Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Subway lunch!

Riders on the Road!

Annette, Markus and Alexandra in front of me. Leandra and Julie behind.

Our Own Little Tour Group

Day 3 of our tour seemed like it was going to be sunny, but a short rain squall moved through. Of course it was my fault because I had just packed my rain jacket away!

We (all 6 of us) were on the road by about 8:45. Since I just about killed everyone yesterday by going too fast (and probably too long between rest breaks), we decided to take it a bit slower. The ride back out to Hwy 6 was quite pleasant. The ride on Hwy 6 was a little crowded with log trucks. We managed to move right along though. Before we knew it, we were in Centralia at Subway for lunch (who says you can't have lunch at 10:45?). After lunch we went to Berry Fields Cafe for dessert. I had chocolate cream pie. After seeing Alexandra and Markus' hot chocolate, Annette, Leandra and I also had hot chocolate.

From there it was 25 miles to home. Annette, Alexandra, Markus and I left Julie and Leandra at 99 and Rich Rd. It was closer for them to go home on 99. We came in on the trail. When we got home, I told Nolan I had left with one German and came back with two!

Tomorrow, I will take Alex and Markus up to Mt. St. Helens. The weather is not supposed to be all that great, but I still think it is worth the trip.

This little tour was a big success. Annette, Leandra and Julie did very well. I think they enjoyed themselves. I know I sure did. AND...I made two new German friends!

Monday, July 25, 2011

More Day 2 photos

The "unofficial" Hiker/Biker camp.
Dinner at the Ortlieb Kitchen (all kind of food can be stored in Ortlieb panniers).

Photos from Day 2

Waiting for the potty shack.
Riding behind Christian.
Coming into Raymond.

Minus 1, Plus 2

Day 2 of our bike ride started out a little damp. Still, we went to the ocean, took some photos and were on the road by 8:45 (from the beach).

We rode the 31 or so miles to Raymond. First we were going to eat lunch at a cafe, but their grill wasn't working so we ended up at Dairy Queen. There we met two other German cyclists, Alexandra and Markus. They had noticed Christian's German flag on his handlebar bag. They are doing a year long cycling trip that will include South America. They are headed to Mount St. Helens, and thus, going our direction.

We said goodbye to Christian (I will miss him--now I MUST go to Germany!). Then with Alexandra and Markus, we headed up Hwy 6. Alexandra and Markus were planning on either trying to hitch a ride up to the top of Mt. St. Helens or maybe riding without their gear. I suggested they ride back to Olympia with us, then I will take them and their bikes and gear to the top of Mt. St. Helens on Wednesday. They can see the mountain and only have to ride down! They agreed to my plan. So, whereas I left the house on Sunday with one German, I will return tomorrow with two!

By the way, the road into Rainbow Falls State Park is still crazy long!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Group Photos

Christian's Flat Photos

Christian changing the flat.
Annette keeping watch for cars.

More Day 1 photos

Lunch coming up!
Just a few water bottles!

Photos From Day 1

Christian and I
Julie and Annette

Christian and his Harem

Today was Day 1 of our bike ride to the Coast and back. Christian and I left the house at 7:52! We got to Leandra's and helped her get her panniers set. Julie met us a Leandra's. We took off from there and rode to Blue Heron where we met up with Annette. We got a few treats and were on the road by 9:45.

Everyone made it up the biggest hill of the day without too much trouble (Old Hwy 410). Then it was onto Hwy 8. We would get strung out a bit, but then we would stop and regroup periodically. Seemed to work well for all.

At Elma we pulled off for a little snack break and butt break for those less accustomed to long stretches in the saddle. Then we rode on to Montesano where we had lunch at Subway (of course!).

Getting back on the Hwy, Christian had a flat. Annette went back to where cars could see her (and hopefully slow down or move over a bit) while Christian changed the tube. It was a new experience for him to fix a flat on his new bike. It has a Rholoff Hub so is not just your ordinary wheel removal. He got it all figured out and we were back on the road. I was grateful for the additional break as I was strangely very full from lunch.

By then the earlier tailwind had turned and was now a pretty strong headwind. Still, there is a fair amount of downhill, so it didn't really slow us down that much.

We stopped at Starbucks in Aberdeen for another break. Everyone was holding up quite well. We made it over the bridge and onto Hwy 105 pretty easily. Then it was back into the headwind. Annette lead for most of the way on 105. I just tucked in right behind her getting a nice draft. We stopped to rest a few more times, one of which was a nice photo-op at the bay.

We pulled into Twin Harbors State Park at 6:15. We chose a regular site because it was cheaper that way.

Leandra, Annette and Christian, unfortunately, had cold showers. Julie and I cooked dinner while they showered. Then, WE went to a different restroom building and had HOT showers! DELIGHTFUL!

Since we didn't get a chance to go down to the ocean, we will do that in the morning before we leave.

I was very proud of Annette, Leandra and Julie today. They all did great!

Total Miles: 77.0 (for Christian and I), 72 (for Julie and Leandra) and 64 (for Annette)
My Average Speed: 12.8

Monday, July 18, 2011

More last day Photos

Thurston County (almost home--at least in the right county)
Julie in Tenino
Nolan riding home with me.

Super Biker Woman's Superheros!

The following is a list of the people that made a significant contribution to the success and/or enjoyment of my ride. Things could have been drastically different if I had not met these great people.

In order of appearance:
Dennis and Julie Richardson--my Warmshowers hosts in Lakeside, CA
Speedy--gave me Gatorade on the hot ride up Mt. Gleason
Sean Poynter--the first touring cyclist I met going my direction. Rode with him from Sequoia National Forest to Three Rivers just outside Sequoia National Park
Duane--my hero who gave Stella and I a ride through the construction in Sequoia National Park.
Uros and the 20 other Slovenians--invited me for dinner and breakfast at Lodgepole Campground
Marjie Hunter--Piedra Postmistress and massager extraordinaire
Suzan and Natalie--my site-mates at Bass Lake
Jessica--gave Stella and I a lift toward Sonora Pass (helped me stay on schedule)
John, Tammy, Aunt Dorothy (from Tenino) and Cody--invited me to dinner then gave me a ride up to the top of Sonora Pass the next morning. Without them and Jessica, I would have been two days behind schedule.
Eric--gave me a ride the last couple of miles up Monitor Pass
Patricia and Stefan from Zurich, Switzerland--gave me water at Cold Creek Campground
Shannon Morrow--my CouchSurf host in Quincy who let me stay at his house even though he wasn't home.
Bruce--invited me to stay at his house on Lake Almanor when I had to detour around Lassen.
Paul Cushing--told me the bridge on Old Siskiyou Hwy was open enough for a bike to get through.
Nancy Nerenberg--my Ashland CouchSurf host. Stayed two fabulous nights with her and her kids.
Mike and the gang at Willow Lake--found a spot for me even though the campground was full.
Pat and Lottie--cousins in Bend who let me stay with them and especially Lottie for showing me around Bend.
Jeannie, Abby and Claire--cousins in Hood River who I stayed with for three nights and had a total blast!
David--from the top of Beacon Rock (goes to River Ridge HS) provided GREAT conversation and really wanted to be on this list!
Caleb (with a "C"), Derrick (Speedy), Yu Hae (probably not spelled correctly) and Marshall (their fearless leader)--also from the top of Beacon Rock.
My Dad--stayed with him on my detour and he always knew where I was.
Julie--really should be first on the list and last on the list as she took me to the airport and then met me in Tenino to ride the last bit home.
And finally...Nolan--the only child of mine who rode out on the trail to meet me and then rode home with me.

Many, many thanks go to all these people. If it weren't for them, my ride would have been much different and, probably, not nearly as great as it was.

Photos From the Last Night and Morning.

Cooking on the porch of my motel in Centralia.
Sunset on my last night.
Fog in the morning of Day 48.


I did it! I rode my bicycle from San Diego, CA to Olympia, WA!

I left Centralia at 9:00 this morning. It was foggy, but not raining (Yay for no rain on the last day!). I planned to meet Julie in Tenino. It was great to see her as I came around the corner to the trail in Tenino! We rode the Yelm/Tenino Trail to Rainier to go to the Main Street Cookie Company. After enjoying a delicious cookie, Julie and I headed back on the trail. Nolan met us at the train place on the trail and rode with us.

So here are some numbers:
Total Miles: 2207.2
Overall Average: 49.1 miles per day
Longest Day: 82.7 miles from Mt. Shasta, CA to Ashland, OR
Shortest Day: 24.8 miles from the San Diego Airport to Lakeside, CA
Highest Daily Average: 13.8 mph from Old Station to McArthur-Burney Falls State Park
Lowest Daily Average: 5.5 mph from Lake Kaweah to Lodgepole Campground in Sequoia N.P.
Highest Maximum Speed: 48.2 mph coming down Luther Pass to Lake Tahoe

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All the Downs Are Ups...

...and all the ups are downs.

On this, my second to last day, I rode a few chunks on the STP route. Of course, I was riding the route in reverse. That means, all the downhills were ups and all the uphills were down! I didn't spend the whole ride on the route. In fact, I had a long stretch on South and North Military Rds. that was rolling, but nice and quiet traffic-wise. I finished the day on the STP route because it is the best way into Centralia.

Today was pretty much raining all day. It wasn't raining hard, so I opted to only wear my rain jacket. I get so hot in full rain gear. Even with just the jacket, I was very sweaty.

The photo is the only one I took today, and that one is the view from my motel room. It just wasn't an overly scenic day.

I did check another Subway off the list! This one was on Rush Rd. near I-5 at the south end of Chehalis. Really, it seemed closer to Napavine.

Tomorrow is the last day. Since it will be on all familiar roads, I imagine my mind will be wandering to the last 47 days. Perhaps I will see if I can remember all the places I stayed. At 30 days when I was riding into Oregon, I was still able to remember every place I had stayed in California.

I think I am ready to be home. If I had been able to finish on the Sierra Cascades route, maybe I would have wished I was going all the way to Sumas (the actual end of the route). As it is, with the rain and being on roads I know so well, I'm ready to be done.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not Camping...

...But, still cooking!

Cooked this pasta dish out on the sidewalk of the motel. It was delicious!

Another Chance Meeting

Day 46 started out raining. Uggggg! At least the ride was not too difficult.

When I got to La Center (a small town north of Vancouver about 15 miles), I saw a bakery. Coincidently, it was close to 10:00 and snack time! I was waiting while two other women were getting their donuts. They turned around and the one gal said, "Are you Colleen?". Turns out it was my youngest brother's friend and her mom! Understand, I had my bike helmet on and my bike glasses (orange lenses), yet she still recognized me! I haven't seen them for probably 30 years! I asked Tammy how she knew it was me. Apparently, my brother and I look very much alike. Also, what are the chances we would run into each other in La Center? Candi lives in Vancouver and Tammy, turns out, now lives in Lacey about two miles from me! It's just craziness!

Next, as I was riding along coming into Woodland, I was coming down a hill and I saw "Lishan Rd."! I knew the road existed, but I had no idea where it was.

So, even though today's ride started out raining, the sun came out and I actually had a really great time riding! I still can't believe the coincidences of today!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kim's Chickens

These birds seem to like to have their photo taken!

Last night was likely my last night of camping. Kind of sad, actually. But, flexibility is important in bike touring. Does that mean I'm going to let my dad bring me home in his pickup? No. I will finish this trip on two wheels!

Today I rode from Beacon Rock to Vancouver. The ride over Cape Horn was pretty easy. The shoulder was decent most of the time. I think Hwy 14 might be part of the ACA Lewis and Clark Route. The only tricky part, and I have encountered this before, is when there is road construction and instead of a flagger there is a traffic light. The problem is that the traffic light doesn't know there is a bike coming through. What I do to give myself the longest possible time to get through the section before the light changes, is wait for the beginning of the green light. If I get to the light and it is green I will wait and sit through another cycle until the next green light. Then I pedal like mad! So far, so good!

I stopped at my friend, Kim's house, to visit. I had fun taking pictures of her chickens. Then I rode onto my dad's. My brothers came for dinner. Tomorrow I will ride to Kelso. Unfortunately, I can't seem to locate a place where I could camp. Then again, it's not too surprising. Who would want to go camping in Kelso?

Three more nights (counting tonight) and I will be home!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Jeannie, Abby, Claire and Katie came to visit me at Beacon Rock State Park! They also brought me Coconut M&Ms and a Butterscotch Sundae (from the ice cream place in Cascade Locks)! We went for a walk up to Little Beacon Rock (a 1/4 mile trail from the campground). I was so happy to see them again!

Beacon Rock

Views from Beacon Rock and the rock itself.

Fear Not the Bear or Mountain Lion...

...Fear the...Squirrel!

Sadly, my right front pannier has been destroyed by a pesky squirrel. As you can see from the photo, I was able to effect a pretty good repair to get me home, but it is pretty well ruined. The squirrel didn't even get anything out of it! I should have just left the panniers on the bike when I went to the top of Beacon Rock. Instead, I stowed them under the vestibule of my tent. The squirrel was afforded a nice protected and hidden spot to chew away at the pannier. Stupid me!

Washington, My Home...

...Wherever I may roam!

Yes, I am now back in Washington! I crossed the Bridge of the Gods (a little squirrelly on the grated bridge deck) at about noon today. It was also at that point that I was officially done with the Sierra Cascades Route. From here to home I will be on the detour to avoid the closed Elk Pass.

Because today's ride was only 29 miles, I got to camp pretty early. I am staying at Beacon Rock State Park. After I set everything up, I did the walk to the top of Beacon Rock. I met some boys at the top who are from Olympia. They are camping at Beacon Rock too. There is another tent here in the Hiker/Biker Site, but no person, so far. Probably a hiker. The PCT is not far from here.

Today I saw two other cyclists going the other direction. I couldn't talk to them because they were on the other side of I-84. Then, when I was on the side road doing into Cascade Locks, I met a guy named Jerry. He started in Redding, CA. He is going East (after having come up the coast). He is on a seriously long tour!

Four days to go! Tomorrow is Vancouver.

Photos From Hood River

Playing with the dog.
Sunset on the Columbia River.
Jeannie, Abby and Claire, my cousins.

A Great Day Off in Hood River!

Since Hood River is the windsurfing and kiteboarding capital of the world, I wanted to get some photos of them on the river. If you look closely at the photo of the kiteboarder, you will see he is up in the air. They were great fun to watch. We took Katie the dog down to the river with us. She loved fetching her toy in the water. She will sleep well tonight!

After getting some groceries, we walked around downtown and ate dinner at a Mexican place. Then we went to Mike's Ice Cream. It was delicious!

After dinner, we picked up the girls and returned to the river to a very nice park. We played on the toys and threw the toy for the dog. We watched the moon come up and generally had a great time.

My gear is packed and I will leave in the morning. I'm just going to Beacon Rock State Park so I don't have to go too far or leave too early. I did meet another touring cyclist today who actually pushed through the closed portion of Elk Pass. I'm still going to stick with my detour plan...

I've had a great stay here in Hood River with my cousin and her girls! I look forward to coming back again.