Archive for the Category USA - B&B 2009

 
 

August 15th, 2010

BEER NW – Bike and Brew Article – Spring 2010

While biking through Portland, OR last fall we had the good luck of picking up an issue of Beer NW magazine.  The mag was impressive with it’s nice printing, big photos and interesting articles, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that all the top names on the masthead were women!  By the next day we had gotten in touch with them and met up with (former) staffer Katie Brown for a pint at Deschutes in downtown Portland.  We also realized that we had already had beers with Art Director Annalou Vincent as she worked the taps at Upright Brewing.  It would be six months and one article later before we would meet Editor-Extraordinaire Megan Flynn at Blind Tiger in NYC for a Rogue beer tasting.  Megan went through the entirety of our Bike and Brew blog to cull the content for the article published in Beer NW’s Spring 2010 Issue.  Take a look!

Beer NW Bike and Brew article 1

Beer NW Bike and Brew article 2

Beer NW Bike and Brew3

January 6th, 2010

Mike’s Organic – Days 6-7

12/19-20/09
The next few days we were the only WWOOFers at the brewery, which we thought would be lonely, but actually it was quite nice.  We biked around more and did some reading.  Finished up a few more New Yorkers to lighten the load.  Saturday was an extraordinarily busy day, because Fleetwood Mac was in town for the weekend to play their last two shows ever.  People were flying in from all over the world for the show and the brewery was on the route to the concert and thus the perfect stop on the way to the big event.  We help stock the store and they sold beer almost as fast as we could label it.  That night, they also hosted an Xmas party for a local company and a big crowd was there (we hung out in the kitchen to grab leftovers for dinner, but then just hid away in our cottage).

Once it was just us girls, Jill the co-owner really opened up to us about her life and future plans to travel.  There was a moment when we realized that being there for a whole week may have felt like a long time at first, but then when we really got to know her we understood why the twig sent us there for so long.  It was the only way we’d really get to know the people who work there.

The Mikes tasting room and brewery

The Mike's tasting room and brewery

Sara - keg cleaner extraordinaire

Sara - keg cleaner extraordinaire

December 14th, 2009

A vacation from vacation – Gold Coast, Australia

Just a little before 9am the day after Thanksgiving, Tracy and I arrived at the Coolangatta airport where we were picked up by Scottie, my old roommate Beth’s study abroad “dad”.  I’d met Scottie (as well as her “mom” Robyn and “sister” Liana) at Beth’s wedding earlier this year and they’d generously offered to host me if I decided to visit.  Those Australians are so welcoming!  Since we didn’t have anything in particular on our agenda, he started our tour with breakfast at his local surf club on Burleigh beach.  The little town was just adorable and what a great host!  Since he works from home, he was happy to give us rides when we needed and he and Robyn took us to some great beach spots and restaurants.  The real highlight though was the beautiful pool in the backyard.  We had our own little hideaway, complete with a beer fridge, so we spent a few days just soaking up the rays and giggling about how lucky we were.  We decided that even though we’d quit our jobs 3 months ago, we’d been working pretty hard on our bike trip, planning and riding and documenting.  While in Seattle, Los Angeles and Sydney we had started to chill out a bit, but we were still kind of stressing about what needed to be done next and what our new trip “goals” were.  What we really needed to do was just enjoy the moment.  So for a few days we just didn’t worry about anything.  We got up, went swimming, read, and rolled with whatever happened to be going on.  I made a good dent in my New Yorkers and Tracy read a whole book!

A few days in, Robyn drove us up to Mt. Tamborine to check out “the bush” and we got to do something we’d really been itching to do since we’d arrived in Australia – VISIT A BREWERY!   The Mt. Tamborine Brewery was excellent, on par with the American microbreweries we’ve come to know and love.  They had a Pale Ale that they called “american pale” that was very tasty as well as an IPA that we really liked.  Mostly though, we were excited to have a few beers that went beyond the popular Pilsner style here in Australia.

Sufficiently relaxed, we decided it was time to hit the road.  After finding out that a bus to Byron Bay or Rainbow Beach (two places a few hours away in either direction that we wanted to visit) we re about $30 a person each way, we bit the bullet and rented a small car for about the same price in the end.  Tracy was the brave one who drove on the “wrong” side of the road, while I navigated.

We made our way to Bryon Bay first, camping just outside of town because there was no space in the hostels.  Why, you might ask?  Because of a little thing the Australians do called “Schoolies”.  When the high school students in Australia graduate, they all migrate up to the Gold Coast to party – most having just turned 18 and therefore legal to drink for the first time.  From what we can tell, this is a sanctioned event that happens every year and things get a bit crazy.  We got to Bryon Bay just in time to feel surprisingly old.  We tried to make the best of it though and checked out the awesome beaches (filled with some very fit surfers) and checked out the cute town.  We had some delicious coffees (our only real vice) and took a swim in the glorious Olympic size pool.  We also hit up our second brewery of the trip – the Bryon Bay Brewery, located in the Arts Factory.  It was a pretty awesome space, only brewing since August but already the hottest bar in town.  We appreciated the variety of beer on tap and the live music, but sort of wished we’d gotten there earlier to get a real bike and brew style brewery tour.

After Byron we drove up to Rainbow Beach and checked in to a hostel, hoping to make friends and arrange our visit to Fraser Island.  Fraser Island was a pretty amazing place, the world’s largest all sand island with a rainforest, beautiful perched lakes and LOTS AND LOSTS of sand.  Definitely somewhere everyone should check out if they can.  But what really made our visit to Rainbow Beach worth it was that we finally made a plan for New Zealand and came up with our next bike and brew adventure! After dropping some cash on the Fraser Tour and booking our bus around NZ, we decided that when we return to Australia (to Melbourne in February) we want to bike around Tasmania and Victoria for bike and brew down under.  Now, there are a lot of logics to work out (like not having bikes in the country…) but the prospect sounds exciting so we’re going to try to make it happen.  If you are reading this and have any suggestions, connections etc for this leg, drop us a line!

Feeling like we had a little more focus for our travels, we drove back to Scotties, stopping at the Australia Zoo on the way to pet some kangaroos and koalas (check!) and spent one more day on the Gold Coast (and in the pool!) before our flight out.

Beers tried – Burleigh Pale Ale, Burleigh Heffewiezen, Mt. Tamborine – ALL, Little Creatures Rogers, Wicket Elf Pale Ale, Mildura Brewery – Storm Cloudy Ale, Pure Blond, Carlton Lager, Bryon Bay Pale Ale and Dark Lager, Yarra Valley Gold, Murray’s Pale Ale, Barron Boys Pale Ale and ESB, Mercury Extra Dry Cider (brewed by Cascade), Firefly, Fat Yak Pale Ale.

Bikes ridden – zero :(

Life on the Gold Coast

Life on the Gold Coast

Surfers at Byron Bay

Surfers at Byron Bay

Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island

Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island

December 11th, 2009

Figuring things out – Sydney, Australia

Arriving down under without a plan seemed like a good idea, and I still think it was, but there was some major soul searching to be done once we got here – mastering the art of chilling out. The first thing that hit us like a ton of bricks before we even left the airport in Sydney was that Australia is not a cheap place to visit. Our cab ride to Tracy’s friend’s apartment downtown was $50AU. Having traveled most recently in South America, the exchange rate is a little shocking. That $50AU works out to just that – $50. Ouch! Luckily, we had a free place to stay in Sydney while we got adjusted to the currency and the time zone. On her last trip to OZ Tracy met this awesome guy Julian on a plane and they’d stayed friends. Since she’d put him up in New York just a few months before, he was more than happy to let us crash at his place in Sydney for a few days. An awesome guy currently finishing up a documentary on the All Blacks, the best rugby team ever?

It took about 2 full days of wandering around in a daze trying to stay up as late as we could each night (about 8pm) before we really got caught up with our 18 hour time change from the west coast. Thank goodness we are going to be here for 4 months! While we were in Sydney it was sauna hot for a few days and then drizzly rainy for the next few so we did just what you’d want to do in that kind of weather – a lot of walking. Hoofing it for 10-12 miles a day we hit as many beaches and pools as we could find, a few art museums, took and few ferries, and Tracy and Caroline saw the latest installment of the Twilight series. I think my head might be injured, can someone please rip off their t-shirt? Sydney was, despite the cost, a pretty awesome city. It has the exciting energy of New York with the weather of Los Angeles plus the hills, views and boats that make Seattle so dear. That said, once we woke up from our travel daze, we realized that what really needed to do was get out of town. We’d been doing a pretty good job of cutting costs (free museums, making our own food and avoiding the bar scene) but there’s only so much you can see in a city, especially if you don’t want to spend too much money.

On Thanksgiving, Caroline caught a flight to Aukland, ready to take on New Zealand and start her first WWOOFing job at a small farm that just happened to be putting on a play, a perfect way for her to get back into the theatre scene. Tracy and I however still weren’t sure what we were going to do. Since the bike trip’s completion we weren’t really sure what our next step was to build the bike and brew empire. So we also decided we would also sign up for WWOOF (willing workers on organic farms – check it out if you haven’t heard of it, very cool organization) so that we could add some structure to our trip and cut some costs. The first place we found in New Zealand was perfect, an organic brewery! We also found a blueberry farm near Marlbourough, the wine region of NZ. For 4 hours of work a day, we will be staying in our own little blueberry cottage with a full larder of organic food and bikes to ride to the nearby wineries. I wonder if anyone owns the website bikeandwinenz.com yet? We lined up a few weeks of WWOOFing and then decided that if we were going to be in NZ for a while, we better get on with our Australia travels before we had to work! We decided our next stop would be the Gold Coast, where Australia goes on vacation and where I had another place for us to crash. I made some veal and pepper enchiladas for thanksgiving dinner and then Julian and I taught Tracy how to play Texas Hold’um, which she of course ended up winning, and then we went to bed early so get our 7am flight out the next morning.

Beers tried – Little Creatures Pale Ale, Crown Lager, Coopers Pale Ale

Bikes ridden – zero ?

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Hanging out with Julian in Sydney

Hanging out with Julian in Sydney

Preparing to part ways with Caroline... sniffle sniffle

Preparing to part ways with Caroline... sniffle sniffle

November 23rd, 2009

Notes from Nowhere, LA -> Sydney

11/21/09 After our arrival at the Space Needle, tattoos and the end party, we decided the bike trip was officially over.  However, I’ve decided keeping this blog is just too fun to stop writing- so Tracy and I will continue to update you on our adventures as we travel through Australia and New Zealand in the next few months.  We didn’t bring our bikes but we are still hoping to do some riding here and we will definitely be checking out the Australian breweries.  We are also planning to do Bike and Brew West Coast when we get back as well, so don’t be surprised if one day the entries start over at… Day 1?

Right now I’m sitting in Sydney having taken a 14 hour flight on V Australia from Los Angeles.  Caroline and Tracy are on a Qantas flight that should be landing any minute and then we hit the town.  It’s Saturday here in Sydney but Friday over there in the states so maybe with the extra day we can stay a little more current with our updates:)

The past week has been fun.  We finished up our stay in Seattle with cyclocross in Kent (Anders competed in his very first race), spent another night hanging out in Seattle (including a fabulous dinner at Barrio) and then Anders flew back to New York on Sunday.  I miss him but am also a little jealous that he is in New York and has a plan.  It’s a little scary being here with a 4 month stay ahead of us and no itinerary.  The twig will lead us though, I’m sure.

The three of us girls left Seattle on Monday, a quick flight down to LA.   We arrived in the afternoon, rented a car and drove to the beach, not sure where we were staying.  Between the 3 of us we had a few connections but nothing was set.  We just knew we wanted to be by the water and that we were hungry.  First stop was Mexican food, so I texted my friend Craig for a recommendation.  Craig and I met back in February while we were both traveling in Panama and I knew he’d be a fun person to see while I was in town.  He ended up joining us for dinner and offering us his place in Redondo, 45 seconds from the water.  It was perfect.

We spent the next few days checking out the prettier parts of LA: Hermosa Beach, Topanga Canyon and Malibu (where we had lunch with Tracy’s photographer friend Aldo right on the water).  Having a car was nice but we realized that after a $50 parking ticket and a few hours in traffic, not needing one was better.   Caroline visited a few friends scattered around the city and got in a bunch of runs along the beach.  Tracy and I hung out by the water and talked about our plans for the next few months.

Craig was an awesome host.  He took us to two ridiculously cool bars in Rendondo – Naja’s, which had over 70 craft beers on tap including New Belgium La Folie, and Tony’s, a bar up in a glass tower with a 360 degree view and a musician that wrote not one but TWO songs about us right there on the spot.  Craig also played a great acoustic guitar set on our last night in LA at The Shore in Manhattan Beach, opening for a couple other local acts who also rocked the house.   Joining us as we bounced around town was Jack, one of Tracy’s photographer friends along with his wife Alysa and some of their Hermosa Beach friends.  It was awesome to have a posse to hang with in the big city.  It almost felt like we were locals. Then, on the day we left, Tracy finally got to go climbing and I took Alysa’s pilates class before getting on the plane.  We were in Los Angeles for three days, but we really packed it in.

Any minute now, I expect to see the girls come through customs.  I can only imagine what our next adventure will be.

-sara

Anders racing cross

Anders racing cross

November 23rd, 2009

Day 75 – Party! – Seattle, WA

Miles biked – 14

Total biked – 3407

11/13/2009 Waking up in Seattle was exactly how you might picture it.  Relaxing and a little bit drizzly.  Caroline went for a run and swim while Tracy and Sara, with Anders for moral support, went to commemorate the end of the trip with something they’d talked about the whole trip: tattoos!  Sara got the share the road bike (from the many street signs they’d seen along the way) on her forearm and Tracy got the trip motto – be the twig – in picture form on her forearm.  Heidi (the real one) joined us in Freemont to talk us through it and Ashley at Hidden Hand did the artwork.  They didn’t take too long, they turned out beautifully and no one cried so we deemed it a successful mission.

Then it was on to the Elysian on Capital Hill for our much talked about end party.  We got a very informative tour from Waylon, one of their brewers, and were joined by Sara’s friends and family for drinks and dinner.  The Elysian has a number of delicious beers, and we were especially keen to try some of their sours and New Belgium collaborations. Cheers to everyone who came and to the Elysian for the great beer!

Saras Share the Road bike

Sara's Share the Road bike

Tracys twig

Tracy's twig

Elysian End Party

Elysian End Party

November 21st, 2009

Brooklyn to Seattle in 74 Days!!

Brooklyn - Day 1

Brooklyn - Day 1

Day 74 - The Space Needle, Seattle

Day 74 - The Space Needle, Seattle

November 21st, 2009

Day 74 – Mission Accomplished! – Kent to Seattle

Miles biked – 26

Total biked – 3393

Days to Party: 1

11/12/2009   The great thing about leaving place like the Kent East Hill is that its all downhill.  We flew down into the valley and right onto the Interurban Trail that took us half way to Seattle without having to ride on the street.  We were fully charged up with oatmeal and fresh juice made lovingly by Sara’s mom (who was completely jealous that she wasn’t riding with us) and excited for our arrival to the emerald city.  On the route we hopped on and off a few other trails, hoping we could avoid the road the whole way and in no particular rush to get to our destination.  We soaked in every minute of our last official day.  We stopped for coffee at a coffee hut for the full northwest experience, but also to book-end our first day when we all had to have one last New York coffee before we officially started pedaling.

We approached Seattle from the south, though Pioneer square where we passed a few brew pubs, the malty aroma wafting through the air.  Then up the waterfront to Ivar’s for some of that famous chowder and fish and chips.  Finally seeing the space needle was an emotional moment, even for Sara who’d seen in a thousand times.  It was the end of our awesome adventure.  We’d made it.

Thanks to a bit of end of trip funds from Sara’s dad, we took the elevator up to the top and had a champagne toast to commemorate the occasion as we checked out the view.  It was a beautiful clear day and we could see the entire city, the Olympic mountains, the Cascades, Lake Union, Lake Washington and of course the Puget Sound.  As the sun hit the water it was like the whole place was glowing.  A picture perfect ending -

-at least to the bike part of the trip.  We still had a brewery tour to go to!  Pyramid, one of Seattle’s most well known breweries, had invited us to have a drink at there downtown location and we couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up the day.  We were greeted at the door and treated to dinner and a sampler of their many fine brews and then they gave us our very first brewery bike jerseys.  Getting those at the end of the ride could mean only one thing – we have to do another bike and brew tour soon!

After the brewery we pedaled to Sara’s good friend Slavka’s place on Beacon Hill.  The “hill” part of Beacon Hill is not a joke.  It really was a hill and we had to ride straight up it- at about 11% grade.  It wasn’t long, but it was VERY steep and a great reminder of how nice it would be to ride our bikes in the future without 50lbs of weight on the back.  Once we caught our breathes, we hit the town for karaoke, including some of the trip favorites: Queen – Bicycle Race, Skee Lo – I Wish and Journey – Don’t Stop Believing, preformed en masse on stage.

The Space Needle!

The Space Needle!

Bike and Brew sporting new Pyramid Jerseys

Bike and Brew sporting new Pyramid Jerseys

November 21st, 2009

Day 73 – Kent

Total biked – 3371

Days to Party: 2

Day 73 Kent Day Off

11/11/2009 Since we’d taken a ride to Kent, we had an extra day before we needed to ride into Seattle for our end party.  A perfect day to catch up on sleep, do a little non-bike exercise, catch up on blogging and post cards, and plan for our next adventures – Anders back to New York and Tracy, Caroline and Sara flying to Los Angeles and then Sydney.   We had to do the exchanging of the stuff: collecting the things we’d shipped to the area for our next trips and sending off the stuff we’d accumulated from this one.  A little reminder that even on a big adventure there are still not-so-exciting logistical things to figure out.  It felt a little like we were done but we hadn’t gotten to the end of the picture on our logo, the Space Needle, so we really weren’t done yet.

Dinner with Saras dad

Dinner with Sara's dad

November 21st, 2009

Day 72 – Welcome to Washington! – Portland, OR to Longview, WA to Kent,WA

Miles biked – 52

Total miles biked – 3371

Days to Party: 3
11/10/2009 We left Portland like a herd of turtles.  It was a late night out for everyone, so an early morning alarm was not enough motivation to get out of bed at sunrise.  This was the first sunny day since Eugene, and our hope was to get 95 miles in for the day and stop in Centralia.  However, there was an 80% chance of rain and a high of 41 degrees for the next day – so we weren’t confident we’d be able to ride out of Centralia even if we made it.

When we finally got packed up and out the door at 9:45am, we had a feeling Centralia was a long-shot. The sun was setting around 4:15 PM, giving us roughly six and a half hours for 95 miles – and we usually estimate our speed at about 10 miles per hour including stops. Plus, we couldn’t leave Portland without going to a bike shop.  Caroline had ridden her back tire down to the threads and we had a feeling she wouldn’t make it to Seattle without a major blowout.

It was an amusing visit to the shop.  The guy who opened the doors at 10am was not excited to see us and didn’t pay us any attention after Caroline purchased her tire. Then, just as she had the bike all back together and the tube pumped, she pulled the nozzle off and the valve for the tube came with it.  The tire was immediately flat.  How annoying.  After a little “you’re kidding me” moment Caroline pulled it together and changed the tube again- in record time. It was possible that this could be our last day of riding, so nothing was going to dampen our mood now!

By the time Caroline changed her tire (twice) and we had our morning coffees, it was nearly time for second breakfast. (No one wants a hungry biker on the road)  So we took one last stop at a cute little café just on the edge of the city and had some fruit and granola, yogurt, pancakes and a donut top muffin.  Sustainable organic of course?

Back on the road AGAIN we made great time.  It was slight rolling hills all the way to the Washington border, where we planned to cross into Longview and activate our evacuation plan  (Sara’s mom picking us up) before the rain began.  Forty-eight miles in and with about half an hour of daylight left we rolled up to the large bridge over the Columbia River that we had been dreading all day.  It was long, steep and not very bike friendly.  Oh, and right as we starting pedaling up, it started HAILING.  We had a sort of maniacal laughter moment while we cursed the timing of the hail/downpour. After being beautiful and sunny all day it just HAD to storm exactly when we were crossing an already scary and heavily trafficked bridge. The shoulder was covered with logging flotsam and jetsam, and with puddles up to our pedals it was hard to tell what we were riding over.  But we strove on and made it across the bridge while the water ran like a small river down both sides. What a welcome to Washington!

We felt pretty bad ass (in that New York City drenched rat sort of way) walking into the Triangle Bowl in Longview and explaining that we need to bring our wet bikes and gear into the bowling alley while we played a game to wait out the rain.  Turns out none of us are as good as we thought we were, but a great time was still had by all.  They had Fat Tire on tap and chili dogs and of course nachos, so we were wanting for nothing.  Sara’s mom arrived right as league bowling took over and we took our ride to Kent feeling satisfied that if this was the weather we were up against for the next day, we had made the right decision.

Carolines tire - worn through

Caroline's tire - worn through

Just before the hail, scary bridge to Washington in the background

Just before the hail, scary bridge to Washington in the background

Sara and Anders letting loose on skee ball post-ride

Sara and Anders letting loose on skee ball post-ride