The plan was to sleep in. It sounded so sweet;
not having to get up and ride. But it also sounded like hell;
not riding. It might have been 5:53am when I first looked at my
clock- by now i was on auto-pilot, getting up in a pitch black
motel room without warning. And sure enough I wasn't falling back
asleep. Oh well.
It was nice out- like 80 and dry at 7am as I made my way to the
lounge for my fix of wireless internet. Made some updates, watched
the sun creep higher and warm the pavement quickly. No rush to
see who would wake up next. No rush at all.
After getting all our gear together and setting out for breakfast
it was 9:30 or so. Then breakfast - at Denny's. Nothing but healthy
food now- no excuses. Well, maybe one more day. You could tell
the mood was calm. The stories easy to tell but the locations already
growing hazy- was it Winchester Bay or Humbug Mountain? Regardless
of the name the memories kept them alive.
We headed to San Diego- tunes blaring, computers churning. A/C
cranking, flying at 75mph changing from crazy bikers to tourists
in one fell swoop.
video clip: rolling
on 4 wheels to San Diego »
San Diego. It only took a few hours before we were at a
Days Inn planning our day of laziness. REI, car wash, food, drinks,
sight seeing. It went quick- packing up the bike, washing the car,
getting ready to go back. And before soon it was time for dinner.
Cruising the Gas Lamp section of San Diego (that's what we called
it) we found tons of people out on a Saturday night. Honestly,
it was worse than dropping us into the middle of the desert. We
where in the middle of a jumpin city and we were still half dazed.
It was such a rich experience- so consuming0 that to flip the switch
wasn't as easy as it was at the start. Yesterday I biked
from Mecca to Mexicali. So? The day before that I was in Yucca
We woke up, headed to the airport and were transported back to
DC. Shock set it. Morning leg pain isn't that bad, right? Here
So many thoughts rumbling. Where
to start? How to grab them all? And then express them as I conceptualize
them. Not easy.
It was a great trip. Ice cream is sweet. Biking is fun.
The sun makes me happy. God loves us. Friends and family rule.
always bite. Hot showers are the best. Pop-tarts and beer are "ride
food". Pain hurts. Deserts are hot. Roadside pee's are liberating.
People are hilarious. Gatorade is good the first 20 days. Music
is key- singing is personal. One chain ring is enough. Laughter
is a necessity. You get the idea.
The unofficial tour song is Rollin
Thru My Hood (mp3). Don't ask why- it just is. Maybe
the various interpretations by tour members, maybe the randomness,
fact that it was found on the side of the road early in the
adventure- and it made it through the whole trip- a few times
stuck in the
Don't tell Avis.
Best and Worst. It's hard to say- and obviously everyone
has their own but there were some that came up over and over. In
terms of riding days, Avenue of the Giants (day
12) was a high
for everyone. Cruising through the majestic redwoods with a tail
wind was a thrill. The miles came easier and the day was gorgeous.
And we even gained considerable elevation without a worry. On
the other hand, the cold rainy days really cut to the bone and
Days 4 and 10 made
for the harshest cold rain we had all trip. Getting through those
days without cursing a few times was even more challenging. When
it sucks everything sucks. "Just when you get a nice day, you get
something thrown at you to balance it out- oh, you want some hills,
some rain, maybe a flat tire!"
My favorite "camping" was when I actually got to experience the
night. No tent- just a bag out under the stars. Coincidentally
it was also the night we slept on the side of the road - no campsite.
But it was perfect. Quiet, dark, cool- the stars as bright as the
new iPod screens. A slight slope to the feet. Then at about midnight
the moon was rising over the mountain edge. It completely changed
the atmosphere from complete darkness to seemingly bright- like
dusk in comparison. I could make out everything - the contrast
was huge. And slowly through the night the moon rose straight above
me when I got up at 6am. The light from the sun was turning the
sky blue and yet the moon was visible for hours later. It was a
great transformation, a relaxing evening, and the best way to sleep
outdoors. Never mind the scary stories about "critters" coming
to eat you - we stunk so bad no critter would want any part of
this. And there was minimal pack-up in the morning- just stuff
the bag away.
"I like 6 and 7" - my favorite quote. There
were a ton of fun quotes - things said that made my stomach hurt,
air, and laugh out loud. But I come back to this one. Maybe it
was the set up. The delivery. The lack of concern. The fact that
she was entirely happy with this solution. No complaints. Or that
it was said at the top of the steepest climb of the trip. Riding
a mountain bike might lead you to believe that it would be a harsher
ride, but she didn't give you that impression once. Totally happy
while riders with $2000+ road bikes groaned. As she climbed Lane
Road on day five she got various advice that she
some lower gears - but she wouldn't have it, they didn't work well
(or at all) and she liked two gears. My first thought was a high
gear and a low gear: well, that's not super efficient but it gets
the job done. So I kiddingly say "gears 1 and 8" as if
that was a restriction. Oh no- I like 6 and 7! To bike from Vancouver
to anyplace- let's
Portland- is a feat in itself. But with two gears- right next to
each other? Who knows what gears she really used. Who cares. She
was happy riding the way she wanted. It still makes me smile.
Beer and hot dogs at 10:15am. Ice cream anytime. The diet
was hard to keep up. But with the right influential advisors we
kept at it all trip long- fueling our bodies like incinerators.
Feeding it anything all the time. It was a tasty delight. But take
a careful look at each day - a careful balance between carbs and
sweets- and add some salt. It seemed to work just fine - I wouldn't
change a thing.
No Advil. It was tempting to take some Advil every now
and then to ease some rough edges. But I kept thinking back to
trip when eliminating the pain made me forget what my body was
really doing- where it really needed some help, not just forget
that it was being torn up. Luckily my body reacted well to what
I threw at it. No major aches and pains- not physically. And so
I left the entire bottle as it was when I started the trip - full.
Total miles for all riders was about 9,000 - 10,000! The
whole route was around 1,950 miles long. Some easy and some not
so easy. All of them an adventure. We averaged close to 90 miles
a day for 22 riding days. And we took two days off.
The bike box. Safe at home (last photo). It made it back
with a ton of stuff - more than even on the trip out there. This
is not recommended but certainly possible. Thanks to Tim for sitting
on my bike in order to close it. Here's a list of items that made
standing "mega" bike pump
3 person tent
first aid kit
3 cable locks
2 road reflectors
pair of cycling shoes
camel bak mule
4 bungee cords
tool bag with tools
3 large water bottles
profile seat tube water bottle cages
2 regular extra tires
1 extra foldable tire
2 license plates (ca, wa)
the bike, frame, wheel set, pedals, seat and aero bars
That's it for now. Next up: Costa Rica? Portugal? Tour
de France? Iowa?