Sunday, August 5, 2007

Winding Down

So Rob and I have made it to Portland and are both fairly impressed. The city is incredibly large but it has a really hip vibe to it. Rob's friend was kind enough to let us throw our things in her apt while we peruse around town. I'm thinkin we might catch a movie today and try to just take it easy. There have been too many wild nights in a row including our last night on the actual bike trail after climbing to the top of Astoria's column. Astoria was a great little town with fantastic people. We met a guy named Dave who offered us a place to stay and we ended up staying awake for far too long considering our bus ride to Portalnd was at 8:00am. Needless to say we just barely made it. So I guess we're gonna kick it around town for a spell and see what this booming metropolis has to offer a couple of worn out transcontinental cyclists.
Can't wait to see everyone.

Friday, August 3, 2007

We Made It

Although we haven't officially ended our trip yet, we did however, reach the pacific ocean. It was a glorious time on the beach with raging 60 mph gusts and being sand blasted in the face. Besides that it was cool to see the ocean for the first time. We all drank a bottle of champagne behind a wind barrier made of driftwood to celebrate. We then decided to head back to Florence and get a motel room for showers. Every orifice of mine was sand-locked. The trip up the coastal highway 101 has proven to be quite an ordeal. The wind is coming directly south and the traffic and roads leave much to be desired. We have been able to visit some really great breweries in the mix to take some of the pressure off. Rogue, Pelican, among many as well as a really enjoyable visit to a winery right on the beach in Yachats. So Rob and I are here in Tillamook about to visit the cheese factory and then head for a campsite for the night. I'll keep trying to post some pictures.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Can Smell the Ocean

Hey everybody sorry for the lack of posts. We've been really cranking and I haven't really had the time to sit at a computer and collect my thoughts. So we're in Sisters, Oregon and we only have about a week left before we hit the coast. Things are getting really exciting and we're all getting a little bit antsy to get there. We stayed in Bend last night which was a really incredible town. Rob is thinking about living there and now I can see why. We had to do a tour of all the breweries in town which numbered many and included "Dechutes."
My birthday seems like it was forever ago, but we spent a great deal of time in Yellowstone park. I saw Old faithful, grand prismal springs, painted mud pots and almost had a run in with a bear. Well I thought it was a bear. It growled at me for sure but I took off running - too fast to even see. Idaho was a gorgeous state with many gorges. We pedaled down by the Payette river and met lots of paddlers who were kind enough to offer us some PBR and snacks. We also got the chance to hit up some more hot springs. Very crowded however but still a nice treat. It was great to be able to go so long without a real shower. About a week and a half through the entire state of Idaho and parts of Oregon.
We've met some great people including Wiley at Red Fish Lake, Donnie and Zack at Spuds n Suds, and a real cool cat named Andy in Bend. Wiley's quite the character but with loads of info about his travels and how to live life like a real man on a Bimmer. Thanks for the dinner and the phone message Wiley! Oregon has proved to be a really nice state but incredibly hot on some days that we have to climb multiple passes. They haven't been too bad but they're really starting to wear on my wits.
But we'll' reach the ocean soon enough and then I'll get to check out highway 101 for a couple of days up to Astoria. From there Rob and I will be making our best efforts at bumming around Portland until our flight leaves on the 12th. I think we'll manage. I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to seeing you all upon my return home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Headwinds and Grizzly Bears

Wyoming has proved to be a very windy state as I had just flown down into the valley and was met with winds comparable to those on top of Grandfather Mtn. I could see the horizon about 20 miles away and I was cranking incredibly hard on completely flat terrain to push 5-7 mph. Not to mention a storm was blowing in directly overhead but I also encountered some Eastbounders who boasted an average 28 mph speed with the wind. I wanted to strangle them. But upon arrival at a gas station in Muddy Gap, WY, I couldn't find Rob or Rich anywhere and decided I would ask the folks at the trailer adjacent to the gas station. It turns out that they were in there with Rory and were being catered to by a nice Mormon family who cooked us lasagna, garlic bread, eggs, and milk and cookies. They were really interested in our travels and loved to listen to our stories as well as give us their own. Rob got the responsibility of reading a couple books to the youngest of the 6 children. It turned out to be a really fantastic evening complete with showers.
We had the opportunity to soak in some hot suplhur springs in two different towns that made my skin stink for a couple days but it felt fantastic. It was a much need break from the sore muscles brought on by harsh Wyoming terrain.
We met back up with our compadres Mike and Dillon and made it into one of the most beautiful parts of our country thus far, the Grand Teton National Park. We camped right under these incredible mountains and took a semi-bath in Jenny Lake right at the base. The whole time I couldn't help but wishing I was on the top of the world looking down on the valley. That night, I had awoken to the sound of a bear rattling the junk out of a bear box that stored all of our gear and food. For the rest of the night I could hear footsteps all around my tent and a heavy breathing that gave me the shivers. I will be sure to not bathe and smell like soap for the remainder of my stay in the Teton and Yellowstone National parks. I spoke with an older gentleman who told me that there had a been a Grizzly that set up camp in the area we stayed in and that the wildlife authorities were having trouble locating it and removing it. So chances are that he was the one causing my cold sweats that night.
It was sad however that the next morning we had to say goodbye to our dear friend Rory O'Callahan as he took off north into Yellowstone and then to Montana while we went south into Jackson Hole where I am currently. This town is fantastic but very touristy. There are hundreds of stores and a really cool downtown area. Tonight we're going to see a reenactment of an old time shootout in the middle of town. Cant wait. I hope this finds everyone doing well and I'll try to post some pictures when I have an opportunity at a computer w/o time limits. Adios

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Breckenridge and Pueblo

Breckenridge freakin rocks the rockies. We had such a blast last night in town. Things were pretty hectic during the day but we ducked into the brewery to get out of the sun. We met some people who let us stay at their place last night and it was a much needed break from camping out. The festivities in Breck made the town seem like a really hip and happenin place to be. There's an awesome bike trail that we rode on through the mountains that took us right into town. All downhill too.
We met a guy named Donald in Pueblo who was kind enough to take us in and entertain us for the most part. He took us down to the river to body surf the waves. Way cool. He set up a projector in his backyard for us to watch a movie as well. Thanks for everything man.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tappin the Rockies

Colorado finally! This is one state that I’ll be sure to get the most out of before I leave. Not that Kansas was bad but the terrain here has already proven to be far more beautiful. I can see the mountains far off in the distance and I’m giddy in my cycling shorts to get up close and personal with them. I get to add a coyote to my extensive list of road-kill encountered. It looked like a dog at first, but once you check out its teeth, you know its one vicious mammal. Of course it did look far more docile with its innards strewn about the highway.
Anyways, we had the opportunity to stay with a very kind lady named Gillian who went about a mile a minute but seemed to go out of her way to make sure we were comfortable or had everything we needed. Pink mullet aside, she worked as a prison guard in Ordway, CO and was a joy to chat with.
The other day I made a wrong turn going out of town (constant state of delirium I guess) and ended up facing headwinds for about 12 miles in the wrong direction. It wasn’t until then that I noticed my mistake and turned around to head back to Scott City, only to find oddly enough, more headwinds. But all in all, I made the best of my first 130 mile day and headed into town just as the sun was setting over the grain elevators. The only downside was that upon my arrival to camp, Rob said we had to knock out a 120 mile day in the morning. So I’m finally here in Pueblo, CO and the city is amazing. My bike is all tuned up and after about 650 miles in a week, I’m more than ready for a day off and a shower. It looks like it’s about to pour now so I’d better head to the hotel.
Much love.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cruisin' Round the Breadbasket

Kansas has proved to be a better state after all. At first I was quite disappointed with how mundane everything could be but I came to realize it was just the heat getting to me. After a couple of rain showers and cloud covered days, the weather has made for a more enjoyable ride. Even though the terrain is not very attractive, Kansas does have its moments after riding 40 mile stretches without any services.
One of our first nights in Kansas was after a 100 mile day and proved to be quite and entertaining evening. I had just sat down to eat a jar of pickled okra when an all out battle royale broke out amongst 15 rednecks. People were fighting left and right and the funniest part was when one guy tried to scissor kick another in the back of the head. There wasn’t much for me to do except sit quietly eating my okra and watch the whole event unfold over the next few hours. The sheriff eventually came after everyone disbanded and tried to settle things down for the night. After riding 100 miles a day for a couple of days you find yourself just staring at things for no reason, so this escapade gave me something more entertaining to stare at.
That same night, after coming form the bathhouse, we had the opportunity to meet a young lady named Bonnie who had recently had her trailer stolen earlier that day. We couldn’t just leave her on her own with these crazy rednecks so we decided it was best to adopt her to tag along. Considering the countless times we have been helped along our, this was the least we could do to help someone else in need. The company is great and has added a new dynamic to our group. I’m interested to see how things will pan out over the course of our journey.
We made a stop in Buhler, KS the other day to get some lunch and get Rich’s spoke fixed with the FiberFix. Unfortunately the FiberFix snapped in half and proved to be quite useless. As we were pondering over what to do next, Rich asked the girl at the delicatessen if there was a bike shop around. She said that her father was a big biker and could probably help. And help he did. In no time flat he was there with extra spokes and a bike stand. He even trued his wheel like a professional mobile bike surgeon. He was a really kind pastor in the area named Todd and was really excited to help us. He discovered that Bonnie had lost her trailer and wanted to help out even more so he offered to lend her a rack and a set of panniers in the hopes that she would return them upon arrival at her destination. We were all very fortunate to have run into Todd. He also met up with us down the road and gave her a cook set and better saddle for if and when she departs from our group. Things were looking grim but got turned around in and instant because of the selfless acts of certain individuals.
I’m interested to see how things will pan out over the course of our journey.
We’ve also been riding with our friend Tom that we met at the Houston Hotel in Missouri. He was a lawyer from D.C. and is quite a character. I think he likes hanging out with us because of our wild uninhibited nature and it reminds him of when he was in college.
So I’m here in Scott City, Kansas and things couldn’t be better. The bike is doing well and I’m in high spirits. Kansas is starting to get a little better but we all can’t wait until we get to Colorado. Every eastbounder we have passed has told us countless stories of how magnificent things are about to get for us. The next few weeks are going to be really exciting and I couldn’t be happier about it.