me. I'm sure that I will send a few items home, and pick up a few items along the way. This bunch of stuff represents my thinking before the trip starts, we'll see what makes it home with me.

I have already shipped my tent and sleeping bag, so you won't see them in the photos. I have a Big Agnes "Fly Creek UL2" tent and a Marmot "Atom" sleeping bag. I also shipped two little inflatable pillows, so they will also be missing.

I will be riding in a pair of Keen sandals instead of more traditional biking shoes.

Upper body - clockwise from top left:

  • Standard synthetic T-Shirt - in this case a Patagonia Capilene
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirt. This one is by "Toad and Co."
  • Rain jacket 
  • Nice Saks of 5th Ave cashmere sweater from Goodwill. 
  • Grey cotton T-shirt for sleeping (in the center of the photo)
  • Orange nylon vest for cold mornings
  • Two bike jerseys. 

 Lower body - clockwise from top left

  • Nylon bike shorts with no liner
  • Long pants - Prana "stretch zion" 
  • Lightweight rain pants
  • Two pair of Smartwool underwear
  • Two liner shorts for bicycling

 Feet, head and hands - clockwise from top left:

  • Flip flops for camp
  • Three pair of socks (one just for sleeping)
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Rain cover for helmet
  • Baseball cap
  • Stretchy tubular handkerchief - kind of like a "Buff" 
  • Fleece neck warmer/hat tube

Misc. Camp Items -

  • Lightweight Silnylon backpack that doubles as a stuff sack
  • Eno sub7 hammock
  • Paperback book - subject to change
  • "Shotgun" portable USB speaker for playing tunes around the camp
  • Bike lock
  • Sleep kit with eye shades, headlamp, ear plugs and a handy carrying case
  • Sleeping pad - Nemo Astro 25L

Electronics Bundle -

  • Nexus 7" Tablet
  • 5-port USB charger - overkill for one person, but good for two of us
  • Fanny pack
  • Reading glasses
  • Earbuds
  • Portable battery
  • iPod to rock the Shotgun speaker with
  • Not shown: Nexus 5 Android smartphone. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Packing the Bikes for Astoria, Oregon

We start our tour in less than two weeks out of Astoria, Oregon, so it was time to box up the bikes and ship them out to a bike shop in Astoria. Otherwise, we would have to pay the outrageous airline fairs for a bike, and then somehow get them from Portland out to Astoria.

Mike's beast looking like it will look when we are on the tour. I broke it down from here.

Two bikes in the boxes and the front wheels in a third box, Normally, the bikes and wheels will all fit in one box, but with the touring bikes, the racks, and the fenders, we needed an auxiliary box for the overflow.