Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec. 31st--Last ride of the year--"Virtually"

Okay, so it's raining and I don't want to take Stella out in the rain needlessly, but I DO want to get in one last ride for '09. Solution? Ride my trainer in the garage. Ho hum, ANOTHER trainer ride. Wow, THAT'S SPECIAL! Actually, I decided to do a "Virtual Recap Ride" of my major tours from this past summer. Now, I'm not going to go into too much detail about what I was thinking about on this 3 hour and 10 minute ride because if you really want to see details, just read the previous posts. But, I do have great memories from the 17 day ride with Kyle, the STP in one day, the 13 day ride with Julie (such great scenery memories) and the Courage Classic. I was very lucky to have had all these experiances in one summer. Not to mention France, which was a whole 'nother experiance itself! Anyway, it was a great way to cap off the year (still, I would have preferred to take Stella out...).

One of the things this "virtual ride" did was remind me how much I like touring. I would like to do the whole coast route to the CA/Mexico border. Right now I am reading a fellow tourer, Karen Cook's, journal on of her trip from Seattle to San Diego. She followed the route that Julie and I took through Oregon (I recognized many of her pictures)then continued on to San Diego. It sounds like a great trip and I can't wait to do it. But, my first priority is to try to get on with Bicycle Adventures, a local bike touring company. I think it would be great to get paid to do what I love! So, we'll see what this summer holds. Suffice to say, it will, one way or the other, involve bike touring!

So, until the next tour comes along, or I have a reason to post another blog, have a great beginning to 2010. I'll keep riding (Stella when it's nice, the trainer when not).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boats and Bikes

Well, I can now say I have cycled in France! We rented bikes and rode along Lake Annecy. There is a fabulous bike path the runs the length of the lake. We didn't go all the way to the other end (the lake is rather large), but we had a nice ride. Prior to getting on the bikes, we rented a pedal boat on the lake. We bought a lunch of sandwiches that we ate on the boat. The water is very shallow for a long way out, but then it becomes very deep. We ate and then swam for awhile. There are tons of boats out on the lake of all kinds. It sometimes makes for a challenging experiance staying out of the way of the motor boats and the big cruise boats that go up and down the lake.

Yesterday we went to a small village called Yvoire. It is a medieval time village (complete with a castle) that is still lived in today. It was really pretty with lots of beautiful flowers. I bought a few souveniers at a couple of the shops.

Only one more week in this beautiful place. Time has gone far too quickly here! I will miss everything, but most especially Mary-Clare and Max. I am so lucky to have had this time here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

PARIS!! (and a day in Geneva)

A few days ago I was in Geneva, Switzerland just walking around the city. We walked along the Rhone River, went to a nice park and sat beside the lake watching the people go by (a couple of people even asked me to take their picture with the fountain in the background--I was going to start charging 10 francs--okay, not really). We went to lunch at a very nice restaurant where I had...a burger, fries and a Coke! An American lunch in Geneva! After lunch we walked along the lake to a large park and botanical garden. They even had little zoo there. Max was disappointed that the Cockatoo exhibit was closed. I think if we go back to Geneva, I might buy a Swiss Army knife!

Lake Geneva and the fountain

The next day, very early in the morning we took the train to Paris! We arrived around 9:30ish, took a taxi to our hotel where we dropped our bags and then headed straight to the Musee d'Orsay. Home of the most famous Impressionists. I saw Monet, Renoir, Pissaro and many others. We had a fabulous lunch in the museum.

After the Musee d'Orsay, we walked to the Concorde Plaza where we saw the Obelisk and the Eiffel Tower (in the distance) and the Arc de Triomphe (also in the distance). We safely crossed the street (not as easy as you think) and took the subway to the Eiffel Tower (yep, first time on the subway). Of course, the Eiffel Tower was spectacular! There was a group of Italian cyclists singing directly under the tower. It appeared that they had just finished some big ride.

From the Eiffel Tower we walked to the Musee Rodin. There, of course (in french, bien sur), was "The Thinker". Also "The Gates of Hell", "The Kiss" and many others. The museum was actually Rodin's house. Nice house! On the way to Musee Rodin, we went to Napoleon's Tomb. There are also alot of other military generals and such buried there.

After Rodin we took the subway to Notre Dame. Very impressive! At Notre Dame there is a very unobtrusive stone that marks the very center of Paris (this is something maybe not every tourist would learn--I'm lucky to have the best tour guides!)

Since we were going to take a night boat tour on the Seine, we decided we would not go back to the hotel, but instead we would hang out for awhile then go have dinner. We sat along the Seine on Cite Island just watching the boats go by and enjoying the sun (it had rained briefly in the morning). Marie-Claire was dreaming about how nice it would be to live in one of the apartments here.

We had dinner at a nice place. I had a shrimp salad appetizer, braised beef in sauce with carrots and creme brulee for dessert. It was all very yummy! During dinner we watched an interesting group of people at a park across the street playing Patank (like Bocce). They were just clustered around several park benches with food and wine. Looked like they were having a good time.

We waited until it was dark for the boat tour (which meant 10:00). The tour was really cool and the tour guide spoke English with a very strong French accent. It was quite comical. We saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up. We passed under 13 bridges.

After the tour it was back to the hotel (we took a taxi). I was in bed around midnight. Pretty tired, but, WOW, what a great day!

The next morning we started with the Louvre. Of course we only saw a fraction of it. It would take many days to see all of it. We saw the Mona Lisa and Venus di Milo. We then concentrated on the Egyptian exhibit. We saw all the Egyptian artifacts that you can imagine! Mummies (even cats), sphinxs, jewelry...everything. They really were an incredible people! What is going to be left behind from us????

After the Louvre, we found a little sandwich shop and picked up some food to go (we found it by following the people carrying sandwich bags). We took our food to a park and had a nice lunch sitting on a bench (I've yet to see picnic tables in any of these parks). I had croc monsieur (spelling probably not right, but it is a grilled ham sandwich with alot of cheese on the top). Very good! I had a chocolate eclair for dessert. After the park we walked to the area of Paris where all the jewelers and haute couture is. Spendy spendy! Mary-Clare and I each bought a pair of red shoes that were on sale. Mine are flats and Mary-Clare's are heels (bien sur!).

We took the subway to Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart) which is high above Paris. It affords a spectacular view (once you climb all the stairs to the top--we were sweating like crazy by the time we reached the top). Montmartre is close to Sacre Couer and is where all the artists are. You could have your portrait done by any number of artists (some good, some not so good). I bought a small painting of a Chocolatier shop. Then we walked the stairs all the way back down and started the mad dash to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags and get to the train station to catch the 5:50 train to Annecy. By this time we were getting pretty good at the subway (well, Mary-Clare was) and we thought we had it figured out. When we came out of the subway station, we didn't know where we were. Turns out we were just on the other side of the block from the hotel. We raced to the hotel, called for a taxi and made it to the train station only to find out the train was late (only 10 minutes). We got something to drink (as we had sweated out all fluids in th race to get to the train on time) and waited for the train.

For spending just two days in Paris we sure did alot! I can definately say I have seen Paris!!!

Look! It's me actually at the Eiffel Tower in Paris!!!

A whole line of rental bikes.

A group of Italian cyclists underneath the Eiffel Tower They were singing.

The Louvre ala Da Vinci Code

Just hanging out along the Seine River in Paris.

Good night Paris!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Okay, so even though this blog is about my bike touring, I am going to blog my France trip. Afterall, it is a "tour"--just not a bike tour. I arrived yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland. Mary-Clare and Max picked me up at the airport. We drove to Menthon St. Bernard. It is on Lake Annecy and is very beautiful. The house is very nice as is my room (I even have my own bathroom!). We went to Annecy yesterday to get train tickets for Paris (next Tuesday). Then we walked around in the old town. It is everything one could imagine about a french town. Old buildings, narrow streets, shops (many selling ice cream) and flowers. Oh yeah, lots of people! We got some ice cream (see? just like a bike tour!). I got three flavors. One was a salted caramel (may not sound good, but it was), coconut and white chocolate. It was very tasty!
I managed to stay awake until 9:45. Then I crashed and slept until 5:00AM. Today we went to the market. It is strange to go into a store where you can't understand anything. I am learning though! I may not learn to speak french, but I will recognize the foods!

Enjoy these pictures of Annecy.

In the old town part of Annecy

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hot Time in the Mountain Climb!

Courage Classic 2009--What a warm one!
This was my 4th Courage Classic and my hottest one! We were barely out of Snoqualmie (the town not the pass)on Day 1 and it was already 84 degrees! It was about 8:15am. For the first time, I was only wearing shorts and a jersey (no arm warmers or knee warmers this year!). This is in sharp contrast to last year when it was raining and freezing cold. Going through Denny Creek was heavenly as it was all in the shade. That is, until we started the switchbacks up to the summit. Now, I usually don't sweat that much, but sweat was running down the side of my face by the time I got to the top! I was even a little lightheaded (remedied by eating spaghetti, salad and delicious garlic bread). The ride down was great, but the temperature continued to climb. The banana splits at Lake Easton were a welcome treat! When we got to Suncadia in Cle Elum, the wind was blowing as usual, but it was a warm wind. Leandra and I tried to rig up some shade with the rainfly from the tent, but the wind kept messing it up. I don't think I actually got into my sleeping bag until early the next morning.

The next morning we got up at o'dark hundred to get to breakfast and get on the road as early as possible. We had heard the temperature was going to be 101. Getting going by 6:30 (on the road after breakfast) was the way to go. It was nice and cool for most of the climb up Blewett. I even had hot chocolate at Mineral Springs (in addition to all the tasty cookies). At the summit, after we had eaten lunch, we met a guy named Cloyd. He told us to look for him later and he would give us candy. I said, "Candy? I love candy!". Then he noticed my trunk bag and handlebar bag and said he would give it to us now. He gave us each a bag of Pecan Brittle and his card. He is the sales rep for a company out of Lynnwood called Cornell Confections. Of course, it was all I could do to not eat it right there! BUT, I put it in my bag to save it for later.

It was really heating up as we came down off Blewett Pass. We had our snow cones at Ingall's Creek then headed down the road to Leavenworth. As we came into Leavenworth along US 2 (we didn't go into Peshastin this year) it was stifling hot! When we checked in at the day's finish, they said it was 109! Leandra and I grabbed our bags, staked out our spot and then hopped back on our bikes and rode to the river. There we parked the bikes and just walked right into the river in our bike clothes (Leandra even had her bike shoes on). Now, that felt good! There were a few others in the river in bike clothes too. After our dip in the river, we sat at a bench in the shade and ate our Pecan Brittle from Cloyd. It was very tasty! Buttery, with lots of pecans (my favorite nut)! It definately hit the spot! After dinner, we went to the Beer Garden (I managed to get in even though I didn't have any ID with me--you mean I look over 21??? I had left my wallet and my phone in the car at Snoqualmie). Leandra won a New Belgium jersey in a raffle. The best way to get a jersey is have it given to you!

The next morning we got up even earlier (o'dark dark hundred) because our fearless team leader, Jon, wanted us to be at breakfast by 5:40am for team pictures. We left the park at 6:30 and got to Plain at 7:50. I had gotten one of my Ponderosa gal's number by a roundabout way ( phone with me) and was able to call and arrange to meet them in Plain. We had a nice chat and then we were onto Rootbeer Floats! Along the way, just outside of Plain, there was a dog who decided she wanted to do the Courage Classic too. She ran alongside me for about a mile. We kept telling her to go home, but she just kept running. We heard later that someone finally took her back. I'll bet she just started running with other riders.

The climb up Steven's wasn't too bad. There was a headwind, but, although it was abit defeating at times, it did serve to keep us cooler. We got to the summit at about 12:30ish. Our baked potatoes with all the toppings you could imagine (and then some you wouldn't) were delicious. The ride down was great. I would have been faster if there hadn't been the headwind, but it was still good. Old Cascade Hwy. was a blast as this year we just let it fly with very little braking. The finish was in Skykomish this year at the school. It was somewhat chaotic since there was also a bunch of construction right next to the finish. Lots of big equipment in addition to all the Courage Classic trucks and buses! It was actually more fun this year at the finish with all the hubbub. Usually at the finish, it is sort of anti-climactic. We actually took showers this year and got on the last bus (supposedly--I think there were still more people). Oh yeah, before we got on the bus, I ran into Cloyd, the candyman, again. He asked me how the ride was. I told him I was done and now onto the next thing. He asked what the next thing was and I told him I was leaving for France on Wednesday. He said that was good, but there was no Cornell Confections in France. I asked if the candy was sold in Olympia and Cloyd said no. I said that was too bad because I would have bought some and taken it to France with me. He pulled his last bag of Pecan Brittle out of his pocket and gave it to me! Then he said he had one more bag of popcorn left. He went to his car and brought it back to me! So now Cornell Confections is going to France! Thanks Cloyd!!!

Anyway, it was another great, albeit hot, Courage Classic! Onto France!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home For the Moment (plus photos)

I'm home now. The tent is drying, the panniers are unpacked and the sleeping bag is washed!
What a great trip! 13 days and 573 total miles (for me)! I really enjoyed all the people we met along the way (all ages from 18 to mid 60s). Especially Peter and Darren who, although we only camped with them one night (at Humbug Mtn.), we saw them alot on the road and finished with them at the border. What a great couple of guys! The people we met were riding all types of bikes! The equipment varied as much as the people! From the boys with the wood and duct tape handlebar bag mount to the guy pulling 100 pounds in a trailer (Ian, travelling around the world). There was Marcy who was my age and decided to do a 10 day trip down the coast with a little pup tent and a bunch of heavy gear that she ended up giving away along the trip. I'm sure she made it!
One of the things I learned is that this would be a great route to do solo. There are so many people along the way and you are truly never alone (particularly in the campgrounds). The people we met that were travelling solo were the most friendly and talkative. Someday, I will ride this route all the way to Mexico!
This was a hard trip for Julie, but I'm sure she is as proud of herself for completing it as I am of her! Thanks to Julie for doing this trip with me!
Next up is the Courage Classic Bike Tour then I am off to France. So, home for the moment, then onto the next adventure!
Here are some of the 500-plus pictures I took...

Julie going across the temporary bridge on the way to Rainbow Falls.

Julie after Day 1!

The Pacific!

Hiking the bikes up the Discovery Trail from Seaview to Ilwaco.

Julie and I going over the Astoria Megler Bridge. That was a long one!

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach

Clocking over 10,000 miles on Stella! This was just before the Arch Cape Tunnel.

Campsite at Nehalem Bay (complete with drying laundry)

Dinner at Left Coast in Manzanita with John and Paul (no Beatles).

The only actual bakery we stopped at on the whole trip! This was in Wheeler.

Cheese and Ice Cream in Tillamook. Yum!

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Another great ride in Paradise

Sunset at Cape Lookout

Yaquina Lighthouse

Newport Bridge in the fog.

Buddy and Little Red--our hosts at the beach house.

Our real hosts at the Steele Family beach house. Thanks Tom, Kelli and Brian!

Sea Lions down on the rocks after Cape Perpetua and Just before the Sea Lion Caves

On the dunes at Honeyman State Park

ATV on the dunes in the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area

Face Rock in Bandon

Humbug Mtn.

Windsurfers at the base of Cape Sebastian

Some of the beautiful scenery we got to look at most of the day.

The view from the Thomas Creek Bridge (highest bridge in Oregon at 345 ft.)

Whale Rock on the way to Brookings

We made it! 573 miles 13 days!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's Border Time!

Lucky Day 13--Humbug Mtn. to CALIFORNIA!!
What a beautiful day for our last day riding! No leg warmers, no sleeves on the jacket! We sort of rode around Humbug Mtn. It wasn't too bad of a climb, but it was up and down. We stopped at Ophir Wayside. Peter and Darren were also there. After awhile longer, we turned off onto the Old Coast Rd. It was a great road! No cars (for me anyway). I rode all the way to the bridge over the Rogue River. Julie walked over the bridge (too many times being yelled at I guess). We stopped for pizza in Gold Beach and met Alex who had also stopped for pizza.
After Gold Beach we started up Cape Sebastian. We were expecting a long steep climb. It was really not! Except for the little extra ride I took up to the viewpoint (which wasn't really much of one--at least considering the hill I had to go up to get to it!).
Coming down Cape Sebastian I hit my max speed for this trip--49 mph!! It was awesome!!
At the bottom we were back to the beach where the windsurfers were doing their thing.
After a few more hills and running into Alex again, we made our way to Brookings. Only a handful more miles to our destination--the border! Peter and Darren caught up to us just as we were going across the Chetco River. We turned onto Lower Harbor Rd. The hotel was on this road and it was the nicer route to the border. The route brought us back to 101 just before the Winchuck River. About 1/4 mile after the bridge was the "Welcome to California" sign! WE MADE IT!!! Peter and Darren were with us. They took pictures of us and we took a picture on the tripod of all four of us. Casey arrived just as we were taking that picture. He loaded up Julie and I rode back to the hotel (there was a tailwind going back and it only took me 18 minutes to do the 5 miles).
We've had a great dinner and tomorrow morning we will drive home.

A Devil of a Day (in more ways than one)

Day 12-- Sunset Bay to Humbug Mtn.
This morning it was foggy, VERY foggy! I thought it was raining, but it was only the dripping in the trees. Needless to say, the tent was still wet (the rainfly).
We had to ride back to Seven Devil's Rd. I think it's called that because of all the awful hills (granny was definately in the house!). Also, because of the fog we couldn't see anything. What we could see was mostly clear-cut forest. There were supposed to be views of the South Slough Estuary. We didn't see it. It took the better part of the morning to make it through that and into Bandon. We stopped at Bullard's Beach State Park to use the potty shack (I stopped there twice--but that's another story). On Ocean Dr. in Bandon we got some great views of the rocks. The wind was really whipping so the surf was pretty heavy. We took pictures at Face Rock (looks like a face looking up) and also stopped at Devil's Kitchen (where the food is so fresh it hasn't been caught yet!) I didn't see how it looked like a kitchen.
Out of Bandon and back on 101 we went through a couple of small towns. In Langlois I had Umpqua ice cream. Hard to say which is better-Umpqua or Tillamook. They're both pretty tasty! I was able to post yesterday's blog and Julie was able to take a break.
Down the road we stopped at a grange in Sixes to use the restroom (besides the grange, all Sixes had was a post office--instead of Sixes, it should be called Twos). We met two guys, Peter and Darren. They told us about a swimming hole that was supposed to be great. Since we didn't have suits (and riding wet is no fun) we opted not to swim.
The rest of the ride to Humbug was along beautiful cliffsides with the ocean down below. The sun had been shining since Bandon and it was warm with a fabulous tailwind. Julie had a tough day today, but she will make it (basically, she has no choice as there is no phone service here). Tomorrow is probably our longest climb (nothing like saving for the end!) over Cape Sebastian. California border here we come!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dunes and ATVs Galore

Day 11--Honeyman to Sunset Bay
We awoke to blue skies (still abit chilly though). The wind was pretty much non-existant. Athough we woke up earlier than usual (it's hard to go back to sleep after such a long hike to the potty shack), we still weren't on the road until a little after 8:00.
We rode into Reedsport on the lookout for a bakery. Who better to ask than a local postal worker? Yeah, she wasn't much help so we settled for donuts from Safeway.
At Winchester Bay we turned off 101 to take a more scenic route that included the Umpqua River Lighthouse. The wind was at our backs and we were watching all the ATVs and various other off-road vehicles riding in the dunes. I've never seen so many ATVs! We rode about 3 miles where the road dead ended. Apparently, I missed the turn to the lighthouse. It was cool to see the dunes and the ATVs, but the ride back to the lighthouse road against the wind was NOT fun!
After that little detour we returned to 101 and rode across the McCulloug Bridge into North Bend. As seems to be usual, Julie got yelled at to walk her bike. I didn't, and haven't so far. We can't figure out why she gets yelled at, but I don't (I didn't even have my skort on!).
On our way out to Cape Arago where the park is, we stopped at a DQ for a respite from the fog that had been rolling in. I had ice cream and French fries. Julie had a burger and fries (first dinner--some days we eat 4 meals). It hit the spot and fueled us the rest of the way to Sunset Bay.
At Sunset Bay we thought we were going to be the only ones in the hiker/biker site, but a young kid named Nick rolled in. He was from Kentucky and was heading to San Francisco before heading back east.
We have one more night of camping, but Julie is ready to be done now ( really she could have been done at the beach house). Regardless, we have two good days of riding then we will be to the border.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Cape, A Churn, A Head, A Horn and a Guy Named Ian

Day 10--Steele's Beach House to Honeyman State Park
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday it was the lap of luxury. Today it's back to the tent and the ground. Yesterday it was foggy and cloudy. Today is clear and sunny. We left the Steeles a little after 8:00 this morning. They were going to go dig in the sand. We were going to ride 40 miles (to much BIGGER sand!!). We rode through Waldport and Yachats then up and over Cape Perpetua. I'm thinking it gets it's name from the non-stop wind (perpetual--get it?). The climb was not actually that bad. In fact it was the easiest cape so far. Coming down we stopped at Devil's Churn. Well, it wasn't churning that much (too low of tide). We moved on to the Spouting Horn. It was also not sputing much. I did, however, spot 4 sea lions down on the rocks.
Continuing down the coast in the sunshine and with a tailwind, we pulled into the Heceta Head Lighthouse beach (Julie didn't even complain about going down the hill knowing full well she'd have to come back up!). We had something to eat (and watched countless people try to go into a closed restroom--there was a new one just a few yards away), then walked the 1/2 mile trail up to the lighthouse. Right after we got back on 101, we went through another tunnel. This one was well lit and pretty easy. The shoulder on the other side of the tunnel was crappy and there were alot of motorhomes. We stopped just before the Sea Lion Caves and I could hear the sea lions. I looked over the edge and could see a bunch of them down on the rocks. Who needs to pay to go down the stinky elevator when you can just look over the edge?
We rolled into Florence and decided to eat at Mo's. I had Slumgullion (chowder with shrimp) in a bread bowl and some garlic cheese bread (yes, I know, a little heavy on the bread). It was just a few more miles to Honeyman. Here we have met a guy named Ian who is from Australia. He has been riding around the world for the past 17 months. He is quite the character and I enjoyed talking to him.
We went down to the dunes and climbed to the top of one. It was harder doing that than any hill I've had to ride up! We also watched the sandboarders (like snowboarding only not as cold).
Now it is time to call it a day. 3 more days of riding left. Julie will be glad to be done. Me? I'm enjoying the nice weather and scenery and could probably go further but, I won't.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Miles Than You'd Think

Day 9--Rest day at the Steele's beach house
Ahhh, this is the life! It's really a good thing we aren't here too long because a person could get used to this! I awoke to a view out my bedroom window of a foggy beach and a REALLY low tide. It was so low that we were actually INLAND! I had my favorite breakfast of loads of fruit and yogurt and granola. We lounged around just enjoying this fabulous place then after a lunch of turkey, cheese and crackers we went into Newport to Fred Meyer to do some dinner shopping and abit of restocking (MUST have hot chocolate!!). We stopped for iced coffee and an ice cream cone for me (continuing my quest to sample as many ice cream flavors as possible).
We got back to the beach house ( really a palace!) and Tom and Brian joined us (Kelli's husband and 7 year old son). Brian wanted to take us on an adventure so off we went. We did this trail around the house no less than 6 times (I have to admit, I saw something I hadn't seen each time--hmmm, makes me wonder what all I'm missing by only going by things once--which also means I could do this trip again and have a whole different experiance! Thanks to Brian for that new insight).
We had a fabulous dinner of burgers then walked them off down the beach. Walking the beach with a 7 year old is always fun! Sand everywhere! Truly doesn't get any better than this!
We have had a great rest day and we are sad to be leaving but, the road beckens and we must complete our journey. Thanks again to the entire Steele family! I, for one, am very grateful for their generosity and kindness (also loads of fun!).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Julie's Carrot

Day 8--Beverly Beach to Steele's Beach House
Foggy, foggy, foggy!!! The tent is wet, the bikes are wet and it's a little chilly. This morning we met a gal named Marcy who was doing her first bike tour. She is the same age as me and decided it was time for her to do this. She started in Cannon Beach and is going to Crescent City. She was very interested in our stuff. She had been carrying too much so she purged yesterday giving people her extra clothes and even getting rid of her jar of peanut butter. I gave her our last small container of peanut butter (we had another jar). We wished her the best of luck and headed out about an hour and a half later than we planned. BUT, NOT TO WORRY!! We were on our way to the Steele Family Beach House! As fast as Julie was going, you'd think it was all downhill (it wasn't)! I opted to go out to the Yaquina Lighthouse (afterall, it was an "Outstanding Natural Area"!). Julie didn't opt to ride to the Lighthouse (too foggy). I told her to go ahead, I'd catch up. So I went out to the Lighthouse, took a picture and rode back to 101. A short time later I came to the turn to avoid 101 into Newport. I wasn't sure if Julie would have seen the sign, but I figured there was a better chance she would have made the turn so I turned. I enjoyed the ride, but didn't catch up to Julie. I started to think she didn't make the turn. When I got to the bridge I waited for Julie. When she didn't show up, I thought she was probably waiting for me in Newport. I started to ride back into Newport when I decided to stop and call her. Turns out she was already across the bridge and headed to Waldport. So I headed back to the bridge, crossed it (took a picture) and expected to cath up to Julie. When that didn't happen, I was worried because she said she would wait for me in Waldport. Problem is we weren't supposed to go all the way to Waldport! So, I was riding as fast as I could. STILL I didn't catch her! Now, we have been riding for 7 days and Julie has NOT been riding this fast! Put a real bed and a home cooked in front of her and she rides like the wind!
So now we are in the lap of luxury! Thanks Kelli!!! You are the best!!! We will be here tomorrow too!! Ahhhh the luxury!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Big Cape ( plus a couple of other climbs)

Day 7--Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach
It was a good day to be cold in the morning as we started up Cape Lookout right out of the park. It was about a 2 1/2 mile climb and super granny was in the house. Best part is that Julie made it the whole way without walking! Joe and Lindsey (on the same itinerary) were climbing the same time. After resting at the top for a bit we started the marvelous desent. Another 2 miles and we were down to Camp Meriweather. The sun was out (it had been very foggy over the cape).
When we turned to continue to Cape Kiwanda we got behind a striping truck. Ahhh, the smell of fresh paint and cows! Almost makes a person hurl! We managed to catch up and pass the truck. Whew!
Cape Kiwanda was not too bad as of is not as high as the others. After that we were back on 101. Just ahead of us was another couple we had met at Nehalem Bay. We both stopped at a wayside where we learned their names were Jim and Mary. They are veteran tourers. Nice people. They recommended we do the Old Scenic 101. We did and, although it was another long climb, there was very little traffic (10 cars total) and it was shady. The ride down was really fun. I only braked through one hairpin and I didn't pedal until the bottom.
We came into the busy-ness that is Lincoln City. Stopped and got some salt water taffy. We also stopped in Nelscott at the Christmas shop. I got a bicycle ornament to commemorate our trip. We were looking for ice cream. It's strange how when you want it you can't find it! Finally, at Salishan we were able to get some ice cream. Back on the road it was getting foggier by the minute. We still pulled over to see the views. We turned onto Otter Crest Loop for our last long climb of the day. It was nice with a bike lane and everything (including signs warning people to stay on the path--danger!--no kidding!).
We are at Beverly Beach with 7 other tents. Tomorrow we go to Seal Rock where luxury awaits! Oh yeah, Julie didn't walk at all today and she didn't whims either!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cheese and Capes (not the super hero kind)

Day 6--Nehalem Bay to Cape Lookout
We woke to cloudy skies, but knew they wouldn't stick around long. We got on the road about 1/2 past 8:00. With the wind at our backs we cruised along through tiny town after tiny town. We finally found an open bakery in Wheeler where we each got a fresh out of the oven raspberry scone and cookies. I ate one of my cookies on the spot (I was only going to eat one bite, know how that goes). We pulled into the Tillamook Cheese Factory at about 10:45. We checked out the cheese making process, sampled some, bought a few nibbles for lunch and I got ice cream. We decided by the time we got out of there, it was close enough to lunch so, since life is short, I ate dessert first. Then I ate my cheese and crackers. We made 2 grocery stops (Fred Meyer doesn't have the chicken we like and we didn't know we were going to go by a Safeway which does have the chicken we like). Then it was on to the Three Capes Scenic Route. At first we had a nasty sidewind then headwind going around Tillamook Bay on Bayocean Rd. (side note: I have a book about Bayocean. When I first saw the title, I thought the word was Bay o seen. Kyle said, "Don't you mean Bay Ocean?" Oh yeah. ) Once we started up the huge Cape Meares hill, we had a tailwind; not that it helped much. I was in super granny and Julie was walking. At the top we rode down to the lighthouse, took pictures and filled water bottles. Then we had to ride back up to the main road (Julie was not too happy about that). We had a nice downhill back to the beach then up again, down again and along to water to Cape Lookout State Park where we are now. We have a nice site, but we are glad we only want to take one shower as it is quite the hike to the shower building.
So far there are a few people here; one new gal from Finland (travelling solo). We'll see who else comes in tonight.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The people we've met so far

Day 5--Rest day at Nehalem Bay
This morning when I got up I counted 11 tents (and one guy sleeping without a tent). Most of those people moved on today. Right now there are just 3 tents and Logan (the guy camping without the benefit of shelter). The people we've met have been from all over. John, who we have camped with for the past 3 nights (and will continue to for at least tonight), is doing the same itinerary we are. Tonight we are going to ride (only a couple of miles) into Manzanita and have dinner together at a Mexican restaurant that Julie (in Cannon Beach) recommended. John is travelling by himself back to the San Francisco area. He has been on the road for awhile.
This morning we said goodbye to Forrest and Ed. They are two 18/19 year olds riding down the coast back to the Mendocino (I think) area. We met them at Cape Disappointment. Ed will be starting school at Evergreen this Fall. I told him to call if he wanted a home cooked meal.
Then there is Logan. Prior to knowing his name, we called him "Pothead" for reasons you can guess. He is travelling with his dog Crash (a 11 year old German Wirehair). We don't know exactly where he is going, but he has a most interesting set up for a bike trailer. Somehow he will fit a cooler, sleeping bag, clothes, backpack and a whole pile of odds and ends onto a two wheel trailer with netting and deer antlers. He has to leave today because he has been here 3 days and that is the limit on the hiker/biker sites. I'll be curious to see how he gets it all loaded up and still has room for Crash.
We'll see who comes in tonight. So far, at 3:30 no one new is here.
Julie and I walked down to the beach. It is a beautiful day; windy, but sunny. Our laundry is hanging on the line and Julie is taking a nap. This is a good rest day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bridges, Tunnels and the 10,000 Mile Mark

Day 4--Cape Disappointment to Nehalem Bay
We are now in Oregon! We left Cape Disappointment this morning at a little after 8:00. We rode back to Ilwaco then headed south on 101. We went through our first tunnel and made it to the Astoria Bridge sometime after 9:30ish. Riding over the bridge was not too bad. I was even able to take pictures (not stopping of course). The hill on the other end of the bridge was pretty long and steep, but we made it up and over. After the bridge, Julie was starving and the only thing that would satisfy her hunger was McDonalds. So we rode to the McDonalds in Astoria where we each ate a second breakfast (it was only 10:00). Then it was back on the road and over the Youngs Bay bridge. We were officially on the Oregon Coast Bike Route!
We stopped at a roadside cherry stand and each got a small bag of cherries which I ate as I was riding spitting the pits out along the road. So now there will be a whole line of cherry trees growing from Warrenton to Seaside!
We rode through the main street of Seaside amongst the many tourists. We got stuck behind one of those rental bikes for two. Two little kids were sitting in the front with mom and dad pedalling.
We continued on back to 101. After climbing a decent hill, we came down into Cannon Beach. As I was waiting for Julie, this old guy asked me if I wanted to be sprayed (he was watering some flowers). I declined, then he told me about the "gurgle" pots. He insisted Jilie and I go have the shop owner demonstrate them. He was disappointed we didn't buy one. We told him, although they were fabulous, we didn't want to add more weight to our bikes. He ended up spraying me anyway (lightly--and it felt good).
Next we stopped and ate some lunch then went on to find A quilt shop owned by a former schoolmate. We chatted with her for about an hour then took a picture of Haystack Rock and headed out of town (it was very busy with tourists). After returning to 101 we went up a long hill. As we approached the Arch Cape Tunnel Stella clocked over 10,000 miles! Now her odometer is back to zero as there isn't enough room to add a digit.
Another couple of big hills after the tunnel and we finally made it to Nehalem Bay. There are a large number of cyclists here (I counted 10 tents). The guys we camped with last night are here too and some are planning on taking a rest day tomorrow like we are. It is quite the community AND we are not the only women (there are 2 others). People are from all over the country. This is a very popular route.
Julie did great today, but she is one tired puppy. It's good we are stating here tomorrow.
That's all from the road today!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm Clark, she's Lewis

Day 3 Bay Center to Cape Disappointment (formerly Ft. Canby)
We left Bay Center after a great breakfast of pancakes. The ziplock bag works great for mixing up a batch. We returned to 101 and headed south up and down more hills like yesterday. Julie has discovered her hill climbing rhythm and did great. After a potty stop at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge, Julie took the lead. She said she was going to go slow, but she was cookin' along at 15 mph! Then she got stung by a bee on her lip AND we had to go up a very long hill. We got to Seaview and had lunch at a bench on the road to the beach. We rode down to the beach and took a picture on the tripod. As we came back, we noticed a trail. It was the Discovery Trail. A gal told us the trail went all the way to Ilwaco which was where we wanted to go. What she failed to tell us was that a good chunk of the trail was not paved and involved a whole lotta climbing. So we took a WALK on that part of the trail! When the trail was paved again, it was like riding a roller coaster--up, down and around the corners. It did take us right into Ilwaco where we had ice cream and restocked groceries. Then it was back to climbing on Hwy 100 (loop) out to here to Cape Disappointment. The gentleman we met last night is here too.
So now it is time to kick back and relax in our Trekker chairs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It must be the skort!

Day 2--Rainbow Falls to Bay Center KOA
Today I wore my Terry skort. We got lots of honks from passing cars and some sort of scooter/motorcycles. We also got a honk followed by an interesting gesture. We're not sure what the gesture meant, and we're not sure we wanted to know! Since we haven't gotten any honks on other days (this trip or with Kyle), we figured it must be the skort.
Today's ride was 57 miles of ups and downs. To me they were rollers--work going up, rest going down. To Julie they were too long on the up, not enough on the down (that is the nice version--we won't mention the other comments). Needless to say, we made it to the Bay Center KOA. It is very nice. The showers are fabulous (Julie said she was never coming out). Laundry is running and we have a nice campsite in the shade. Julie has taken her Ibuprofen and is ready for a nap.
There are approximately 4 other cyclists here--all guys. We feel abit outnumbered.

O' Heavy Bike (tune of O' Canada)

Day 1 of Epic Journey #2 (no service last night--so this is being posted in Raymond)
We left Julie's house at 8:25 (good since our plan was 8:30). Casey took parting shots (photos--that is) and had a few last minute chuckles (he thinks we're nuts).
Julie conquered her biggest worry of the day by making it up the hill on Hwy 99. I experianced a bit of déjà vu as we rode the STP route from Tenino to Chehalis.
We had a delicious lunch of PB on Blueberry Strussel bread at the Claquato Historical Landmark (something about a pioneer community that was the county seat. There was no bench or anything to sit on, but that's okay--we had been sitting all day anyway.
Coming into Rainbow Falls I noticed the flooded properties of 2007 have recovered mostly. We rode across the grated one-lane temporary bridge (a little hairy).
At Rainbow Falls we saw where the bridge had washed out. I'll put photos later when I get home.
The Off Mosquito repellant thing works pretty good!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

STP Pictures

Here are just a few pictures from the finish of the STP. This year I didn't take any photos along the way--too busy riding to get out my camera!

WoooHoooo 202 miles!!!
Leandra and I at the hotel
Dayle and I at the finish

STP 2009-- A Whole Lotta Miles

At the end (well, with about 2 miles to go) I said to a bunch of us waiting at a stoplight, "I'd think you were all crazy if I wasn't doing the same thing. " 202 miles in one day. Actually, it was great! Of course I was tired, but overall I felt pretty good. My average speed was 17.0 mph and I finished in 14 hours and 17 minutes. Got the 1 day finished patch as well as a 1 day rider t-shirt.
Now that I have done it in one day, I don't know if I'll do STP again. We'll see...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pictures from the Shakedown

Here are some pictures from the Shakedown Tour. As usual, start at the bottom to see them in chronological order (one of these days I will remember to put them in last first so first will be first).

Cranking down those straps!

Julie attempting to roll up her sleeping pad.

Julie on the trail (yeah, we took the long way to Millersylvania).

It's going to be fun...even in the rain!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shake down cruise

Shake down cruise to Millersylvania State Park. Julie and I have made it here on Julie's maiden voyage of loaded touring. Our mileage for today was 33 for Julie and 38 for me. It is really only a 10 mile trip. We took the long way because we wanted to get chocolate (even on a shakedown, it's all about the food). The weather could be better, the Mosquitos could be less and the potty shack could be closer (no surprises there). Now it's time to cook dinner (showers have been taken and tent is up).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just so you don't think I haven't been riding...

Since I finished the trip with Kyle, you may be wondering if I have just been resting on my laurels (or at least the couch). But, no, I have been riding. I've done a couple of good rides with Julie in prep for our 13 day trip down the coast (was 12 days, but an opportunity for a good rest in real beds and a meal cooked for us has necessitated the extra day). The other rides have been training for the STP in one day. Leandra and I did a nice 93 mile ride a couple of Saturdays ago. The wind was abit nasty until we were headed back, but the ride was good. Then this last Saturday, Dayle, Leandra and I did a little ride to Westport and back. It was just shy of 160 miles and we did it with a ride time of 9 hours and 15 minutes. Our actual time on the road was 12 1/2 hours. Our average speed was 17.3 mph. I am happy with that time as I think we will do just fine on the STP. I had one flat tire as did Leandra. It rained on us some, but overall the weather was not too bad. I spent alot of time on the aerobars. They really do speed things up! I do need to do some pushups to strenghthen my arms as that is what was tired (legs were good).
Now, I'll just be doing some shorter rides up to the STP. After that it's down the coast! I'll be back to the daily blogging once we start that trip.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pictures from the ride

Start at the bottom of the post to look at the pictures in order.
Home again!
Skate Creek.
Headed down there. Wee Haw that was fun (Kyle disagrees)!
The mountain is in the clouds there somewhere.
Chinook Pass--just a wee bit of snow left!
Heading up Chinook Pass. In the far left is about where the pass was. We still had a ways to go to get there.
Sticky Fingers Bakery in Naches.
One takes a potty shack wherever one can find one!
The stormy view from Old Blewett.
Ginger , Sharyl, Bobbie and us at the Anjou Bakery in Cashmere (my favorite for the company).
Kyle finds power outlets in the strangest places. This one was the grocery store in Sunnyslope (Wenatchee Confluence State Park).
Yet another bakery...the Entiat Valley Bakery (my personal favorite as far as the food goes).
The view of Lake Chelan from our campsite.
Relaxing in my Trekker Chair on our rest day at Lake Chelan.
Lake Chelan from Chelan.
The Rest Awhile Fruitstand and Bakery. It was yummy goodness!
Kyle and his new best friend, Fluffy the cat at Carlton RV Park.
Kyle coming down Washington Pass.
And then Washington Pass.
Who Hooo! Rainy Pass at last!
Cooling my feet in the snow on the way up Hwy 20 (North Cascades).
Diablo Lake.
First tunnel on Hwy 20.
On the way to Newhalem.
Where we had to take the panniers off the bikes to get them through the skinny gate.
Where we bought 1 1/2 pounds of fudge (lasted us until Newhalem).
Holly B's Bakery on Lopez.
Shark Reef looking across to American Camp on San Juan Island.
MacKaye Harbor on Lopez.
Bikes piled up on the ferry.
On the ferry to Lopez Island.
Washington Park in Anacortes.
Kyle with Deception Pass Bridge (after we rode across).
On the Deception Pass Bridge.
Sunset from Ft. Ebey.
Panorama of Mt. Baker and water from the ferry to Keystone.
On the William O. Scott Memorial Trail going to Port Townshend.
On the Water Shuttle across Hood Canal. First night camping at Twanoh State Park.