Archive for November 2009

 
 

November 18th, 2009

Day 67 – Elkton to Eugene, OR

Miles biked – 50

Total for trip- 3313

Days to Party – 10

11/5/2009 Crashing in the field in Elkton worked for us, but our tents didn’t love it.  It was very damp and our tents where already pretty mildewy.  We vowed as we packed them that we would dry them out as soon as we got to Eugene as there was a chance this was our last day of camping.  The end was in sight and it was exciting but a little bit sad.  For breakfast, we went to the OTHER restaurant in Elkton (besides the sports bar/convenience store/diner), an adorable little Italian bistro – or was it French, Caroline? :) – that was one of the first places in a while that felt like it could be in New York.  A little taste of home.

Our ride to Eugene, which we hoped to finish before 1pm when the rain was supposed to hit, was 50 miles.  We finished breakfast at 8:30am and figured that as long as we didn’t hit any major hills we’d be right on track.  The first 15 miles were done in a zippy hour but then we got a harsh reminder that we were on west coast.  There was a huge 5 mile climb on a road called Territorial that kicked out butts.   At noon, we’d only made it 35 miles but we had to take a food break.   We ate the last of our groceries and had some coffee at a cute shop in Lorraine where we met a motorcyclist out for a scenic ride who gave us routing tips through the back roads to Eugene.  Good thing too, because almost nothing was labeled like the map!

After that stop, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going to make it to Eugene before the rain.  We did our final 15 miles up and down some rolling hills with raindrops rolling down our backs.  It was ok though, because we knew we had a warm place to stay ahead of us, with a hot tub!  We’d made another Warm Showers connection with a couple named Shane and Missy who had circumnavigated the US two years before and were now living in Eugene raising their 6 month old daughter Isadora.  It was like us in a few years!

We arrived in Eugene while our hosts were out but it worked out perfect.  We were able to change out of our rain soaked spandex and into dry clothes, and then we hit the town.  First stop – The Eugene City Brewpub, owned and operated by Rogue.  We were greeted in front of the pub by our server Tom who told us to roll our bikes around back and then started us with some samplers.  We knew we were going to like the Oregon breweries!  After warming our bellies a bit with some snacks, we got a tour of the downstairs brewing operation from their brewer Nate.  His story was awesome.  He had started professionally as a chemist and was a homebrewer hobbiest but when Track Town (the line of beers Rogue makes at Eugene City) was looking for a new brewer, they called Nate.  He was living every homebrewers dream!

After the pub, we biked back to Shane and Missy’s for an amazing homemade diner.  They made chicken with spinach, broccoli soup and the most AMAZING beet brownies.  It was a bikers paradise.  Also, Shane was nice enough to look at Caroline’s back wheel, as it was a little less than true ever since a keg had accidently fallen on it.  Oh, the life of a bike and brewer…

Foggy Elkton Morning

Foggy Elkton Morning

Rogue Eugene City Brewing Track Town

Rogue Eugene City Brewing Track Town

Nate brewing on possibly the smallest system weve seen yet

Nate brewing on possibly the smallest system we've seen yet

November 18th, 2009

Day 66 – Floras Lake to Elkton, OR

Miles biked – 80

Total for trip – 3263

Days to Party – 11

11/04/2009 Andy Bolt knows that when you are traveling by bike, its important to eat a lots of food :)   That’s why he and his wife Joanna started us off right with dutch babies and bacon for breakfast.  Our plan for the day had been to ride from their house to Florence, about 95 miles.  That would be challenging enough in itself, but for days we’d also been hearing from people that there was a storm coming and it was expected to hit the following afternoon.  If we rode as far as Florence we’d have about 65 miles over some mountains to get to Eugene on a day when we were likely to get dumped on.  Andy helped us come up with a new plan.  He suggested we skip the bit of not so scenic 101 in favor of a leisurely breakfast and ride to Bandon in the Boltmobile. Then we could cut over at Reedsport instead of Florence.  If we got a lot of miles in, we would be able to do the rest of the ride to Eugene before the rain – fingers crossed.  Smart guy that Andy Bolt:)

We got out of the truck at Coos Bay ready to fly.  It was a little sad how close we rode to the Oregon dunes without stopping to ride buggies, but some things must wait until the next adventure.  Instead, we booked it to Reedsport, ate sandwiches and pie and then started east.  38 ended up being one of the most lovely riding days of the trip.  It was a beautiful river valley on a newly paved road.   The weather was a cool 50 degrees or so and we had a tailwind!  We did 40 miles or so on a slight uphill without even really trying.  A quick stop at Bob’s Grocery (and a short chat with Bob himself) for chocolate milk, bananas and black licorice and then we kept pedalling.  Since the route and our pace was thrown off a bit we weren’t really sure how far we’d go.  It was either going to be Elkton or Drain but neither town had anything in particular we needed to stop for.

We rolled into Elkton at about 4:30, hungry and ready for a beer.  It was possible for us to ride another 9 miles to Drain but Elkton felt like the right place to be.  We ordered dinner and drinks and started chatting with the bartender/cashier/waiter at the sports bar/convenience store/diner that we’d rolled up to.  A quick survey of the town looked like this was the only place to go and apparently he ran the show.  When we first asked, he said there was nowhere nearby to camp, but after an hour or so of us buying scratch tickets and winning and buying more while we told him about our trip, he decided we were not crazies and offered us a place in his empty lot next store.  His only rules – don’t be too loud and no number two in the field.  We laughed and told him that would work out just great.  Apparently he had a lot of cyclists and motor bikers who came through who weren’t as courteous as us:)

Langlois to Elkton, OR

Langlois to Elkton, OR

Elkton convenience store/bar/diner

Elkton convenience store/bar/diner

November 17th, 2009

Day 65 – Harris Beach State Park, OR to Floras Lake, OR

Miles biked – 70

Approx Total Miles Biked – 3183

Days to Party – 12.

11/3/2009  What a breathtaking wake-up! We packed up our cookware and hiked down to the water, where we made oatmeal and coffee looking out at the Pacific. Bike and Brew had really made it to the other coast! Brooklyn, NY to Brookings, OR. We walked along the shore and waded ankle-deep in the chilly water.  Then it was time to bike. We were excited to reach our day’s destination, since we were going to be staying with Andy and Joanna Bolt just outside of Langlois, OR.

Andy is the son of John Bolt, who, back in Michigan, had given us a lift when we biked 18 miles in the wrong direction. In a true example of everything happening for a reason, John had given us Andy’s number should we need contacts on the Oregon coast. At the time, that seemed so far away, but as fate would have it, Andy and Joanna’s was the perfect place to stop in for the night.  They live right on Floras Lake, and after a hilly day of riding, it was so fun to get to their home, unload the bikes, and then take the “party barge” out on the water. The sunset was gorgeous, and the lake water was like butter, and it was a great ending to the day.

Back at the house we had a fantastic home-cooked meal, and then settled in for the night. It was great fun to talk to Andy and Joanna about our random encounter with Andy’s parents back in Holland, MI.  They had been talking about us as we slowly but surely made our way to the west coast, and it was funny to hear how excited they were to have us stay at their place, as, equally, we were so grateful and excited that they could host us! It just goes to show what a lasting effect the somewhat fleeting encounters of this trip have on us.

Special note: check out the article about us on the WEND mag blog that mentions the Bolt story :)

Brookings, OR - beautifulness

Brookings, OR - beautifulness

Floras Lake - beautifulness

Floras Lake - beautifulness

Andy and Joanna with the crew

Andy and Joanna with the crew

November 13th, 2009

Day 64 – Prairie Creek National Park, CA to Harris Beach State Park, OR

Miles biked – 55

Approx Total Miles – 3113

Days to Party -13.

11/2/2009 We woke early at the campsite shrouded in a thick fog. Ryan shared a smorgasbord breakfast with us before we parted ways. We stayed off of US-101 for the first 10 miles or so, riding along a beautiful and thickly wooded side road.  We decided that we would need to get second breakfast shortly after getting back to the main road. The next town was Klamath, which had 3 exits, and few food options. After exiting on the first two and reaching only a campground and a boarded up café (still billed as being open 24 hours/7 days a year), we took a side road that led us a 1.5 miles down the road in cyclo-cross fashion. When that landed us at a dead end, the three wise bike and brewers laughed and turned around to back track the mile and a half. I, however, have an adamant refusal to double-back on roads and miles I have already travelled, and almost died while carrying my bike and panniers up a steep, rocky slope to the road. Luckily, we found a great café, fueled up, and pedaled on. It wasn’t long before we had another “must-stop!”– The Trees of Mystery roadside attraction with a giant Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe.  Not only did the visitor center have outstanding free samples of homemade fudge, Tracy and I found and excitedly purchased WOLF T-SHIRTS!! We have been on an epic search to find your classic airbrushed wolf t-shirt, and we are finally proud owners. I have vowed to wear it each day of riding until the end of the trip.

At this point, it was necessary to get some more miles under our belts, so we rode on, climbing a pretty grueling hill before descending into Crescent City. There, we ate a quick lunch and loaded up at the grocery store for a camp dinner. We crossed into Oregon at sunset, made it to the Harris Beach state park campsite just after dark, and settled in for the night. We knew that the site was right on the water, and we were all excited to see what our home for the night would look like in daylight. Brooklyn to Brookings – coast to coast – in 64 days!

~Caroline

Morning at Prairie Redwoods

Morning at Prairie Redwoods

This road stopped being a road

This road stopped being a road

Babe the Blue Ox and Wolf Shirts!

Babe the Blue Ox and Wolf Shirts!

Welcome to Oregon

Welcome to Oregon

November 13th, 2009

Day 63 – Eureka to Prairie Creek National Park, CA

Miles biked – 60

Approx Total Miles – 3151

Days to Party – 11

11/1/2009 Every time we try to leave a great town it’s tough, but departing from Eureka was especially hard. Dick and Kathy led us on a short bike ride to The Grange for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon. We satisfied our ferocious appetites, rode back to their house and then reluctantly pedaled away. As with many days, we had many different goals – a long shot, a hopeful and a fallback – kind of like choosing a college.  Our long shot was Cresent City, about 85 miles away.  Our hopeful was Del Norte State Park (the farthest north redwoods state park). Our fallback was Prairie Creek, about 55 miles from Eureka.

If our late start and the title of this post were not enough of a tip off, I’ll just say it: we only made it as far as Prairie Creek.  But what a beautiful ride it was.  We started in the fog of Eureka, riding up 101 along the coast and about a half hour in we got our first view of the ocean!  It was a tough riding day with lots of steep climbs but luckily also a lot of down hills.  We had second breakfast in Trinidad, a highly recommended little beach town and then loaded up on groceries for our ride into the redwoods.   We saw lagoons and elk and tons of beaches.  It was amazing.

Upon arrival into the state park we were reminded that it was bear country.  It sounded kind of ominous until we realized that it just meant we had to put all our food in a metal box.  If only more campgrounds had those for the raccoons!  The campground was a neat spot right on the edge between a elk prairie and the forest and the coolest thing about it was that we surrounded by other touring bike campers!  In the whole site, there was only one group with a car (out of 4 groups… but still).  We spent the evening making our fancy camp dinner of tuna melts and the long awaited s’mores while getting to know a fellow cyclist, Ryan, who was on his way down from Seattle to Hawaii.  He was planning on flying part of it, of course, but would be biking until at least San Francisco, if not farther depending on the weather.   He was a cool guy who had been traveling on his own, on a MOUNTAIN bike and doing a much better job of being thrifty than we have.  He did give us tips on where to get some deals on canned food though as we went north.  Ryan, if you’re reading this, we hope you had a great journey and we loved your tattoo.  Cheers!

Biking through coastal fog

Biking through coastal fog

Prairie Creek Redwoods

Prairie Creek Redwoods

Ryan the touring mountain biker

Ryan the touring mountain biker

November 13th, 2009

Day 62 – Happy Halloween from Eureka, CA

Miles biked – 13

Total Miles Biked – 3091

Days till party – 12

10/31/2009 – Eureka was the land of fog. A strange but adorable town that we could never really totally see.  When we woke up in Dick and Kathy’s house we felt like we had so much time!  Caroline ran town to town and the rest of us enjoyed the calm of having no where to pack up a go to for the day.  When we finally got on our bikes to go out, it was almost 2pm.  We joined Caroline at Lost Cost Brewing for lunch and a sampler of their highly recommended beers.  They did not dissappoint!  There was no tour to be had, but we weren’t really feeling terribly motivated anyway so we chowed down and then went out on the town to complete a very important mission: Halloween costumes.

Since Milwalkee, we had decided we would be The Wizard of Oz.  We had red bike booties for me (given to us from our friend John Rowland) to be Dorothy, and Anders and I have found a great kids lion costume for Caroline but asside from that we are at a bit of a loss.  Tracy really wanted to wear overalls to be the scarecrow (even though in the movie he doesn’t wear them) and Anders just wanted to tape a metal funnel to his head to be the tinman.  It seemed like it should be pretty easy to pull it all together, but after rummaging through every thrift store in town we got a little worried.  Tracy found her overalls but as far as Dorothy went, I was still up a creek.

We biked back to the house (Caroline ran…another 6 miles!) and got ready for the barn party.  Caroline turned the kids costume into an awesome adult get up with the little help of a pair of scissors, Tracy put on her overalls and I put on a beautiful dress from Japan that Kathy lent me.  I decided that with my red booties and that dress, if I couldn’t be a proper Dorothy, I’d be Dorothy in Japan:)  Anders never got his funnel but decided that if we were going to be a party with everyone dressed up, he’d put on the one costume he had – his spandex.  The party ended up being a blast.  There was a bluegrass band, a bonfire, pingpong, lots of gradudate students and a keg of local brew.  Pretty much everything you need for a great party.  Costume highlights include: cookie monster, Schrodinger’s Cat, and a blue footed boobie (a very literal translation).

-Sara

Chillin out in Eureka

Chillin out in Eureka

Lost Coast Brewing

Lost Coast Brewing

Halloween in Eureka

Halloween in Eureka

November 9th, 2009

Day 61 – Laytonville to Eureka, CA

Miles biked – 80.

Approx total miles biked – 3078.

Days until party in Seattle – 13.

10/30/2009  If you read the last post, you might be a little surprised by the distance we traveled for day 61.  Waking up in Laytonville, we had resigned ourselves to making it as far as Fortuna (about 80miles) and then riding then next 40 to Eureka on Halloween day.  Even that seemed like a stretch considering the day before we were wiped out after 45 miles.  We woke ourselves up before sunrise, packed up, had some Grapenuts and rolled over to the gas station for our caffeine fix hoping to get some miles under our wheels as soon as it was light enough.   It was an insanely foggy morning and we were in the mountains, so we were concerned about safety on the winding roads but we didn’t want to wait to long to get started considering our short ride the day before.  We huddled around the gas station coffee machine trying to convince ourselves to start riding when a large, empty, white truck rolled in driven by a young couple about our ages.  It took us a few minutes to discuss amongst ourselves whether it was a good idea and then a few more to get up the courage, but then Caroline bravely approached them to see if they happened to be heading in our direction.  As luck would have it, they were taking 101 north to Garberville, about 40 miles right on our route.   They said they’d be happy to take us as far as we wanted to go.  We did some quick calculations and realized that depending on the terrain, if we road all the way to Garberville, we might have enough time to get to Fortuna for a late lunch at Eel River Brewing Company and then get to Eureka that night so that we could still have Halloween off.

Taking the ride was probably one of the smartest decisions we’d made.  Not only did it give us a jump start for the day but the ride was a very windy and steep road without much of a shoulder.   In a perfect world we would have waited out the fog and done many short days of riding rather than try to make it out of the mountains in one day, but given our schedule the ride was perfect.  We arrived in Garberville at about 10am, still thick in the fog but only a few short miles away from the Avenue of the Giants, a 30 mile stretch of scenic redwood forest parallel to 101.  With less hills and less traffic we were able to meander our way through the fog and check out the scenery without risking our lives.  Thanks so much to Brianna and Keller!

After the Avenue (and a delicious second breakfast in Miranda, a town in the middle of the forest) we got back on 101 for a swift 20some miles to Fortuna.  We had lunch at Eel River and did a small sampling of their certified organic beers.  They didn’t have anyone around to give us a tour so we continued on the 26 miles to Eureka where our warm showers hosts, Dick and Kathy were waiting.  As soon as we were back on the road, the fog returned and it was a somewhat terrifying ride as the sunset.  It wasn’t the safest riding we’d done, but we had made it to the coast were ready for the big day following – Halloween!

Biking through NorCal fog

Biking through NorCal fog

Biking through the Redwoods

Biking through the Redwoods

November 9th, 2009

Day 60 – Lake Mendocino to Laytonville, CA

Miles biked – 45

Approx total miles biked – 2998

Days until party in Seattle -14

10/29/2009  This was a  funny riding day.  It started out with the somewhat absurd goal of riding 106 miles to Humboldt State Park, about 80 miles out of Eureka.  If we could ride that far, we knew we’d make it to Eureka on the 30th and be able to take Halloween off from riding.    We ate a quick camp breakfast and decided to stop for coffee and second breakfast at the next town.  However, just as we were turning on to 101 and starting our way north we ran into Tracy’s friend Ryan!  We hadn’t seen him since Denver, and in the time it took us to bike west, he’d driven up to Seattle and spent some time there before making his way back down.  He was on his way to San Francisco that day.  Its amazing how much faster you can get to things by car!

Right after saying goodbye to Ryan we found ourselves in our lowest gears going a little over 5 miles an hour and we quickly realized that there was no way that we were making it 106 miles.  When we finally arrived Willits, second breakfast ended up being pancakes for lunch.  Our legs were already feeling it from 15 miles of climbing but we still had high hopes of at least making it to Standish-Hickey State Park, only another 60 miles.  It wasn’t as far as Humboldt but at least we’d get to sleep under the Redwoods.

The next town up was Laytonville, where we arrived at about 3pm.  We’d done a total of 45miles.  Not sure exactly what our next plan of action was, we had a pint at the local pub to discuss.  This is never the way to get things done- but always seems like a good idea at the time:)  The closest campground was about 26 miles away, which, at the rate we were going, would just barely be doable by sundown.  If we grabbed some food at the grocery store, we could pedal on and try to make it.  Nut, we weren’t feeling. Instead, we had another pint, played some pinball, and checked in to the cheapest motel.   This was not the wisest decision for making it to Eureka the next day, as it left us with 120 miles to bike, but it was kind of like when you eat cereal for dinner in college: no one was telling us we couldn’t so we just did it.

There were two bonuses to this decision.  We were able to do laundry AND Tracy made contact with her friend Rose in Ukiah who was on her way to our motel with homemade chili and wine (from the winery she works for) for dinner.  I couldn’t say for sure why we just stopped in the middle of the day, but I had a feeling that the twig wanted to make that little reunion happen.

Lake Mendo to Laytonville - meeting up with Rhino

Lake Mendo to Laytonville - meeting up with Rhino

PInball vs. Riding

PInball vs. Riding

November 6th, 2009

Day 59 – Taking the low road – Williams to Lake Mendocino, CA

Miles Biked – 79

Approx total miles biked – 2953

Days until party in Seattle – 16

10/28/2009 Riding out of Williams was not nearly as much work as riding in.  The wind had died down a bit and it was beautiful and sunny.  We fought a bit of wind but it was flat for the first 10 miles or so until we started the climb into the coastal range.  And what a climb it was!  Our highest climb was about 1,800 feet but there was a lot of up and down getting there.  Each time we got to the top of one hill we thought, “was that it?  do we get to go down now?”  When the decent finally came though, it was awesome.  We rolled down into Lucerne for a sandwich break after a 10 mile or so ride along Clear Lake, envying every person with a house along the water.  We also saw our first out it the open medicinal marijuana store, The Cool Cove, which was kind of hilarious to ride by.  Just a little reminder that we were in Northern California.

We weren’t exactly sure at the start of the day where our end point was.  We had hoped to get to Ukiah, which was about 85 miles away where Tracy knew a friend from college was living.  However, we didn’t know until the day before that we were heading in that direction so we hadn’t been able to get a hold of her yet.  In Lucerne we decided that camping at Lake Mendocino was our best bet.  We had about 2 hours of daylight to go 26 miles, so as long as we didn’t hit anymore big climbs we could do it.

As with most of our riding days, we made it just in time.  We arrived at the lake, set up camp, made dinner and went to sleep.  It was another meal of couscous and chili and hot chocolate.  No complaints here.

Williams to Lake Mendocino

Williams to Lake Mendocino

November 4th, 2009

Day 58 – Bike and Brew and the Blustery Day – Chico to Williams CA

Miles biked – 59

Approx Total Miles Biked – 2874

Days until party in Seattle – 17

10/27/2009  Waking up in Chico, the twig was stuck in a whirlpool at the side of the river.  Our planned route was to head north to Redbluff and then across the costal range to Eureka on 36.  It was a very desolate, hilly and difficult route, even without the wind, that would take us about 3 days and put us in Eureka 2 days before Halloween.  However, our plan was to stay in Eureka on Halloween (meaning we had an extra day) and with the wind blowing at about 40 miles an hour from the north, we decided that our plan was not the way the twig was flowing.

Instead, we wandered around Chico: dressed up at a biker shop (in leather) and stopped by Karen’s dental office to stock up on toothpaste and floss. At about noon, we finally got on our bikes and went south.  It was a pretty awesome ride, with the wind at our backs for the first time.  We cruised at around 20 miles an hour for most of the day, putting in little effort.  We even had enough time to frolic in a pumpkin patch. Our new plan was to cross the mountains on route 20, a slightly less difficult crossing, and be able to hit a few more breweries.  We did about 45 miles south to Calusa, and almost stopped for the day.   However, it was only 3pm and we knew we should really get a little bit farther to stay on track so we finally did what we’d been avoiding all day and started riding into the wind.  10 miles of miserable riding later we arrived in Williams, the next town over, and started nesting for the night.  At the bar.  We had food, wifi and beer, so it seemed like the perfect place to hang out.  Caroline managed to find us a place to sleep for the night at a friendly couple’s house so we took our time and updated the blog and tried to figured out how we were going to get up the coast with our new plan.

Riding to Williams, CA

Riding to Williams, CA