Climbing The Last Hill

Day 43: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stop to Stop: Marin Headlands Hostel to San Francisco

Underway: 9:30 am    Off Bike: 1:30 pm   NRide Time: 2:28 hrs    Stayed At: Apartment
Miles Traveled: 22.4   NTotal Miles: 2,978.5    Weather: Foggy, mist

First Things First: First time riding my bike from Minnesota to San Francisco

Mile to Mile: if I didn’t have such an important surprise lunch date with Jess and Cindy I might have stayed another day at the hostel. Hopefully I get a chance to come back. After whipping up some pancakes for breakfast and dawdling as long as possible I headed out for the last big climb up to the top of the headlands and down along the coast road to the Golden Gate Bridge. What an amazing sight even on a foggy and slightly misty day. After reaching the top and pausing to take some pics I zoomed down the hill to the bridge. Just as I reached the first massive tower the sun tried to peak out and I was able to get some good “selfies” of the bike and I. It is surreal to be here after so many miles thinking about it. I was ready to be done but didn’t want it to end.

After communing with the bridge for a while I headed off to my surprise lunch date with Jess dodging crazy tourists on bikes all the way. After 3,000 miles I almost got taken out by a women veering into my lane on a rental bike while looking at the scenery instead of where she was pointing the bike. Crazy tourists…there should be a law……

I timed it perfectly and showed up to Jess’ work just after Cindy got there so we had a nice reunion and fun lunch before we headed off to the apartment. We celebrated the end of the trip with dinner at our favorite pizza place – the Little Star – and had fun catching up on everything new in life.

Wind, rain, sun, clouds, hot, cold, big hills, dirt, dust, cars, trucks, noise, flats, rednecks, bad food, sketchy campsites, lonely roads, pain, sweat…Was it all worth it? Was it worth it to see the stars in Montana or climb Lolo Pass (and pedal downhill for 74 miles) or have the best fish dinner in Gackle, ND or meet my fellow bikers along the way or to finally get to to Missoula, MT after 39 years or race an antelope down the hill or wade in a mountain stream or enjoy an unexpected treat from my road angels or eat breakfast at McKenzie Pass or see the Pacific Ocean through the fog or camp among the redwoods or bicycle over the the Golden Gate after 3,000 miles of pedaling… Yes, I think the answer is yes!







The End Is In Sight

Day 42: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stop to Stop: Samuel Taylor Campground to Marin Headlands Hostel

Underway: 8:50 am    Off Bike: 1:45 pm    Ride Time: 2:51 hrs    Stayed At: Hostel
Miles Traveled: 29.2     Total Miles: 2,956.1     Weather: Sunny, warm, windy

First Things First: First time seeing beer being packaged on the sidewalk; First palm trees; First sea otter; First sighting of San Francisco; First view of Golden Gate Bridge.

Mile to Mile: after another quiet and peaceful night sleeping under the redwoods I had a leisurely breakfast while chatting with the three girls – Vera, Sheena and Daisy – also traveling the coast to SF. We are both excited and sad to almost be done. I have enjoyed meeting them. They told me about the Samuel Taylor Campground and their bike map showed a hostel on the Marin Headlands which, lucky for me, had room tonight. Thanks girls – good luck on the rest of your journey. (PS: I still don’t know how you all fit in that little tent).

The route today wound through the last of the rural hills and down through small, quaint Marin villages like Fairfax, Ross, Larkspur, Mill Valley and, of course, Sausalito. I cut up and over the headlands near the Golden Gate and dropped down to Visitor Center and the hostel. What a cool place. Only $33 for a bunk and full kitchen, wifi and showers. And laundry facilities, pool room and make-your-own pancakes in the morning included at no extra charge. And all the hiking trails and amazing vistas you could want right out the back door.

Tomorrow will be a fun day with a short ride to the Golden Gate, contemplation on the amazing journey here and meeting Jess and Cindy somewhere in the city. The end of one journey and the beginning of another.







Saving the Best for Last

Day 41: Monday, July 6, 2015

Stop to Stop: Bodega Bay to Samuel Taylor Campground

Underway: 7:30 am    Off Bike: 3:15 pm    Ride Time: 4:25 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 47.9    Total Miles: 2,926.9    Weather: Sunny, warm

First Things First: First random roadside angel treats.

Mile to Mile: since today was going to be a relatively short day I kind of dawdled in the morning trying to decide where to go next. I had planned to continue to head down Hwy 1 toward Mt Tam but with no guarantee of a campsite that wasn’t a promising. Some girl bikers camping here were heading for Samuel Taylor State Park which is only 20 miles from the Golden Gate and has hiker/biker sites. Sounds good to me. I just hoped I would have a phone signal and it was a decent park.

The trip south took me through grassy hills and valleys with some stray cows here and there. Reminds me of the Marin Headlands just a little farther south which is great for biking and hiking. Part of the route paralleled Tomales Bay which is a tidal estuary. Not as pretty at low tide but you could see a number of oyster farming operation along the shore. Traffic was light and a nice tailwind helped out occasionally but the road was rough in places, lacked a shoulder and was surprisingly narrow in places.

One of the special highlights of the trip happened as I was steadily pedaling south and noticed an older van parked along the road in a turnout. Not uncommon – people are pulled over all over the place to take pictures, rest, or just enjoy the scenery. Well, as I approached the van I saw brief glimpse of watermelon in driver side window. Ooh, watermelon.that looks so good. I bet it’s cold and juicy. To my surprise the guy in the window asked if I wanted a piece. I didn’t have to think about that offer very long. Yes, please. And oh was it good. And I got to wash it town with a beer and croissant. My couple of road angels were young travelers from Belgium who bought the van when they arrived here, have toured some of the coolest places in the west and are now almost down. Thank you guys, you made my day! (And a highlight for the entire trip).

For some reason today seemed to feel longer than 40 miles. I was ready to be done when I finally spied the sign for the park. I was surprised and excited to find that the park is in the middle of a redwood forest only a couple hour bike ride from SF. The hiker/biker area is right on a small cold stream, the showers are hot ( and free) and I have 5 bars on my phone. Talk about a perfect ending to one one my last days on the road. Can’t get any better than that.







One County to Go

Day 40: Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stop to Stop: Manchester,CA to Bodega Bay, CA

Underway: 6:45 am    Off Bike: 3:50 pm     Ride Time: 6:31 hrs.    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 70.0     Total Miles: 2,879.0      Weather: Sunny, cool, headwind

First Things First: First lizard running across the road; First seal pups resting on a sandbar; First time not finishing my pancakes – they were huge and not anything special except expensive.

Mile to Mile: Another day in California, another nice day to travel. For some reason, even though Highway 1 winds it’s way along the coast with lots of hills and sharp turns, the riding seemed a little easier than yesterday even with an annoying headwind. The challenge today was the end of holiday weekend traffic. By early afternoon there was a steady stream of cars and campers heading north and south. It got tiring and annoying because you couldn’t just relax and ride without hearing another group of cars approaching. Thankfully most cars were patient and passed fairly slow and, because of all the curves, hills and traffic, they couldn’t go fast anyways.

I almost decided to bailout at a state park at about 40 miles but they didn’t have showers and I really felt like I wanted to get a little closer to SF. From here I am only 69 miles from my final destination. I can do several short days or even stay in the same place for two days in a row – what a novel idea. We’ll see what my options are for camping and plan accordingly. If you are reading this Jess, I am really craving a big batch of nachos and a homemade strawberry margarita. How about you?







Happy Fourth of July

Day 39: Tuesday, July 4, 2015

Stop to Stop: Standish Hickey State Park to Manchester Beach State Park

Underway: 6:30 am    Off Bike: 4:10 pm    Ride Time: 7:48 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 84.3    Total Miles: 2,809.0    Weather: Sunny, cool, calm

First Things First:

Mile to Mile: Although I could have taken another slacker day, the closer to SF I get the better I feel. I only have about 140 miles left to do in four days to be there the same day Cindy gets there. That feels pretty good at this point. Travel was surprisingly good for the Fourth of July. The big climb was relatively easy as climbs go – I only had 6 cars pass me in an hour and a half. I wish I could have taken a movie of part of the downhill with the hairpin turns and steep grades but I needed both hands pumping the brakes all the down.

Although I had prepared myself for the big climb, I was not prepared for all the small ups and downs all the way to Manchester. I was changing gears every couple of minutes from hi to lo and back again. One of last hills was the steepest of the trip which is saying something. I made it but was hoping it was the last one for the day (it was). It was nice to pull into a quiet little campground on the Fourth of July and know I would have a place to stay. I even had time to take a nap – one of the only ones of the whole trip.

About an hour and a half after I got in Mook showed up frazzled and tired but glad to be done for the day. She actually had time to stop and check out a couple events going on along the way including a salmon BBQ raising money for a local nonprofit group.

It’s exciting to be so close now. I can’t wait to get there.








Slacker Days

Day 38: Thursday, July 3, 2015

Stop to Stop: Weott, CA to Standish Hickey State Park

Underway: 6:30 am    Off Bike: 12:45 pm    Ride Time: 4:16 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 45.9    Total Miles: 2,724.7    Weather: Sunny, hot, calm

First Things First: First time it rained in CA – about 4 drops.

Mile to Mile: Another day, another change in plans. I had originally planned to do an 80 mile day to get done with my last big hill but heavy traffic, hot sun and lack of need to do big miles had me stopping at only 48 miles at a beautiful state park with a large well designed hiker/biker area.

It was an amazing ride early in the morning through another grove of Redwoods. The traffic was so light I traveled 12 miles before the first car passed me on the Avenue of the Giants. Crazy for the day before the fourth when it seems like half the population of CA is going camping. Except for lots of up and down (which requires almost continual shifting changes), the ride was comfortable and productive. I even found more money on the side of the road – two dollars this time. The last 15 miles were a challenge, though with holiday traffic on the 101, a disappearing shoulder and hot sun making an early stop more and more appealing.

After getting to the park it was obviously a good decision to stop. Nice hiker/biker area, met a new biker going southbound to San Diego, had a great burger at a little café across from the park and met up with Mook (the woman from Thailand) again who was at the park last night and passed me a few day’s ago. Only five days to go to San Fran and I can hardly wait. One day at a time…one day at a time….





Upside, Downside

Day 37: Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stop to Stop: Clam Beach County Park to Humbolt State Park near Weott, CA

Underway: 6:30 am    Off Bike: 3:30 pm    Ride Time: 6:22 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 73.7    Total Miles: 2,678.8    Weather: Cool/hot, calm/tailwind

First Things First: First time smelling and seeing eucalyptus trees – I think of SF when I smell that unique scent.

Mile to Mile: As I am writing this surrounded by giant redwoods all I can hear is the wind in the tree tops and someone off in the distance trying to split his firewood into smaller pieces. The park is booked solid and yet it is silent. That was not the case last night at Clam Beach County Park. Note to self – do not stay at parks that don’t have supervision or hosts. This park ended up being a magnet for drunks, drug addicts and generally less than respectful people. A handful off losers made it miserable for everyone else who wanted to sleep. Nobody came around to inspect people’s tickets – I suspect half the people didn’t pay. There was lots of trash around. The pit toilets were disgusting. Dogs were running loose all over. There were probably a half dozen campers and cars parked overnight with people sleeping in them too. It was not a good experience. Kind of reflects poorly on the town right there too. If I new of a better option I would have left in a heart beat. You just don’t expect people to be so abusive of everyone else in a public space. Thankfully it’s rare.

After a poor nights sleep, I expected to be slow and lethargic today but I was motivated to get as far away from Clam Beach as possible. It was overcast and cool in the morning and the route was flat weaving it’s way along tidal flats and through farmland. I had 50 miles done by 12:15 when I stopped for lunch. The afternoon was not as flat – I had a number of shorter but steep climbs which kills my average speed but the route meandered along the Avenue of the Giants. The redwoods were so thick, it was almost dark along the path with temps probably 10-15 degrees cooler than in the open sun. It felt good because it got hot today.

Probably the biggest thing that surprised me today was the lack of traffic especially on the Avenue of the Giants. I expected this major tourist route to be busy a couple days before the fourth. I had the road to myself for long stretches of almost complete silence. Nice way to end a rather up and down day. SF is getting closer by the minute (although it still seems a long way away).








Land of the Giants

Day 36: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Stop to Stop: del Norte Park to Clam Beach Park, Mckinleyville, CA

Underway: 6:30 am    Off Bike: 3:30 pm    Ride Time: 6:03 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 64.9    Total Miles: 2,605.1    Weather: Sunny, perfect

First Things First: First beach camping.

Mile to Mile: The downside to bike-in camping at Del Norte is the steep 2+ mile climb back out in the morning. The scenery inspired me upwards though as the road wound it’s way through old and new growth redwoods so dense that the early morning light had a hard time weaving its way through. It was warm and sunny as I broke out at the top but I could see down the hill that things might change. You could see the top of the fog bank below which is exactly where I needed to go. Minutes later I went from toasty warm to chilled to the bone as I raced down the hill waves of fog rolling in off the ocean below. What a way to start the day.

The fog burned off and receded back out to sea as I pedaled up and down too many hills to count traveling through some of the most beautiful groves of coastal redwoods I have ever seen. Sometimes the trees passed by right at the edge of the road having been saved by someone in the the distant past who decided the tree had more right to be there than us.

I made steady, if slow progress towards my hoped for campground miles down the road – stopping to take photos or just soak in the scenery made the miles go by slow but the new memories made it all worth it. The best was saved for last, though, as I left 101 on a hidden little scenic bypass the last stretch to Clam Beach. The road was rough, gravel in sections and, from the looks of the cracks and repairs made along the way, may not make it past the next big winter storm. I think this was the most scenic stretch of road I have ever been on. I was stopping every one of two minutes to take one breathtaking picture after another. It took me over an hour to travel 5 miles mostly downhill. And all the RV’s and campers zooming by above me on 101 had no clue what they were missing. The joys of slow travel.

The last few miles parallel the ocean and I soon reached the campgrounds where I snagged the last available campsite. Lucky since I had no other good options nearby. My tent is sitting in sand just a few hundred feet and some sand dunes to the beach. No shade but the fog will inevitably roll in blocking the sun but not the steady sound of the surf crashing on shore. I will sleep good tonight.







California Dreamin’

’Day 35: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stop to Stop: Gold’s Beach, OR to Del Norte Coast Red Wood State Park

Underway: 7:45 am    Off Bike: 3:20 pm    Ride Time: 5:45 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 62.8    Total Miles: 2,540.2    Weather: Fog/sun, cool/warm, calm

First Things First: First time riding my bike to California; First elk herd.

Mile to Mile: I could have written today’s blog post title 35 days ago. I have dreaming of this day since I first decided to bike west. California did not disappoint. The day started cool and foggy as I made made my way along the last section of Oregon coastline. Even though there were scenic overlooks probably every half mile, I only saw the ocean once at the beginning – a solid bank of white fog made it impossible to even see the beach from the top of the overlooks. I’m just glad I had a little better view yesterday.

It was exciting to see the “You are now entering California” sing as I finished my last big climb in Oregon. Surprisingly, as I sped down the road into California, the blue skies opened up above me, the sun came out, the terrain opened up and flattened out and I swear I picked a small quartering tailwind. What a nice welcome to my final state.

I was able to peel off on some side roads in the afternoon avoiding 101 traffic. The final few miles to my destination were amazing. As I slowly crawled up my first big climb in California I was met by giant old growth redwoods towering over me. I can’t imagine what it is like to see these trees for the first time. I’ve seen them before and I am still in awe.

A long steep drop down into the park led me to my campground surrounded by redwoods. It will be worth the big climb out tomorrow morning. I am getting very excited to get to SF – I have 8 days to travel about 400 miles so I can stop and smell the roses…or at least look up at the tops of the trees.






Striking Gold

Day 34: Tuesday, June 29, 2015

Stop to Stop: Bandon, OR to Gold’s Beach, OR

Underway: 7:50 am    Off Bike: 3:50 pm    Ride Time: 5:54 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 65.2    Total Miles: 2,477.4      Weather: Foggy, cool, calm

First Things First:

Mile to Mile: Today was a slow day. Partly because of a couple errands I needed to do but mostly because of all the times I stopped to take pictures. I finally got close enough to the ocean to see some amazing sights. The coast along this stretch is mainly steep rocky cliffs leading to beaches far below and amazing rock formations sprinkled along the shore to make every view a picture postcard scene. Tangled piles of huge log driftwood looks like the bones of prehistoric dinosaurs. The fog just added eerie element to the whole picture.

Towards the end of the day I took a detour (based on the recommendation of a local biker) and followed parts of old 101 as it wound itself along the new road. If you think 101 is narrow and twisty just try driving old 101 sometime – parts were only wide enough for one car, which I saw few of.

As I write this I am camped in a nice sheltered spot with level grassy areas at the county fairgrounds downtown Gold’s Beach – all for the rich sum of $7! What a deal and showers are included. I’m only a minute from the ocean and, in fact, will be lulled to sleep tonight by the sound of the crashing surf and distant foghorn. Rough life but somebody has to do it right?






Sea Breezes but No See

Day 33: Sunday, June 17, 2015

Stop to Stop: Florence, OR to Bandon, OR

Underway: 7:15 am    Off Bike: 4:15 pm    Ride Time: 6:06 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 71.3     Total Miles: 2,412.2     Weather: Overcast, foggy, cool, mist

First Things First: first time trying salmon berries (some local bikers were picking berries along the road side and shared a couple with me – they look like bunches of fish eggs.

Mile to Mile: After a peaceful nights sleep at Honeyman State Park I finally got to start heading south toward San Francisco. I’ve got to reset my temperature expectations since the normal high temp on the coast in Oregon is the high 60’s. Brrr. I sent my fleece home to save weight and space. Along with the much cooler air, fog is also a constant companion rolling in and out depending on how far inland you are or your elevation. Although it threatened rain almost all day, I only had to deal with a few drops here and there – not even enough to get the road wet.

One of the best deals on this trip is the special hiker/biker program offered by Oregon State Parks (and CA I hear too). All state parks have special areas set aside for people hiking or biking in where they can camp for $5 a night. No reservations needed. And they won’t turn you away. It’s nice not having to worry about having a place to stay when sometimes, in the morning you don’t know where you’ll end up.

Except for the difficulty in trying to stay a comfortable temperature – I was warm going up the hills and cold going down, the riding was noisy but doable. I have never seen so many campers and big motor coaches in my entire life. Millions of dollars worth of “camping” gear passed by me every hour. I took a scenic tour of Reedsport and found one of the best bakeries ever at the Sugar Shack. One of everything please.

The Adventure Cycling route took us off 101 for the afternoon following a quieter route along Seven Devils Road and Whiskey Run. Can you guess which was more fun? Seven Devils was a series of seven steeper climbs up over a pass before sending us back down to sea level. Some biker even labeled each devil for us by writing Devil # 1 … Devil # 2 …etc. The ride down was amazing though, along a narrow, twisty, almost tunnel like road surrounded by trees crowding in from both sides.

One thing surprising about the day is I didn’t get a clear view of the ocean until I actually walked 1 mile from my camp site to the beach. The road goes near the ocean in places but walls of trees or huge sand dunes block your view. It was worth the wait, though, to finally see, hear and smell the ocean after so many miles of travel. It was a journey worth taking.

In Passing: the Pacific Ocean









Cool Ocean Breezes

Day 32: Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stop to Stop: Eugene, OR to Florence, OR

Underway: 6:30 am.   Off Bike: 2:30 pm    Ride Time: 5:58 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 75.2      Total Miles: 2,340.9     Weather: Partly cloudy, warm (then cool)

First Things First: First 52 mile long garage sale.

Mile to Mile: Last push to the ocean before turning south for SF. Until the last 15 miles or so, the route today avoided the heavy traffic and noise of 126. About the only cars out all morning were people checking out the hundreds of garage sales along this road – an annual event at this time of the year I guess. Except for a couple minor passes, the route followed various rivers downstream all the way to the ocean.

I could tell I was still tired from yesterday but I was motivated to get to the ocean and start the final phase of my journey down the coast. At least I’m not getting roasted – temps are 20+ degrees cooler here than in Eugene. I’m actually cold with the wind blowing onshore. Time to dig out some layers I guess. What a difference a day (and 75) miles can do.

Tomorrow starts the final 600 mile ride to SF. I have heard from several people that the ride is amazing. I can’t wait to see for myself. I plan to slow down and enjoy everything this part of the coast has to offer. Crashing ocean surf here I come…







Day 31: Friday, June 26, 2015

Stop to Stop: Sisters, OR to Eugene, OR

Underway: 6:00 am    Off Bike: 5:30 pm    Ride Time: 7:55 hrs    Stayed At: Hostel
Miles Traveled: 101.2     Total Miles: 2,265.7      Weather: Sunny, hot, breezy

First Things First: First 100+ degree day; First time soaking shirt in roadside waterfall to try to keep cool; First kegger with live music.

Mile to Mile: Like the temperature today, my emotions spanned a wide range – from euphoria from reaching the top of Mckenzie Pass for the second time in my life, to nostalgia in recognizing scenes from my past, to shear joy flying down the other side along a quiet tree covered lane slowing only for hairpin turns to the mental challenge of slogging a final 65 miles along a busy, noisy, hot and stressful road. Today had it all.

The ride up to the pass was easier than expected with easy grades, dense forest and almost absolute silence all the way to the top. I saw my first car coming towards me after about 20 minutes and the first of four or five cars to pass me on the way up at 40 minutes. I was at the summit by 9 am eating my breakfast next to a massive lava field while looking at the snow peaks of the Cascades in the distance.

The view from the top is stunning. One minute you are climbing the last bit of steep grade to the summit surrounded by tall pine trees, the next minute you pop out at the top right in the middle of a stark, 1,500 year old lava field. Pictures don’t capture the surreal view. Nothing is growing except a few brave little pines hanging on for dear life. In some areas it looks like the lava stopped just yesterday a few feet from the road. I didn’t’t want to leave but the excitement of the downhill ride beckoned so off I went. The backside was even denser forest sprinkled with a little sunlight that trickled through. What a ride – fast and over way to soon.

Not much to say about the rest of the ride except that is was work. The heat wave finally caught up with me. It was hot all afternoon although a light headwind helped keep me a little cooler. I was exhausted by the time I rolled into Eugene but a cool shower at the hostel, a snack of crackers, cheese and strawberries with a woman from Switzerland who is almost done with the Transamerica Trail – wow – and some nice entertainment and free beer at the main hostel house made the aches and pains fade quickly. Tomorrows 74 miles to the coast should be cake after today…wait, did someday say cake?








Flying Solo

Day 30: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stop to Stop: Mitchell, OR to Sisters, OR

Underway: 6:30 am    Off Bike: 4:15 pm    Ride Time: 7:18 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 89 Total Miles: 2,164.5 Weather: Sunny, warm, calm/tailwind

First Things First: First roadside Samaritan offering treats – cold strawberries and carrots; First roadside BBQ in Prineville.

Mile to Mile: I’m flying solo again. Dragon pealed off yesterday and today I decided to head off alone to get some more miles done. I’m motivate tend to get to SF about the same time Cindy does so I want to travel when conditions are good. Today was a great travel day.

I climbed Ochoco Pass bright and early while is was cool and shady. It was another long climb but it went faster than expected and I was soon spinning my way down the other side toward Prineville. On the way up, a family I met at the hotel stopped to chat and tell me the summit was only about a half mile up – I thought I had at least another half hour of pedaling. I saw them again on the way down at a wayside rest where they generously offered me a few snacks – the cold ripe strawberries were especially good. Thanks guys.

I traveled this road in 1976 when I biked across Oregon and a few place names have bee familiar but today a large beautiful lake/ reservoir near Prineville brought back definite memories. I’m sure I have pics scanned showing the same blue water.

After Prineville the road got busier than I like. The noise is annoying and it’s more stressful riding on a skinny shoulder. The scenery was inspiring though especially the snow capped Cascade Mountains off in the distance that urged me west all afternoon. Snow means cooler temps which, with 100+ forecast this weekend, sounds awfully appealing. I hope I get to see at least a little patch of snow up close. Don’t tell anyone I said that out loud, okay?
In Passing: Sheep Mountains, Ochoco Pass, Cougar Butte, Black Butte, White Butte, Little Hay Creek, Hat Rock, Deep Canyon






Fossil Day

Day 29: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stop to Stop: Prairie City, OR to Mitchell, OR

Underway: 6:45 am    Off Bike: 3:40 pm    Ride Time: 6.0 hrs     Stayed At: Hostel
Miles Traveled: 88     Total Miles: 2,075.5     Weather: Sunny, warm, calm (mostly)

First Things First: First restaurant with all-you-can-eat pancakes; First hostel.

Mile to Mile: The day started perfect. It was cool, sunny and calm with a nice long gradual downhill to Dayville. The miles just flew by as we cruised steadily at 17-20 mph. By the time we stopped for breakfast we had banked 40 miles by 10:30 am. I wish every day went so smooth. After a great breakfast, we were only a short ride to the John Day Fossil Beds where we checked out the visitor center and enjoyed some amazing scenery on the way there.

The real work started early afternoon with a long 12+ mile climb to the top of Keyes Creek Pass. We are trying hard to avoid the coming heat – it’s supposed to be triple digits in a couple days here in Mitchell. Yikes! We lucked out with a slight overcast to avoid getting cooked. It was a reasonable climb but long. The downhill, though, was well worth the effort and took us 8 miles into Mitchell. The local hotel had a 6 bunk room just for cyclists for $20 a night. New experience.

The coast is getting closer and closer – maybe only 4 days or less to Eugene. And only two more big passes to get over. I’m excited because, with my faster arrival time in SF, Cindy can now get time off to meet me there. Still a lot of pedaling to go but time flies when you are are having fun.

In Passing: Indian Cr River, John Day, Hog Ridge, Peggy Butte Moon Cr Rd, Horseshoe Butte, White Butte.




The Interview

Day 28: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stop to Stop: Baker City to Prairie City

Underway: 7:00 am     Off Bike: 3:45 pm     Ride Time: 6:34 hrs     Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 70.9     Total Miles: 1,987.5     Weather: Sunny, warm, calm.

First Things First: First time being interviewed by a reporter on the side of the road; First time sharing 2 quarts of ice cream.

Mile to Mile: Another day, another change in plans. We had planned to do two passes – Sumpter and Tipton, eat at Austin Junction and camp nearby. Well, the restaurant was was closed On Tuesday and Wednesday. We were hungry, hot, tired and thirsty. Our only choice was to keep going over a third pass – Dixie Pass – and drop down into Prairie City. Thankfully, they weren’t closed too.

On the way down one of the passes, a women on a bike going the opposite direction asked us about our trip. She was from Oregon Public Radio. She wanted to interview us about biking through Oregon. The state has tried to be bike friendly with dedicated bike ways etc. Dragon did most of the talking (thankfully) but I might be on a podcast someday in the future. Odd experience in the middle of no where on the side of a mountain.

We finished the day with a less than stellar campground, a decent shower, a great Mexican Dinner and shared two quarts of Huckleberry Swirl ice cream. Just a normal day on the TranAmerica Trail.