Blog time!

Alright, it’s been a while but I finally have internet and a good chunk of time to get this post out.

I guess I’ll start where I left off on the last post and just bring on back to where I am now.

Portland, Day -1

So this was my last full day in Portland and I still had a couple things to get done, but first I headed over to the KBOO radio station to guest on a program called the “Bike Show” to talk about El Grupo with Ignacio.  I thought the show went super well and got to meet a bunch of people involved with youth cycling programs around Oregon, including a youth cyclo-cross league.

The Microphone Octopus

Thanks Tori for having me on the show.

After the radio program, I was directed over to a hardware store called Wink’s, as I still had to figure out a way to fit my front rack on my bike (bringing everything down to the wire as always).  I got there, got the components I needed and put the rack on my bike.

SUCCESS!!

At that point I was pretty much done working on my bike and I totally ready to get on and bike all over Portland with the time I still had.  And with a day to to just bike, I was in the perfect place.  Portland is such an awesome place to bike in.  It’s not just something they just throw around.  My opinion of this city quickly shifted for the better as soon as I got on the bike.  There was never a point at which I felt that I was fighting with traffic for my place on the road.  Drivers were super cool and I found a bunch of bike and pedestrian only paths that led all around the city.

I got a little lost on my ride around town but I eventually found my way back to Reed and got to packing up for my first day of riding.

Portland – Salem, Day 1, 54 miles.

After waking up, I was pretty far from getting ready for my ride as I was pretty uncomfortable with the way I had packed things the night before.  I spent a good 3 hours packing before making my blog post and then making breakfast and then finally jumping on the bike.

That’s when everything went down the crapper.

Well, as I hadn’t had a chance to ride completely loaded (front and back rack loaded with stuff), I had a tough time just getting from the dorm to the front lawn of the campus and thats when my front rack dropped and started rubbing my front tire.  I spent the next 2 hours again rearranging my stuff; moving my sleeping bag off my front rack and adding some zip ties to hold the rack to the handlebars.  At around 2:00 pm, I had everything looking OK.  I dropped off a backpack of things that I didn’t need at the post office to be shipped home and I headed south, out of town.  I had a pretty easy time getting out of town, I was pretty much just able to follow the river.

And then I got to Oregon City.

I got to a tunnel that had a separate area for a bike path which was pretty cool and had me assuming that that was obviously the way I should be heading.

This was nice for a while but of course led me to the scariest highway I think I’ve ever biked.  I got sick of the traffic and decided to turn around and find another way.  I roamed around Oregon City for a good long while before I found an elevator just out in the open (weird right?)  I took it with my bike to the top of the cliff that overlooked the highway and was able to bipass all the traffic.  I finally escaped Oregon City and was again on my way to Salem.  Unfortunately, having lost so much time working on my bike in Portland and getting lost in Oregon City, I didn’t arrive in Salem until 8:30.  Driving in the dark wasn’t so bad as I had lots of lights and a massive shoulder for the majority of the time, but it just seemed to take forever.  I eventually arrived at the house of Jack Schwarte, a WarmShowers host who let me stay at his house for the night.  He was super cool and told me about all his travels around the world and the bike tour he did across the country the last year.  I went to bed pretty soon after I arrived though as I was pretty toast from everything that had happened that day.

Salem – Corvallis, Day 2, 35 miles

The next morning, I had breakfast with Jack and he gave me the greatest directions out of town that would take me right to Corvallis.  It was super nice and there was a separated bike for at least half the way.

Compared to the previous day, this ride was a breeze and I made it to Corvallis with plenty of time to get ready for the talk I was giving that night.  Corvallis is a nice little college time thats super bike-friendly and I pretty much just biked around and then sat in a cafe going over the presentation I was going to give.  I gave the presentation at the Corvallis Food Co-op (apparently the best food co-op in the country, or so I was told).  I thought it was a pretty good talk and it was attended by people involved with the Corvallis Bike Collective, the Oregon State University cycling team, and the general bike community.

Corvallis – Eugene, Day 3, 43 miles

That morning, I had breakfast with my WarmShowers host, Diana, who had pretty much been away from her house until that point.  I was able to leave Corvallis at a decent time after doing some grocery shopping at the co-op, which was pretty nice.  A few people who attended my talk the night before gave me very good directions to Eugene that kept me well off the highway and put me through some nice farm country.

It was like this pretty much the whole way

I got a little lost getting into Eugene but eventually found my way into town and to the place I was staying that night.  I arrived at Heide Beierle’s and David Brett’s (I’m not positive on that last name) apartment and got ready for the talk that night.  Well, I was supposed to talk about El Grupo at the Oregon University Bike Program building but… only one person showed up… and he was thirty minutes late.  Nevertheless, I talked with him about it and the staff working there and kind of just hung out for a while with just talking about bikes and biking around the area.  They even let me put one of my wheels in a truing stand to work out a kink that had been bugging me.  I got back and Heidi had made an awesome dinner (I think everything tastes better on tour, mostly because you’re always hungry, but this was pretty awesome relative to that).

Eugene – Honeyman State Park, Day 4, 84 miles

This was already going to be a long day but Heidi told me about a super scenic route that would take me off the highway for a majority of the way.  I’m so glad I listened to her.  It lengthened my ride by about 15 miles but it took me past a lake and some pretty easy terrain.  It was a long but really beautiful ride.

And after 84 miles of cycling, I was really tired and kind of bummed that I still had to make dinner.  Then I found this:

It’s tough to see because my camera was partially fogged up but this was a food stand that sold TACOS ON INDIAN FRIED BREAD, probably one of the perfect post-ride meals.  I made a stop there, had my taco and rode to Honeyman State Park, which was only too more miles down the road.  I pretty much just set up camp and went too bed.

A little side note: All the state parks are so nice with showers and everything.  I don’t really have anything past that, I guess the showers really made an impression.

Day 5, Honeyman State Park – Sunset Bay, 54 miles

Because I went to bed so early the night before, I woke up around 4:30 that morning and decided that I was going to get ready to go by the time the sun came out.  And then it started to rain and I quickly decided to just go back to bed in my tent.  Thats how most of the last few days have gone but I was able to make it out of camp with plenty of time to get to the next campground.  This was a mostly downhill ride (or so it seemed) with little weather.  I also met my first fellow bike tourist on this day:

He’s a russian filmmaker and writer from Bulgaria that had started his bike tour in Washington D.C., went down to Florida, west to California, and then was heading up to Seattle to catch a ferry to Alaska.  I had his name written down but I can’t seem to find it right now.  Sorry.

I was also entering the dunes of Oregon which was pretty because when you look on one side of the road…

Forest

and then to the other side…

DUNES!

Anyway, it was a pretty easy day and I got into the campground with plenty of time.

Day 6, Sunset Bay – Langlois, ? miles

Alright, this was the first day I didn’t quite make it to where I was going.  I woke up that morning with clear skies and was able to pack up and get on my bike pretty quickly in the morning.  To get to Sunset Bay the day before, I had to get off the main highway and go through a town called Charleston and then a few more miles down a road after that.  So I was pretty far off the highway.  I took a look at my map and saw that to get back to the highway, I either had to go all the way back to Charleston, or a could make a somewhat more direct route by way of Seven Devils Road.  When I got to the intersection that led to the road, all the signs pointed down it saying: Scenic Bike Route.  I figured that I must be going the right way.  Two minutes after that, a few things happened:  It got super foggy, super windy, it started to pour, and I quickly realized that Seven Devils Road was named that way the same reason the Seven Bitches have their name.  Because there was an unknown number (around a lot) of really long big hills and the person who liked the number seven got to name the road.  I was on that road for a good long while and came into a port city just wasted and really hungry.  I found the obvious solution to this problem.

Yes, I went to a Mexican food restaurant, got the biggest burrito I could and partially dried out.  Oh, and it was a good burrito if you couldn’t see that from the picture.  This unfortunately is my last picture for a while as my camera got wet due to the storm and can’t pictures anymore.  (I’m working on getting a new one)

And then it was back out into the rain I went for a couple hours.  I made what I thought was going to be a quick stop at a market in Langlois for water and to use the restroom, but I found out from the people there that the campsite I was trying to get to that day was closed until April.  I guess I could have just gone anyway, set up my tent and made sure my bike was out of the way and no one would have bothered me, but the owner of the store offered to let me set up camp in a field right outside his store and that seemed much more appealing than to continue riding in the rain.

Day 7, Langlois – Harris Beach, 70ish miles

So, I had planned on getting to Harris Beach this day, and I still wanted to even after not making it to the campground I was originally going to stay at the day before.  This was going to add about 20 miles to the ride.  I got an early start and right off that bat had the craziest wind blowing in my face.  And this just wasn’t a headwind that you kind of forget about after a while and get used to.  Once I got to the coast, there were portions where I had to get off my bike and walk it because I couldn’t keep balance in the wind.  Everywhere that I stopped, people asked whether I was traveling north or south and when I answered south, they kind of just gave me a sad look and said good luck.  I did it though.  It took me about 8 hours of hard pedaling into the wind before I got to Harris Beach.

Day 8,

Harris Beach – Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, 57 miles

What I’ll remember about my ride in Oregon is probably the weather.  It rained about everyday and even if it didn’t I barely ever saw the sun because it was so cloudy.  All that just seemed to clear up as soon as I crossed the California – Oregon border.  It’s like I biked out of winter.  And compared to the day before, I had almost no wind and was chewing up miles like they were nothing.  I also made it into the Redwoods, had a pretty tough climb through them, but probably the coolest descent ever.  It was pretty much equivalent to going down Mt. Lemmon except with an ocean on one side of the road for a portion of it and then a corridor of just huge trees.

When I got to the campsite, absolutely no one else was there.  It was kind of creepy but alright.  I also realized that I had missed an off-road route I was supposed to take. (sorry Nacho) It was still a pretty nice day.

Day 9, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – Patrick’s Point State Park, ? miles

I took this morning to just walk around the Redwoods and spent a few hours doing that since my ride that day was pretty short.

So, I had originally planned to stay in Eureka a couple nights with a friend of Christian’s named Scott.  Unfortunately for this night though, he was out of town.  He suggested I stay at Patrick’s Point though and I’m super glad I did.

It was a pretty short ride and that morning I had gotten a call from my dad telling me about the earthquake in Japan and the Tsunami warnings all along the coast.  I wasn’t too worried about it but I would see signs that said, “Warning, Tsunami Danger Zone,” and I’d bike the slightest bit faster until I saw signs saying “Leaving Tsunami Danger Zone.”

Anyway, Scott had also told me of a place in Trinidad, a city just north of Eureka, that his wife owned called the Beachcomber’s Cafe.  I was able to make it there for lunch and had a super good sandwich.  I’d most definitely recommend it if anybody else is passing through that area.  I then headed up back a ways to the Patrick’s Point campsite along a road I had missed coming in on the highway.  It was a really scenic road that brought you out onto a cliff that overlooked the ocean with a bunch of rocks at the bottom.

Again, at Patrick’s Point, I was the only one there camping but I had some time to walk around the trails and I happened to pass through the hike-and-bike campsite that I guess I was actually supposed to be in (oops) and I found a bear box with a bunch of stickers on it.

The next picture down is zoomed in, in case you can't see

IT'S AN EL GRUPO STICKER!!!!

I almost flipped out when I saw that, which is probably and over reaction, but after not seeing to many people for a while, I was pretty excited about it.

Day 10, Patrick’s Point – Eureka, ? miles

This morning was another one of those mornings where I woke up really early to find that it was raining.  I stayed in for a while and when it cleared up, I packed up my stuff and then biked down to the Beachcomber’s Cafe again for breakfast.  Afterwards, I was given directions to Eureka that would keep me almost completely off the highway.  I was able to follow these directions pretty well and found myself on a sweet little bike/walking trail that would take me all the way to Arcata.  Unfortunately, there was a little bit of a hill on the trail and when I shifted down to my granny gear well… it kind of just broke off.  I was able to walk my bike to the top of the hill and check out the damage.  My little chain ring was completely off the cranks, some bolts were lost in the bushes and the chain ring was pretty bent out of shape.  I was only about 3 miles from Arcata at that point so I just zip-tied the chain ring to the frame to make sure it didn’t get in the way and pedaled to a bike shop in Arcata to get it replaced.  While it was in the bike shop, I walked around the central plaza of Arcata, got some lunch and a book since I had finished the last one I read.  It was a pretty nice little town with bike paths everywhere.  When my bike was back in working order, I called Scott to let him know I was coming into Eureka pretty soon and he met me half way on his bike and rode me in.

It was so nice to have a place to stay last night.  Camping for the past few nights have been kind of rough, and it’s nice to have a roof over your head.  Scott and his wife Alice were really cool too and made me dinner and it was really nice after being on the road for a while.

Anyways, that’s it for now.  I’ll have more up later and I’ll get a camera today so I can start taking pictures again.

Bye

7 Responses to “Portland, OR – Arcata, CA”

  1. kathleendreier

    L-O-V-E reading about your adventures, Marcos! Keep ’em coming!

  2. daniela

    Thank goodness for zip-ties, Mexican burros, and the California sun! We miss you Marcos – thanks for a very fun read. Keep pedaling strong and we will see you again in no time.

  3. kathleendreier

    @Christian, yeah, I wonder, hmmmm, just who could it be?

  4. Lizzy

    I’m so glad you’re having a great time! Keep pedaling, Marcos! You’re so cool! 😀

  5. alobos

    Marcos,
    you are sooo cool. Stay strong. I am definitely impressed. We will be waiting for you here in Tucson! Keep blogging…